Do you love to bike? Then the Fucecchio Bike & Ride is the place to be the weekend of October 18-20!
The last stop of this year’s Slow Travel Fest is centered in Fucecchio, a splendid hamlet along the Via Francigena and Via Romea Strata not far from Florence. From Friday through Sunday October 18-20, the small town will be hosting many events focused on cycling and bike-tourism. You’ll have the chance to experience travel along these ancient travel routes by joining in on the group events planned. Participation in the weekend events is completely free (except for meals).
The event, a program by the Tuscany region and promoted by the European Association of the Vie Francigene, takes place over the three days with music, shows, workshops and, above all, collective bike rides that take place on the splendid routes that have crossed this area for hundreds of years. There are various rides planned that should work out for various fitness levels as well as preferences.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 18
The inauguration takes place on Friday at the Nuovo Teatro Pacini in Fucecchio, where the theatrical performance “Bartali Silent Hero” will pay homage to the great cycling legend Gino Bartali. The founder of the Eroica, Giancarlo Brocci, and Fucecchio mayor, Alessio Spinelli, will participate in the evening’s inauguration.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 19
Saturday will be dedicated to the Via Francigena with various routes for either gravel, mountain bikes or road bikes. There are 40k, 60k and 70k routes — on the website you can download the GPX routes with waypoints so that you can do the route on your own — but as a collective group you will all make a stop to enjoy the view of the extraordinary Pieve di Chianni in Gambassi Terme and of the surrounding Tuscan hills while eating lunch together (lunch at the Ostello Sigerico, €15, includes antipasto, first course, second course, dessert, wine and water). Upon the return to Fucecchio, passing through the hills of Montaione, cyclists will find an area set up to rest, with music and interesting meetings dedicated to exploring travel by bike, including bike packing.
The 70 km route has an altitude difference of 1200 m, while the 40km is just 500m. Both are for MTB on gravel roads.
The 60km route is the road bike version, and has an altitude difference of 1000m, best suited for fit cyclists. The circular route takes you from Fucecchio > San Miniato > Gambassi Terme > Montaione > Fucecchio, lunch is with the rest of the group at the Ostello Sigerico in Gambassi.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 20
Sunday is dedicated to two main events, the Francigena for Everyone, a route along the Via Francigena that can be enjoyed on bike as well as walking which is perfect for families to do with kids. The route starts in the center of Fucecchio and goes along the Padule (the largest remaining wetlands in all of Italy, today a natural protected oasis loved by birdwatchers) to arrive at the Ponte Mediceo, or Medici Bridge. It is a simple itinerary and includes lunch, music and entertainment at the end at the Ponte a Cappiano hostel right by the bridge. The walk is about 9km total. Lunch is extra to be paid on location, reservations are recommended 0571 242717.
The other main event is the bike ride along the Romea Strata Trail, with two lengths, a 40km (altitude difference 600m) and 60km (altitude difference 1000m). The route takes you along the hills where Leonardo da Vinci grew up, and is perfect for mountain bikes as it goes along the Montalbano hills.
The route back to Fucecchio is over the Cispiosa roads which host the areas’ vintage bike race once a year, then along the Padule di Fucecchio before arriving back in the center of town. Lunch stop is in Vinci (15€)
Sunday also has another bike ride along the roads called “On the Giro Road” which is 75km long. This year, the Giro d’Italia passed through Fucecchio passing through the San Baronto hills with many curves and lots of uphills and downhills. This event is a group ride, with a stop for lunch in Vinci as well.
At 4pm, back in the center of Fucecchio, you can participate in a bike mechanics workshop to make sure you know how to take care of all aspects of your bike, while at 5pm the weekend ends with a circus show by Ciro Cavallo, which will delight kids and adults alike!
SLOW TRAVEL FEST FUCECCHIO
All of events, except for food, are FREE.
You can check the weekends program with more details (and download gpx files) on the website: https://www.slowtravelfest.it/fucecchio/programma/
About Lourdes Flores
An American living in Florence for over 10 years, Lourdes continues to explore and discover new places in Tuscany with the eyes of a tourist but with the experience of living in Italy. She shares her experiences on this blog and website, particularly offering lots of travel planning help on the Forum!