There are many companies offering bicycle tours in the Tuscany region of Italy.
The companies have slightly different routes, but most focus on the hilly
Chianti and Crete regions around Siena.
Our route covered 40-50 miles and 3000 feet of climbing per day.
The roads were rarely flat,
but the steepest sections were generally short.
Our tour was organized so we spent two nights each
in three different hotels.
On the first day, we did a loop (or two) to nearby towns.
On the second day, we rode to the next town while the VBT van shuttled
This arrangement worked well, allowing people to choose, if they wished,
shorter loops on the layover days.
On the transfer days, the van was available for people who wanted
a shorter ride.
(Click on any picture for a larger image.)
Rental bikes are included in the VBT tour price.
I chose a standard road bike (STI shifters and triple crankset),
but hybrids are also available.
The road bikes were a little heavy (Shimano Sora entry level
components), but they were stable and durable and well maintained
by our guide Enrico.
The bikes come with a rear trunk pack to carry extra clothes
as well as souvernirs.
On our first day at Villa Ducci, we fitted our bikes,
then took a short warmup ride to check the bike fit and handling.
On Monday, our ride involved two 20 mile loops,
passing by San Gimignano twice.
The morning loop was pretty easy, but the afternoon
loop dropped down into the valley, then had a long,
sometimes steep climb back up to San Gimignano.
Now we know why they are called hilltowns.
After that climb, the rest of the week was easy.
Sunrise and sunset from Villa Ducci.
Our hotel is Villa Lecchi, up a (steep) hill
with nice views overlooking the valley.
Pienza is a quiet and pretty hilltown with just a little tourist traffic
because of its association with Pope Pius II.
The last riding day of our tour is also the longest: 50 miles.
The ride is mostly flat, however, with just one long climb up to the
remote hilltown of Radicofani. Radicofani was built on an ancient
volcano and because of the odd geology, we can see the medieval fort
above the town from miles away. Today, there are no tourists in town,
just some locals chatting at the town gate.
My thanks to our guides Melissa and Enrico for a great job of keeping our
The Tuscany hills tour is great for intermediate level recreational cyclists.
While the daily distances on this trip were not great,
there were lots of hills and hilltowns to keep it interesting.
For cyclists looking for less of a challenge
(or more sightseeing time in the towns),
there were shorter ride options every day that were still very scenic.
VBT also offers some much flatter tours (visiting different towns)
along the Tuscany coast.
I think they did a great job and will recommend them to my friends.
After the bike tour, I spent 3 days in Florence before flying home.
For some photos of Florence, click on the