Thank you very much for a wonderful week all you tough riders. Thanks a well for all the coffees, wines and the nice talk an the fun we had.
It was a pleasure guiding you. Hope seeing you again.
And never say the "s" word
Ursula and Johanna
We pedal south like the old pilgrims, constantly towards the Eternal City. At the very northern part of the Lazio region, stands the Monte Rufeno Nature Reserve, that was established in 1983 and safeguards wide woods in a gentle, hilly landscape crossed by the Paglia river. The area is lonely and quite. There is only one bar along the way, where we can have a last Cappuccino. We`ll cross the border Latium before we ascend to Orvieto, clinched on a tuff plateau, our last highlight on the trip.
We are heading south, all roads lead to Rome! Have your swimming suits ready and take a muscle relaxation in the warm thermal water. We cross the Via Cassia, the old trading route to Rome. The area is famous for pecorino, the goat cheese. We are entering Umbria. Citta della Pieve is located on top of a hill and needs again some efforts to go to. But it`s worth.
An exciting, but also a long day is waiting for us. We leave Siena in a spectacular way, only possible on a bicycle. Wir ride downtown, enter the city through the massive Porta Camollia, cross the Piazza Il Campo and exit through the Porto Romana, the city gate facing to Rome. Right outside the city walls we meet the Via Francigena, the old pilgrim route.
We are heading south to an area well-known from postcards and calendar pictures. You`ll see rolling hills, topped with medieval towns, olive groves and a skyline punctuated with cypress trees – this is the area south of Siena the „Crete Siensi“.
We turn into the Val di Merse. There is almost no traffic, probably because of the curvy roads and the endless up and down over the hills. Vescovado, Murlo or Buonconvento to just name some of the hidden gems along the way. Sleepy villages surrounded by cypress trees. It is quite, chucks are picking aside the road, old men are sitting in plastic chairs in front of the houses and time is not an issue.
The road goes up to Montalcino. The grapes for the famous Brunello are grown here. We leave the town towards the South. The road is narrow and curvy, I can smell fresh hay. Monte Amiata on the right is a dormant volcano.
A small unpaved road leads to Bagno Vignoni. It has been a thermal spa since the Middle Ages where the pilgrims cured their muscle ache. The whole market place is a huge thermal pool.
We keep going towards Pienza on a panoramic road. In the South you see the Val d’Orcia, in the North Il Crete. Pienza is home of pope Pius II and our destination for tonight.
A easy ride today! For our morning workout and descent up to Castel San Gimignano we get recompensated by a great view back to the towers and down into Val d`Elsa.. A complete fortified city with 14 towers and a 1970 feet long city wall, attracts our attention from faraway – Monteriggioni. First raised in 1203as a forward defensive position against Florence, the walls and towers today are the most complete example fo such a fortified bastion in Tuscany. One of Italy`s most enchanting cities – Siena, the Gothic – is our destination for tonight. The world famous horse race takes place her, the "Palio di SIena". It is said that the city has the most beautiful piazza in Italy - Piazza Il Campo and the cathedral is a must. How about "Pici Cacio Pepe", a delicous and typical Sienese dish?
Col Val d`Elsa
Go-Pro Foto machen
We can`t say good-bye yet to the Chianti region, too beautiful, too much to see. The morning ride brings us to the old Etruscan town of Castellina in Chianti, long ago a frontier town between warring Siena and Florence. The black rooster is the icon of the whole Chianti area and you`ll find it everywhere but for sure on every bottle of DOC Chianti wine.
The „Manhattan of Tuscany“ is our highlight in the afternoon.Around 1500 there were more than 72 examples of this picturesque nonsense. Today there are only 14 left but the result is still a must-see tourist attraction nicknamed “Manhattan of the Middle Ages” for its skyline. The daily tourist leave San Gimignano in the late afternoon. Not us! We stay and enjoy the medieval atmosphere inside the walled city.
waiting for breakfast in Villa Casalecchi
Il Gallo Nero - the black rooster
Jim let it run through the Chianti vineyards
a Tuscan drive-way
this is a picture for the wifes back home - so that you get an idea how they will come back after a week of Tuscan food ;.)
we coming closer to our highlight of the day - San Gimignano
Due to a lack of Ferraris, Rolex and Prada the rich and important families who ruled the region in the past needed to find their way to outdo each other. They came up with building higher towers than their neighbours. Around 1500 there were more than 72 examples of this picturesque nonsense. Today there are only 14 left but the result is still a must-see tourist attraction nicknamed “Manhattan of the Middle Ages” for its skyline.
perfect weather, everybody exited - so we start and leaving Florence by train, which will bring us directly into the Chianti area.
Strade bianche - gravel roads
our hotel in Castellina is a treasure! 500 years family owned and one of the first hotels in the Chianti area. Just beautiful!
Travelling on a Pedelac through Tuscany means an indulgence of all senses: landscape, culture, food and „la dolce vita“
We are ready to go! Nearly all our guests already arrived. We tourguides are busy with the last preparations.