Tuscany Cycle Siena & Chianti Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Italy
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
MWI
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

The Tuscan landscape is one of the most evocative and romantic in Europe with cypress trees lining the roads, olive groves, vineyards, ancient hill-top towns and, of course, classic Renaissance cities. Our group cycling tour is carefully planned to take in the best of Tuscany without feeling rushed: part of the joy of the Italian lifestyle is sitting and watching the world go by with a glass of wine in your hand! During the week we ride through diverse areas of Tuscany, such as the hills of Chianti and the beautiful countryside around Montepulciano. Riding north, we enter 'Le Crete', a wonderfully scenic region that's home to some of Tuscany's best towns and villages. We then enjoy Siena's magnificent Campo before biking past the towers of San Gimignano and onto our final destination in Florence. Following country roads wherever possible, we mix point-to-point and circular rides to make a perfect cycle tour of this region.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights at 3 star hotels with en suite facilities
  • 5 days cycling with partial vehicle support (limited seats)
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus leaders. Min age 16 years
  • 95% tarmac, 5% easy gravel roads

Trip Highlights

  • Explore the cultural cities of Siena and Florence
  • Enjoy famous Tuscan cuisine and wine
  • Visit some of Tuscany's most beautiful hilltop towns
  • Ride along the scenic country roads of classic Tuscany

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is classified Road. 
Activity Level: 3 (Moderate). 
Please see the introductory pages of the cycling holidays brochure or our website for more important information on classification and grading. 

This region is famous for its rolling hills, so be prepared for some climbing in places. This trip will require a moderate to good level of fitness as the area and rides are on undulating roads varying from 2km hills to 9km hill stretches on some days. 
Days 3 and 6 falls into the upper category of moderate grade riding, including some steep sections up to 10-25%.
Distances per day vary from 50-70km. There are no transfers to or from hotels on this trip: all the rides are designed to be door-to-door. 
We aim to use quieter country roads where possible, but sometimes we need to pass busy sections surrounding towns. The most scenic routes are on tarmac, with occasional stretches of dirt/gravel roads (locally known as 'white roads'). 


5 days cycling, average 58km/day (36 miles), full vehicle support.
Terrain: 95% tarmac, 5% easy gravel roads. Approx. 300 km in total.

Most days rides will be broken up by morning coffee, lunch and afternoon gelato stops. Usually section of 5-15 km will be done between re-grouping. The leader will keep the group together during busier/complicated sections, but on straight roads, cyclists are free to ride at their own pace. 

Summer months

Tuscany can be very hot during summer months, especially from June to August but heatwaves can happen also in April and May. During summer months temperatures can possibly reach high 30s (degC). We will try and start our days earlier, when possible, to avoid the hottest hours of the day but please be aware that temperatures and humidity will be high. You should feel comfortable and be used to cycle in the heat. Presence of mosquitos in summer may increase (significantly), we recommend taking mosquito repellent with you.

Please note that at times, especially during summer months, the inbound flight can be late in the evening. In this instance you will have additional time to spend in Pisa. Leader will take care of all arrangements in terms of transport from/to the airport and the city centre and luggage storage. It may also happen that, for logistical reasons, on return we will have to be at the airport earlier than normally scheduled. This will mean a longer waiting time before checking in. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

The trip has two leaders, one who cycles with the group and acts as a mechanic, helping with any bike problems. The other leader drives the support vehicle and support the group when cycling on point - to - point days. At the same time it transports the luggage from one hotel to the next.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
6
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start San Quirico.

    Start in the hilltop town of San Quirico D'Orcia, one of the most beautiful and charming medieval towns of the Orcia Valley.

  • Day 2

    Circular ride through classic Tuscan countryside via Pienza, the wine town of Montepulciano and thermal spa village of Bagno Vignoni.

    Today we head towards Pienza, a charming town full of history and culture. From here we cycle to the beautifully situated wine centre of Montepulciano, famous for its Vino Nobile. We then head towards the mediaeval village of Monticchiello and on to the well known thermal bath of Bagno Vignoni, before making our way back to the hotel.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 56 km / 35 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    854
    Altitude loss (m):
    854
  • Day 3

    Ride through vineyards and the walled town of Murlo to Siena.

