Off the back of our first trip to Tuscany, we take some time to reflect upon a fabulous 6 days in the hills of Chianti and beyond.
A new destination poses new questions to us, but also results in a great deal of excitement and learning. Whilst we will not subject the reader to all our musings, however we have condensed some of what we have learned and much of what excited us.
Tuscany is a cycling mecca, but when planning and delivering this trip we were struck by how much it had to offer. Via Reggio and Lucca are very popular, in the north of the region, and offer easy access to Pisa and Florence. The cycling infrastructure here is excellent and the routes are varied. We opted for a base further south on the western fringes of the Chianti region and about 45km north of Siena. And to be concise - we struck the jackpot.
We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Casolare de Terre Rosse about 5km from San Gimignano. The hotel provided us with the perfect base for our on bike adventures. The food was glorious and the outside seating and pool area provided the perfect place share tales and unwind after a day in the saddle.
The hotel was a little over an hour from Pisa airport, which is served by a number of flights from the UK and allowed for a hassle free travel experience. Furthermore, the hotel has ample bike storage and a courtyard which served as a great meeting and work space for the group.
Cycling in Tuscany is a privilege, the views are spectacular wherever you go and there are an abundance of beautiful towns and villages to incorporate into your route.
The inland location meant we had 360 degrees of options to choose from, which is unlike many of our locations. Whilst the 5 routes we took all had different characteristics, they all had one shared feature - there are an abundance of hills!
The routes in the hills of Chianti were our favourite with climbs that we challenging, but views that could distract. To the south, we headed to Siena which is a must visit and allowed us to ride some of the famous 'white roads' of the region. To the west of San Gimignano sits the hilltop town of Volterra. This is another must visit and the ride there from our base was fantastic - with steady climbs and sinuous descents. this town is also very popular with the motor cyclists of the region so might be best avoided in a Sunday in retrospect.
We could eulogise about the cycling in the region ad infinitum, but they would not do the experience justice. However, for balance we should mention that road surfaces are not always perfect there is very little flat riding - in fact may of the flatter roads are often the ones used by larger commercial vehicles.
We really hope more groups will choose to travel to Tuscany with us. The cycling experience is very different to the other regions we visit and the off bike experience is special. The local people we met along the journey were wonderful and matched the quality of the local food and wine.
Whether a group of racing whippets or a social group with non cycling members - Tuscany can and should be enjoyed by everyone.
For more information on bespoke group trips to Tuscany please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org