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Food

  • All breakfasts are included and are Continental in style, consisting of coffee or tea, bread, jam and/or honey. Italy’s cuisine is hearty, satisfying and full of flavour. Inspired by the kitchens of the nonna, Italy’s food is authentic and surprising – pizza and pasta are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the diverse array of unforgettable food you’ll find on this trip. Starters include antipasti of cured meats or a crustini di fegato made from toasted slices of bread with a chicken liver pate. Soups options are the zuppa di fagioli, with beans, or ribollita, a deliciously hearty vegetable and bread soup. The tagliatelle al tartufo brings the delicious flavors of truffles into a rich, luscious pasta dish whether the bistecca florentina, a mouth-watering t-bone steak takes centre stage for main course. End your meal with cantucci biscuits, dipped into a glass of vin santo, sweet dessert wine for a true taste of Tuscany. Vegetarians are well catered for in Italy. Please inform us of any dietary requirements at the time of booking.

Activities

  • Road Cycling
  • Cycling
  • 1

    Start Florence.

    Fly to Pisa and transfer to the beautiful city of Florence, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance with an enormous wealth of historical sites, museums, galleries, churches and architectural delights. Depending on the group arrival time, there might be some time to take a quick walk around the historic centre before dinner. If you would like more time to visit this splendid Italian gem, we recommend booking some pre-tour accommodation, which we can organise for you prior departure. *Standard Hotel*

  • 2

    Ride up to take in the views over Florence before heading out to mediaeval Vinci.

    Today’s introductory ride takes us to the beautiful authentic town of Vinci, birthplace and home to the famous Reinassance polymath Leonardo, who was born here in 1452. During the ride we pass a number of ancient mediaeval villages including San Casciano and Lucignano, often ranked amongst the most beautiful towns in Italy. Sections of today's route follow the typical Tuscan landscape, along avenues lined by classic cypress trees, prevalent in this area, as well as vineyards and olive groves. In Vinci, if we get there early enough, there will be the opportunity to visit the famous Leonardo Museum, which houses reconstructed models of a lot of Leonardo's inventions. Overnight in Vinci.

  • 3

    Cycle through classic Tuscan villages en route to the thermal spa town of Montecatini Terme.

    In the morning we set off on a pleasant ride taking some beautiful Tuscan villages en route to the thermal spa town of Montecatini Terme. Our route from Vinci heads south first, passing the village of San Miniato perched on a hillside overlooking the lower Arno Valley. We then head north, pedalling through pretty Fucecchio and San Donato and through the hills all the way to Montecatini Terme, where we stay overnight. Time permitting, there is the option to visit one of the many thermal spas that are located throughout the town.

  • 4

    Challenging climbs take us into the mountains en route to the amazing hilltop city of Barga; continue riding to the pretty market town of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana.

    Today we head into the higher mountains with some challenging climbing including the 735m Foce del Trebbio. The day starts gently, heading along the side of the valley to the mediaeval hill town of Collodi. From here we commence the climb up to the Foce del Trebbio, which becomes steeper the more we advance. Once we've recovered we head downhill on a hairpinned descent to the thermal spa town of Bagni di Lucca where we will have lunch. After lunch we will head north into the Garfagnana area. In the late afternoon there is a short sharp climb up to the hilltop city of Barga with its beautiful cathedral and stunning views across the Serchio Valley towards the Alpi Apuane mountains. From here we descend gently to the valley base and then ride northwards, following the Serchio river valley to the market town of Castlenuovo di Garfagnana, our base for the next two nights.

  • 5

    Circular ride in the glorious Alpi Apuane mountains or optional walks on the Ligurian Cinque Terre coastline.

    Today's challenging circular ride takes us into the Alpi Apuane mountains, following twisting mountain roads and a dramatic rugged landscape. Those preferring to take a day off the saddle have the option to travel to the famous Ligurian Cinque Terre coastline for some sightseeing and relaxation or alternatively a more active day of walking. Overnight in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana.

  • 6

    Ride south through the mountains to pretty Lucca, via the iconic Devil’s Bridge.

    Today's destination is the southern city of Lucca. En route we will pedal through the iconic Devil's bridge, a remarkable example of medieval engineering, built in a vital river crossing on the Via Francigena, an early medieval road to Rome and important medieval pilgrimage route. Once in Lucca, there will be some time to explore the well-preserved Renaissance walls encircling its historic city centre and its cobblestone streets. The broad, tree-lined pathways along the tops of these massive 16th and 17th Century ramparts are popular for strolling and cycling. Overnight in Lucca.

  • 7

    Enjoy one last circular ride on the banks of the Serchio river, taking in Pisa.

    Our final circular ride follows the banks of the Serchio River, taking in the world-famous city of Pisa. Time permitting, here you will have a chance to explore and take an optional climb to the top of the world famous tower. In the afternoon we ride back to Lucca tackling the rolling hills of Pieve di Compito and Villa. Overnight in Lucca.  * *

  • 8

    End Lucca.

    The trip ends in Lucca in the morning of day 8.

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