From extreme differences in gradient for those who love to a gravity and adrenaline rush to the endless network of dirt tracks that run alongside little-used secondary roads, for road or gravel bike enthusiasts. Then there’s lots of mountain biking, almost as much as Tuscany with all its mountains. Even for the most cool and collected cycling tourist, the region is dotted with towns and villages bursting with art and culture, always worth visiting without haste, plus there are the cycling tracks along the Tuscan Coast.
The Apennines boasts two draws for downhill and freeride enthusiasts. Abetone Gravity Park is one of the largest bike parks in Italy, served by a cable car that covers a difference in height of 700 metres. Nearby there’s the very active Doganaccia, also reached by a cableway over 900 metres. Other gradients that move visitors can be found around Monte Amiata, in the far south of the region: expect biker amenities, mountain air and the magic of an ancient volcano.
Between Punta Ala and Castiglione della Pescaia along the coast and Massa Marittima inland there’s one of the most striking and best-equipped “reserves” for enduro lovers, with a dash of Mediterranean flavour for couriers intending to alternate relaxation with other sports. The enduro tracks of Rincine, in the Florence mountains, are another area, with easy and more technical stretches, well known to enthusiasts. Total freedom not far from the Tuscan capital.
Spellbinding nature with the chance to visit villages and taste local flavours form the perfect combination for e-bike tours. A borderland between sea and mountains, the Lunigiana is the valley of a hundred castles. In the autumn, the woods turn orange and red, showing the forests in their most magical light. Alternatively, pedal in the fresh air of the Casentino forests: along a former railway, the trails of the Lama forest, the cobblestones and tracks of the charcoal burners.
In Tuscany, gravel means everything because the legendary dirt tracks are everywhere. L’Eroica, the most famous historic cycling event in the world, and Strade Bianche, the most southernly road bike race in Europe, has made the routes of Chianti, Crete Senesi and Val d’Orcia into legendary areas, a must do for cyclists. Some itineraries, in certain cases permanent and well-signposted, can be used all year round. In the middle of Siena stands Piazza del Campo, a breath-taking square in which to stop for a coffee.
The road cyclist is a collector of little-used secondary roads, gradients, bends and nice places to eat. Test the roads that run through vineyards and cypress trees between Bolgheri and Castagneto Carducci, continuing with one bend after another towards Sassetta and Suvereto. The 172 km of the Val di Merse Grand Tour can be done in one go or in stages, with a stop at the roofless San Galgano Abbey or spending the night at the bike hotels of Casole d’Elsa. Mugello is a must too, an area where the rural landscape and hills offer the perfect training ground for cyclists.
The ancient Via Francigena is the long and interesting cycleway that crosses the whole of Tuscany from north to south, stage by stage. Other enticement comes from the coast. Pedalling along the cycle tracks of the Argentario headland, pedalling along the stunning Feniglia spit, through pinewoods and nature reserves before finishing on the beach. In Versilia there’s the most “coastal” cycle path in Italy: totally beside the sea, it offers countless opportunities to take a dive.