Tuscany Bike Tours, Tuscany Bicycle and Wine Tours
Speed limits in Italy will be clearly marked and the Rotary will be a welcome site with its directions to various towns. Gassing up is similar to US with credit card and automatic shut-off at modern pumps. Car rental are available in all large cities . Italian law states that you should have an International Driving Permit although the rental car companies will ask only for your home State drivers license and passport
Information for those Renting a vehicle in Rome
What To Wear in Italy:
Rome is warm year round so you can keep your wardrobe simple to travel light and flexibly.
Rome and Florence are sophisticated cities and could require formal dress in some restaurants (Necktie suit jacket, dress) The hilltop towns will be casual dress throughout.
Rome has a climate similar to the mid USA at sea level, cool Dec. and Jan. 40s but no ice or snow, warm summers, June July August, 80s possible light rain in Spring.
Pisa is north of Rome on the Mediterranian Coast Best months May June, September October. Crowded July August
biking but the best bet for those that will be in Tuscany for a short visit of a week or less will be to go with a guided hike or a guided bike trip.
The tours go from village to village and will arrange lodging,transportation, wine tastings, gourmet meals and visits to wineries and wine cellars.
Self guided hiking is an option but the trails are not well marked. Even in Cinque Terre, north of Tuscany where hiking is a main tourist draw, it is possible to go astray unless you have a good map.
The best bet is to book a hiking or biking tour or use one of the good hiking books like, "Walking And Eating in Tuscany and Umbria" as a guide.
Other Hiking Books listed below
You can create your own good day hike at any of the many hill towns. Park in the lot far below the town and then hike up to the top where you find the plaza, the town center, perhaps a restaurant, a wine cellar, or an interesting medieval church.
Tuscany is a largely agricultural region of rolling hills and intensive farming of grapes (September October harvest) or sun flowers (Ripe in mid June). and wheat.
Low mountains make up a large portion of Tuscany and offer some good day hikes, especially near the hilltop towns or on the outskirts of the towns.
Tuscany Photos by Len Delory
Tuscany occupies nearly 9000 square miles of north central Italy north of Rome.
Sections of several of Tuscany's notable places including the Val d'Orcia Artistic, Natural and Cultural Park near Castelmuzio in Sienna have been made UNESCO Sites and thus are protected from development:
Other protected sites Central Florence, the central square and Cathedral of Pisa, the center of Sienna, San Gimignano's central plaza, and the town of Pienza.
Castiglione d'Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani and San Quirico d'Orcia, make up the Val d'Orcia
Tuscany and its fertile valleys was first settled in 1500 BC. Later in the 8th century BC the Etruscans settled the area and gave it its name.
Many museums in the area have Etruscan artifacts, sophisticated pre-Roman art involving advanced metallurgy.
By the 2nd century BC, the Romans had taken control of Tuscany.
Art and Architecture
The cities of Tuscany, particularly Florence and the wealth of its merchants, gave momentum to the Renaissance. The wealthy merchants of Pisa, a port city, and of Florence, commissioned works by great masters that now reside in the museums. Architectural masterpieces in Florence and Pisa resulted from the success of Tuscan bankers and merchants during the Renaissance. Illustrious Tuscans were Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Galileo, and the painter, Botticelli.
The Medici, a banking family from Florence, commissioned many works of art.
A hike to the hilltop town can be a good day hike with a picnic at the top
Tuscany Hiking Books
Walking in Tuscany: Tuscany, Umbria, Latium, Elba and Chianti Trail
Walking And Eating in Tuscany and Umbria
"50 Hikes In & Around Tuscany: Hiking the Mountains, Forests, Coast & Historic Sites of Wild Tuscany & Beyond"
"A Culinary Traveller in Tuscany: Exploring and Eating"
"The Most Beautiful Villages of Tuscany"
"Village Walks: Tuscany: 50 Adventures on Foot " (City Walks)
For a one day guided bike tour out of Florence www.ibiketuscany.com/
Single and multi day tours, Florence and Sienna www.bikingtuscany.it/
A Tuscany day hike or bike ride to the top of the hilltop village can offer some sights and good views of the valleys.
Castiglione d'Orcia, Montalcino, Pienza, Radicofani and San Quirico d'Orcia, make up the Val d'Orcia Artistic, Natural This region is noted for agricultural tourism. Visitors can lodge in a farm house, vineyard or other rural setting with a family. This opens great hiking and biking opportunities.
‘If you are looking for a great selection of places to stay with discount prices, visit Florence Hotels for more information’.
Tuscany Bike Tours and Tuscany Bicycle and Wine Tours are best bets for visitors on a short visit.
Tuscany guided bike trips can include wine tasting and culinary adventures while guests bike from village to village with prearranged dining and lodging.
A guided tour such as La Dolce Vita Wine Tours gives the best dining and wine tasting option on a biking or hiking tour
Tuscany Hotel and Villa Vacation Rentals: Prices, Guest Reviews, Photos, Maps
Tuscany Off the Tourist Track
Castelmuzio is an out of the way hill town in Sienna that centers several other seldom visited hill towns. This once fortified hill town could make a good base for hiking or biking trips.. The town has its own charm with good views and still has remnants of the early forts.
Bus Service .
One road through Castelmuzio is called Via Degli Etruschi, the old Etruscan road. Nearby find the Roman era church of Santo Stefano.
Hike or bike north to the village of Montisi, (2 miles) a Medieval hilltop village (pop 400) Named for the Etruscan god Isis. Notable now for the study of harpsichord music.
From the road you have a view ot the strange landscape of the Crete Senesi, clay deposits from an ancient sea. .
Another hike or bike ride takes you west and north to the village of San Giovanni d'Asso. (6 miles)
From there you can drive or bike west to the village of Chiusure (11 miles)
Hike to the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore where there is interesting paintings and carved altars.
From Castelmuzio you can hike or bike east to the village of Petroio. (3 miles) This village is notable for making terracotta pots.
East from Castelmuzio you can continue to Montefollonico. (12 miles)From there drive further east and south to visit the hilltop town of Montepulciano, (10 additional miles)
A good day hike is to park below the hilltop town of Montepulciano and hike up to the top. (605 meters Alt)
Andrea della Robbia terracotta altar art in the Santa Maria delle Grazie church and two notable wines mark this Renaissance town.
Further west, follow the SP-146 south and west to the E-35 or A-1, north/south highway at the crossroad for Chiusi and the National Etruscan Museum.
Tuscan Hill Towns Good Day Hikes
Anghiari, Nearby Nature Preserve
San Gimgnano, Wine
Sarteano: hilltop castle Etruscan tombs in the hills
Monteriggioni, fortified 12 th century hill town near Siena with 84 residents
San Quirico D'Orcia
Hike in the Crete and visit this 12 century fortified town