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Grand Tour of Tuscany by bike - from Siena toward Pisa and Florence

A great itinerary on paved and unpaved roads to discover the main places of Tuscany: North itinerary

The Grand Tour of Tuscany by bike - from Siena toward Pisa and Florence is one of three major itineraries designed to allow the cyclo-traveler to touch on all the major locations of Tuscany. Base of departure is Siena, a jewel city located in the center of Tuscany and the point of contact for the three itineraries. Each is about seven days long, which can be increased as desired to stop and better visit the most important cities. All to be able to say, with full knowledge of the facts, that you have truly visited Tuscany.

We start from Piazza del Campo and in this first part we follow the route of the Via Francigena, which along minor roads and flowing dirt tracks will take us to Monteriggioni, with its unmistakable towered profile; Abbadia all’Isola, where Bishop Sigeric of Canterbury stopped on his return from Rome in 990, from whose detailed diary we trace the historic route of the Via Francigena; Colle Val d’Elsa, whose historic center is certainly worth a detour, and finally San Gimignano; another place where the Middle Ages are at home.

We now leave the track of the Francigena to head toward Volterra, where historical stratification, from the Etruscans to the Romans to the Middle Ages, is visible on every stone.

We begin pedaling toward the sea, descending along the state highway and pausing to photograph the works of Land art placed along the way.

When we reach the valley floor, we still follow the state highway for a few kilometers to abandon it and, through minor roads, reach Cecina and the sea.

Here we use the way of the Tuscan Coast to go up to Livorno, with the sea always on our left and with some stretches on bicycle paths or pine forest roads and others on the old Aurelia, scenic but inevitably busy; pay attention.

Arriving in Livorno, after a passage on the famous Mascagni terrace, we will turn along the canals surrounding the city’s ancient fortresses and then cross the port area with a short but decidedly busy stretch where we must pay particular attention.

Having passed the mouth of the canal, we resume cycling along the coast to Marina di Pisa, where we take the beautiful Trammino bicycle path, which will take us directly to Pisa. Halfway between the sea and the city, it is worth making a short detour to visit the Basilica of San Piero a Grado, a splendid church in the Pisan Romanesque style founded in the place where legend says the apostle Peter landed, in 44 A.D. It has the odd peculiarity of having two apses and no facade.

Just a little more and here we are in Pisa, a city famous for its leaning tower and the marvelous Piazza dei Miracoli, but hiding many other treasures.

After Pisa we head north again using some bike paths, including a beautiful section of the Puccini cycle route, which will take us to Lucca, another treasure chest city with one of the most intact historic centers in Italy.

We begin to head west, hooking up again with the Francigena, but this time in the direction of Rome, leaving it after a visit to the beautiful village of San Miniato. From here we descend to take advantage of the already completed sections of the Arno cycle route, passing through Empoli, Montelupo Fiorentino and, leaving the river, Malmantile and Lastra a Signa. Here we will resume the bike paths on the riverbanks that will take us directly to Florence. After the pause that the city requires (many days) we set off again pointing south. We leave through Porta Romana to reach first Impruneta and then through all of Chianti, where the beauty of the landscape blends with the goodness of the food and wine.

There will be plenty of opportunities to stop and taste: Greve in Chianti, Panzano in Chianti, Radda in Chianti: the choice is yours!

One last effort and here we are at the gates of Siena, where our Grand Tour of the North concludes.

See also:

Grand Tour of Tuscany by bike - from Siena toward Camaldoli and Arezzo.

Grand Tour of Tuscany by bike - from Siena toward Pitigliano and Massa Marittima.


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