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Locations & Venues

Are u passionate about Tuscan Monasteries?

The leitmotiv of this tour are the Tuscan Monasteries and  hermitages; religious settlements of great charm, capable of arousing deep emotions, sense of peace and harmony. These are places of meditation and / or prayer but at the same time full of an incalculable artistic and cultural heritage.

6 Tuscan monasteries, 3 different areas, 200km/124mi is the biking distance

  1. San Miniato al Monte – abbey
  2. Montesenario – sanctuary
  3. Vallombrosa – monastery
  4. Camaldoli – hermitage
  5. La Verna – monastery
  6. Le Celle – hermitage

Tuscan monasteries in the Florentine area

San Miniato basilica

San Miniato al Monte. It took two centuries (XI, XIII) to complete the entire basilica whose facade, decorated with white and green marble, is typical of the Romanesque style. With its rigorous geometry it seems to want to evoke the perfection of God. In the dark crypt below, there are the relics of San Miniato, protected by a fourteenth-century railing. Near the altar is the crucifix that around 1030 would have bent its head to Saint Giovanni Gualberto, as a sign of approval for the pardon granted by him to his brother’s killer.

Montesenario - view from droneMontesenario. In 1245, seven men, including some merchants, members of a company dedicated to Santa Maria, climbed Mount Senario in order to retreat, from the city and take on a contemplative and a life. With material they found (stones nd timber) they built a modest dwelling and an oratory. Even today, although incorporated in the constructions built subsequently, it is still possible to recognize the stone facade of the ancient church, the so-called “Chapel of the Apparition”.

Vallombrosa - Chiostro di San Mercuriale

Vallombrosa. The monastery was built by the will of Giovanni Gualberto in the XI century. The monastery played a key role in the preparation of the monks before their move to Florence. It was for this commitment of strong collaboration between the abbey and the Florentine authorities that the abbey could also enjoy strong political power conferred by Florence. The walk along the path that leads to the Hermitage of Celle, called Paradisino, has a breathtaking view of the Abbey. The wonderful forest is wonderful (about 1270 hectares) was planted by the monks.

Tuscan monasteries in the Casentino area

Eremo Camaldoli - bike tour

Camaldoli. Founded by San Romualdo in 1012, the first cells of the Hermitage were built on the top of the mountain, surrounded by a dense pristine forest. The monastery was built some years later together with the pension. The cell of San Romualdo overlooks the entrance courtyard, while the 20 cells inhabited by hermits are lined up along the avenue.

La Verna Sanctuary - bike tour

La Verna. In this monastery, in 1224, St. Francis received the stigmata. In the heart of the Casentino forests this place is strongly evocative with its secluded atmosphere. The corridor covered by the Friars in procession towards the Grotta (cave) in which, according to tradition, San Francisco slept on the bare rock. Very evocative also the Chapel of the Stigmata in which, a stone placed on the floor, indicates the position of the Miracle. Must see also the “precipice” where, according to legend, the meeting between Francis and the devil took place.

Tuscan monasteries in the Valdichiana area

Le Celle Cortona Convent

The Cells. This is the first convent built by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1211. Francesco lived in the hermitage even after receiving the stigmata. It was in this place where he made his Spiritual Testament, a few months before he died in May 1226. The Spiritual Testament of Francis remains to this day one of the most precious documents since it traces his entire spiritual life. The Cells, Francesco said, was his ideal of hermitage. The hermitage is located just five kilometers from the historic center of Cortona.

Bike itinerary, 200km/124mi in 7 days

Tuscan Monasteries bike tour

Tuscan Monasteries bike tour

Take a look  at the e-bike tour across Tuscan monasteries.

Why should walk Via Francigena?

Via Francigena, a journey of a lifetime. A transformative experience.

Every new journey is an experience that makes us “new”, “different”. Unaccustomed to silence, to concentration, this itinerary on the Via Francigena wants to create opportunities to experience these forgotten sensations. Travelling means getting involved.

The stories of those who have traveled the Via Francigena are always different to the point that sometimes it is difficult to understand that the stories refer to the same path. Such different descriptions can only be justified by the interpretation of each of us of this trip. Also the lights and the shadows that are spread on this path contribute to create atmospheres able to suggest us, making us navigate, in the ocean of our thoughts.

It is exciting to know that this ancient path, which we are traveling by bike or on foot, has been traveled for tens of centuries by pilgrims to reach Rome, but also by soldiers, merchants and armies. At that time, it was a difficult path due to the impervious nature, with threatening marshes and impenetrable woods, often home to bandits. It was for this reason that many variations were made of this route, with the aim of devising increasingly easier and safer routes.

