ABOUT THIS JOURNEY
Join us on a 6-night, supported and guided journey, on bikes and on foot, into a corner of Tuscany bursting not only with medieval citadels, rich forests, meadows and wonderful home cooked food, but also farmers, artisans and winemakers maintaining age-old customs. Along the way enjoy wonderful hospitality in local homes, visit beautiful hilltop villages and lose yourself in vast nature reserves. Above all, as with all or journeys, we invite you to move at your own pace through a land of staggering cultural and natural beauty.
We believe that travel is at its best when flexible and so we ask that you treat the itinerary described below as a guide to how you will spend your time with us rather than as a rigid framework. You will have experiences, see places and meet people that we haven’t listed here. Equally, there may be occasions when we cannot, for good reason, fulfill every detail in this itinerary. Finally, please treat distances as estimates because we will sometimes make route changes in the hope of giving you the best experience possible.
29 September - Volterra & Mazzolla
For those arriving on the recommended flight (see Travel Options section of the brochure), we will provide a free transfer to Volterra (1 hour), a walled town with a history dating back to the 7th Century BC. After a light lunch, Annie, who lives in Volterra, will show us some of her favourite parts of the town before her husband, Francesco, a sommelier, introduces us to some of Tuscany’s finest wines. Not yet on two wheels, we will drive out of the town to the tiny hilltop hamlet of Mazzolla, your home for the night. We will have dinner in a lovely little trattoria, where Bepe, resident owner and chef, will prepare our first night’s feast. We will stay in the charming Pecora Nera, owned by Sardinian Giovanni Cannas and his wife. Depending on group numbers, some might lodge in the grounds of La Villa di Mazzolla, the fortified home
of the Viti family.
30 September - Mazzolla to Monteguidi
Morning, 11 kms by bike
Afternoon, 2.5 hours on foot
It is onto bikes for the first time this morning, downhill from Mazzolla towards the Riserva Naturale di Berignone, an extensive protected forest with hugely diverse flora and fauna. In the past, lumberjacks and charcoal workers laboured here, collecting wood to heat the vapour ovens used to make Volterra salt. We will have a picnic lunch at the remains of remote Castello dei Vescovi, which the Marquis of Tuscany gave to the Bishop of Volterra in 896. After lunch it is uphill, out of the forest and into the Province of Siena. We will end the day enjoying spectacular views at Erta Winery, home to eight hectares of vines outside the village of Monteguidi. Varno, the owner, is passionate about his wine making and will welcome you with his wines and dinner on the terrace.
1 October - Monteguidi to Paugnano
Morning, 15 kms by bike
Afternoon, 2 hours on foot
Downhill from Erta and Monteguidi, we will cross the Cecina river before climbing to Radicondoli. This is no easy climb but the breathtakingly beautiful views at the various stopping points cannot fail to inspire further uphill exploration. Perched at the top, always in sight, Radicondoli awaits. There will be refreshment and relief at ‘Bel Canto’, from Alessandra who will look after the bikes for us while we lunch an hour’s walk away across the fields. Swiss born Cristina, her son Michele and his wife Katrin are our hosts in their home, Serraia, bought as a ruin and restored by themselves over many years. After lunch, we will walk back to collect the bicycles and head on uphill to Radicondoli, a village known for its sense of community, farm-to- table cuisine and sustainable lifestyle. There are paintings by local artists hanging on the walls of the streets, an impressive church and we will have our much deserved ‘aperitivo’ on the terrace of La Pergola. The farm at Paugnano is an easy four kilometres ride from the village and is where you will spend the third night. Giovanni, Giovanna and their two daughters have farmed organically for over 25 years and almost everything is home-produced. Dinner will be at the farmhouse table with the family, the farm workers and whoever else happens to be there.
