August 30, 2009, 06:11 PM
Cycling in Florence/Chianti
Hello! My boyfriend and I are embarking on a whirlwind work/vacation trip to Tuscany and northeastern Italy during the 3rd week of September. We definitely want to spend some time in the countryside, specifically in the vicinity of some wineries . Due to time and budgetary restrictions, renting a car isn't an option, but from what we've read, spending a day cycling would be just about perfect. The day in question starts and ends in Florence. So my question is: does anyone have any tips/suggestions for bike day-routes that loop through the Chianti countryside? We'd like to visit a winery or two (are they okay with sweaty cyclists coming for tastings?) and see some of the landscapes. Elsewhere on this site (http://www.discovertuscany.com/tuscany-by-bike/), it says that cycle itineraries are given, but they appear to have been removed.
And I know there are lots of places to rent bikes in Florence, but does anyone have a favorite? Or ones to avoid?
Thanks so much!
August 31, 2009, 11:46 AM
I apologize for the missing itineraries on the Tuscany by bike section, I just haven't had the time to publish them yet!
The Chianti area is actually my favourite destination for bike trips, and it's quite pleasant to bike as the uphills are usually not too steep and the views are great. Late September should also be the perfect time for cycling in Tuscany.
There are 2 main roads you can take from Florence to go to Chianti and back:
- the via Senese/Cassia (SR 2) starting from Porta Romana in Florence and passing through Galluzzo
- the Chiantigiana Road (SR 222) starting from viale Europa in Florence
One classic trip that I do is start from Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence, go to Porta Romana, then proceed toward Galluzzo, Tavarnuzze, Falciani. From here, I leave the Sienese road and take the via del Ferrone (passing through Ferrone and Passo dei Pecorai). After that I meet the Chiantigiana Road that I take to Greve in Chianti. I usually than go on at least until I reach Panzano in Chianti, then head back on the Chiantigiana road passing through Strada in Chianti, Grassina, Ponte a Ema to return into Florence.
This trip is around 80 km and mostly flat (some uphill to reach piazzale Michelangelo, a long but not steep climb to reach Panzano, and again from Greti to Spedaluzzo). It usually takes me around 3.30 hours, stopping only to take some pictures and to refill my water bottle (lots of fountains along the way).
Approaching Greve there are several wineries where you can have wine tastings, like the Castello di Verrazzano, between Greti and Greve. I think the area with most wineries is the one around Greve in Chianti.
You will, of course, have to take some detours from the main roads. I'm pretty sure they don't mind if you are a little sweaty
I'll do my best to publish the detailed itinerary this week, and possibly a longer one that I just did this last Saturday, so that I can give you more info. For now I'm attaching the kmz file so that you can visualize the trip on Google Earth.
About where to rent bikes in Florence I can suggest www.florencebybike.it or www.probike.it. The first is more central, I know they work a lot renting bikes to tourists. Probike is where I bought my bikes, they're really nice and professional, ask for Piero or Gianni.
September 2, 2009, 06:52 AM
Thanks for the great advice! I mapped your suggestions out on google, and I think any choice we make will be a good one . I've also started looking at some hostels in the area, which are cheaper and out of the city--there are buses that run from Florence down into that area at least until the evening, right?
I'll be sure to post any new favorite wineries when we get back .
September 3, 2009, 12:01 AM
Yes, there are SITA buses (www.sitabus.it) that go from Florence to the Chianti area up until around 20.30. You can check the timetable here: http://www.acvbus.it/orari/365.pdf
If you plan to move by bus and bike maybe you should look into finding accommodation close to the via Chiantigiana, or better in a town like Greve. If you are interested in an apartment, take a look at www.florencehills.com, they have a nice apartment right in the center of Greve in Chianti.
It would be great if you could share your experience afterwards
October 8, 2009, 05:53 AM
Well, we ended up with only half a day to bike around, but it was lovely nonetheless. We rented from Florence By Bike, and they were really nice and helpful. We left Florence via the Porta Romana and took our time through all the towns to 222; coming back north, we managed to get lost, so we saw more of the southeastern fringes than we originally planned .
I can't wait to go back!
October 9, 2009, 10:02 AM
Ciao, thank you for sharing with us your biking experience !
I'm sorry you got lost coming back into Florence, happens to me as well when I bike new roads -- but that adds a bit of adventure to each outing after all