This is it - the classic bicycle tour that we started with back in 1972! We begin in romantic Venice, make stops in the great art cities of Ferrara, Ravenna & Florence, and end on the Mediterranean coast in Pisa. Along the way, you'll enjoy gourmet meals from two of Italy's best culinary regions (Emilia-Romagna & Tuscany), take in local markets, and discover a side of Italy seldom seen by tourists. You'll also visit "the farm" (it's been in Paola Malpezzi-Price's family for more than 100 years) for a light lunch and a close-up look at rural life in Italy. This is our most popular cycling tour.If this sounds great but you don't have time for the full 12 days, check out our Bicycling Venice to Florence tour, which features the first 8 days of this itinerary.
Day 1: Tour begins in Venice, Italy
Highlights: The Lido of Venice, dinner at a trattoriaWelcome to Venezia! You really should try and come a day or two early to explore this unique city before we begin our bike ride to Pisa. We meet this afternoon at our hotel on the Lido of Venice where we'll fit bicycles. We'll enjoy an introductory aperitif before walking to dinner in a small trattoria on the Lido.
Lodging: Hotel Biasutti
Day 2: Bicycle Venice to Po River Delta
Highlights: Venetian lagoon, fishing villages, bicycle along the Po DeltaThe Lidos of Venice and Pellestrina protect the Venetian lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. You'll follow these natural levees this morning as we work our way south via flat roads, ferries and quaint fishing villages to Chioggia, at the south end of the lagoon. Enjoy lunch on your own there before continuing southwest to San Martino di Venezze and our wonderful overnight in a working farm or agriturismo. Dinner together. Distance: 74 km (46 miles).
Lodging: Agriturismo Corte Carezzabella.
Day 3: San Martino di Venezze to Ferrara
Highlights: Bicycle along the Po River, bicycle capital of Italy--FerraraIt's another day of leisurely riding today all the way to the Renaissance city of Ferrara. Along the way we'll stop at Fratta Polesine to visit Villa Badoer, a masterpiece of architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Villa Badoer was designed in 1554 by Andrea Palladio who is widely considered one of the most influential architects in Western architecture. Our entrance into Ferrara is spectacular as we'll pass directly under the finest example of Renaissance walls remaining in Italy. Other highlights of this UNESCO World Heritage town include the many palaces of the Este court from the 14th and 15th century. We'll suggest some great restaurants for dinner on your own this evening. Distance. 76 km (47 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Carlton
Day 4: Ravenna
Highlights: Comacchio, lunch at farm cooperative, mosaics of RavennaWe shuttle this morning to the nearby lagoon town of Comacchio, once a port town more famous than Venice. After a small float around the canals with a local fisherman as captain, we'll ride across the "valleys of Comacchio", through the Po delta's rich bird habitats. Then it's on to the Anita di Argenta where we'll stop at a local agriturismo (farm cooperative), to enjoy a lunch of homegrown vegetables, homemade ricotta, and other local specialties. A short bike ride later we'll enter Ravenna, the last capital of the Western Roman Empire and home to more early Christian mosaics than any other city in Western Europe. You can walk to Dante's Tomb and the mosaics of San Vitale, Sant'Apollinare Nuovo and the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia this afternoon, as our hotel is near all the city sights. Distance: 45 km (28 miles).
Lodging: Palazzo Galletti Abbiosi Hotel
Day 5: Ravenna to Faenza
Highlights: Picnic lunch at ExperiencePlus! Headquarters and family farm, ceramics of FaenzaWe'll head west from Ravenna today, stopping at "the farm" for a light lunch together. "The farm" is our European headquarters and is located on land that Paola Malpezzi-Price's family has cultivated for more than 100 years. We continue on to Faenza, where we visit a local ceramist who will introduce us to traditional Faenza designs. Dinner, if you are still hungry, is on your own! Distance: 54 km (34 miles).
Day 6: Over the Apennines
Highlights: Olive oil tasting, bicycle the Apennine Mountains, small mountain villagesWe head into the Apennines today, passing first through the medieval village of Brisighella for an olive oil tasting in one of Italy's most unique olive oil producing areas. We'll then begin climbing (easily at first!) over the Apennines -- remember to look around as you climb since the scenery changes dramatically as you leave the plains and enter the mountains. Just before we reach the toughest part of our climb to Ronta, there is a very conveniently located train station which allows you a choice in how you reach our destination! We'll enjoy dinner together in tonight. Distance: 15 - 64 km (9 - 40 miles).
