Cycle and Soak Hidden Tuscany

  • Itinerary Summary

    The Etruscans gave Tuscany its name and inhabited this coastal area with twelve major settlements. After the classical age the epicenter of Tuscany moved to the valley of the Arno River to the north of Siena, so this area of Tuscany was largely forgotten--until today. Modern Italians have re-discovered this scenic area for its landscapes and spas, and we're happy to offer you an opportunity to discover it, too.

    Come and bicycle through Tuscany's history as we visit small medieval towns and Etruscan sites, and then relax resorts and thermal spa hotels. Bicycle this remote region from north to south through low vineyard and olive-clad hills along the Etruscan coast.

    ***If this sounds great but you'd like a longer tour, check out our Cycle and Soak Hidden Tuscany Plus! tour, which extends this itinerary by 3 days.***

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    1. Day 1: Arrive in Volterra

      Highlights: Etruscan Volterra

      Arrive today in Volterra, one of Italy's most famous Etruscan towns. Volterra was one of the nine most important Etruscan cities in the pre-Roman era; you'll be here two nights so you'll have the chance to explore its Roman theater and cathedrals.

      Distance: Test Ride. Meals: D

      Lodging: Hotel San Lino

    2. Day 2: Loop ride to San Gimignano

      Highlights: San Gimignano and its towers. Alabaster shops in Volterra

      Our loop ride today takes us to San Gimignano. Famous for its medieval towers, San Gimignano is one of the best-preserved 14th century villages in Europe. Have a rest, enjoy a coffee in the famous Piazza della Cisterna, and explore this fabulous town. We'll offer a shuttle back into Volterra for those who would prefer to avoid the climb! In the afternoon we have a special visit planned inside the Laboratory of an Alabaster carver. You'll learn more about the ancient technique that is still used by these artisans.

      Distance: 61 km (38 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel San Lino

    3. Day 3: Heading towards the coast

      Highlights: A great ride and a fabulous pool

      Today we head towards the rich farm villages and picture-perfect vineyards of the Pisan hills. You'll note a striking change in the landscape as we leave the central Tuscan hills for the fertile coastal lands. It's a great day for photographs! Tonight look forward to the perfect end to another fabulous day in Tuscany at the hotel's gorgeous pool.

      Distance: 43 km (27 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Antico Borgo San Martino

    4. Day 4: Bicycle through the northern Maremma region

      Highlights: Wine village of Bolgheri, Maremma region of Italy, outdoor pools

      We have another scenic ride in store today as we bicycle through the Maremma region of Italy, famous for its "cowboys" and small, medieval towns. The first part of our ride is along the coastal plain; this entire section underwent agricultural reclamation from the late 19th century through Mussolini's rule in the early-mid 20th century. Swamps were drained and roads and other infrastructure were built, and the region is now rich in olive oil and wine production. We pedal through the tiny fortress town of Bolgheri, famous for its red wines, including "Sassicaia". Talk with the locals if you can find one; according to one spry 89-year-old we met in the town square, there are only twenty-six residents left! Another gentle forested climb brings us to world-class gelato before a gliding downhill which customers have called, "the best ride in the world" and ends in a tiny stone village, worth a peek before continuing on. Our hotel pool is perfect for soothing tired muscles after four days of cycling.

      Distance: 73 km (45 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Calidario

    5. Day 5: Loop ride to Populonia and the beach

      Highlights: Etruscan sites, beaches, Medieval architecture

      We've planned a casual bike ride today to give you a sampling of history and geography from the Etruscan time through the Renaissance. We head first to the ancient Etruscan port of Populonia, the most important Etruscan port town. We'll have a guided visit of the tombs and the "industrial" area, learning about the Etruscans' practice of metallurgy, where they mined tin and iron from local deposits and processed them into valuable commodities for trade throughout the Mediterranean. After our visit, you can ride to the village for the view, enjoy some beach time, have lunch by the sea, return to the pool or head off for some more mileage.

      Distance: 24 km (15 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel Calidario

    6. Day 6: Bicycle to our agriturismo

      Highlights: Cycling remote country roads, wine tasting, staying at an agriturismo

      Today's ride takes us into the interior as we follow several river valleys before heading south to the small hilltop towns of Gavorrano, Ravi and Caldana. We're headed to our agriturismo, a working farm that produces olives and wine while providing superb lodging and gourmet cuisine. A dip in the pool before a wine tasting overlooking the view is a perfect end to the day before dinner together.

      Distance: 65 km (40 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Agriturismo Montebelli

    7. Day 7: Tour Ends

      Highlights: Shuttle to train station

      Our tour ends after breakfast this morning. We'll provide a shuttles to the Grosseto train station where you can head off on further travels or back home. Enjoy your travels and thanks for joining us to explore the coast of Tuscany!

