Walking, Cycling and Biking in Tuscany
An ideal way to come into contact with the locals and discover the surrounding countryside is to do a walking, cycling or bike tour. There are many walks and cycle rides in Tuscany that you can do on your own, but having a professional guide take you off the beaten track to see sights you would not normally discover and explain about the history and traditions of the area that you are visiting is extremely worthwhile. Also many of the walks in Tuscany are badly signed so it can be useful to have a guide with you that knows where to go. Most of our villas in Tuscany have walks to suit all abilities nearby.
Custom walks, provides personally guided walking, cycling and biking tours throughout Italy and Tuscany. Join one of their scheduled active tours or let them create a private bespoke tour for you and your friends and family, allowing you to go where you want, with whom you want and when you want.
For further information visit their website www.customwalks.com or alternatively you can contact them by email at email@example.com
Walk about Tuscany is based in Siena and has been running since 1999. What started off as hobby became a way of life for your guide Gianni. Through his vast expertise of the Tuscan way of life, nature, culture and food he will provide you with an unforgettable walk through this beautiful region of Italy. As your walks are in private groups they are tailored to your needs and completely flexible. For more information visit Gianni's website www.walkabouttuscany.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He speaks English and Italian.
Marco Valtriani is a freelance biologist and wildlife specialist with a deep interest in the environment. Specialising in wildlife and archaeological walks; alternatively you can request a self guide itinerary if you would prefer to do it yourself and Marco will also provide bespoke routes if required. For further information contact him at www.walkinginetruria.com
Ecorent have been operating for over 10 years in Tuscany and hire all types of bicycle and scooter. They will deliver directly to your accommodation within the Pisa, Lucca, Livorno, Florence and Siena provinces or they will even deliver them to the airport if that suits you better! Other services include the hire of a 9 seater minibus; self-guided tours for bikes and scooters; tailor-made cycling or scooter tours according to customers experience and fitness - these can be accompanied by a guide or self-guided as the customer wishes. They can also offer winetastings, cookery classes and even Italian lessons. For more information check out their website: http://www.ecorent.net
Based in Florence, Stradanova is run by the 2008 Motorcycle Rally Italian Champion, Erika Mugnai. The Stradanova team fuse their passion for motorcycling with the love of their land and have developed on/off road tours through the beautiful landscapes of Tuscany. Bikes are also available to rent and can be picked up from the Stradanova base in Florence, or dropped off and picked up again for an extra fee. They also offer guided tours. For more information and contact details, visit www.stradanova.com
Discover Florence, Pisa, Milan and Rome by taking a guided Segway or Bike tour. Visit these historical centres in less time than simply walking. Bike lovers will enjoy the ultra comfortable cruiser bikes with their extra large seats. Wine tasting tours are also available. For more information on the Segway Tours, please visit: www.italysegwaytours.com
For information on the Cruiser Bike Tours, please visit: www.italycruiserbiketours.com
For information on the Wine Tasting Tours, please visit: www.italywinetasting.com
Most tours are in English and Italian, however there are a few offered in French, German and Spanish.
Situated just minutes from the leaning tower of Pisa, Toscana in Tour rent out a wide range of scooters and bicycles for either short or long trips. They also provide guided tours through Pisa on bicycles, scooters or a rickshaw.
Tours are in Italian or English. For more information and contact details, please visit: www.toscanaintour.it
Based in Florence, Florence by Bike is one of the most specialised bike rental companies in Tuscany, renting out anything from city bikes and mountain bikes to hybrid bikes, race bikes scooters and motorcycles. They also offer guided or self-guided tours in English throughout Tuscany, including a Chianti tour amongst others. For more information and contact details, please visit www.florencebybike.it
D.F. Bikes has been renting mountain bikes, cross bikes and racing cycles for over ten years. It is also possible to rent tandem bikes! If required they will organise delivery to your holiday accommodation and provide an experienced guide.
Gusto Cycle Hire offer a range of different types of bicycle for hire to suit all tastes and terrain. Their bikes are inspected after each rental and all bikes are provided with a puncture repair kit and cycle helmet. If you prefer they will deliver and collect bikes to/from your accommodation for which they charge a fee depending on where you are based.