For the most part unpaved, the Via Francigena connected, for the first time, cities and small medieval villages enabling the circulation of ideas, discoveries, inventions, allowing different cultures to come into contact favoring the cultural mix and an economic development without precedents.

Following Via Francigena from Lucca to Radicofani, wonderful cities like Lucca, San Gimignano, Siena that we meet along the way – just to name a few – take on an extraordinary character.

These villages, with their stories and their ancient flavors, enchant us and, once again, arouse the desire to discover, to learn, to taste.

Lucca is our preferred starting point for exploring the stretch of the Via Francigena that crosses Tuscany.

Lucca is a city where the silence has an ancient flavor. Protected within its walls, there is no room for hectic life. In the Middle Ages Lucca grew thanks to its strategic position that made it a fundamental hub until it became the capital of the Grand Duchy of Tuscia (Etruria, land of the Etruscans). Definitely one of the most beautiful Italian cities with architecture, churches, museums that know how to enchant.

The tradition of hospitality is part of the DNA of Altopascio, a very small village near Lucca.

The hospice of Altopascio generated the order of the Knights of the Tau, probably the oldest religious knightly order in Europe.

San Miniato is a small medieval village with a strong military layout. A slow walk in the central street full of small craft shops is relaxing.

From San Miniato we head towards San Gimignano, also called the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages” because of the very tall towers that rise above the ancient village.

The small historical center, unchanged from the XIII century, enchants for its rare beauty. The history of San Gimignano is intertwined with the Via Francigena; it was thanks to this new communication route to the European market that became accessible for its products such as Vernaccia and Saffron. The tower-houses (originally 70, today 15) represented a tangible symbol of a mercantile aristocracy. The decline of San Gimignano was marked when the Via Francigena was moved to the valley, thus cutting this village off the trade route.

Here is Monteriggioni, which emerges from the countryside with exceptional visual impact.

This small military village located on top of a hill, preserves intact the XIII century city walls with 14 towers. Monteriggioni was founded by the Siena in the XI century as a defense against the invasions of the Florentines.

Siena, during the XII and XIII centuries, was in constant rivalry with Florence.

Crushed by political problems and by the black plague that decimated the population in 1300, the city was able to recover but around year 1500 Siena got occupied twice by the Spanish rulers. From 1500 Siena became part of the Medici dominion. Enchanting.

Buonconvento, is a fortified complex of the fifteenth century and worth a stop.

Born as a trading village, it developed thanks to the flow of travelers on the Via Francigena. The Sant’Antonio Abate hospital is located in the center of the ancient village, today it is a museum of sacred art.

San Quirico d’Orcia is protected by a wall from the 1400s to defend the village.

Houses an ancient Romanesque church from the XII century, erected just where the Via Francigena passed. The tiny historic center is well kept. The Art Park is worth a visit, set up in the elegant Italian garden.

Radicofani is the last stop on this journey, which is reached after long stretches that cross majestic and solitary places.

The village, located on top of a cliff, reveals a medieval soul. Its Romanesque church of San Pietro (XIII century) is beautiful.

By bike  Via Francigena is feasible with daily stops of about 50 km. (31 mi). On foot the daily distance is halved.

For more information contact us, we will be happy to help you.

Click here for pictures related to Via Francigena.

Tuscany cycling tours to discover being active? Why not

Tuscany cycling tours are the smartest way to combine being active on vacation with discovering the true Tuscan soul

If you are a cyclist, you will love it. If you like the idea of riding a bike to explore Tuscany but have never done it before, this is a unique opportunity. Creating a great customer experience is our mission, so please relax and dream about your Tuscany biking experience with us.

Tuscany cycling tours are extraordinary experiences when you have a perfect organization, fantastic accommodation, high-quality bicycles, delicious Tuscan food, and certified and passionated bike tour leaders. These are the ingredients that will allow you to enjoy this unforgettable journey as a protagonist.

Our Tuscany cycling tours are not “just” bike tours, those are designed to go beyond tradition to truly maximize your Tuscany experience in a holistic way. Our best-selling 6-day Tuscany cycling tours, for example, combine a healthy and active outdoor holiday with nature, art and history, wellness and food including a cooking class. What more could you want?

Slow tour, very intense experience

The magnificent Tuscan hills will keep your body busy and as if by magic, you will get fresh energy for your body and your mind. You will enjoy every moment surrounded by the landscape of this magical region, which is always able to surprise.

