Your Bike tours in Tuscany will be on quiet roads as there are no long distance signed bicycle touring routes in Tuscany to explore. However I expect you will fall in love with the scenic landscape covered with red poppies in the spring or sun flowers in the autumn much like I did.
The quiet roads you will be cycling are lined by cypress and olive trees, vineyards too, and there are long winding hilly climbs that lead to wonderful stone villages. Italian drivers all seem to think this are in a Formula One race and drive fast, yet generally gentle around cyclists as there are many riders on the roads so I never felt this was an issue.
As there are no signed bicycle routes in Tuscany you definitely need a guide like this to navigate the backroads. One thing I liked was although there were no bike route signs there are frequent road signs pointing to the next town for navigation was not an issue.
There are several districts you can take bike tours in Tuscany which may be combined to form a longer routes.
Bike Tours in Tuscany – The South
I started bike touring of Tuscany in Chiusi, a hilltop village with sweeping views of the area. I is located on the main train route from Rome for easy access and we had no problems putting our bicycles on the train. You can cycle to northward to Cortona, made famous in many movies and television shows and a great overnight location, however we took the route below.
Our cycle vacation continued we us riding over a few hills to Montepulciano, home to great wines and many historic buildings and our lunch stop. Some easy cycling brought us to Pienza and later San Quirico d’Orcia, both worth a short stop to investigate. Your bicycle touring then brings you to Montalcino, after a long 6 km climb. But stop here for a night or two to explore the castle, and many streets. Then its on to the historic town of Murlo as you bike tour northward through the scenic Tuscan hills, before arriving in Siena, Chianti. Entry to Siena is along a busy street for take care.
This is the center of the Tuscan region which lies between Florence and Siena. The main street of Siena within the city walls is a meandering pedestrian walkway flanked by shops which opens up into City Hall and Piazza del Campo. The town at city hall is worth the climb for outstanding views of the region. The weekly market is absolutely huge with everything from shoes to food for sale.
Your cycling vacation in Tuscany now takes you north to Monteriggioni, an impressive hilltop fortress where we stopped for lunch. Continue through the town of Colle di Val d’Elsa and start climbing the long, long hill to San Gimignano where you should stop for several nighs. This medieval town does not permit cars on its streets which receives plenty of daytime visitors. Spend the evening the see the stone building night lit. From San Gimignano you can make an easy day trip to historic Volterra, site of Roman ruins and other nearby towns.
Leaving San Gimignano we soon encountered a long downhill before crossing an expressway and then and equally impressive and long ascent to Castellilna in Chianti.
Next we cycled through the vine covered Tuscan hills to Greve where we had rented an apartment on a working winery for a week. Daily day trips of Chianti were the order of the day riding to such as Radda, a interesting stone village again with no cars permitted along its streets. Our apartment near Greve had a pool and cooking facilities so life was good.
Many cyclists on a Italian bike tour continue on to Florence but we went by bus to avoid the traffic congestion. You will want to see the fabulous art galleries and famous Ponte Vecchio (bridge).
Bike Tours in Tuscany – Northern Tuscany and Florence
Departing Greve (or Florence) for the final chapter on your cycle tour of Tuscany head to the west which is fairly flat with lots of small towns until you reach Lucca. This is the gem of the region, with walls so wide there is a bicycle route around the top creating a 4 kilometers loop (2.5 miles) around the city. Inside is a medieval city with shops, restaurants, churches.
It’s a short 29 km (18 miles) cycle lined with cypress trees from Lucca to Pisa to see the famous leaning tower and duomo (cathedral) inside the city walls. However there was a scary tunnel along the way.
From Pisa we took the train back to Rome but other may want to continue your bicycle tour north along the Mediterranean coast to the home of Pinocchio.
Another area I enjoyed cycling is the Veneto Region further north. Do not forget to take a Tuscany cycling guide as there are few signed routes.Your bike tours in Tuscany will be the envy of your friends.