Make your own way to Pisa. This UNESCO World Heritage city is known all over the world for the iconic leaning tower but offers a whole host of other monuments, museums and galleries to discover. If you have time be sure to take in a walking tour of the city, and enjoy an aperitivo in one of the city's lively bars.
Easy cycling as you pedal northwards along the River Serchio. For those who would like to extend their route, it is possible to cycle to Massaciuccoli Lake before reaching the well-preserved Renaissance town of Lucca. The town is well known for its high quality olive oil produced in the region, and there are plenty of places in which you can choose to sample some of the delicious rustic cuisine. N.B the longer distance available today is 45km / 28 miles
Cycling along a panoramic road you reach the small village of Collodi and the town of Pescia. In Collodi, where the author of Pinocchio spent his childhood, you can visit the famous Pinocchio's Park (created in 1962) and the aristocratic Villa Garzoni. In Pescia there is time to enjoy a stroll around the town, discovering churches, palaces, Renaissance mansions and the local flower street market.
Free day in which you can relax in one of the most famous thermal cities in Europe; taking the cable-railway to the top of the hill and strolling along the narrow lanes of the old city. Alternatively cycle a picturesque itinerary (approx. 60km) through beautiful countryside, discovering olive groves, vineyards and historical farms. Highlights of this route include the villas of the Medici family, and Vinci which is Leonardo da Vinci's birthplace and has a museum dedicated to the artist.
You have two choices today; either cycle directly from Montecatini, or take a short train transfer to Pistoia, a city rich in Romanesque and Renaissance monuments and with one of the most evocative squares in Italy: Piazza del Duomo. From here get back on the saddle, through the Tuscan flatland to reach Florence, where some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world are housed in the city's museums, palaces and churches. N.B the longer distance available today is 65km / 40 miles
Enjoy a free day in Florence. Meander down enchanting streets, marvel at the cathedral or climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte for a spectacular view. The historical city centre is surprisingly small, but incredibly rich in detail, architecture and monuments, so you will be spoiled for choice!
Today you can choose to either pedal directly from Florence to Empoli and take a train on to Pisa, or take a train from Florence to Empoli and ride to Pisa along the river Arno. Arrive in Pisa with time to enjoy this lively, friendly city. N.B the longer distance available today is 40km / 25 miles
Departure after breakfast.
* 6 nights 3 and 4-star hotels, 1 night 2-star hotel * 5 days cycling (including 1 optional ride) with luggage transfers * 88% tarmac, 12% unpaved * Mainly flat roads with some undulation * Option to take the train to make the route shorter on days 3, 5 and 7 * Self-guided holiday. Min age 12 yrs
All breakfasts are included. However, please note that the typical Italian breakfast is light, and often consists of a cup of coffee and a cream-filled or jam-filled croissant. It is always advisable to visit a local shop or supermarket before riding to pick up water and snacks for the day. Suggestions of what to do for lunch and dinner are given in the information material provided. Tuscan food is based around the notion of cucina povera, or 'poor cooking'. Simple, inexpensive meals are made using fresh, high-quality, local ingredients to bring out the natural flavours. Dishes are traditionally hearty and you will find mouth-watering soups and stews made with beans and local meats appearing on all menus, paired with a glass of the local Chianti of course! Tuscany is famous for its truffles, mushrooms and homegrown olive oil, and you will also find a variety of delicious breads as an accompaniment to most meals. It is impossible to offer an exhaustive list of suggestions for 'must-try' dishes, but here are a few recommendations: Panzanella - a cold bread salad made using the simple ingredients of unsalted bread, tomatoes, red onions, basil, olive oil, vinegar and salt Lardo di Colonnata - cured meat generally served as a starter Cacciucco - fish stew, or soup Lampredotto - a stew using the fourth stomach of a cow, cooked in a broth and often found served as street food Castagnaccio - a traditional cake made with chestnut flour Wine lovers will be spoilt for choice, and each town generally has its own wine, so if the choice becomes overwhelming, it is simple enough to go for the vino della casa (house wine) which will likely be a delicious Tuscan table wine.
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