For further information contact Marco Mori
Telephone: 01142 620734
Offering fully guided one day bike tours of the Chianti region just south of Florence including a trip to a winery and an inclusive lunch. Recommended on trip advisor and by previous To Tuscany clients (VanDette June 09) - 'The guides are young and fun but professional and always minding the safety of the group...great views, nice people, physical activity and tasty treats along the way...the cost was the only concern, but it was well worth it!'
Castellina in Chianti (578m) – Castagnoli (427 m) – Bivio Talciona (150m) – Parish Church of Sant’ Agnese (410m) – Castellina in Chianti
Length: 41 km
Time required: four hours
Road surface: unpaved for about half, asphalt with reduced traffic flows
Difficulty: none in the first part, except for several points of steep ascent; of medium intensity in the re-ascent to Castellina, which develops progressively, that is good for cycling. Requires average athletic preparation.
Route: Castellina is situated on the Chiantigiana State Road. It can also be reached with State Road 429 from the Valdelsa, and from the Florence- Siena dual lane carriageway, exiting at San Donato in Poggio for those coming from Florence, and at Monteriggioni for those coming from Siena.
The mountain bike itinerary leaves from the built up area along a segment of the State Road for Poggibonsi, which we come to again at the end of the excursion. In fact, the trend of the slopes makes it advisable to detour after about 2 kilometers at Castagnoli, an ancient castle that seems to remind us of the embankment on which different buildings are located. When the asphalt ends, the wide dirt road continues to descent in very lovely countryside, facing towards the valleys of Staggia and the Elsa, on which there are wide-open panoramas.
Upon arriving at several hairpin bends, be very careful because of the very steep slope and the gravel roadbed, which could cause loss of balance when braking. In the vicinity of Villa Rosa and Gretole, the route on seemingly flat ground stretches out over a panoramic ridge, beyond which sowable fields tend to dominate. We continue on asphalt, with very pleasant and relaxing route, until reaching crossroads where – on the right- we find a signpost for Talciona.
After visiting it, the route returns over the same road already taken until the Talciona cross – roads uphill, where we admire the precious little presbytery of Santa Maria, with an architrave that was sculpted in the Middle Ages (1234) and that bears a rough but charming Adoration of the Magi. We continue uphill along the little asphalt road that soon takes on a natural road surface, in the direction of the settlement of Villore, from which, on a bend, the unpaved road meets with the state road coming from Poggibonsi. Here take direction to Castellina.
B.Vignoni - Poggio Bacoca - Pieve di Corsignano
Terrapille - Acqua Puzzola - B.Vignoni
Time: 4 hours
Length: 18 km
This itinerary is a wide circle just below Pienza among the clay of Alta Val d’Orcia. The hiking route winds along the ancient way of the Romea. For centuries, travellers of the "Grand Tour" have walked on the Romea and have later documented their experiences in travel books and diaries. That’s why the title of this itinerary reminds us of the movie by Bunuel about the Spanish Romea of Santiago.
Start in Ba gno Vignoni and follow the Orcia, then take the road of the Commenda, leaving the farm Casellona to your left. Now you find yourself on the ancient layout of the Francigena (Romea). Shortly after you have reached the paved road, take the unpaved road, which will lead you to the farms of Casabianca, Poggio Bacocda and Costi Lati, all built in clay. From there the path leads downhill to the left and then, after the farm Poderi Novi, uphill to the fascinating Romanesque parish church of Corsignano (XII century). From the parish church of Corsignano, walking down to the valley, you will come to the pretty farm of Terra pille. The farm is situated in an elevated position and offers a gorgeous, panoramic view of Pienza. From Costi Lati, continuing your walk for about one kilometre downhill, you have to look for the municipal road that will take you in the direction of Bagno Vignoni. If you are not too tired, pay a visit to the castle Castello di Spedaletto. It isn’t far, once you are on the paved road.
CIRCUIT FROM GAIOLE
VIA THE CASTELLO DI MELETO AND BARBISCHIO
Distance/time: 12km/7.5mi; 3h15min
Grade: easy, with an ascent of 200m/650ft; on good tracks and trails and suitable in any season
Equipment: if walking in sun, sunhat, sunglasses and high-factor sun cream. Trainers or strong shoes with good grip make suitable footwear (not sandals); wear long trousers rather than shorts, also walking boots if there has been rain, as there is a ford to cross. A bottle of drinking water is essential in summer and some high-energy food like sweets or dried fruit may be useful. It is not a bad idea to carry a small first aid kit and a knife.