Around you … crossing small medieval villages, where the time seems to go slower … and beautiful historical monuments, buildings, and churches are hidden here and there. Narrow streets where it is still possible to smell the aromas coming out of the kitchens.

Your mind and your eyes will be busy contemplating breathtaking sceneries; your “front-row seat” with a view of the splendid landscape that constantly changes at your speed is a privileged and exclusive point of view. The way in which history and nature have worked together creating this harmonious and ever-changing Tuscan scenario will enchant you.

Around us, the Tuscan colors that spontaneously follow the cycle of nature. From the green of the spring countryside sprinkled with the red hair of poppies to the summer yellow of sunflowers and ripe wheat, the swirling purple, red and orange mix of autumn and its vineyards. Even in winter, the colors of Tuscany will amaze you. The beauty of the medieval villages and Renaissance villas, that emerge from the smoky air of the fog and from the branches of the trees no longer laden with leaves, give magical emotions.

The prize, the peaceful atmosphere

Like the colors, even the flavors of Tuscan cuisine follow the rhythm of the seasons.

During these Tuscany cycling tours, you will find the catharsis of the right effort through which you will “purify” yourself and prepare your body to be worthy of receiving the prize of your deeds by bike. A prize made up of places that are as beautiful as they are hospitable, wines made from ancient nectars such as Chianti, banquets rich in healthy and tasty foods of our best Tuscan tradition.

Cycling, in the peaceful atmosphere of the ancient Tuscan slopes, sharing thoughts with your companions is a real pleasure, but also relaxing. It is essential to share impressions, joke but also be inspired by others. You will chat during convivial tables or during a climbing effort or, at the end of the day, while relaxing in the warm natural springs.

It’s a pampered Tuscany adventure!

Although the accommodations are wonderful, such as the historic buildings in the center of medieval cities of Siena, Lucca or San Gimignano, or a charming farmhouse immersed in the Tuscan countryside, our approach is minimalist, simple and relaxed. During our multi-day Tuscany cycling tour, every day we will ride towards the next destination and everyone needs to carry things on their bikes.

The sense of freedom and accomplishment of this approach is truly unexpected.

6-day Tuscany cycling tours, an example

This scheduling could help you to visualize how this active vacation week is structured; it refers to our best-selling Tuscany bike adventure.

  • Arrival in Tuscany from abroad. Meet & greet + bike setting – Accommodation in the center of Florence
  • 1st day: from San Miniato to San Gimignano – Night in a historic building in the center of San Gimignano
  • 2nd day: from San Gimignano to Siena – Guided tour of Siena. Night in a historic building in the center of Siena
  • 3rd day: from Siena to San Quirico d’Orcia – Transfer to Florence, night in the center of Florence, charming apartment
  • 4th day: guided tour of Florence, shopping and relaxation + cooking lesson. Night as above
  • 5th day: bike tour around the Crete Senesi + natural thermal spring experience at the end of the bike tour, including dinner. Night as above
  • 6th day: Chianti bike tour to discover the hidden Chianti + lunch. Night as above
  • Departure from Florence.

The average daily distance is 40km/25mi with and 800m/2625ft elevation gain. Mainly unpaved, this track is safe and scenic. Every day we will dedicate quality time to relax and visit the cities we will touch. Frequent stops to enjoy the beauty of the Tuscan scenery, to take pictures and to talk with the locals, always enthusiastic and proud to share stories of their beloved villages

The scheduling can be fully customized based on customer requests such as the itinerary to include other cities, increase (or decrease) the intensity of the bicycle, change bike type (road/gravel bike, etc).

A Tuscany bike experience for everyone

Thanks to our high-quality electric bikes this experience is also accessible to cyclists with different fitness levels. In fact, electric bikes can help the rider if necessary and take some pain out of climbing. But e-bikes don’t do climbing simply by pressing a button; you still have to pedal to conquer the climb.

The real destination of our Tuscany cycling tours is the journey itself

Join our pampered Tuscany adventure with your family or your friends. It could be for a day or for a full week, we will exceed your expectations. Please, take a look at our F.A.Q and send us a message for a quotation, we will quickly get back to you.

Sincerely yours,

Alberto Lombardi

8 things to do in Florence Italy

Things to do in Florence Italy … if you are reading this blog, perhaps you are looking for ideas a bit off the beaten tracks.

This list of suggestions is based on my personal experience. I have been in all those places many times and I know the people that are working to make this happen and, above all, the passion for what they do.

