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Val d'Elsa intima e segreta

Val d’Elsa: Bicycle tourism heaven

Bike this area brimming with culture

Map for 43.416278,11.132518
Bike tourists won’t want to miss this journey through the heart of San Gimignano. If you want to avoid the frustration of finding yourself in tourist traffic, then arrive at sunset, when the tour buses are making their way home. Another nearby jewel is the small town of Colle Val d’Elsa, known for its artisan crystal-making tradition. The Val d’Elsa is great for bike tourists, competitors and “occasional” riders alike. Besides vineyards and olive groves, the area explodes with color during the summer when the yellow of sunflowers stretches for miles. Monteriggioni still has a medieval air about it, given its importance on the via Francigena. Poggibonsi is a small metropolis where time has marched on—it represents the area’s dynamic economy and is the perfect place for visitors looking to go beyond the surface of regular tourism.

Fields as far as the eye can see are a dream for bikers in this part of Tuscany whose Colline Metallifere blend Siena with Pisa. The paths that unwind between Colle Val d’Elsa, Casole, Mensano, Monteguidi and Radicondoli offer stimulating and safe areas to ride. Biking through this area on a city or touring bike offers a fantastic sensation as you find yourself in the most silent and authentic part of Tuscany, far from tourists and clichés. Places and paths in Val d’Elsa are narrow and offer the delicious thrill that comes with “discovering” something and somewhere new. You’ll find a million places to stop for a break or to satisfy your artistic or historical needs. Benches, piazzas and staircases become open-air living rooms where you can park your bike and stop to observe the healthy lifestyle.

Departure and arrival point: Monteriggioni
Length: 12 km
Height difference: 170 m
Type of road: asphalt and dirt
Type of bike: MTB, hybrid
Difficulty: medium-easy
Brief itinerary down the slopes of the Montagnola. Beautiful panoramas and views of the Monteriggioni castle passing through Valmaggiore, the Etruscan stronghold of Campassini and the vines of the Il Santo farm.

From Colle San Gimignano
Departure and arrival point: Colle Val d’Elsa
Length: 41 km
Height difference: 600 m
Type of road: asphalt
Type of bike: city, hybrid
Difficulty: medium
A ride through medieval towns worth stopping in for a visit. Not many kilometers but lots of up and downhill portions.

Secrets of the Val d’Elsa
Departure and arrival point: Casole d’Elsa
Length: 53 km
Height difference: 660 m
Type of road: asphalt
Type of bike: street, hybrid
Difficulty: medium
More difficult ride best taken on by trained cyclists. There are no long uphill stretches but the entire trail is up and downhill. Views are superb and lightly trafficked roads.

From the towers of San Gimignano to Radicondoli
Departure and arrival point: Colle Val d’Elsa
Length: 110 km
Height difference: 1,700 m
Type of road: asphalt
Type of bike: city, hybrid
Difficulty: difficult
This is the Grand Tour of the Val d’Elsa, best taken on by the most experienced cyclists. Some of the most beautiful and extraordinary views in the area.

Between the two rivers
Departure and arrival point: Poggibonsi
Length: 54 km (62.5 km with continuation)
Height difference: 350 m
Type of road: asphalt and dirt on return trip
Type of bike: city, hybrid
Difficulty: medium
Particularly interesting from a historical perspective. Great views as well. Biking calmly, one can see famous cities and rural buildings of interest. The most difficult portion of the route is during the first part once passed Ulignano and up to San Gimignano. The 12% grade is cushioned by a well-paved road.

Associazione Grandama
Via della Ferrovia 103, Poggibonsi
cell. 338 9706898, 347 2273974,

Bike shops
Gippo bike - Loc. Pian dell’Olmino 77, Colle Val d’Elsa, tel. 0577 904405, www.gippobike.it.
Ciclosport Porciatti - Via Trento 82, Poggibonsi, tel. 0577 938507, cell. 335 6761138
Ciclofficina di Bettini - Via Redipuglia 17/19, Poggibonsi, tel. 0577 936881,
Jolly (only bikes for rent), Via Fugnano 10, Poggibonsi, tel. 0577 940575,
Mario Antichi - Via Livini 1/3, Colle Val d’Elsa, tel. 0577 923366,
Team bike Pioneri - fax 0577 206869, www.teambikepionieri.it