Posts Tagged ‘First’

Planning a Cycling trip to Italy? Read this first!

Italy is one of the most frequently visited European destinations for bicycle touring.  Many cyclists fill the bicycle paths and country roads, so you will not find yourself alone.  It is suprising to hear that Italians go very gentley when passing cyclists, so don’t let there reputation for fast driving put you off.

Italy and it’s top 5 bicycle touring regions

Tuscany – For everyone that bicycle tours this region is on the must do list.  In this region there are no signed bicycle routes, but between the major towns there are many quiet and scenic roads which are well signed. As you bicycle tour through the hills covered with either bright red poppies or sunflowers, depending on the season, you can expect some major climbs.

When your cycling In the southern Tuscany, your area is between Montalcino, Montepolciano and Cortona.  When you are on your bicycle tour in central Tuscany, it will be in the area between Florence and Siena which also includes the wine region of Chianti and also San Gimignano.  In the area around Lucca, which is in the north is where the best cycling is found.
You can either join the three legions in one long journey or base yourself in a villa for daily trips. 

Umbria – is right next door to Tuscany which are often combined to make a bicycle touring journey which is longer and includes both regions. Perugia, is where cyclists should head for, which for chocolates, it’s quite well known, and also the religious centre of Assisi. Tuscany is a region of hills, like Umbria, so be ready for some very nice climbs.

Puglia – Bicycle touring is found along the rugged Adriatic coastline, and a little northeast of Umbria is Puglia.  Great Italian seafood is what you can expect to find along your way. 

Also found along the countryside are charming white walled villages, and also featured are
olive grove plantations.

Veneto – This area may be a suprise due to the excellent scenery and historic towns, and the terrain of this area is mostly flat. There are a number of bicycle paths for the cyclist, unlike some of the other regions.  Taste the famous liqueur made in In Bassano del Grappa; great wines and elegant homes are found in Asolo; Villas which are really palaces is what Stra is known for. One of the worlds oldest universities and some ancient museums is what Padua is known for.  Then there is also Venice, where you can both cycle and visit along the islands of the Lido area.

Piemonte – This northern bicycle touring region is not as well known, and it offers along quiet roads, a rolling terrain.  Medieval towns surrounded by vineyards with the Alps in the background, is what this region is most well known for.  Fine truffles, cheeses and the excellent chocolates can be enjoyed along your journey. 

From May to June or September to October, is the best time to go bicyle touring in any of these regions.  Go to the land you always dreamed about, Italy, for your next European bicycle tour.  It will be everything you ever dreamed of and more.

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Tuscany, Italy: The First Tuscans

Tuscany is named after the Etruscan people who lived here centuries before the region was conquered by ancient Rome. Over 2500 years ago, long before anybody had heard of Julius Caesar, and back when Rome was just a small town, the Etruscan civilization flourished in this part of Italy. What little we know about the Etruscans we’ve learned mostly from their fresco-covered tombs. For more information on the Rick Steves’ Europe TV series — including episode descriptions, scripts, participating stations, travel information on destinations and more — visit

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First timer’s guide to Tuscany

Tuscany is a region in Italy with the regional capital Florence. It is majorly rural area, covered with vineyards, olive groves and forests. There are mountains and valleys and sea on one side.

The best time to visit Tuscany is May, September and October, ie during the spring season. During the summers, without rain, Tuscany becomes too hot and humid. In winters, the days might be pleasant, but nights become extremely cold. The most hot and humid month in Tuscany is July, hence better not to travel in the month.

Traveling to Tuscany is easier by air. There are international flights upto Milan or Rome, and there are cabs for hire from there to reach any destination in Tuscany. Tuscany is approximately three hours drive from Milan or Rome. Florence, Pisa and Grosseto have rail stations, so you can reach the area by train as well.

Suites are available at very reasonable cost in most of the Tuscany hotels. Cortona hotels come highly recommended. If you do not want to stay in a hotel, you can make your Tuscany vacations memorable by opting to stay in a farmhouse as well. Staying in a farmhouse gives you an opportunity to live life the Tuscany way- helping with the chores of the farmhouse, enjoying home cooked food and seeing places as well.

When in Tuscany there are a lot of things to do. Every town in Tuscany has a cathedral. Every one of them is very beautiful that you cannot miss even one of them. The leaning tower of Pisa is a symbol of Italy known worldwide. In Florence, there is David, Michelangelo’s masterpiece. The best art collection of renaissance may be seen in Uffizi gallery. There are several castles spread around in Tuscany as well. You can pay a visit to them and experience several hundreds of years in the past. There are vineyards and areas which are famous for their wines. It is worthwhile paying a visit to the vineyard and tasting some of the best wines in the world. You may spend some time relaxing at the beach and if interested in marine biology, visit the marine parks. If interested in cooking, there are cooking classes offered of the Tuscany cuisine. And if your intention of the vacation is of leisure, then there are health spas. If you are the adventurous type, there are games as well. Windsurfing, paragliding, mountain biking and trekking are all offered under professional guidance.

Visiting Tuscany at least once is absolutely necessary. It is a vacation you are never going to forget. Holidays in Tuscany is where the time stands still and you feel rejuvenated inside out.

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The farm house Il Cafaggio at Valdottavo in Tuscany, near Lucca, Italy

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