My list of 8 things to do in Florence Italy was thought also to satisfy different travel styles. In fact, you can find 3 types of activity:

  • 4 activities that you can manage on your own. Downtown Florence or just outside Florence
  • 1 guided walking tour to discover Florentine artisans. Downtown Florence.
  • 3 experiences: 1 special cooking class, 1 hands-on with an artisan and 1 bike guided tour + wine tasting experience in Chianti.

“My” 8 things to do in Florence Italy

1) House of Dante Alighieri – Museum – Florence downtown

House of Dante Alighieri, the author of The Divine Comedy, one of the greatest masterpieces of world literature. The best way to really appreciate Dante is to refresh your memories related to The Divine Comedy in advance so that, once you are there, you can better “feel” Dante and the pleasure of the visit the museum will be at the top. Full price 4€.

2) Palazzo Medici Riccardi – Museum – Florence downtown

This is the first Medici palace. Home of Cosimo the Elder and of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Amazing workplace of artists such as Donatello, Michelangelo, Paolo Uccello, and Botticelli. Someone said: “The Renaissance house… where it all began”. The palace today is hosting stunning exhibitions. Price for museum + exhibition is 10€.

3) Adventure park “Parco avventura il Gigante” – an Amusement park – About 15km out of Florence

More than 200 passageways among the trees at different heights for the whole family, from 3 years and up. Immersed in an enchanted forest, easily reachable from Firenze in a few minutes. Price range is 10/20€

  • Adventure Park “Il Gigante” https://www.parcoavventurailgigante.it

4) A Beer on the roof of The Student Hotel (TSH) – Rooftop bar

This is not “just” a hotel, it is a new concept related to hybrid hospitality. Trendy design coupled with quality accommodation for genuine comfort.

5) Tour of Florentine artisans – Guided tour – Florence downtown

Group of tour guide in Florence that offers also a guided tour specifically dedicated to the Florentine artisans. In a few hours, you will have the possibility to visit some of the most traditional artisans in Florence. This tour was launched in 2019.

6) Hands-on together with a Florentine artisan – Experience – Florence downtown

Few top-class artisans, with the sponsorship also of the municipality of Florence, have opened their laboratory to those who are willing to really get involved, for few hours, in the manufacturing process of the handcrafted item you have chosen. In a few hours, you will enjoy an amazing experience, like how to create a perfume (based on personal taste), or how to build an inlaid wooden frame or how to bind a book, and much more. The artisans are happy to share their expertise and willing also to tell their story. A truly inspiring experience. This kind of experience was successfully tested in 2018 and consolidated in 2019.

  • Check here to find the list of experiences. Please note that unfortunately, the website is only in Italian. If you have questions or if you would like to make a reservation, I am more than happy to assist you with this.

7) Cooking session – cook like an ancient Tuscan – Experience – Fiesole

If you like a cooking session, this is very peculiar. In an amazing and charming private villa in Fiesole, you can “cook like an ancient Tuscan”. You will learn how to prepare – from scratch – this special meal. It is important to pay attention to what you are doing because… this will be your lunch! Stunning view of Florence from the villa’s terrace.

  • Cook like an ancient Tuscan. www.cooklikeancientuscan.com Price depends on the experience type.

8) Chianti Bike tour & wine tasting – Experience – Chianti area

There are many ways to visit Chianti, but if you like to smell the air, and give enough time to your eyes to enjoy the perfect alignment of the vineyards and to admire the colors of nature, I would definitively suggest considering a bike tour. Cycling up and down on Chianti hills (better with an e-bike) is a unique “slow tour experience” and very rewarding. Chianti is plenty of amazing places, one of my favorite locations is Badia a Passignano. Price of e-bike guided tour experience depends on experience type. Price from 100€ per person.

Come up with a list of 8 things to do in Florence Italy is really a crazy exercise.

Florence offers such an amazing variety of opportunities, therefore, highlighting just 8 of those is really hard. However, I hope you enjoyed my suggestions and, above all, you have got somehow inspired so that you can create your own list of things to do in Florence Italy.

I wish you to enjoy your stay in Tuscany and to maximize the benefit of the things you will do in Florence whatever they might be. I would love to hear from you how it went and if you enjoyed my ideas.

Tuscany Bike Tours Suggestions

Tuscany is an incredible land. With its 7 world heritage UNESCO sites, 20.200 assets related to historical heritage (museums, buildings of historical interest, etc.) and 8 Natural parks – wherever you go – you are perhaps very close to something remarkable.

