40th Anniversary Bike Across Italy - Pisa to Venice
It was the summer of 1971 when our love for bicycling in Italy began. That summer, Rick and Paola pedaled from Pisa to Paola's hometown of Forli just for fun. Afterward, Rick said, "You know, I'll bet other people would enjoy taking this ride with us!" An idea was born and the very next year we ran our first bicycle tour in Italy. Our Pisa to Venice tour replicates that first ride by Rick and Paola. You'll visit Tuscan villages, explore the wonders of great art cities like Florence and Venice, and even pay a visit to Paola's family farm for a picnic lunch and a walk through the vineyards. Complement all of this with meals from two of Italy's premier pasta regions and you'll understand why this remains one of our, and our customers', favorite tours. Rick and Paola will be on the trip, and the sisters, Maria Elena and Monica, will also join for a portion of the ride too!
***There is still more fun to be had and more of Italy to explore. Extend your cycling vacation with our Bicycling Venice and the Dolomites tour.***View Day-by-Day ItineraryHide Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Tour begins in Lucca, Italy
Highlights: 17th century wall, welcome dinner at a trattoria
Arrive this afternoon at our hotel in Lucca, where we'll fit bicycles. 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. Our hotel, is centrally located, so take a walk or ride on the 17th-century wall that surrounds town before we gather for a glass of wine and a welcome dinner at a favorite trattoria this evening.
Lodging: Hotel La Luna and Alla Dimora Lucense
Day 2: Pisa
Highlights: Leaning Tower of Pisa, Piazza of Miracles, Lake Massaciuccoli
Our first 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. Dinner is on your own tonight. Distance: 62 km (38.5 miles).
Lodging: Hotel La Luna and Alla Dimora Lucense
Day 3: Birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci
Highlights: through the hills of Tuscany, Medici Villa, Leonardo da Vinci museum
We pedal around Monte Pisano today on our way to Vinci, the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci. Our route follows a forested road along rolling hills for most of the day. You'll arrive in Vinci mid-afternoon with time to visit a museum with scale models of Leonardo's inventions, or to ride the 13 km to San Baronto - a ride that some customers have called the most beautiful they have ever taken. Dinner together. Distance: 57-84 km (36-52.5 miles).Lodging: Hotel Monna Lisa
Day 4: Florence
Highlights: Olive groves and vineyards, bicycle into Renaissance Florence
Terraced hillsides of olive groves and vineyards line our route today as you climb gently over Monte Albano. From there, you'll enjoy spectacular views of the Arno River valley. We'll ride as a group into Florence, where our hotel for the next two nights is located along the banks of the Arno River. It is within easy walking distance of the Uffizi Gallery, the Duomo, and other city sights. Dinner is together tonight. Distance: 41 km (26 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Balestri
Day 5: Wonders of Florence
Highlights: Uffizi Gallery, statue of David, Ponte Vecchio, Brunelleschi's Duomo
This is a rest day in Florence, so take it easy and enjoy this fabulous Renaissance city. We do a guided walk of the city in the morning and are happy to help you make reservations to visit the famous Uffizi Gallery or the Accademia, home to Michelangelo's David. At sunset, take a walk down to the Ponte Vecchio to engage in the passeggiata (or "evening stroll") before dinner on your own. Lodging: Hotel Balestri
Day 6: Fiesole and the Apennine mountains
Highlights: Fiesole's Etruscan ruins and views of Florence, mountain town
Leaving Florence we pedal together to the ancient Etruscan village of Fiesole. Enjoy lunch, take time to explore the ruins, and then head out for a leisurely afternoon of riding in the foothills of the Apennines. Our destination is the quiet mountain town of Ronta, where we'll enjoy dinner together. Distance: 41 km (26 miles). Lodging: Hotel La Rosa
Day 7: Over the Apennines
Highlights: Beautiful scenic downhill, olive oil tasting, ceramics in Faenza
You'll cross the Apennines this morning on a spectacular ride over Passo la Colla, then it's downhill to Faenza, one of Italy's premier towns for handpainted ceramics. Along the way, we'll pass through Brisighella, where you can sample some of Italy's finest olive oil. Once in Faenza, our destination, have a caf? in the Piazza and enjoy some people watching or visit the International Ceramics Museum before dinner together. Distance: 63 km (40 miles). Lodging: Hotel Vittoria
Day 8: Ravenna
Highlights: Lunch at family farm, vineyards, Basilica of St. Apollinare and its mosaics
We'll visit a ceramic studio in Faenza to learn about traditional Faenza designs before heading out. You'll have a chance to sample life in rural Italy as we pedal to Paola's family farm. We'll enjoy a light lunch before heading off to Ravenna, the last capital of the Western Roman Empire. Ravenna is famous for its mosaics. Plan to visit some of its historic sites, including Dante's tomb, St. Apollinare in Classe and the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, this afternoon. Our hotel is right in the center of town, making it easy for you to explore. Dinner is on your own this evening.
Distance: 55 km (34 miles).
