Helmet strapped on, water bottles filled, navigator on, and then back bags, sleeping bag and tent. Whatever one’s idea of pedaling, Tuscany offers a vast network of routes, accommodations and services for cycle travelers. From the ridges of the Apuan Alps and the rolling countryside of Terre di Siena to the wild coast of the Maremma, here are 5 routes perfect for bikepacking. Off you go!
A route that meets history and takes two-wheelers on historic routes, such as the Via Francigena and on the cobblestones of villages once bustling with medieval life. A large ring with a symbolic start and finish in Pontremoli and 210 kilometers through villages, castles, tunnels carved into the rock and ever-changing panoramas.
Every 30 kilometers Lunigiana Gravel presents itself in a new guise, because of the changing vegetation but also because of the characteristics of the track: to the northeast it offers the ancient roads that connect to the smallest medieval villages, to the south the harsher slopes of the ridges of the Apuan Alps, and to the west the soil of the Ligurian Apennines, in an even wilder environment.
This is also a perfect itinerary for the more “wild” gravel riders who will find “Rest Areas” where they can bivouac. There is no shortage of water points, at a distance of between 15 and 25 km from each other, so you will never run out of water. Every town in Lunigiana is equipped with a drinking fountain, while in the larger towns you can find all the necessary services.
The itinerary can be described as a kind of bicycle “grand tour” crossing Italy from north to south. 5300 kilometers mostly on paved secondary roads, and some sections on Strade Bianche (dirt roads).
The Tuscan section offers 252 kilometers of ever-changing landscapes: ranging from the Apennine passes to the hills of Valdichiana. The Le Vie del Bike route enters Tuscany from Emilia Romagna at the Futa Pass and crosses Mugello to Barberino and Lake Bilancino, to then descends to the Florentine plain. After passing through Val di Pesa, it descends into Val d’Elsa at Poggibonsi and descends south to Monteriggioni and Siena.
After Siena, the itinerary crosses the Crete Senesi, passes Sinalunga in Valdichiana to enter Umbria at Cortona and continues to Marche.
300 kilometers by gravel bike from Viareggio to Capalbio among coastal pine forests, coastal villages, fried mixed seafood and a dip in the water.
The Via della Costa route starts at Avenza station and heads to the seafront in Viareggio, through the beautiful San Rossore Reserve and the Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa, into Livorno and on to Bolgheri. It climbs the hill to Suvereto and then returns to the coast again.
An up-and-down section leads to Castiglione della Pescaia and then to Orbetello, with views of the Uccellina Park and Argentario. The route ends in Capalbio, where you can take the train back north.
A heavily traveled road until the 17th century and populated in the past by artists, merchants and pilgrims, the Via Lauretana route today is one of the most scenic routes in Tuscany.
The 115-kilometer ancient route starts from Piazza del Campo, in Siena, and crosses the Crete Senesi: a sea of clay hills with colors that change with the seasons, striking modern installations, ancient fortresses and monasteries. It then enters Valdichiana, skimming through the Val d’Orcia, among natural oases and engineering works that have changed the landscape and economy of these lands. From Cortona, it continues to Assisi and then to Loreto, the final destination of the itinerary.
Six stops are proposed with bike points placed in the most important locations. Although it is possible to make the trip in a single day, it is recommended to plan it in two or three days to enjoy the beauty of the area at a leisurely pace.
Chiusdino, Monticiano, Murlo, Sovicille, Casole d’Elsa and Radicondoli are the villages of this magical 173-km ring suitable for any type of bicycle.
Honored in February 2020 with the “Italian Green Road Award” as the third place winner and considered one of the most beautiful green roads in Italy, the Grand Tour of Val di Merse is fully signposted and is 90% on secondary roads with low traffic index.
Along the way, castles, abbeys, and people go about their daily lives in an atmosphere that jealously preserves something ancient and genuine. There is no shortage of bike-friendly accommodations, tour operators, and stores that offer bike travelers excursions, bike rental and luggage transport, and the best Tuscan breakfast before setting off again.