Envisioning a Tuscany Bike Tour is like creating a wonderful neckless. Why?

For a new neckless, you should select the jewels you love, then find the perfect sequence to ensure the right harmony in term of size and colors, and finally the right length of the thread.

Similarly, when we create a bike tour, we pick the places we would like to be part of the itinerary, then, we add peculiar “stops” to create a story.

Our passion is to go beyond an ordinary Tuscany bike tour, going off the beaten routes.

Dedicating some time to add these additional stops is allowing us to create amazing opportunities to interact with the local community, always willing to share – with a remarkable proudness – the story of the place where they live.

So, what are the best bike itineraries in Tuscany?

Here you can find 5 suggestions. Each Tuscany bike tour will allow you to discover a different dimension of this region.

1. Chianti bike – Daily Tuscany bike tour from Florence

  • Main characteristics of the tour: Enjoy Chianti landscape, rich in art & history.
  • Bike type: electrical mountain bike, mountain bike or gravel.
  • Itinerary: Greve in Chianti, Panzano, Montefioralle, Badia a Passignano, Greve in Chianti.
  • Overall distance: 22.8km, Ele.Gain 637mt.
  • Itinerary, 3D video.
  • Experiences to add: Wine tasting is a must.
  • “My” special stops: the abbey “Badia a Passignano”, the “Slow Road” to observe Chianti landscape while sitting on pieces of art, visit artist’s studio, meet the widespread work

2. Crete Senesi – Daily Tuscany bike tour from Florence

  • Main characteristics: perhaps one of the best Tuscany bike tours. It includes also a stretch of the famous Eroica cycling tour.
  • Bike type: electrical mountain bike, mountain bike or gravel.
  • Itinerary: Asciano, Monte Sante Marie, Arbia, Vescona, Asciano
  • Overall distance: 40.1km, Ele.Gain 798mt.
  • Itinerary, 3D video.
  • Experience to consider: A stop for a bath in a SPA, natural hot springs in Rapolano.
  • “My” special stops: via Leonina and “Terme San Giovanni

3. Tuscany coast – Daily bike tour

  1. a. Main characteristics: San Rossore Natural Park, Pisa, and Calci with its marvelous Certosa
    b. Bike type: electrical mountain bike, mountain bike or gravel.
    c. Itinerary: Visit Viareggio, San Rossore Natural Park, Pisa, and Calci.
    d. Overall distance: 41.2km, Ele.Gain 194mt.
    e. See full maps 3D video: to be released shortly.
    f. “My” special stops: Viareggio, with its Art Nouveau and “La Certosa” at Calci.

4. Via Francigena – Multi-day Tuscany bike tour

  • Main characteristics: Tuscany cycling tour as a deep dive into nature.
  • Bike type: electrical mountain bike, mountain bike.
  • Itinerary: Lucca, San Miniato, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Siena.
  • Overall distance: 133km, Ele.Gain 2100mt.
  • Experience to consider: “Get lost” in San Gimignano and Siena to enjoy these amazing UNESCO sites.
  • “My” special stops: “Le Caldane” ancient thermal springs, “Bar dell’ Orso” in Monteriggioni.

5. Elba island – Multi-day Tuscany bike tour

  • Main characteristics: stunning views, swim in crystal water.
  • Bike type: road bike, electrical mountain bike, mountain bike, gravel.
  • Itinerary: Portoferraio, Marciana Alta, Marina di Campo, Porto Azzurro, Cavo, Portoferraio
  • Overall distance: 117.6km, Ele.Gain 2879mt.
  • Experience to consider: Just relax and eat fresh fish!
  • “My” special stops: Capo Sant’Andrea, the “island within the island” and the “Black beach”.

Frequent questions

What is the best period for a Tuscany bike tour?

Unless it is a very bad rainy day or extremely cold, in Tuscany cycling is enjoyable across the entire year.

The winter (low seasons) is perfect to take profit of good prices and fewer people around. Winter season in Tuscany is amazing for active riders that, with the proper winter gear bike, are willing to explore this incredible land.

From April up to October, the temperature is in general mild and cycling is a joy for everybody. In August, it is better to bike in the morning to avoid the hottest hours of the day.

Are Tuscany bike tours family friendly? Or for biking with kids?

In Tuscany, there are several bike tours that are family friendly however the vast majority of the most famous routes are pretty hilly and not ideal for kids (less than 12 years old).

