Why cycle the Via Francigena in Tuscany?

val-dorcia-vineyards-cycling-tuscany-italy-via-francigena-waysWhy cycle the Via Francigena in Tuscany?

Tuscany is world-renowned as being one of the most beautiful parts of Italy. The Via Francigena route, which passes through Tuscany, offers the perfect opportunity to experience the region by bike. The Via Francigena passes through Tuscany as the Via travels from Canterbury to Rome. Along the way, you will be immersed in a region of tranquillity and outstanding beauty, with the bonus of offering some of the world’s most incredible food and wine. So, why cycle the Via Francigena in Tuscany?

For any cycle racing fans, much of the route may be familiar. The white gravel roads over which the Via Francigena passes constitute a significant feature of the Strade Bianche cycle race, which takes place every March. It’s hard to picture Tuscany without thinking of these roads rolling over low hills between wheat fields, vineyards, olive groves and the Poplar trees, which are synonymous with the region. These roads are as much a part of the landscape as they are a product of functionality. By cycling through Tuscany, you will become part of the landscape as you take in the region’s sights, sounds, and smells and feel the breeze on your face.

Most of the Via Francigena in Tuscany follows gravel roads, but some sections of single-track roads through woods and farms exist. These gravel roads have shallow volumes of traffic. Along the way, you will pass farmhouses and churches and pass through the stunning towns of San Gimignano, San Miniato, Monteriggioni and Siena. San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage site and could be viewed as a medieval metropolis due to its many towers. Monteregionni is a work of architectural beauty that sits atop a small hill that can be seen for miles. Siena has to be one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. It is crammed with incredible architecture that surrounds the Piazza del Campo. The Piazza is where the famous Palio horse race occurs twice a year. It’s also a great place to sit with a coffee or a glass of wine and watch the world go by as you recover from your day cycle.


The route has flat sections but has many ups and downs. While there are some relatively steep climbs, they are generally quite short, and you will be rewarded with stunning views and beautiful medieval hilltop towns and villages. When descending steep rocky paths and gravel tracks, it’s best to sit back in the saddle so your bike isn’t front-heavy. You should also gently use both brakes together. It is probably best to have some cycling experience but it is not essential. You should bring a waterproof jacket, sunglasses and padded cycling shorts, making the journey easier. If you don’t fancy wearing lycra, many types of casual shorts are now available with padding for cycling. You should also bring a puncture repair kit and/or spare tubes and tyre levers. In Italy, helmets are not required by law, but we always advise people to wear them. A mini-tool kit with Allen keys and some spanners is always a valuable thing to have when cycling. It is essential to be able to fix a puncture or other minor problems with your bike, as there will be points where you may not be near a bike shop. Having said that, most towns are well supplied with bike shops if you need to have something fixed or if you need to buy something.


From a food point of view, Tuscany is a cyclist’s dream. Plenty of delicious pasta, risotto, pizza, fresh fruit and vegetables will keep you fueled. Italy is also an excellent location for vegetarians, as a significant emphasis is placed on tasty meat-free dishes. The region is, of course, famous for its Chianti wine, which makes a beautiful accompaniment to a bowl of hearty Tuscan bean stew. San Miniato is world-renowned for its Black Truffles, and the extra virgin olive oil of the area is so good that when combined with fresh bread, it could be a meal in itself. You will see many world-class ice creams along the way, so why not treat yourself after a day in the saddle? And don’t forget, if you need a pick-up, Tuscany has some of the best coffee in the world.

Due to its relative gentleness, excellent condition of the route, and relatively traffic-free nature, this part of the Via Francigena is ideal for families and inexperienced cyclists. If you feel that our cycling itinerary may be too demanding for you, why not try our walking itinerary by bike? This will allow you to experience and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of Tuscany without the effort becoming too much.

Contact our travel specialists for more information about cycling the Via Francigena through Tuscany or to book your Via Francigena, Camino to Rome holiday.

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