How to get there: TRA-IN bus service 127 from Siena to/from Gaiole (not Sundays); journey time 50min. Or by car: drive to Gaiole and park on the road behind the church.
Refreshments: bar/restaurants in Gaiole; pizzerias in Barbischio and Castagnoli (the latter called L’Alto Chianti)
Note: Meleto Castle can be visited on a guided tour (groups only); ph: 0039 0577 749217 to enquire about the fee and opening times.
This walk is set in the heart of Chianti and the Chianti Classico wine-growing area. The route has all the ingredients for a typical Chianti walk. It starts in a stone-paved piazza, passes a 10th-century church, a castle involved in the wars between Siena and Florence, and a medieval tower house. It is, of course, set among a myriad of vineyards patterning the hillsides not covered with trees. In autumn, with all the wild fruits around - blackberries, figs and grapes - the walk is a feast both metaphorically and literally.
Start the walk in the centre of Gaiole, by the sculpture. This street, Via Casablanca, is the main road to Siena (SS408). Follow this road towards Siena until you arrive at a junction (5min). Stay on the right-hand side of the road, cross Via Galilei, and look straight ahead for your next route - a track that starts at this junction and winds uphill. It passes a renovated farmhouse and leads into the piazza of the 10th-century parish church of Spaltenna (15min). The surrounding buildings are now a hotel, so are very well kept. Take the track at the right of the piazza, skirting the hotel complex, with the hotel grounds and gardens on the left and a vineyard on the right. Veer to the left at the pond and continue to where the main track turns left: go straight ahead here on an old grassy track into the trees, leaving the CAI 16 behind. Soon you join a second track, where yellow markers indicate the line of an underground pipe. Emerging from the trees, you will see a large derelict farm on your left. Head towards it, skirting the edge of vineyards (25min).
The farm is San Pierone and, if it is still uninhabited, do look around the outside. You will see the outdoor oven, the wells, and a chapel. It looks as if the people left only recently. Head left downhill from the farm, towards a strange, isolated villa with a tabernacle at the crossroads. (The last time we did this walk, land was being cleared for new vineyards, and the stone tabernacle had been moved - temporarily I hope!) Continue with the villa’s garden wall on your left, the cantina for ’Geografico’ wine on your right, and the castle of Meleto on the hillside ahead. What could be more Chianti? The track leads you into the valley, skirting to the right of a farmhouse halfway down (40min).
Meeting the Siena road once more, go left and immediately right over the bridge (signposted for Meleto). Five minutes up this minor road, you pass a derelict building on the right: it was the limekiln for plaster for the walls inside Meleto castle. Plans are now afoot for it to be turned into a restaurant. Turn right up the straight, cypress-lined drive leading into the courtyard of the Castello di Meleto (55min).
After a tour and perhaps a wine tasting, follow the CAI 56 along the chapel wall. This track has wonderful views over the undulating Chianti country with its woodlands and vineyards. The track leads past a farm and up to another, large rectangular farm on the ridge. The track dips and then rises to the road again, by a bus stop (1h15min). Cross the road and follow a track towards another farm. The track divides below the farm: keep left and continue, veering right, back to the road. Turn left on the road and stroll up to Castagnoli (1h45min), with its huge castle-like building by the roadside. Below the wall you can see some of the stainless steel winemaking equipment.
Walk straight on, past the church and restaurant. Just before the next house on the left (where there is a wooden cross on the opposite side of the road; 1h50min), turn left down a track, the CAI 54A. Cross the stream by the ford, then walk up to a pretty holiday home (2h05min). Beyond the next house, the track becomes a sandy trail through chestnut woods and scrub. Follow this marked route, ignoring two trails off to the right, until you meet a wide track. Turn left here; then, at a wide junction with a tabernacle (2h35min), take the right-hand track (CAI 54).
Coming into the medieval hamlet of Barbischio, you meet a Y-junction (2h45min). The road to the right goes up to the 10th-century tower house; take the road to the left, descending past the Papavero Restaurant. The road ends by ’Pietro’, a house covered with old farming artefacts. But a lovely soft woodland trail continues to the right and takes you down to the stream. Turn left, walk parallel with the stream, and you will come to a farmyard, which was once the old village mill (3h). Continue down to the road and turn right over the bridge. At the T-junction, keep left for Gaiole (3h15min).