2 October - Paugnano to Simignano
Morning, 17 kms by bike
Afternoon, 3 hours on foot
By the time we have breakfast, Giovanni will have already milked his herd and may well be making pecorino or ricotta cheese. Today we ride to the highest point on the trip through the protected nature reserve of La Selva, then downhill in the direction of the ‘Montagnola Senese’, a range of hills older than the Appenines. We will be relieved of our bikes once in the valley, proceeding on foot through a quarry that is home to yellow Sienese marble. At the top is the tiny cemetery of Molli, filled with the graves of the Partisans who died in the Battle of Molli. To the west, the hills roll all the way to the sea, with barely a building in site. To the east is the Duomo of Siena. Rita will be at the chapel to greet us with a picnic, which we will enjoy in complete relaxation, knowing that the walk through chestnut woods to the tiny hamlet of Simignano is downhill all the way. Fabrizio and Anke, our hosts this evening, have restored the priest’s house next to the village chapel. We will be able to watch Fabrizio whilst he makes pizzas for the evening in the wood fired oven and enjoy his musician friends’.
3 October - Simignano to Novelleto
Morning, 20 kms by bike
Afternoon, 1.5 hours on foot
Today we will be crossing the ‘Montagnola Senese’ and riding across countryside quite different from the previous days. Our first stop will be at Villa Cetinale, once the summer residence of Pope Alexander VII. An avenue – one of the longest in Europe, begins at an immense statue of Hercules and continues beyond the villa to a Roman Amphitheatre and on up 250 steps to the ‘Romitorio’. In 1978, British born Lord Lambton bought Cetinale and spent the rest of his life restoring it and the gardens. From the Romitorio and Pernina we will head through Marmoraia, downhill past the hamlet of La Senese and on to lunch in the impressive stables at Scorgiano. There will be a short walk up mule paths into ‘Montemaggio’ and a downhill homeward stretch to Ebbio, an 800 year old classic Tuscan farmhouse where we will dine and spend the night.
4 October - Novelleto to Lilliano
Morning, 15 kms by bike
Afternoon, 1 hour on foot
The morning’s departure from Ebbio marks a transition from wilderness to the softer, cultivated hills of Chianti’s wine country. The neat vines and easy tracks will be a contrast to the woodland mule tracks of yesterday, as we head north-east. We will pause for lunch at beautifully situated Setriolo, where Susanna Soderi produces award-winning Chianti Classico. Susanna’s mother will cook for us before Susanna herself shows us the vineyard. Here our bicycle journey ends. We will leave Setriolio on foot, bound for Lilliano for our last night’s stop, and an evening in the piazza in nearby Castellina in Chianti.
5 October - Departure
After an early breakfast we will transfer to Pisa Airport and say a final farewell before your departure (see Travel Options section of the brochure).
SUPPORT, GUIDES & HOST
A support vehicle will accompany you throughout your time with us. Your bags will be taken ahead each day and the vehicle will often - although not always - be on hand to give you a lift if you really need one.
We know that guides can make or break a trip like this, which is why we are so pleased to work with a fantastic local team of guides with skills and interests ranging from ecology to history and conservation. They all live locally, speak great English, love sharing their region with our guests and, we’re sure, will become your firm friends by the time you leave us. In addition to the local guides, the group will be accompanied by a member of The Slow Cyclist team from the UK who will act as host during your time with us.
We often receive feedback from guests who say how much they enjoyed not thinking about money throughout their time with us. That's because we include almost everything in the cost of the trip - even unlimited wine and beer at meals. Below you will find a detailed breakdown of what is - and is not - included. You will also find information about our bikes as well as any extras we offer.
- Airport transfers (for recommended flights)
- Support vehicle
- Slow Cyclist host
- English-speaking local guide/s
- 6 nights' accommodation
- All meals, snacks & soft drinks
- Wine & beer at meal times
- All activities & entrance fees
- Bicycle and helmet hire
- 100% financial security through Travel Vault
- Visas (if required)
- Travel insurance
- Personal costs
The cycling terrain consists of quiet tarmac roads, gravel roads, mule tracks and forest trails. The variety
of terrain means that hard-tail (front suspension) mountain bikes are the best tool for the job. We also have access to fantastic electric mountain bikes which open the countryside up to those who may not otherwise be able to enjoy it in the same way. Availability and sizes of electric bikes are limited so please let us know in your booking form if you are interested in using one. The cost is £150 per bike for the duration of your time with us.
