Fly to Pisa; short transfer to the beautiful city of Lucca. The leaders will organise an optional group meal, taken at one of the city's great restaurants.
Gentle introductory ride around the foothills of Monte Pisano. This circular ride follows a clockwise route around the base of the Monti Pisani mountain range, passing a number of ancient fortified villages including Vicopisano and San Guilano Terme. Sections of today's route follow avenues of the architypal Roman Pine, so prevalent in this area and which offer a beautifully shady route in the heat of the summer. In the late afternoon, we will return to the hotel where you have time for a shower before we take a short transfer to the nearby city of Pisa. Here you will have a chance to explore at leisure and take an optional climb to the top of the world famous tower. Many of the tourists who visit Pisa leave in the late afternoon so we will have a chance to see Pisa at its best. The leaders will organise an optional group meal, taken at one of the city's great restaurants, before taking a transfer back to Lucca. Distance cycled 65km
Today we set off on a linear ride through the beautiful wine-making region of Colline Luccese en route to the thermal spa town of Montecatini Terme. Our route climbs and descends gently as far as the ancient silk making town of Pescia, where we will stop for lunch. After lunch we will head into the bigger hills and climb up as high as the village of Goraiolo, located at 760m, which has fantastic views down towards southern Tuscany. From here a beautiful hairpinned descent drops off the higher hills and back down to the bottom of the valley and our overnight stop in the thermal spa town of Montecatini Terme. Distance cycled 56km
Our route today takes us south of Montecatini Terme into the rolling countryside famous for it's vineyards, twisty rural roads and stunning hilly countryside. One of the highlights of the day is visiting the beautiful hilltop town of Vinci, birthplace of Leonardo Da Vinci. Here you will have to chance to visit the Museo Leornardiano Vinci which houses reconstructed models of a lot of Leonardo's inventions. In the afternoon we continue along gently undulating terrain back to Montecatini, where you should have time to visit one of the many thermal spas that are located throughout the town. Distance cycled 70km
Today we head into the higher mountains with some challenging climbing including the 735m Foce de Trebbi. The day starts gently, heading along the side of the valley to the medieval hill town of Collodi. From here we commence the climb up to the Foce de Trebbi, which starts gently but then becomes steper up to the pass itself. Once we've recovered from our exertions we head downhill on a hairpinned descent to the thermal spa town of Bagni di Lucca where we will have lunch. After lunch we will head northwards up the side of the Serchio river valley and into the area of the Garfagnana (which means Land of the Enchanted Forest in the ancient Etruscan language). At the end of the afternoon there is a short sharp climb up to the hilltop city of Barga with its beautiful hilltop cathedral and stunning views across the Serchio Valley towards the Alpi Apuane mountains. From here we take a short transfer up the valley to the market town of Caslenuovo di Garfagnana. Distance cycled 58km
For our last day's riding we've planned a suitable finale, heading up into the Alpi Apuane mountains. We warm up gently, riding north from Castlenuovo up the Serchio Valley through a number of small hillside villages with amazing views across to the Appenine Mountains. Once we get to the village of Poggio, we turn west and climb gently up into the valley of Lago di Vagli. This beautiful mountain lake was created in the 1950's as a hydro-electric lake and is surrounded by stunning peaks of the Alpi Apuane range. At the head of the valley, at the village of Vagli Sotto we will take a break before climbing steeply up to the ancient shepherd's village of Campocatino where we will take lunch. The climb is quite tough in places and steepens up towards the top, but the views are stunning and hopefully make the climb feel more worthwhile! From Campocatino we have a dramatic hairpinned descent down into the Gorfigliano Valley, past a number of villages which specialise in stone carving from the nearby Carrara Marble quaries. At the end of the valley, we climb gently through beech forest to a short road tunnel where we leave the Garfagnana. The road twists and turns down the mountain through numerous tiny hillside villages until we arrive in the larger village of Casola in Lunigiana. Here we climb aboard the support vehicle and drive approximately 2 hours to our last hotel in the coastal town of Levanto. Distance cycled 50km
What better way to finish the trip than by walking along the incredible coastal footpath which links together the five fishing villages that make up the Cinque Terre. Today we will explore the beautiful Cinque Terre region, recently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area comprises five small villages, all but one of which are located at sea level, linked together by a railway line and a beautiful coastal footpath. We will first travel south from our hotel in Levanto by train to the village of Riomaggiore and then follow the coastal footpath back north to Monterosso Al Mare. From Monterosso we will return to Levanto by train. The villages each have their own characteristics and are full of tiny shops selling local produce, cafes and bars and it is the perfect area to relax in for the last day of your trip.
Transfer to Pisa; fly to London.