Our Top 8 Reasons to Ride Tuscany with Us

1. The landscape

The landscape of Tuscany is spectacular, every which way you turn.

One day you’re rolling along under the cool green canopy of the forest, before a few twists and turns pop you out amongst some small stone hamlets, nestled amongst vineyards and olive groves. The next day you are rolling across naturally eroded hills and open rolling fields, dotted with medieval hilltop towns.

You’ll lose count of the beautiful little hamlets, villages and towns that sit on the hills throughout Tuscany, however their beauty lies in their own distinct style and personality, and the fact that they are still much loved and lived in today. Hamlets comprising a few houses, a bar, an osteria and an imposing castle or church create an atmosphere of awe and delight as you ride around and through them, and the hilltop towns provide the perfect backdrop as you spin your way to the top and keep your eyes fixed on the prize; the chance to roll through their cobble streets, stop to enjoy a coffee, take in their ambience or fill up your water bottles from an ancient fountain – before rolling off again to the next picturesque town – where a bowl of pasta may be the next requirement.

It’s the intertwining nature of the landscape, the slow pace of life in the hamlets and towns, and the still ‘agriculturally inspired’ lifestyle of the people that will leave you fully appreciating why so many artists, painters, writers and historians have been drawn to Tuscany for centuries – and still keep coming back.

2. Chianti’s Spirit and Energy

Chianti is magical. This land between Florence and Siena was heavily fought over for centuries and when you arrive and experience its rich beauty, you’ll understand why. Continual rolling hills that meander alongside a patchwork of olive groves, vineyards, natural forest, castles and stone villas all seem to capture your heart as you roll amongst them. At every turn, there is a vista, and in the Autumn, a magical scent of porcini mushrooms, truffles and the harvest of Sangiovese grapes and olives to make ‘olio nuovo’ or new olive oil.

September and October are the months when Chianti truly comes to life, with the spirit of L’Eroica firmly entrenched in its rolling hills and ride culture, and when the warm embrace of the locals in our home town of Gaiole in Chianti, is truly felt.

3. Val d’Orcia. Perfect Beauty.

The Val d’Orcia is the iconic world heritage listed region south of Siena. It’s the postcard-perfect photos you see of Tuscany in the guide books and the dreamy land of golden sunsets and open rolling hills that you imagine when forming a picture of Tuscany in your heart and mind.

This is where the roads are lined with cypress trees and the gentle rolling hills change colour with the seasons; from a sea of green in spring, to an intoxicating mix of yellows and golds in summer and the natural earthy brown tones that go with the rugged just-ploughed fields in Autumn. This landscape of exceptional rare beauty was created in the Renaissance to perfectly blend human life with nature, and as you roll among these hills today on our Tour of Tuscany, you remain not only in awe of their beauty, but also feel a sense of joy for how they are so lovingly cherished and cared for by the locals as they produce delicious cheeses, wines and organically grown food products.

4. Small Quiet Roads

In Tuscany, there are an enormous number of small quiet back roads, making it an absolute joy to ride around.

When you can head out into the hills for hours and literally only see a handful of cars and a whole lot of fellow cyclists, you realise you are in cycling heaven. The volume of roads means that there are so many options to ensure we stay on the best quiet roads and also enjoy the many beautiful and open free flowing descents. We just need to keep in mind that with every free flowing descent, there is a sensational climb to tackle first. The climbs in Tuscany are usually in the 4 to 7% average range and are anywhere from 4 to 8km long. As with every climb, there are always little ‘pinches’, but these only last for a corner or two and when the rewards include incredible vistas and descents, it is worth every effort.

5. Strade Bianche

The Strade Bianche are the Roman white gravel roads made famous by L’Eroica originally, and more recently by the Strade Bianche pro race. Defining the Tuscan landscape and reminding us all that the preservation of ancient beauty is alive and well in Tuscany, these roads are treasured by locals and loved by the cyclists who are fortunate to traverse them.

We enjoy taking our Tour of Tuscany and L’Eroica cycling tour groups onto the Strade Bianche, and knowing that on a whim, we are able to add a few sections of gravel to a ride, should the desire arise in the group. Like all things in Tuscany, the Strade Bianche change with the seasons, and more often than not are hard packed earth with just a scattering of loose stones. They are magical to ride.

6. A Deep Culture of Riding

There is a rich culture of cycling in the province of Tuscany.

Gino Bartali and Mario Cippolini are the two most famous cyclists to hail from the region but it’s the grass roots cycling, the local gran fondos, the ‘non-competitive’ spirit of L’Eroica and the growing cycling tourism that enrich the deep culture of ‘respect’ on the roads in Tuscany, and ensure a continued shared understanding between cyclists and the community. 

7. The Wines

Off the bike, when you are wanting to round out the perfect day, there is no better way than to enjoy local favourite dishes and a few glasses of the local vino. The sensational Chianti Classico, one of our all-time favourite Italian red wines, is grown throughout the Chianti region and it’s great to be able to sample different vintages from a range of hills, not just during our dinners, but also at special wine tastings at historic vineyards and cantina’s.

As we then venture a little further south of Siena, we enter the region for another outstanding sangiovese based DOCG wine, Brunello d Montalcino. As the perfect companion to a delicious Peposo, a slowed cooked beef dish from the south of Tuscany, or at a tasting following a Rosso di Montalcino or a Rosso d’Orcia, there is no doubt Brunello is a standout and that the wines of Tuscany are as delicious as they are diverse.

8. Simple Tuscan Cuisine

The cuisine of Tuscany is delicious and the appreciation for high quality produce is evident throughout its simply prepared and cooked dishes. When a selection of home-made crostini, salumi and freshly picked garden vegetables are brought to the table to complement the perfect Tuscan grigliata, you know you’re dining at the right place.

While Tuscany is known for its use of beans and vegetables in its ‘cucina povera’, it also has a very strong meat culture, with the pinnacle being the Bistecca Fiorentina and the Pappardelle con Cinghiale (wild boar) coming in a close second. However, it’s the rustic antipasti and side dishes that create the difference on the table, and quite simply shine. From the sformatino made with seasonal vegetables, to the stuffed carciofi, white beans with sage and rosemary, and the sweet red tomatoes making up the perfect summer panzanella….. the list goes on and on, and changes with the seasons…..making the Tuscan table a delight to be seated at any time of year.

9. A Warm Family Welcome

Yes, we know we said that there are 8 reasons to join us in Tuscany but we are adding in one very special extra reason, because it is a huge part of what we believe brings the whole experience together on our Tuscany bike tours.

In Tuscany, there is an openness with the people and a sense of pride in the region that translates across many levels of everyday life – and which they want to share with you.

We feel proud of the warm, family feeling we bring to all of our Italian cycling tours but in Tuscany, we take this experience to a whole other level. You are immersed with our friends and family and have the chance to enjoy their open, warm embrace.

We invite you to join our Tuscan table!

If you would like to join us for the Tuscan cycling trip of a lifetime, we have three options, with a Tour of Tuscany in both June & September as well as a L’Eroica & Tuscany tour in September/October which includes entry into the L’Eroica ride.

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