Tuscany is one of Italy's most famous regions. A wonderful week of cycling brings you across Tuscany from the leaning tower of Pisa to Ponte Vecchio in Florence. You'll move slowly through picturesque towns and beautiful landscapes, immotalized by Leonardo da Vinci, Puccini, Pinocchio and several other artists and composers. You'll arrive in the charming city of Lucca, located at the bottom of the Garfagnana Valley and one of Tuscany's most beautiful cities. The route continues through vine-covered slopes and olive groves towards Pistoia and Florence.
Italy | Self-guided cycling holiday | Degree of difficulty 2-3
A beautiful and moderate tour between Pisa and Florence, full of Tuscan moods and fragrances, and with only a few demanding climbs along the route.
Tuscany across, between Pisa and Florence
You'll stay at good 3-4* hotels and agriturismos, except in Lucca, where you'll stay at a cozy 2* hotel. All rooms are with private bath and toilet, and most have air conditioning. The tour is with breakfast included.
Degree of difficulty (2-3) and maps
A relatively easy route, degree of difficulty 2-3, however with some small and moderate climbs. Reasonable fitness and low gearing is recommended.
Most of the time you'll cycle on paved secondary roads, however some stages are on gravel roads.
On the trains between the larger cities, you can bring the bike if you feel like needing a bike-free day during the holiday.
The entire route is signposted, and you'll be following a very detailed route description in English as well as guiding maps.
* We note that the map is indicative and therefore does not contain precise route information.
Day 1. Arrival.
Arrival in Pisa, famous all over the world for its leaning tower in the Piazza dei Miracoli (Miracle Square). It looks kind of funny, and you can't help wondering how it’s not falling over. Pisa is a pleasant university city with lots of cozy cafes, squares and pedestrian streets. The old houses, painted in beautiful pastels and located down by the river, are a breathtaking spectacle.
Day 2. To Lucca. 30/45 km.
Today's stage starts at The Leaning Tower. The short stage follows the river Serchio to Lucca. You'll cycle in the beautiful Garfagnana Valley surrounded by the mountain ranges Appenines and Alpi Apuane. A nice cycling day along vine-covered slopes and olive groves. Lucca is a wonderful city with cozy squares, magnificent churches and palaces, few cars and many cyclists. The whole city is surrounded by a 4 km long ring wall, which now functions as a recreation area where people go running, walking and cycling. From the city wall, there is a fantastic view over Lucca's narrow winding streets, old well-kept houses and flowery balconies. One of Lucca's major attractions is the ancient Roman amphitheater, where gladiators used to battle. Now, where there previously was seating, apartments have been built in varying heights and in an old style, which gives a very spectacular piazza with laundry and flowers.
The composer Puccini was born in Lucca, so classical and rhythmic concerts are regularly held here.
If you have the courage, and your legs are up for it, you can choose a longer and rather hilly route around the mountain Monte Pisano. It requires a good level of fitness, as it's a 12 km climb with a gradient of 7.8%.
Day 3. To Montecatini. 45 km.
Lucca is left behind, as you cycle through the beautiful landscape with vine-covered slopes and olive groves to the small village of Collodi. This is where the author of Pinocchio grew up, so if you want to, and have the time, you can visit Pinocchio's Park and the beautiful mansion Villa Garzoni. From here, it's on to Pescia with its many churches, mansions, renaissance villas and not least the flower market.
You'll follow the route on nice small roads to Montecatini, which is one of Europe's finest spa towns with cozy streets and cafes.
Day 4. Free day in or around Montecatini. 60 km.
Today, you can again choose between 2 options. A beautiful day of cycling through olive groves and vineyards, past beautiful mansions. You'll also come through Vinci, Leonardo da Vinci's birthplace, where a visit to the museum with some of his many inventions is recommended.
Alternatively, you can enjoy the day in Montecatini, with its pleasent streets, many houses built in the art nouveau style, cafes, many parks and gardens; or you can take the cable car up to the old town, Montecatini Alto, beautifully situated on a hilltop and with stunning views of the Tuscan hills.
Day 5. To Florence. 65 km or 20 km by train (20 minuntes, about 6 EUR, not included) and 50 km by bike.
Today you can choose to either cycle all the way from Montecattini to Florence or shorten the stage by taking the train to Pistoia. In Pistoia you might take the time for a cup of coffee in the most thought provoking square in Italy, Piazza del Duomo, before continuing on through the Tuscan lowlands to Florence, known as the cradle of the Renaissance. Some consider Florence to be one of the world's most beautiful cities, so take plenty of time to enjoy this famous city. Take a walk along the Arno River to the old bridge Ponte Vecchio with the goldsmith shops hanging out over the river. Find a cafe in the square in front of the impressive cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore. Let yourself get lost in the old winding streets. Take the many steps up to the Piazzale Michelangelo and enjoy the view of ancient Florence.
Day 6. Free day in Florence.
There is so much to see in this amazing city, so take a bike free day and go exploring.
Day 7. Florence-Empoli-Pisa. 40 km by train + 65 km.
A short train ride to Empoli (30 minutes, about 8 EUR - not included).From here you'll cycle along the river Arno to Pisa.
Alternatively, you can cycle to Empoli and from here take the train to Pisa (30 minuntes, about 9 EUR - not included).
Day 8. Departure Day.
Departure from Pisa, unless you have booked extra nights.
Bikes and cycling equipment
The rental bikes have 27 gears Shimano Deore and hand brakes. It's also possible to rent electric bikes with 9 gears.
The bikes are equipped with gel saddle, luggage rack, rear seat bags, cycle computer, bar bag and map holder.
At least one bicycle per room will also be equipped with lock, pump and repair kit.
It is possible to rent a helmet.
Unfortunately it's not possible to rent bikes for children.
How to get there
By plane: If you want to fly, Pisa is the best option. Alternatively, Florence, Genoa or Milan will work as well.
From both Milan, Genoa and Florence, there are many trains daily to Siena.
By train: By train you'll go via Hamburg and Munich. From here a night train to Florence. From Florence it's about 1.5 hours by train to Pisa.
By car: It's about 1700 km from Denmark to Pisa, where parking is available (for a fee) in parking garage.
Weather and climate
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