    A classic day's riding, showing Tuscany at its most picturesque. Following back roads, we head out of San Quirico with a first stop at Montalcino. We then descend on the road to Buonconvento and ride back up to Murlo passing by Bibbiano. From here we ascend the short but steep Rospatoio Pass and take a lovely road section via Ville di Corsano, as we approach the splendid gothic city of Siena.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 69 km / 43 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    1202
    Altitude loss (m):
    1308
  • Day 4

    Free day in Siena to explore or relax.

    Siena is one of Italy's best-preserved medieval towns with one of the world's most gracious squares, the Campo. There is plenty to see in Siena and its sights are best explored on foot as the town is compact but hilly. There are many museums and buildings of interest to visit, such as the impressive Duomo. Alternatively you may choose to head out for an unguided ride. On the June 30th departure you will get the chance to be in Siena during the 'Palio Horse Race', one of Italy's most famous annual sporting events and experience the thrilling atmosphere around it. Held in honour of the Virgin Mary, ten of the city’s seventeen contrade, or districts, are represented by a horse and jockey in each race and will compete against each other during this event. It has been held in Siena’s civic hub, Piazza del Campo, since 1644 and local people get involved to a level that it is still common for ‘mixed-marriage’ couples to separate for the days leading up to and including the race if the contrada of the husband and wife both have a horse in contention.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Ride via Gaiole and Radda to Castellina in Chianti.

    From Siena we head directly into the heart of Chianti. Our picturesque route takes us via some lovely small villages and hamlets, as well as some spectacular vineyards and castles, such as that of Castello di Brolio. Here there is the option to taste some of the area's finest wines. We then cycle on to Gaiole for lunch and after a gelato stop in Radda, we follow our final section to Castellina in Chianti, where we stay for two nights.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 51 km / 32 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    989
    Altitude loss (m):
    733
  • Day 6

    Circular ride through the Chianti hills via towers of San Gimignano and Monteriggioni.

    From Castellina, we ride through rolling countryside before taking an amazingly scenic descent into the lower valley. From Poggibonsi we head towards the distant towers of San Gimignano, nestled between the hills and small hamlets. The Unesco town is one of the most visited and interesting sights in Tuscany; famous for its towers, Vernaccia wine & Safron. We spend a few hours enjoying the atmosphere, walking by the walls and admiring the town's high towers. Our return route involves a long but beautiful climb before reaching Castellina and enjoying a well deserved gelato. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 72 km / 45 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    1038
    Altitude loss (m):
    1038
  • Day 7

    Cycle to Florence via Panzano and Greve in Chianti.

    Our final spectacular ride passes through Panzano in Chianti towards the market town of Greve in Chianti. This is described as one of the most scenic roads which links Florence with Siena through the Chianti hills. Here we have time to admire the triangular piazza which hosts the famous Chianti wine festival before heading towards Strada and Impruneta, known for their local terracotta production. In Impruneta we stop for our lunch. We finish by taking a panoramic road towards Florence, cycling all the way to Piazzale Michelangelo for a final group shot. We will arrive in Florence in the early afternoon, giving you time to start exploring this wonderful city of the Renaissance including the Cathedral and Baptistry – the oldest building in the city. Also see the Ponte Vecchio, the superb bridge over the river Arno, lined with goldsmiths and the most famous symbol of the City.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 52 km / 32 miles
    Altitude gain (m):
    732
    Altitude loss (m):
    1230
  • Day 8

    End Florence.

    End in Florence. Please speak to our sales team if you would like to book extra nights in this magnificent city.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Accommodation

Hotels

You will spend 7 nights in family run and comfortable 3-star hotels. All accommodation have been carefully selected for their welcoming atmosphere and all rooms have en suite facilities. Some hotels have a swimming pool where we can relax after the long cycling days.

We can arrange single rooms throughout the trip (subject to availability). Please check with your sales consultant for availability and prices.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from 325.00 CHF

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts are included and are Continental in style, consisting of coffee or tea, cereals, cheese and cold meat, bread, pastries, yoghurt, jam and/or honey.

Italy’s cuisine is hearty, satisfying and full of flavour. Inspired by the kitchens of the nonna, Tuscany’s food is authentic and surprising – pizza and pasta are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the diverse array of unforgettable food you’ll find on this trip. Starters include antipasti of cured meats or a crustini di fegato made from toasted slices of bread with a chicken liver pate. Soups options are the zuppa di fagioli, with beans, or ribollita, a deliciously hearty vegetable and bread soup. The tagliatelle al tartufo brings the delicious flavors of truffles into a rich, luscious pasta dish whether the bistecca florentina, a mouth-watering t-bone steak takes centre stage for main course. End your meal with cantucci biscuits, dipped into a glass of vin santo, sweet dessert wine for a true taste of Tuscany. Vegetarians are well catered for in Italy. Please inform us of any dietary requirements at the time of booking.