For young bikers I would suggest the following 4 itineraries:

  • Arno river cycling route – you can go from “Le Cascine” in Florence to Signa and back. Flat, easy. In Signa, there is also the opportunity to enjoy a nice park – with a small lake – perfect for kids. The park is called “Stato libero dei Renai”.
  • Parco Naturale dell’ Uccellina – almost flat. Very nice. Good in summer because it is pretty shady.
  • Viareggio pine forest” – It is a park perfect for kids. Multiple opportunities to rent funny bikes for kids including a kind of a sitting bike cart with 3 wheels. Very very fun!
  • From Viareggio to mouth of Serchio. Flat, easy, you are basically cycling close to the beach. A stop to cool down in the sea is perfect.

What kind of bike should I use for a cycling tour in Tuscany?

Bike road is perfect if you want to stay on the streets. To be more flexible I would opt for a mountain bike (it is also more comfortable). In both cases, I would suggest you consider the use of an e-bike; definitively the best option especially if we have friends or family members that are less fit. E-bikes will allow them to enjoy the bike ride without any physical or emotional stress.

Which kind of approach would you suggest between self-guided or with a bike tour leader?

Unless you a super fan of self-guided tours, I would suggest taking advantage of a local certified bike tour operator. Everything will be easy (bike logistics, itinerary, etc.) and the result guaranteed. At the same token, you will have the opportunity to learn more things about the places you are visiting. The guide will help you to better understand the places that you are visiting, and this is a great added value. Your guide will also be able to adjust the itinerary in case of an unplanned issue. Your time during vacation is very precious.

If you are looking for amazing Tuscany cycling tour, please see our dedicated page!

Questions? Feel free to reach out to us. We are more than happy to support you.

Inspiration is not just a matter of luck

Inspiration is not just a matter of luck.

There are ways to stimulate the mind to think differently, with an open mind, more creatively. There are also places, for example, which are seemingly insignificant that could become super inspiring, whose valorization depends only on the interpretation – scientific, cultural, symbolic – attributed to it.

One of these places is definitively Mount Ceceri in Fiesole.

Imagine. You are on the verge of a breathtaking cliff, on Mount Ceceri in Fiesole. The view of Florence from there is terrific. Your attention, your mind, where are they focusing on?

Around the year 1500, two friends were standing right on Mount Ceceri in Fiesole. Their attention, their minds were not intent on admiring the panorama of Florence from there, their focus was to carry out an experiment that was going beyond the imaginable. An experiment that would have really changed the course of history.

Monte Ceceri in Fiesole, with its modest 400 meters high, was the perfect place for this truly unique experiment.

The two friends were Leonardo (da Vinci) and Zoroaster (from Peretola).

Leonardo da Vinci and Zoroaster da Peretola were on Monte Ceceri in Fiesole for the precise choice of Leonardo. That was the place where the genius decided to test, for the first time, the invention that according to Leonardo “would have astonished the universe”. It was time to try “Il Grande Nibbio”, it was time to let the human being to fly like a bird.

Built with two large wings composed of membranes, to be operated with pedals and levers and a cockpit for the pilot, the genius-designed flying machine had a wingspan of about 18 meters.

In the codex on the Flight of Birds, he wrote: “The human bird shall take his first flight, filling the words with amazement, all writings with his fame, and bringing eternal glory to those whose nest (magno Cecero n.d.a) whence he sprang”.

Zoroaster really stood the first flight from Monte Ceceri (Magno Cecero during Reinassance) in Fiesole. Today, that point is easily identifiable thanks to a large stone on which it is carved the famous phrase of Leonardo.

The hardy Zoroaster was able to glide for about a thousand meters and then fall disastrously into the countryside under Fiesole.

Leonardo called his flying machine “Il Grande Nibbio”, inspired by the homonymous birds he saw on the way to go to Fiesole.

This place, where presumably Leonardo and Zoroaster studied the flight modalities for days, planned the experiment, dreaming together to change the history, has huge emotional power.

Instinctively, I feel I should speak in a low voice, to not disturb the “spirit” of the genius that is still in this magical place, looking beyond the horizon.

Interestingly, the valorization of this place, seemingly insignificant, depends only on the interpretation – scientific, cultural, symbolic – which is attributed to it.

On top of Monte Ceceri my eyes remain enchanted contemplating the panorama of Florence from this privileged point of view. Leonardo, perhaps, was “just” envisioning precise trajectories traced in the air, visualizing the possible descending parables of his Grande Nibbio.

It is impossible to guess what the Genius was really thinking standing in front of the cliff,  but a stop at Mount Ceceri in Fiesole to look in the void and imagine Leonardo da Vinci in action is really inspiring.