Radda in Chianti – Volpaia- Santa Maria Novella. 10,5 km.
Leaving Radda in direction Florence you turn right at the bottom of the hill. After approximately 1,5 km you reach an intersection with several signs, the main one (large, blue) indicating Volpaia. Take this right – hand turn, at first going downhill a bit, then going up again, always keeping to your right. The panorama you enjoy ascending the hill towards the little gem Volpaia (about 4,5 km) is one of the most beautiful the Chianti has to offer. The castle in Volpaia was surrounded by a wall in the form of an ellipse, with the defence towers rising up in a quadrangular arrangement. Today good parts of the wall are still visible, as well as one of the smaller towers (now the enoteca). The Chiesa di Sant’ Eufrosino, the church known as La Commenda, shows magnificent architecture of brunellesque order. From Volpaia you continue on through the village, taking the gravel road ascending up towards the mountains. Although the road is as of this point only a dirt road you will find it worth the effort. You continue on through the woods until you come to a crossroads with a sign indicating Castelvecchi.
The route takes you through woods full of oak, chestnut, fir and broom. Along the way you come across lovely farms whose names will help you maintain the right direction: Villalmonte, Montanino, Casa del Pievano, Croce di Bracciano, Casa Balza and finally Castelvecchi, a larger estate of which very little historical information exists. Certain is only that in the 11th century it was ruled by the Rinaldi and that its name does not derive from vecchio Castello, but from the presence of the family Vecchi who owned it. Just below it you find the beautiful parish of Santa Maria Novella. The church is mentioned for the first time in a parchment of the year 1010. The church underwent complete reconstruction during the first decades of the 19th century, altering it to the extent that in fact only the arches separating the three naves remain resting on the original supporting walls. The most outstanding element of the parish church is certainly the sculptural decoration on the capitals, unusual for the Florentine. The itinerary ends with the visit of Santa Maria Novella. Continuing on downhill you once again reach the main road taking you back to Radda.
Radda in Chianti – Badiaccia a Montemuro
Length: 11 Km
At the bottom of the slope leaving Radda in direction Gaiole you arrive in front of a small chapel, The Cappella di Mercatale, built 1720 in honour of Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi. Here you turn off to your left following the signs indicating Badiaccia Montemuro – Parco di Cavriglia. First the road takes you on down through the woods until after a few minutes you begin to ascend amidst vineyards. On the way you encounter numerous signs of nearby fattorie where you may stop to taste the Chianti Classico. Montevertine is a very old hamlet that in ancient times provided a tower serving as look out for defence. Presently it’s a winegrower’s farm accommodating a small Chianti Museum showing agricultural tools and implements used for decades for daily work in the fields. Across the road from the way leading to Montevertine you may take a small detour arriving at the small village of Selvole, whose name derives from the Latin meaning selve or boschi, woods or forest. Inferred by the remains of pavement still visible winding off the Chiantigiana, the public road, for about 2 km up into the Castello di Selvole, this must have been a Roman way- station. The castle was of strategic importance during the Etruscan – Roman age. From the 11th century on it was transformed into a small rural village with its houses grouped around the church. Continuing on uphill on the main road you come by Poggerino, “little hill” which at one time also served a logistical as well as an agricultural purpose. Shortly thereafter, turning off to the right onto a narrow gravel road you find the church San Pietro Apostolo a Bugialla, a single nave with a vaulted ceiling at the back covering up the original truss – beamed ceiling. Another place with a long story to tell is Capaccia. The sign indicating the way is just across the road from the access to Bugialla. Capaccia had once been chosen as an observation point and outlook linking and informing the other castles in the vicinity by means of other signals, for example nightly fires.
The ancient castle complex consisted of seven houses of which one was a tower. At this point your attention will be attracted by a beautiful house with typical Tuscan features lying on a hill on the main road. This is Le Marangole.