Transportation

Your luggage is transferred from one hotel to the next using the support vehicle, which follows the group during the rides as well.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Italy has a good all year round climate, with plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures from the spring through to autumn. Summer departures will usually have hot weather, with temperatures reaching the low to mid 30s centigrade. April-June and September-October departures are likely to be cooler with a slightly higher chance of rain. In late summer there is the possibility of heavy thunderstorms (generally in the afternoons), but these are usually short-lived.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of British Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings.
Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in San Quirico and ending in Florence

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in San Quirico in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights.
Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

The start hotel is in San Quirico and is roughly 2.5 hours drive from Pisa airport, depending on traffic. It is a long journey to the start point and is recommended if possible to meet the group at Pisa airport in order to join the group transfer.

There are public transport options to get from Pisa to San Quirico independently, however connections may be limited. You can catch the bus from Pisa Airport (yellow bus Red line, directly outside arrivals hall to Pisa Centrale Station) or the train from Pisa Airport to Pisa Centrale station: tickets are available from the arrivals hall info point.Please take the train from Pisa to
Empoli and then change southbound towards Siena, to a station called Buonconvento. From here please take a taxi to Hotel Pallazuolo, this should cost in the region of €30.

If you wish to book a private arrival transfer through Exodus, please contact us before departure and we will be able to organise it for you. The cost will be approximately €300 payable locally.

Location start:
San Quirico
Location end:
Florence

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Cycling helmet (Compulsory on this trip)
Padded shorts and gloves                                                            Electrolyte sachets (to put in water during summer months) 
Sunglasses/eye protection
Stiff-soled shoes suitable for cycling
Waterproof jacket and long cycling trousers; warm top
Sunscreen

Optional Equipment

Swimming costume for swimming pools available at several hotels.

Equipment Hire

Local Bike Details: Ridgeback Element hybrid bikes, or similar.

Discount for bringing your own bike: £90.

A quality local hire bike is now included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.

2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.

3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment

4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Bringing Your Own Bike

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may of course bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount off the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra Bike Bits

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries we travel to wearing a helmet is already a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.

E-Bikes Available

Electric bikes offer all the thrills and healthy exercise of a regular bike, but with one crucial difference - power! A tiny electric motor (capped at 25mph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are just perfect if you want to try a trip with companions of differing fitness level - or a trip at a slightly harder grade - and want to know there’s a bit of motor power available if you need it.

Practical Information

Passport

Italy

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Italy

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance.

Local Time

Italy's Timezone:
Europe/Rome CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

Italy's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins.

Money

Italy's Currency

The national currency of Italy is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

 

ATM Availability

ATMs are available in most towns. Payment by credit card is normally fine, but they are not quite as widely accepted in restaurants as in the UK.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

For the meals not included, allow from €15 for lunch and from €20-35 for dinners. The exact amount spent depends entirely on the type of restaurant visited, and the menu chosen.

Optional sightseeing: 

Accademia Gallery in Florence: €18 (including €6.50 booking fee)
Siena Cathedral: €9 or €16 including crypt, baptistry, museum and viewpoint (including €1 booking fee)

Uffizi Gallery in Florence: €24 (including €4.00 booking fee).             If you would like to visit the Uffizi galleries we recommend that you prebook your ticket online to avoid lengthy queues. Tickets can be purchased through https://webshop.bticket.com/webshop/webticket/eventlist?production=1

LOCAL TAXES: many Italian cities have recently introduced a tourist tax for non-residents. The local administration is in charge of the tax, which will be collected by the accommodation provider at check-in or check-out. This fee varies depending on the hotel category, the season and number of days of stay. It is usually between €1.50 and €4.00 per person per night. For this trip, please allow between €15 and €20, depending on the season, for the week. In some cities, children and people aged 75 or over are exempt from this tax.

Tipping

Although optional, a tip for the leaders at the end of the trip is greatly appreciated. As a guideline we recommend a contribution of between €10 to €15 per client per leader. 

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.