Lodging: Palazzo Galletti Abbiosi Hotel
Day 9: Ferrara
Highlights: Lunch at farm cooperative, Comacchio, bicycle capital of Italy--Ferrara
Feel free to explore more of Ravenna this morning before we pedal to a characteristic restaurant for lunch together in Comacchio, once one of the Adriatic's most important trading towns. On our way, it's a leisurely ride across the "valleys of Comacchio (the name given to the marshes surrounding the town)". These marshes make up a part of the Po Delta's rich bird habitats. Like Venice, Comacchio was built on a series of islands and it retains similar charms with gondolas plying the city's many canals. We'll shuttle from here to our destination today: Ferrara, a city known as the bicycle capital of Italy. We highly recommend taking some time to explore the town and its UNESCO World Heritage sites. Distance: 43 km (27 miles). Lodging: Hotel Carlton
Day 10: Po Delta
Highlights: Bicycling on quiet paths through the Po Delta
The estuaries of the Po River delta are some of Italy's best bird habitats. We'll pedal one of the more famous cycling routes of the region as we head east. Most of our ride is on quiet paths or roads today, so enjoy the stroll! Dinner together. Distance: 73 km (46 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Tessarin
Day 11: Bicycle to Venice
Highlights: Bicycle along the Venetian lagoon, fishing villages
Venice awaits today as you enjoy a leisurely ride along the Lidos of Pellestrina and Venice, islands that protect the Venetian lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. You'll follow these natural levees to reach our hotel on the Lido. Once at our hotel, you'll have time to head into town for an afternoon of sightseeing. Stroll St. Mark's Square and visit the Rialto Market, or take a gondola ride down the Grand Canal. Tonight we'll enjoy a final dinner together tucked away in Venice. Distance: 59 km (37 miles). Lodging: Hotel Atlanta Augustus
Day 12: Farewell
Highlights: Enjoy Venice, or continue exploring Italy!
After breakfast you're on your own to enjoy Venice and its remarkable cathedrals, canals, and museums. Or spend the day relaxing on the beach. Whatever you choose, enjoy!
HighlightsGourmet meals, Ravenna, Faenza, Florence, Pisa, Venice, LuccaKeep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.
Includes12 days, 11 nights accommodation, 7 dinners with wine, 2 lunches, & 11 breakfasts plus "The Usual""The Usual" (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)
Arrive/DepartPisa Galileo Galilei Airport (PSA), Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) or Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) / Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) or Milan
Total Distance516 - 542 km (322.5 - 339 miles)
Daily Distance42 - 84 km (26 - 52.5 miles)
Rating201 Rolling hills through Tuscany with a climb over the Apennines. Then enjoy a leisurely pedal along the Adriatic Coast. One of our most popular tours for cyclists!
TermsTerms & 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.
36 Hours in Venice
Tour Leader, Sara Verlicchi, shares her favorite spots in Venice.
Book review of Salt - with links to Venice
Rich Young reviews the improbable bestseller Salt and finds it to his liking
Book Review: A Novel of Hannibal
Public policy generally changes slowly and reluctantly. Major changes, however, often occur in response to sudden catastrophic or cataclysmic events that act as catalysts for change. Hannibal's invasion of northern Italy is a case in point.
Book Review: Attila: King of the Hun's
Rick's review of Patrick Howarth's book, which will help you to understand the context of Venice and Ravenna fit between East and West during the last decades of the Roman Empire.
Book review: Birth of Venus
Paola reviews The Birth of Venus, set in Florence
Book Review: Love and War in the Apennines
Rick reviews Eric Newby's book about his WW2 adventures in Italy
Book Review: Too Much Tuscan Sun
Rick reviews this book, subtitled 'Confessions of Chianti Tour Guide', by Dario Castagno
Family Bikes Across Italy
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How I Biked Across Italy in 12 Days
Traveler JR Meda shares his experiences biking across Italy in 2011.
Meet a Cycling Great!
How ExperiencePlus! customers met Aldo Ronconi, 1947 Tour stage winner, in a Bike Shop in Faenza, Italy.
Read about the first Bike Across Italy
The story of how ExperiencePlus! got its start.
Rick Reviews Tuscany's History and Geography
Our own Rick Price, Ph.D., has prepared a brief introduction to the history and geography of Tuscany.
- Rick's suggestions for cycling maps of Italy
- Shopping Tips
The Artist, the Philosopher & the Warrior
ExperiencePlus! traveler Bill Giovinazzo reviews the latest book from Paul Strathren.
What to do with 36 hours in Florence
The museum lover and art history buff will have their own list of what to visit in Florence. But for those who want a brief overview of the city and its art treasures, this short guide by Rick Price will help.
Women and Life in 16th-Century Venice
Paola's book, Moderata Fonte, chronicles a woman's life in 16th century Venice
Choosing Artisan Gelato
The Travel Belles have an article to help find the tastiest gelato in Italy
Italian Recipes from Paola
University of Oregon's Alumni Magazine highlights three of Paola's recipes
NPR's Splendid Table goes to Emilia-Romagna
Listen to the October 8th audio track and see pictures as Lynne takes us behind the scenes as no one else can - into balsamic attics and kitchens of legendary country restaurants. She takes us to a town where people still set a place at table for the composer Verdi and his music spills out into the street.
ExperiencePlus! has contracted with national fitness expert Joe Friel to create customized, day by day, training programs to ensure you are ready for your biking tour.
- The city of Florence in Wikipedia
- The city of Venice in Wikipedia
The Magic of Lucca
On her last day of the Little Tour cycling tour in Tuscany, Lois Moss discovers magic, flowers and a mystery to be remembered.
- 36 Hours in Venice
It was an honor and a joy to feel part of the Experience Plus extended, family celebrating the 40th anniversary. Thanks to management for all the celebratory dinners and the delightful tour and luncheon at the Fortress of Cycletude.Tamsen G., Cranbury, NJ
The perfect way to see Italy - enjoy the country itself and have opportunity to tour some historical features. The meals were outstanding, but I enjoyed them even more because we worked up an nice appetite. Loved my bike, (once I got used to it) now, goodness sake, I am going to have to replace the one I have been using at home.Carol G., Littleton, CO
This was a wonderful experience, one that I won't forget. If you have any way to take a tour with ExperiencePlus!, don't hesitate.Charlie P., Pasadena, CA