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Start in 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.
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, 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. Distance cycled 60km
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 Florence heads first south, passing by the village of San Miniato perched on a hillside overlooking the lower Arno valley. We then head north, pedalling through the 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. Distance cycled 55km
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 evening. Distance cycled 70km
Circular ride in the glorious Alpi Apuane mountains or optional walks on the Ligurian Cinque Terre coastline.
Today's circular challenging ride takes us into the Alpi Apuane mountains, following twisting mountain roads and a dramatic rugged ladscape. 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. Distance cycled 52km
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. Distance cycled: 57km
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. Here you will have a chance to explore at leisure 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. Cycled distance: 64km
The trip ends in Lucca in the morning of day 8.