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Montelupo Fiorentino by bike

5 scenic bike itineraries in Tuscany

From dirt roads to cobblestone streets

Tuscany is considered a paradise for people who love biking, from professional cyclists to amateurs who just want to slow down and enjoy the surrounding landscape. One of the advantages that Tuscany has to offer cyclists is the variety of unique landscapes, ranging from dirt roads in the countryside to off-roading with a mountain bike, cobblestone streets in small villages to bike paths along the rivers.

Tuscany has a long tradition in cycling. Indeed, legends like Bartali, Cipollini and Bettini trained right here in this territory. Below you’ll find the 5 most scenic bike itineraries in Tuscany.

Isola d’Elba
Cycling on Elba
Cycling on Elba - Credit: R.Ridi

An alternative way to visit the Isola d’Elba is by bike, which is possible all year round. The island is mostly mountainous and the up-and-down slopes are a delight for mountain bikers. There are endless paths that each present their own difficulties. You can start with an easy one, like the 12-kilometre path on Monte Calamita, near Capoliveri. The former iron mines and some interesting examples of industrial archaeology can be found along this path. This is also where the Capoliveri legend cupis held.

If you want a difficult path, take your mountain bike on the ring around the sides of Monte Capanne. The route is about 20 kilometres long and is mostly on asphalt, though about 30% is dirt road. The start and the end of our journey is in the small village of Sant'Ilario, an urban and architectural gem. During this itinerary, you should extend your excursion to the village of Poggio, which boasts streets and buildings arranged in an oval along the contours of the hill.

Another challenging path on Elba is the one that goes from the evergreen forests near the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Monte to the foot of Monte Capanne, dominated by granite and mouflons, and surrounded by the ruins of old Romanesque churches. The path arrives in Chiessi and is probably one of the most scenic on the island because it offers stunning views of the islands of Capraia and Corsica.

The Eroica in the Siena territory
The Eroica in the Siena territory - Credit: Gian Luca Gagino

For a touch of vintage, we’ve included the Eroica, which covers many beautiful areas in the region as it crosses the Chianti around Siena, the Crete Senesi and the Val d’Orcia. Over the years, it has become a must for cyclists, especially during the main yearly event held on the first Sunday in October. The starting point is in Greve in Chianti and the race is made up of stages that range in distance from 38 to 200 kilometres, mainly on dirt roads: this is why the name of the event literally means “heroic”. The Eroica also has a food and wine tradition, considering that the stops along the race boast Tuscan specialities.

Apuan Alps
Cycling in Tuscany
Cycling in Tuscany - Credit: Costanza Giovannini

Discovering the Apuan Alps on two wheels is really a different way to experience history and beauty. There are many opportunities for cyclists along the trails and dirt roads in the Apuan Alps Park. Here are a few scenic and exciting paths, thought we advise you to remember that none of these has dedicated signage, so bring a good map or a detailed guide with you.

  • Castelnuovo di Garfagnana - Gragnanella - Sillicano - Careggine - Vergaia – Poggio

This challenging route passes through picturesque villages with beautiful views of the Apuan Alps and an exciting descent to Lago di Vagli. You can cover the 22 kilometres in about 4 hours.

  • Barga Station - Gallicano - Trassilico - Fabbriche di Vallico - Turritecava – Ghivizzano Station

This ring route 37 km long is exceptionally beautiful, though challenging in the first part. You can complete the path, which winds through various landscapes, in about 4 ½ hours.

  • Camporgiano - Casatico - Roggio - Campocatino - Gramolazzo - Ugliancaldo – Monzone

This very challenging and scenic path runs for 45 km and can be covered in 6 hours.

  • Monzone Station - Equi Terme – Il Solco - Equi Terme

A short route through one of the most charming valleys in the Apuan Alps and Lunigiana

  • Tour of Monte Corchia

A very challenging route 22 km long. Best avoided in the winter.

Fiesole and Florence
2013 World Cycling Championships in Tuscany
2013 World Cycling Championships in Tuscany - Credit: Sean Rowe

The itinerary that goes from Fiesole to Florence’s historic centre is so scenic that it was chosen by the 2013 World Cycling Championships in Tuscany as one of the stages for the competition. Fiesole is located in the hills northeast of Florence, just 8 kilometres away, so you can imagine how beautiful the view is from up there! The most popular itinerary is the one that goes from 475 m above sea level to the cathedral in the city centre.

Val di Chiana
Cycling along the Sentiero della Bonifica
Cycling along the Sentiero della Bonifica - Credit: Enrico Caracciolo

There is a 60-kilometre path that connects Arezzo and Chiusi known as Sentiero della Bonifica. The beginning of the route can easily be reached from the Chiusi train station. This is an easy itinerary, where you can combine cycling with birdwatching as you pass by the Chiusi and Montepulciano Lakes. The next stretch of the Bonifica follows the banks of the Canale Maestro, and shortly after, the Callone di Valiano, an important 18th-century work built to regulate the flow of water between the Chiusi and Montepulciano Lakes. A detour to Cortona is highly recommended, which is 12 kilometres away.