Let's begin at the beginning. Or rather, let's begin with this word, Gravel, which now refers to a distinct category of bicycles and its own sport to go along with it. The bikes have been produced for a few years now, so it's no surprise that they've spawned their own events: not necessarily races or conventions, just innovative ways to cycle.
The spirit of gravel bikes is all contained within its name. It looks to all intents and purposes like a racing bike, but can e fitted with fatter tyres to take on the white roads and dirt tracks, and deal with them as easily as if they were asphalt. The frame, apart from having bigger tubes in order to accommodate the semi-slick tyres, is usually more relaxed in its geometry than that of its racing counterparts. There are, however, many variations on a theme. Some gravel bikes can take even larger tyres, like the 29-inchers from a mountain bike; the frame, meanwhile, which might be made from steel, might be made from titanium, could be fitted with mudguards or panniers. The gravel bike, we might say, is the missing link that unites racing bikes, touring bikes and mountain bikes.
The gravel bike grew out of cyclocross bikes, a similar but different shape and discipline, with different kinds of races. Apart from having a different frame and different tyres, gravel bikes don't take part in closed circuits (like in cyclocross); rather, they race on medium-to-long courses with stretches of dirt track. We're going to have a look at some of these events, and how they've evolved and proliferated in Tuscany. Have a look on the internet: there are so many groups dedicated to gravel biking, some more official than others, but all with a unifying thread. Fun and adventure comes before competition; enjoying the area and the food and respecting the environment is more important than winning medals.
I've selected three events from a choice of many. They respect the criteria of being all about fun and a glorious chance to discover Tuscany while doing sport.