Lodging is based on twin sharing. Singles are not required to pay a single supplement although if you would like to ensure your own room for the duration of your stay, you must do so by paying a supplementary fee of £300.
Below are a selection of questions we have been asked about our trips over the years. Many are addressed in the trip brochure too, which can be downloaded via the button near the top of this page.
+ Is this journey for me?
Of course, we think this journey is fantastic, but it’s not for everyone. We like to think of our guests as ‘curious travellers with a bit of juice in their legs.’ Sometimes we ride hard but often we’re distracted by the culture, people, food and wine, and nature that make much of the world so special. So, our trips are about more than just cycling. There is always plenty of time to delve into a region’s history and to spend time with its people. When you see something interesting, we encourage you to stop and take it in rather than race by. In most groups we welcome there are novice and experienced cyclists, and those at every level in between. Our guides are skilled at spotting your ability and confidence level and reacting accordingly. This is your holiday and we’re here to make it a memorable one.
+ Why should I see Tuscany with The Slow Cyclist?
Quite simply, because our local team understsnd what makes for a great time in Tuscany, having been involved in tourism there for over 20 years. We therefore have the contacts, knowledge and passion to give you the best holiday of your life. At all times, in preparing your itinerary, we will eschew the easy option of restaurants and main roads, instead offering you access to private homes and little-visited forests and meadows. It is experience that enables us to do thisand it will bring the place to life for you!
+ What is the terrain like?
The cycling terrain will consist of quiet tarmac roads, gravel roads, mule tracks and forest trails.
+ How fit do I need to be?
Tuscany is a hilly place and if you are considering coming cycling with us you should have a good level of general fitness and be happy cycling up and down hills, off- and on-road.
+ What is the accommodation like?
We aim to use accommodation that enhances your overall experience, rather than simply providing a roof for the night. Most of the places we use in Tuscany are home- or farmstays or small guest houses. There are more luxurious villas and bigger, more celebrated hotels in Tuscany, but we believe the accommodation we provide gives our guests a wonderful sense of place as well as access to local people. Rest assured that you will always be comfortable and well looked after. Lodging is based on twin sharing. If you would like to ensure your own room for the duration of your stay, you may do so by paying a single supplement (see brochure for price).
+ Will we eat well?
In a word: yes. Tuscan food is, of course, absolutely superb and you will eat fantastically well during your time with us. Sometimes you’ll eat out in the open, at other times in private homes, trattorias and small guest houses. Tuscan wines are world renowned, and for good reason. Centuries of viticulture have determined the very best grape varietal selection for complementing local food – a delicious and rewarding combination. During the day we provide local fruits as well as delicious energy slices by UK-based GB Chew. Allergies and other preferences are all taken care of at the time of booking.
+ What will the weather be like?
It's tough to be sure. Tuscany’s climate is typically mild and pleasant. The best time to visit is April, May and June, and then September, October and November. In the spring and early summer, daytime temperatures are typically around 20-27°C, but can be as low as 8-15°C. In the autumn months, daytime temperatures steadily come down from around 27°C to 15°C, but can be as low as 15-7°C. Clearly, weather extremes can occur, and as we’re travelling outside, always bring a full range of clothing, and a day rucksack to cover any weather eventuality. Rainfall, and storms, can occur at any time of year. Except in the height of summer evenings are cool.
Supporting the Community
Over the past two years we have donated just over £2,000 to charities in Transylvania. We will be choosing a Tuscan charity to work with from 2019 and donating a small amout from each trip we run. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org