type of route: mixed, hilly
gps settings: Florence, Galluzzo, S.Casciano in Val di Pesa, Tavarnelle in Val di Pesa, Poggibonsi, Monteriggioni, Siena, Buonconvento, S.Quirico, Gallina, Bisarca
The route sets off from the city of Florence, historical home of the Renaissance. The road down from Piazzale Michelangelo curves round and round until you reach the river. From here it's best to visit the city on foot, passing Palazzo Pitti with the Boboli Gardens and crossing the famous Ponte Vecchio.
After the bridge you will pass the Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria. The Duomo is just a stone's throw away down the main shopping street, via Calzaiuoli, and Piazza Santa Croce is also close by.
Back on the motorbike, the route heads out of the city past the Certosa di Firenze, a Benedictine monastery on Monte Acuto, just outside Florence. The SR2 continues through the town of Tavarnuzze, where the route is usually relatively traffic-free. On the left, you'll pass the city's thermal spa just before the reaching the walls of San Casciano in Val di Pesa. The nearby town of S. Andrea in Percussina is home to the Vino Chianti Classico Consortium, so it might be a good idea to leave a little room in your saddle bags.
The SR2 Cassia now runs parallel to the motorway, although it's a much quieter route. The road winds its way amongst the vineyards around the Bargino and, after taking two left turns, you'll come to Bibbione Castle. There are fantastic views of the Val di Pesa countryside from the castle. Nearby is the unmissable Badia a Passignano, a pretty village which is home to the Antinori wine cellars. The route then climbs up and down the hilly vineyards and eventually arrives at Tavarnelle and Tignano Castle.
After Barberino Val d'Elsa, which has been awarded an Orange flag by the Italian Touring Club, the valley begins to narrow. Poggibonsi is a modern and industrial town and from here we suggest taking the SP429 which travels towards Siena and passes the lovely Staggia Castle and the ancient fortified town of Monteriggioni.
Follow the signs for Abbadia a Isola and you will come across a part of the ancient Via Francigena, an old pilgrim's route which goes from Canterbury to Rome. The romantic and historic city of Siena is best enjoyed on foot. Continuing the journey, Colle Malmerenda has superb views of the surrounding landscape and the route in this area is a dream for bikers. Isola d'Arbia isn't as interesting, although the nearby pretty town of Lucignano d'Arbia with its red bricked houses is worth a visit.
The countryside in this area is simply stunning. You might want to make a stop at the town of Buonconvento with its many restaurants and quaint streets. From here the route continues down the SR2 to Montalcino, home of Brunello wine. Just 10km down the road is the Abbey of S. Antimo which is an important example of Tuscan Romanesque architecture.
The countryside around the town of San Quirico d'Orcia is famous for its swaying cypress trees which are among the most photographed in Italy. The Val D'Orcia continues to Gallina (also where we cross the forty-third parallel) and an area of outstanding natural beauty. The road continues out of Tuscany and into Lazio, but our trip ends in the town of Bisarca. In this area there are many small towns and villages to visit, as well as the possibilty of taking a trip up nearby Mount Amiata.