Each of us has a challenge to overcome, and maybe this magic place, and the silence could give us some inspiring thoughts.

Leonardo was not “only” a genius, but a genius who believed in his ideas and willing to translate those into practice.

What is the piece that is missing to your puzzle? Are you at the beginning and struggling to see the big picture or maybe you are just close to the end, but the last step is more complex than you were thinking?

Perhaps, standing up “with Leonardo”, on top of Monte Ceceri, could help you to visualize what you need to do.

This is what characterizes the bike tour of Tuscany Quintessence. Each tour is a Tuscan distillate, alchemy of adventure, art and history, nature, wellness and food, to involve the senses, to unleash unknown energies and create unforgettable experiences.

The experience on Monte Ceceri in Fiesole is just one of the stages that are part of the bike tour “Fiesole e-bike tour from Florence“.

If you are passionate about Leonardo, see also “Biking with Leonardo“; it is a bike tour around Anchiano, Leonardo’s hometown.

Questions? Please keep in touch with us.

Badia a Passignano

A nice visit to the Abbey of Badia a Passignano, as part of our Chianti Bike Tour

As part of the Chianti bike tour, following one of the scenic Tuscany backroads, we can reach Badia a Passignano a charming medieval suburb.

The visit to this magical place is a great opportunity to discover a bit more about Tuscany. A stop at Badia a Passignano is also a nice break opportunity for our Chianti bike tour.

The Abbey of Badia a Passignano (also called the Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo a Passignano) is a historic Benedictine abbey founded in the 11th century. It is located on top of a scenic hill, surrounded by cypresses. The abbey in the 19th-century housed a remarkable collection of over 6000 parchment manuscripts, many brought here by Grand-Duke Leopold.

Under certain restrictions, today it is still possible to visit the Abbey. There is something magic around it…

Every time I pass the entrance of the abbey, I expect to see friar William of Baskerville, busy in the investigation of a suspicious death. Do you remember ‘The name of the rose” movie? It is based on the book of the same name, written by Umberto Eco, with Sean Connery? The scenario is very similar.

During the visit, we can see the refectory, the kitchen, and the chapel. In particular, in the refectory of the monastery, there is the fresco of the Last Supper: work of the 15th century by Domenico and Davide Ghirlandaio.

Badia a Passignano was also an important center of theological, scientific and literary studies. At that time there were about a hundred monks, while over six thousand documents were kept in their archives… and the ancient library is still present. How many secrets are still hidden in the parchments and in the books? An entire life would not be enough to explore this amazing place.

Galileo Galilei also stayed in the monastery, for a brief period, where he taught mathematics.

During our bike tour, while we are approaching Badia a Passignano, we can see the abbey with its fortified appearance, and the angular towers. It looks like a castle. This is probably due to the needs of protection at the time of struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines or between Emperors and Popes…

After the visit, it is time to proceed with our Chianti bike tour to reach the next destination.

Would you like to visit Badia a Passignano with us, as part of a slow Chianti Bike Tour? Do not miss this opportunity! In case of questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

In the gallery, you can see some pics related to Badia a Passignano.

Tuscany Bike Tours: Backroads Electric Bike Tours

Enjoy a Tuscany backroads bike tour

I love the feeling of the white road under my tires, the way it creaks when I am cycling. Maybe it reminds me my ride in the park when I was a kid. I still remember that feeling of the lightheartedness while I was cycling around with my friends, just enjoying the day at open air, and not asking for more.

Now, the feeling is still the same.

Cycling on those panoramic and dusty paths is really an extraordinary experience. In the silence, far from the chaos of the city, the mind is in sync with nature, with the eyes eager to look around, perhaps with the hope to freeze in the mind the beautiful harmony of these places.

Tuscany unpaved backroads run among the vineyards and olive groves: they are just the perfect way to explore the Tuscany country, not worrying about what the speed is. A Tuscany backroads bike tour will take you to enjoy the stunning scenery of central Tuscany but live a fun personal challenge.

Backroads Tuscany bike tour - Strade Bianche

Backroads Tuscany bike tour – Strade Bianche

Tuscany backroads bike tour – some tips:

Tire pressure for the best contact with the ground.
• Don’t forget the 10 things you should have with you for in your cycling backpack.
• When climbing, distribution of your weight is key to avoid rear wheel sliding out and losing traction.
• When descending, keep your speed under control and check for obstacles.
In case you feel your wheels are sliding a bit, don’t hit the brakes! Look ahead in the direction you want to go and guide your bike there.
• If you meet a horse with his rider, stop. If they are on, turn off the flashing lights. Ask the knight if you can proceed. Proceed only when you receive the signal you can pass.

