Our 2022 Italian Cycling Tour season keeps on rolling, with our first tour of Tuscany commencing in our home region & village of Gaiole in Chianti and completing in the spectacular medieval town of San Gimignano.
With spectacular summer conditions, it was wonderful to be sharing once again all that we have discovered over the years to be authentic and truly Tuscan – an immersion behind the tourist curtain.
Hills, stone hamlets, cypress pines and free flowing descents is what Chianti is all about, and given this is our home region, it is for us about sharing the very best rides and back roads it has to offer.
Sure, there are a few ‘ramps’ or ‘pinches’…..but that’s just Tuscany – where they say that for every 30k, you’ll climb 400m. With views, vistas and panoramas around every corner or on top of every hill, the rewards are many and just continually take your breath away, regardless of how many time you have seen them.
The landscapes of Chianti and the Val d’Orcia are both superb, and both very different. There is a quality of light in Tuscany that has been mesmerising the people, and particularly the artists for centuries, and we were no different. Whether at dawn or dusk, there is always a magical light show in each area we visit, and we were always well poised to make the most of its beauty.
We were lucky enough to experience a dinner with the local hunters and their families and friends, and sample many of the home cooked and home cured delights – with the highlight being the ‘Cinghiale in Porchetta’ – a small wild boar cooked in a wood fired oven in the style of a traditional porchetta. This was a taste sensation, and given the wild boar is not often prepared in this way, it made for a very special and unique experience. We also sampled the salami, capocollo and prosciutto of the Cinghiale which had been cured by the hunters over the past few months. Delicious.
Towards the end of the evening, there was a raffle, with 2 of the 11 prizes going to members of our group. Tony was lucky enough to have a ticket drawn for a bottle of Chianti vino and Mary won the last prize of the evening, which was the head of the Cinghiale ……buona fortuna!
Ahhh, the food and wine journey in Tuscany is an absolute delight. From the rustic to the the refined, every day there is a new taste sensation, that you’ll be wanting to replicate when you return home.
Some of the highlights across the week were a hand made tagliatelle with a ragu of cinghiale, carciofi sott’olio from the home of artichokes, more hand made pasta but this time with a simple summer sugo of pomodoro, crostini con fegatini, and certainly our long Tuscan lunch.
Our non-riding partners enjoyed some wonderful experiences, many of which immersed them in the true heart of Tuscan cuisine, culture and history. From a cooking class and truffle hunt to a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Palio in Siena, we learned a lot, shared many laughs and enjoyed great conversation.
Our final day is one where the landscape changes its many faces as we cross regions, before rolling up and then into the heart of the iconic San Gimignano. The sense of achievement is high after 8 solid days in the Tuscan hills with over 500km and 10,000m of elevation in the legs.
After a little time to wander the ancient cobble streets, enjoy a spot of shopping and a gelato or a celebratory beer while soaking up the vibes in the piazza, it’s time to celebrate in true San Gimignano style with a glass or two of the crisp Vernaccia di San Gimignano and our amazing farewell dinner
If you are interested in joining one of our next Tuscany tours, click here for more tour details or here if you have a question, you would like answered.