Continuing on uphill you reach the large estate and winery Pian D’Albola. Across from the fattoria you see the imposingly beautiful Castello d’Albola (602 m). Some think that the names comes from the Latin for piccola alba, little dawn, but more probably it derives from the Etruscan Albula, the personal name of the Lucumone (Etruscan ruling class) from the area. Here the road becomes a strada bianca (term for gravel road) that you follow for about 2 km until you reach the main road, turning left to arrive at Badiaccia Montemuro where our itinerary ends. The town took its name from the Monte Muro (720 m). It was called Badia because of the monastery that was founded there, in the middle of the plateau amongst the houses and church, by the Camaldolesi monks in the 11th century. In the 1794, removed of the monastery, it became the parish church of San Pietro as it is today. Over the entrance there is still the coat of arms of the Camaldolesi monks: two doves drinking from the same goblet. After 1616 it was called, by the pejorative, “Badiaccia” because of the state of abandonment it was in until 1658.
The Comune of Barberino Val d'Elsa every week organises guided excursions to explore the area around Barberino. They offer 4 types of itineraries; environmental, naturalistic, cultural and historic-art.
In general these excursions occur on Thursdays. To participate you must book at least 2 days in advance. Call +39 0558075622 or +39 0558052214
The source of the Pesa bike tour
Fattoria S.Michele (847 m) – Volpaia (617 m)- Dogole (625 m) – Badiaccia a Montemuro (706 m) – Fattoria S.Michele
Lenght: 14 km
Time required: four and a half hours
Roadbed: prevalently tracks with a natural road surface
Difficulties: none with respect to the physical challenge; be very careful in the Volpaia – Dogole stretch: it is unmarked and tends to be complicated near the latter locality.
Excursion with average physical challenge
Recommendations and notes: the signposts are old, and several segments of road are not marked. Take a map, preferably to 1: 25.000 scale, and follow the itinerary on it.
Ideal season: all, except very rainy periods during which muddy spots are abound
How to reach Monte San Michele: from Greve in Chianti we go up the slopes of Monte San Michele on the smooth dirt road that first reaches the villa – estates of Melazzano and Caprolo, in a rural context that becomes always more panoramic. The first stop is interesting for visiting the characteristic medieval nucleus of the Presbytery, gathered around the church of Santa Maria. The major peak in Chianti, Monte San Michele (892 m) is very close- by, and is covered with dense conifers. We then continue until we cross the road that ascends from Lucolena, always ascending on the right we arrive at the nature park of San Michele and at the entrance to the estate of the same name.
After leaving the estate of San Michele, we continue in a southern direction along the hillside road that follows fenced fields. At the first crossroads, we have to turn off the track and bear left, continuing straight in a slight descent. We are now on the CAI path marked with numbers 30 and 32. Around Poggio Sereno there is a tract of luxuriant and impressive pinewood, thereafter the vegetation alternates between bush-covered and open terrains.
A crossroad indicates the direction for Lamole, followed by signpost 30, which we ignore and continue – southwards- on the same level as far as Poggio Querciabella. Here, a steep shortcut on the left makes it possible to descend to the dirt road that leads from Panzano to Volpaia, which can be seen shortly afterwards among the crops.
After the visit to the castle and a timely request for information on the old mule track for the Badiaccia, we begin to travel it, constantly descending. The route keeps to the left of the valley until it crosses a secondary ditch. Once past it, it starts to climb a spur of the hillock of La Vecchia, amid dense coppice woods, and reaches the abandoned houses of Dogole that are compressed by the vegetation. The ancient path is covered with leafy branches as far as the ditch below the Lungagna house, from where it travels smoothly to the nearby Badacchia above.
The route is closed within a ring by travelling a few hundred metres of asphalt of the almost always-silent provincial road leading to Lucolena, until the beginning of path No. 9 appears on the right. Exactly opposite, an initial uphill track, roams the southern spur of Monte San Michele, amid reforestations and wooded maquis, and then leads back to the first crossroads encountered after leaving the estate.
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Walking and biking
- Walking, Cycling and Biking in Tuscany
- Custom walks
- Walk about Tuscany
- Walking in Etruria - central Italy and Tuscany
- Ecorent - bicycle and scooter hire
- Stradanova – Motorcycle & Vespa Rental
- Italy Segway Tours / Cruiser Bike Tours
- Toscana in Tour
- Florence by Bike
- D.F. Bikes
- Gusto Cycle Hire
- Tuscany biketours
- The Senese Valdelsa Chianti bike tour
- Milky way in Val d'Orcia
- Gaiole - Meleto walk
- Radda - Volpaia walk
- Radda - Badiaccia walk
- Barberino Val d'Elsa excursions
- The source of the Pesa bike tour
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