PISA to FLORENCE
Leonardo da Vinci might have said it himself cycle my home town and check out my discoveries. This flexible tour does just that, as you choose your challenge each day. Pedal through the quintessential Tuscan landscape of vineyards and olive groves to Pisa, with its world-renowned Leaning Tower, then to the charming town of Lucca, where you will ride up on the impressive walls of the city. Continue on country lanes to Vinci, Leonardo's birth place, and visit two museums to gain insight into the life and mind of this genius. Finally, visit Florence cradle of the Renaissance. This is a miraculous discovery of Northern Tuscany.
- A really easy trip, and it's in Tuscany!
- Great art cities: Florence, Pisa and Lucca
- Nature Reserves: the Fucecchio Padule, an inland wetland, with a great variety of nesting and migratory birds
- A wine-tasting at a local farm
- Vinci, the birth place of Leonardo da Vinci
- Charming village, quiet roads, cypress tree-lined country lanes and cycle paths along the Serchio river
- Wine, wine and more great Tuscan wine and food
We start our trip in Pisa and for those who arrive early today there is time this afternoon to explore the narrow streets, pastel colored houses and churches of this historic town. There may also be time to ascend the leaning tower to enjoy the views. We will meet at our hotel for a welcome briefing and bike allocation, before heading out for our first evening meal together
Day 2: Loop ride from Pisa to Calci
Distance: 35 km
After breakfast we start our first ride, heading out from Pisa to explore the countryside of the Colline Pisane region on a picturesque circular cycle route. We follow the old Pisan Aqueduct out of the city before heading into the hills for a scenic ride towards Calci. On arrival we have the chance to see the National Museum of Certosa and the Romanesque church of San Emolao provided they are open. With rested legs we continue towards the villages of Buti and Vicopisano, before starting our return journey back towards Pisa, following a cycle path along the banks of the river Arno. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy a glass of Chianti, relax or explore Pisa.
Day 3: Ride from Pisa to Lucca
Distance: 35 km
Leaving Pisa this morning, we first cycle along quiet level roads to Pontasserchio and then from here we cross the River Serchio, and skirt the base of the hills across to Massaciucolle Lake. Here we have free time for lunch and an optional short walk in Lipu wildlife reserve on the edge of the lake. Back on the bikes, we ride through low forested hills to Balbano and Nozzano Castello where we will meet up with our cycle route that is in part a gravel track, this follows the River Serchio. Travelling along this path we pass through the fluvial park of the Serchio and arrive into the great Tuscan walled city of Lucca. Arriving at the Pont San Quirico we will then turn towards the city and ride into the centre of Lucca and head up onto the famous walls which encompass the old town of Lucca. We complete a full circuit by bike (nearly 4km in length) then we will have a short cycle tour through the city, passing the Amphitheatre Piazza and main historical sites before arriving at our accommodation for the night. After settling into our hotel there is some free time before we meet up for an included pre-dinner wine tasting in the amazing cellars of Vanni Enoteca.
Day 4: Loop ride from Lucca - visiting surrounding hills & villas
Distance: 40 km
Today we will explore the scenic area that surrounds Lucca and visit one of the grand villas to be found here. We start cycling directly from the hotel, re-joining the Serchio bike path to ride as far as Ponte a Moriano. After crossing the Serchio River here we cycle along lanes following the Bio Giro bike route through the Luccan hills and past historic grand villas, such as Villa Napoleon. Continuing through the small town of Marlia we pedal along lovely backroads, passing olive groves that make the oil for which Lucca is famed, as well as vineyards producing Colline Lucchese wine. Our route takes us through many small villages and towns such as Segrominio in Monte before arriving at Colle Bordocheo, where we have included a wine and olive oil tasting to try local produce. We then ride on to Villa Torrigiani, where we stop for an optional visit of this magnificent 16th century villa and its ornate gardens. From here it is an easy ride back into Lucca along the Via Delle Ville, taking a nice quiet route back into the city.
Day 5: Ride from Lucca to Vinci
Distance: 54 km
Our ride from Lucca today is slightly hillier with some gradual ascents and relaxing descents. We initially follow the Nottolini Aqueduct from Lucca towards Pieve di Compito, famed for its Camellias and annual flower festival, then along country roads through pretty villages, stopping for a morning coffee en route. Later we ride alongside the Fucecchio Nature Reserve, one of the largest inland wetland reserves in Europe with lakes and marshes covering around 1,800 hectares. The wetlands are home to hundreds of bird species and protected plant life and play an important role in the annual migration of birds through the continent. Picturesque Tuscan country roads then take us the rest of the way into Vinci, arriving in time to explore the hilltop village and its museum dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci (optional).
Day 6: Ride from Vinci to Florence
Distance: 40 km
Leaving Vinci this morning on our bikes, we pass through more classic Tuscan countryside seeing vineyards, peaceful olive groves and small terracotta villages. Then our route follows the River Arno valley course, with the final section of this ride travelling along the River Arno cycle path to then pass through the Parco Le Cascine and into the heart of Florence, cycling through the historic centre to our hotel. Florence is the spiritual home of the Renaissance and is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. It is a city of superlatives: from the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest and most famous bridge in Florence and the only one that was not demolished during the German retreat of 1944, to the religious centre of the city and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore with its giant dome or 'duomo'. Close by are other artistic wonders, including the Baptistry, the East door (called the Gate of Paradise by Michelangelo) and Giotto's famous bell tower, as well as the Piazza della Signoria. We will have time in the afternoon to explore Florence and visit some of the world-famous landmarks such as the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio.
Day 7: Arrivederci Florence
After breakfast, end of services.
1 picnic lunch
Professional multi-lingual tour leader
On this tour we cycle 210 km over five days.
The terrain is virtually all on tarmac, and mostly along quiet country roads.
The route is generally flat and gently undulating.
The tour leader will cycle with the group every day.
We have graded the route as EASY