Departure/arrival point: From Florence to Orbetello
Terrain: mixed, hills, mountains, coastline
Program your GPS: Firenze, Impruneta, Radda in Chianti, Poggibonsi, Colle Val d'Elsa, Monteriggioni, Siena, Taverne d'Arbia, Asciano, Buonconvento, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Chianciano Terme, Bagno Vignoni, Campiglia d'Orcia, Bagni S.Filippo, Radicofani, Abbadia S.Salvatore, Castell'Azzara, Sorano, S.Quirico, Manciano, Grosseto, Marina di Alberese, Orbetello
We turn on our engines in Piazzale Michelangelo, which looks out over Florence and is the perfect meeting point for both new and old bikers. The first curves we will tackle will be those of Viale Galileo. We go through Porta Romana and pass by the entrance to the Gardens of Boboli, the way that Dante escaped from the city. We climb roads that pass through olive fields in the homeland of terracotta: Impruneta, where every year the harvest is celebrated with processions of huge allegorical floats. We head on to SS222 just beyond the Pecorai Pass, a fun and spirited drive. Greve in Chianti offers us a warm gastronomic welcome in the main piazza and then we stop to visit the new museum of wine. Following the curves is fun: the road twists and bends all the way to Radda in Chianti. There are two wonderful, optional stops: Volpaia and Badia a Coltibuono. Next, we pick up the SP429: at first it’s a bit dull but then it’s amazing. The road ends in Poggibonsi, but we’ll only stop and put down our kickstands a bit farther on in Colle Val D’Elsa: from the old town to the new town it’s one beautiful vista after another.
The desire to head down to Piazza del Campo pushes us on towards Siena, without ignoring the call of Monteriggioni: a small town with lots of charm. Siena is history, tradition, culture…. and ricciarelli cookies. We take a look around and see the Piazza del Campo, la Torre del Mangia and the Duomo. The drive along the Lauretana is worth every penny; the landscape of DOC Tuscan vineyards is like the call of the siren. It’s so beautiful that it’s diabolical. Even the architecture is amazing: don’t miss the Abbey of Monte Oliveto. While drinking and driving are a bad idea, we can’t turn down a glass of Brunello, especially near Montalcino. San Quirico d'Orcia and its collegiate Church of Saints Quirico and Giulitta, try to get take us off our itinerary, as does Pienza, with its center of town declared a UNESCO world heritage site. But the road is the focus of our attention and we say cheers to Tuscany with a final visit to the Renaissance palaces in Montepulicano: another great area for vino nobile, and one of the most internationally appreciated ones.
Chianciano offers us its thermal spas and opportunities to relax, appealing to visitors of all ages thanks to its sensory spas. Even more historic is Bagno Vignoni, with the ancient bath from the Roman era. Our gaze is captured by the stunning beauty of the Val d’Orcia, which has its highest point near Gallina. It’s a flash from the hills to the mountains; Abbadia San Salvatore invites us to visit the top of Monte Amiata or go on to the south. And when we reach Citta’ del Tufo everything changes: Sorano and Pitigliano pass us by in an elegant parade, nestled in the tuff rocks. Between Manciano and Grosseto is Scansano, and just the right place to turn off the engines: you can see amazing military architecture and the towns are a perfect excuse to raise a glass of Morellino. At the Uccellina Park we enjoy the dual attractions of both the horses and the Butteri cowboys. This trip of 490 km of Tuscany ends in the Argentario, where we find peace and quiet in the Orbetello harbor.