      Meals: B

      ***If this sounds great but you'd like a longer tour, check out our Cycle and Soak Hidden Tuscany Plus! tour, which extends this itinerary by 3 days.***

    • Highlights

      Thermal spas, Fabulous Tuscan food grounded in olive oil, tomatoes, basil and rosemary, Ridge rides looking out across vineyards, cypress trees, olives, and the Tyrrhenian Sea, Etruscan ruins, Three 2-night stays, Volterra, San Gimignano
    • Includes

      7 days, 6 nights accommodation; 4 dinners with wine, 6 breakfasts; entrance and guided visit to Populonia; spa/pool entry each day; Day 1 shuttle from Florence town center; Day 7 shuttle to the Grosseto train station plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

      Volterra / Grosseto
    • Arrive/Depart

      Florence (FRL), Pisa (PSA) or Rome (FCO)
    • Total Distance

      248-283 km (153-175 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      Average per day 49 - 58 km (30 - 36 miles
    • Rating

      201 Some climbs almost every day with mileage options on many days; some ridge top and river valley rides. 2 optional rest days.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes

    * 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 private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • Was a beautiful area of Italy and the "soak" part was exceptional after a hard day''s ride. Cant imagine a better trip. ExperiencePlus Rocks!

      Betsy G., Scottsdale, AZ
    • I sure did like soaking in those lovely spas after a day of riding. Fantastic! Trip of a lifetime.

      Janet L., Ayer, MA
    • The format of using chalk arrows and signs on the road allowed us to travel at a pace that we could enjoy the sites and allowed as time to enjoy the tastes along the way each day. Then in the evenings, both the full group dinners and on our free nights the smaller gatherings for dinner were wonderful. The choice of places we had dinner together and the towns and villages we visited were excellent and truly allowed us to appreciate the food and wine of Tuscany.

      John K., Oyama, BC, Canada
    • Spectacular views. Great hotels, spa pools, food and guides.

      Susan S., Fort Collins, CO
    • Bicycling through beautiful country followed by thermal spa therapy and finished off with a great Italian dinner. Perfect way to spend a day.

      Dan G., Fort Collins, CO
    • Thanks for making this trip so amazing and memorable!

      Joanna G., Omaha, NE
    • Excellent - very well organized, good terrain and fun!

      Sharree, O., Hood River, OR
    • The tour was a life enhancing experience and we can not wait to schedule our next will be the culinary tour next September!

      Dave M., Manvel, TX
    • I keep expecting to have a less than superior trip one of these days, but so far we haven''t!

      Ellen L., Boulder, CO
    • What was your favorite experience on this trip? My husband would say the eating, especially the dinners which included all the local cuisine and made us branch out and try things we never would have. I would say the swimming pools and the thermal hot springs pool at the hotels. They were all beautiful! We also both enjoyed the curvy, beautiful roads through the hill-top towns, especially the cobbled towns, so picturesque!

      Willow L., Denver, CO
    • We had a fantastic trip. Hotels were excellent. We thought the chalk markings to find the route were really great.

      Sandra L., Miami, FL
    • Really loved it. Everything came together to make for a wonderful vacation with an interesting group of co-riders, and great guides. The composite of all experiences reflected one of the nicest vacations I've taken. Leaders knew their stuff, and their customers' needs, and seemed to enjoy the trip as much as we did.

      Russell B., Arcadia, CA
    • Great trip. Guides were superb. Great group!

      Russ A., Seattle, WA
    • Great job! We'll be joining you on another trip in the future.

      Paul B., Issaquah, WA
    • The trip was terrific, especially the guides, the food, the hotels, the countryside, and the bikes. What's left?

      Brooks Z., Sherborn, MA
    • The combination of our awesome guides, the small Tuscany towns, the biking and the fun campanions made it just an awesome experience!

      Suzanne W., Seattle, WA
    • The meals were, as always, high points. The beauty and variety of the scenery, and the lack or traffic on the route, were great as well.

      David S., Eugene, OR
    • What was your favorite experience on this trip? Too many to single one out. I liked seeing the "Cinghiali" (boar) at the preserve on the way to Massa Marittima. I also loved the pasta demo and the olive oil press, all the dinners, about 10 gelatos, acres of "girasoli" (sunflowers), and the care-free life of the tour. We LOVE ExperiencePlus and hope we can keep taking bike trips into our golden years.

      Sharon S., Eugene, OR
    • I had many "favorite" memories; the route was great taking us through picturesque villages on quiet roads. I enjoyed the scenery, the food, the visits to Populonia, swimming in the sea, our hotels, the other group members and our leaders.

      Liz T., Napanee, Ontario
    • What was your favorite experience on this trip? The whole trip was incredible. My best day was the ride to and through Bolgheri, Carducci, Sasseta, and Sureveto. What an incredible and wonderful day.

      Bill H., Ft Collins, CO
    • Thanks for a great experience!

      Michael C., Smartswood, NJ
    • We had a great experience, a good time, loved the trip, and we think very highly of ExperiencePlus!, this tour, and our tour leaders.

      Calvin M., Fort Collins, CO
    • Favorite experience on this trip?: The rides, the guides, the food, the visits to pasta and olive oil makers, the's hard to choose a "favorite"! Thanks so much to you all!! I'd never use a different tour company.

      Pamela M., Eugene, OR
    • My favorite experience on this trip?: Hmmm...the ride from Sesseta to the coast, and back. Also, my two interactions with locals trading our ExperiencePlus! hats.

      Sandy C., Fort Collins, CO

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