Bikes can be hired from a friendly cycle hire shop just inside the city walls of Siena and from here you spend the next five or six days travelling through the vineyards, olive groves, villages, towns and country lanes of Tuscany.
The route we were given takes you through Chianti, Florence, San Gimignano and Colle di Val d'Elsa before completing the circuit back in Siena. The route presents you all manner of undulating hills as well as busy town centres and the culture and beauty of Florence. All the hotels we stayed at accomodated bikes and all luggage was taken by car and so was in your room ready at the hotel for when you arrived.
This is a great way to experience Tuscany and the bikes were also excellent for tackling some of the more challenging hills surrounding the vineyards.
Start at the Porta Santa Maria in the late afternoon. Bikes and tandems are available from local rental agents. Ride round the city on the ancient walls; join the locals of all ages cycling, talking, phoning, promenading round their wonderful city. Cut down into the town and cycle through the plazas, past the cathedrals and stop for some local sangiovese. It's the best way to combine culture and exercise for all the family.
Google map: bit.ly/apBU5g
A friend and I stayed with Mara and Franco for a week at their farmhouse accommodation - I wish it had been longer! The apartment was clean, typically Tuscan in style, and had all we required for a self-catering holiday. The location was beautiful and perfectly placed for visiting the surrounding area. Mara and Franco were perfect hosts, supplying us with their home grown produce and cooking us a Tuscan delight upon our arrival. The pool was fantastic especially as we had glorious weather. Volterra is a must as is Sienna.
The success of Podere Constantino is down to the owners Franco and Mara and their family who made us feel most welcome at their farmhouse. Nothing was too much trouble, from finding a map of the area, supplying more peaches and nectarines than we could eat (which were the best we had ever tasted), bringing us a bottle of local orange liqour and providing us with a three-course meal on the second night. Never had such attention at a holiday rental.
The position of the farmhouse is lovely over looking the Pisan hills with some great sunrises and sunsets down by the pool, where we spent a lot of our time!!
We hope to return next year because the farmhouse gave a good base to see places of interest as well as being pretty secluded. We loved all the local villages and visited San Gimignano and Volterra.
Versilia is known as the land of the sun and sea, but it offers so much more: this is a territory to discover exploring its various landscapes.
Numerous itineraries offer suggestions for revealing the variety of Versilia in all its richness...
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