Starting Point.

One of my preferred Tuscany backroads bike tours starts from Asciano. From there you can take a wonderful road, part of the Eroica bike race. I really love cycling there and above all, sharing this experience with others to see, from their eyes, their emotions.

Would you like to enjoy this magical experience of a real Tuscany backroads bike tour? Take a look at Crete Senesi e-bike tour & SPA. It is a great opportunity for a true cycling adventure.

Francigena bike tour – Historical itinerary for a bike vacation

Via Francigena bike tour – I would like to share with you some considerations related to my recent Francigena bike tour.

Perhaps one of the best Tuscany bike tours, this mystic, and historical itinerary is ideal for a multi-day bike vacation.

Via Francigena, is a wonderful scenic path that connects Tuscan jewels like Lucca, San Miniato, San Gimignano, Siena, just to name a few. This itinerary became famous when Sigerico, the archbishop of Canterbury, went to Rome to receive his pallium from the pope. It was around year 990. On his way back home to Canterbury, Sigerico wrote on his travel diary, the details of the itinerary and all the stops he made. Today’s Via Francigena is the “reverse engineering” of Sigerico’s travel diary.

The goal for my Francigena bike tour is to check again the quality of the segment from Lucca to Siena to make sure I have always clear in mind if/what I can offer to my customers. The hidden goal was to have fun with one of my best friends, cycling together, talking, enjoy the beauty of nature, and taste delicious food.

We decided to reach Lucca from Florence by train. In selected trains, in fact, there is a dedicated area to park your bikes, therefore, traveling with your bikes becomes easy and quite cheap.

Our Francigena bike tour start from Lucca at 9 am. Despite the multiple historical buildings, the first 25 km are not exciting; very far from the Francigena – immerse in nature – we all have in mind.

From San Miniato, things are changing and the path that connects San Miniato to San Gimignano is just lovely. At our arrival to San Gimignano, the overall distance is about 100km and the elevation gain is 800mt, 75% off-road. Perhaps due also to my backpack of about 15kg/11lb – despite our super hybrid e-bikes – at the end of the day, I am really exhausted. The reward is super ice cream at gelateria Dondoli. This gelato shop has won “Gelato World Champion 2006/2007-2008-2009“. Absolutely delicious. For bike tour with my customers, I would start from San Miniato reducing the effort of the cycling and removing also the first part of the itinerary that was boring.

For dinner, we indulge in a food paradise at Il Feudo restaurant with the great cook Gennaro. In the morning, for breakfast, we stop by Francesca at Caffè Giardino. Francesca is absolutely kind, the quality of the food is excellent and – above all – in her bar, there is a little window from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view of San Gimignano countryside. Just wonderful. After the last photo of the stunning view outside Francesca’s window, we move towards Siena.

The kilometers are running fast even if we enjoy frequent stops to explore the territory and interesting talks with locals as we did when we arrived at “Le Caldane”. This is a great example of Etruscan/Roman thermal bath. After a long-running session, a local guy was having his regular “swimming session” in the pool. Let me underline that the temperature outside was around 3 °C/37°F and the steam of the pool was very visible and attractive. The temperature of the water of the pool – on the other hand – was about 18°C/64,5°F, therefore, we prudently decided to postpone our swimming session waiting for a mild climate.

Francigena bike tour is like living in a “parallel universe”. You can go from one city to another one just cycling in the middle of nature with stunning views, hearing the sound of the forest, while the rest of the world keeps running on big, crowded and noisy streets. This magic road offers the beauty of Tuscany countryside and great opportunities to visit/explore small jewels – like churches called Pieve (medieval origin).

Our arrival in Siena is a joy. Just a few kilometers of a road out of the countryside and we are in Piazza del Campo. We complete the last 2 kilometers walking (biking downtown in Siena is not allowed) surrounded by thousands of tourists. The sun is shining, we sit on the ground to enjoy the beauty of this square while people are looking at us like we were coming from Mars.
The train is taking back us and our e-bikes to Florence, our Francigena bike tour is over. A trip that I will never forget.

Would you like to live this experience with a friendly bike tour leader? It’s easy! Please take a look at our tours.

In case of questions, please do not hesitate to call me at +39.348.081.5004 or email me at info@tuscanyquintessence.com – I am sure we can find the perfect solution for your needs.

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