Lodging: Hotel La Rosa
Day 7: Fiesole and Florence
Highlights: Fiesole and its Etruscan ruins, Renaissance Florence, Uffizi GalleryThere's a small climb this morning to Vetta le Croci, then it's downhill to the old Etruscan city of Fiesole, where you'll enjoy a great view of Florence rising from the valley floor. We'll ride into town together, and the rest of the afternoon is yours to explore this capital of Renaissance Italy. Our hotel in Florence lies on the banks of the Arno River, close to the Uffizi Gallery. We'll have dinner together this evening. Distance: 41 km (26 miles).
Lodging: Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
Day 8: Wonders of Florence
Highlights: Walking tour of Florence and time to explore on your ownWe are offering a guided walking tour of Florence this morning so schedule your reservations to visit the famous Uffizi Gallery or the Accademia, home to Michelangelo's David after 12:30PM. At sunset, take a walk down to the Ponte Vecchio to engage in the passeggiata (or "evening stroll"). Dinner is on your own.
Lodging: Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
Day 9: Birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci
Highlights: Olive groves and vineyards, Leonardo da Vinci's birthplace and museumAfter breakfast, we head out of Florence and down the Arno River valley for a beautiful day of riding in the Italian countryside. There is a bit of a climb as we cross Mount Albano but what a spectacular view. Our destination is Vinci, the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, where you'll have a chance to visit the house where he was born and a museum with scale models of his inventions. Dinner is together tonight. Distance: 42 km (26 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Monna Lisa
Day 10: Lucca
Highlights: Medici villa, bicycle countryside of Tuscany, 17th century wallClimb the stairway to the Medici villa in Cerreto Guidi today for a great view as we continue west to Lucca, where we'll stay the next two nights. Lucca was a Roman town and one of medieval Italy's most prosperous city-states. Today, Lucca retains its medieval charm with its small shops and sidewalk cafés, as well as the beautiful 17th-century wall that surrounds the town. Dinner on your own. Distance: 58 km (36 miles).
Day 11: Pisa
Highlights: Leaning Tower of Pisa, Piazza of Miracles, Lake MassaciuccoliOur last day of pedaling takes us to Pisa where you can visit the Leaning Tower and the Piazza of Miracles. Our route to Pisa takes us by Lake Massaciuccoli, where Puccini wrote many of his operas. After a stroll through Pisa, head back to the less-touristy town of Lucca to enjoy an evening passeggiata along the main pedestrian way. We'll celebrate our adventure across Italy with a final dinner together this evening. Distance: 63 km (39 miles).
Day 12: Tour ends in Lucca
Highlights:After breakfast, our journey across Italy comes to an end. You're on your own now, prepared to face Rome and its many museums or to explore the Lakes District to the north. Buon viaggio!!
HighlightsGourmet meals, Faenza and the Malpezzi family farm, Florence, Lucca, Pisa and Tuscany's countryside, Venice, Ravenna and Ferrara
Includes"The Usual" plus... Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 12 days, 11 nights accommodation; 6 dinners with wine, 2 lunches, & 11 breakfasts; walking tour of Florence
Arrive/DepartVenice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) /Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport (PSA)
Total Distance466 - 523 km (290 - 326 miles)
Daily Distance15 - 83 km (9 - 52 miles)
What to ExpectA wonderful introduction to Italy covering 3 regions. Fascinating small towns and some very special lunches.
Terrain starts out flat then builds over the Apennines. Rolling hills through Tuscany. Our most popular tour for cyclists.
NotesIf this sounds great but you don't have time for the whole 12 days, check out our Venice to Florence tour, which features the first 8 days of this itinerary.
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|*We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.|
Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.
When you go on vacation you always have certain expectations, hopes of what the experience will be like. This tour has exceeded every expectation. What really made this tour truly a terrific experience were the tour guides. They made this tour everything especially fun.When I went on this trip I wanted to experience Italy, not just be a tourist that passes through, but to experience the real culture and people. ExperiencePlus! made that possible. The tour took us to great places where we saw parts of Italy those other tours would never go. We ate great, great food and had a wonderful time with some of the nicest people I have ever met.
The last day of the tour really broke my heart. I so enjoyed our guides and I hated saying good-bye. We were especially fortunate that we were able to visit the farm (ExperiencePlus! Headquarters), everyone there is so so nice. In addition to our guides we got to know the bike mechanics, office staff, some additional tour leaders, and owner, Monica Malpezzi Price. I am sorry we were not able to get to spend more time with them. They only made the trip all the more fun.
I can't wait to go on my next ExperiencePlus Tour. I have told my wife, I will never go to another country unless it is on the back of a bike.Thank you for making this such a WONDERFUL experience. I have recommended this to all my friends and co-workers. I will continue to do so.