Categories: Italy

Tuscany Two Ways in 2016

by ExperiencePlus! - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 Overlooking Florence

ExperiencePlus! has re-imagined our popular cycling tours in Tuscany. You decide what works best for you:

Both tours feature quintessential Tuscan highlights:

  • Landscapes – Soft hills dotted with olive groves, vineyards, cypress-lined roads that lead to quaint villages
  • Tuscan cuisine – a tradition of simplicity and seasonal ingredients. Bean soups, warm, crusty Tuscan bread served with locally produced extra virgin olive oil and red wine.
  • Wine – some of the most important red wines in the world – Brunello and for the fortunate few Super Tuscan. Grape varietals with a soil composition and micro-climate that are particular and unique to this area.

The Classic – 2016 Bicycling the Best of Southern Tuscany (Plus! Florence).

Highlights Include:

This trip features timeless and treasured Tuscan towns including Cortona (“Under The Tuscan Sun”), Pienza (some of the best aged cheese we’ve ever tasted), Montepulciano and Montalcino (wine of the gods), and Siena (one of the best-preserved medieval villages in Italy).

There is nothing quite like ending a day on the bike with a relaxing dip in the warm waters of a thermal pool while enjoying views of the valley you have ridden through so we’ve also included the spa village of San Casciano dei Bagni on Day 2 of the tour.

Definitely plan on sticking around for the full 12-days of this trip because it will include some powerhouse sites in 2016 including:

San Gimignano, known as the “Town of Fine Towers” and one of the best-preserved medieval villages in Italy. Think about that a moment because the sheer volume of medieval sites in Italy has to number in the thousands and this route takes you to three of the best. Imagine yourself summiting a hill and seeing this magical city of towers in the distance.  With each pedal stroke the vision grows closer until finally you summit the last hill and enter the city through a gate that dates back to the 13th or 14th century.

Next up – – Volterra an Etruscan town with origins that date back to the 9th century B.C. Perched on a hilltop composed of tufa this alabaster city is famous for its cathedrals – and vampire clans. Volterra was featured in both the “Twilight Saga: New Moon” book and movie (though at the last moment the directors decided to film in Montepulciano, which you will also visit, instead). History buffs will be in heaven at the town’s exceptional Guarnacci Etruscan museum. If you prefer to skip history and vampires, just enjoy a fabulous lunch in this magical city before you head back for a dip in the pool at your countryside estate hotel located just a short walk from San Gimignano’s imposing walls.

The Grand Finale – Florence. No matter how many times you visit this magical city there is always something new to discover. Plan on at least one extra night here!

Off the Beaten Path – 2016 Cycle Hidden Tuscany

Highlights: Want the fabulous landscapes and wonderful food that Tuscany offers but prefer something a little more relaxed? We updated our Cycle and Soak trip with several goals in mind:

  • Offer the opportunity to discover a part of Tuscany that is hidden from the normal tourist routes.
  • Make it a 201- level cycling tour that goes at a slightly slower pace, with shorter daily mileage and fewer hills than our Best of Southern Tuscany ride.
  • Include two of the classic towns that have made Tuscany a mecca for travelers to Italy.

The results will wow you!

Two nights at Volterra’s inviting and historic Hotel San Lino built in 1480 as a convent which it remained until 1982 when it was renovated and became a hotel. This charming hotel has all of the modern amenities including a wonderful pool located in what was once the main cloister. Volterra is renowned for its alabaster and we have arranged a special visit to the “Laboratory” of an alabaster carver who still uses ancient techniques in his work.

A loop ride from Volterra to San Gimignano. The reverse of what we do on our Best of Southern Tuscany ride because in our opinion a cycling trip of Tuscany must include San Gimignano!

After a few days of gentle Tuscan hills a refreshing dip in a natural spring and visit to a “thermarium” and wellness center is just the ticket. Two nights at the Hotel Calidario will have you refreshed and ready for adventure. Which is perfect because your next stop is the hilltop village of Massa Marittima!

Massa Marittima is yet another entry in the perfect postcard villages of Tuscany competition. The medieval center and piazza are considered by many to be the most beautiful in Tuscany. Larger than both Volterra and San Gimignano, Massa Marittima has some great options for cafés and people watching.

Your bicycling journey ends in the enchanting fishing port of Castiglione della Pescaia. This small city sits between the sea and the walls of the imposing Medici fortress that stands watch over the area. The perfect setting to toast the conclusion of your cycling journey with a fine Tuscan wine in hand as the sun sets over the Tyrrhenian Sea.

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