A Taste of Tuscany Self-Guided Cycling Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Destinations:
Italy
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
C07ST
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: 13

Trip Overview

This is not just a cycling holiday it is an immersion into local Tuscan life, from a cookery class to hot thermal spa baths and the chance to taste local wines and olive oils. Sample the Vino Nobile of Monepulciano, rich Pecorino cheese in Pienza or take a bath in Roman Bagno Vignoni.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights single centre accommodation
  • All buffet breakfasts and 4-course evening meals
  • Management by local hotelier
  • High quality mountain bikes
  • GPS route directions and maps
  • Wine, olive oil and local produce tasting
  • One Spa entrance
  • One Cookery class

Trip Highlights

  • Fabulous insight into traditional Tuscan life: the food, the wine, the culture
  • Exhilarating cycling across the UNESCO Val d'Orcia
  • Delicious classic Tuscan cuisine and cookery class
  • Visit the wine and cheese towns of Montepulciano and Pienza
  • Warm and welcoming agriturismo with a passionate owner

Is This Trip for You?

Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation and provide you with route directions so that you can cycle at your own pace. The hotelier, Stefano, will be there to meet you and will be available, throughout the trip, should you need assistance.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route directions contain an emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotelier will be able to arrange a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. The hotelier, Stefano, is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to go through the routes and point out particular places of interest. Please note: the cycling transfers included in this tour are subject to a minimum of 2 people (in total) booked on the departure. A supplement (payable in advance) to cover these transfers and sole occupancy of a room will apply if only 1 person is travelling on a departure date.

Adult min age:
13
Child max age:
12

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Chianciano Terme
End City:
Chianciano Terme

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Chianciano Terme

    Arrive at the Agriturismo La Pietriccia and enjoy a stroll to the old town, before your evening briefing by the owner, Stefano, and the first of many home cooked dinners. (Staying at the Agriturismo La Pietriccia for 7 nights, Half Board)

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    The Lakes Circuit

    Start the week with mountain views and forest tracks as you head to the small town of Montallese and on to Lake Chiusi. After a lunch-break take the long distance path of Sentiero della Bonifica to the Lake of Montepulciano, a nature reserve ideal for bird-watching before heading back to the agristurismo in time for dinner.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 41 km / 25.5 miles
  • Day 3

    Radicofani

    You will be transferred to Radicofani, the highest point in the Val d'Orca, for incredible views. From here cycle to Contignano, famous for its pecorino cheese and a perfect spot for lunch before a downhill stretch through the forest and past the beautiful private gardens of La Foce. The back to the agristurismo in time for wine and local produce tasting in the old town before dinner.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 34 km / 21 miles
  • Day 4

    Sarteano Loop

    Descend along country tracks passing a truffle-growing area before crossing the Astrone stream. Cycle through beautiful valleys to the medieval town of Sarteano before carrying on to Cetona, then climb to Mondo X where you can find one of the best restaurants in Italy, La Frateria - a beautiful convent started by St Francis in 1212. Head back to your hotel in time for your dinner.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 39 km / 24 miles
  • Day 5

    Afternoon Cookery Course

    Spend the day relaxing or walk into Chianciano Terme. On your way back to the hotel you could use you thermal spa voucher and relax in the healing waters. In the afternoon begin your cookery class where you will learn classic Italian techniques and eat the meal you prepare for dinner.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 6

    Montepulciano Circle

    Cycle through acres of vineyards on your way to Montepulciano and stop to take in views of the famous Mount Amiata. Explore Montepulciano's winding medieval streets before cycling back to Chianciano.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 36 km / 22 miles
  • Day 7

    Pienza and Bagno Vignoni

    After a short transfer to Pienza take time to explore the town - it is one of the cheese capitals of Italy - and its beautiful medieval historic centre. Perhaps pick up a sandwich filled with porchetta or a slab of rich and creamy Pecorino. The ride takes you downhill to cross one of the stunning plains of the Val d'Orcia, and a short detour takes you to Roman Bagno Vignoni with its roman baths and sulphur springs. Follow a long straight Roman road then cross the valley and climb up and down into Chianciano.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 35 km / 22 miles
  • Day 8

    Leave Chianciano Terme

    Leave Chianciano Terme.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotel

Your base for the week is the modest but comfortable Agriturismo La Pietriccia, which stands on a hill with great views of Chianciano Vecchia. Stefano who runs the agriturismo will welcome you with his enthusiasm for everything to do with nature in the surrounding area. He will also lead the cookery course for you during your stay, and teach you all about the artisan products in the local area. The hotel produces 65% of what it serves on your table, and is surrounded by its own farm and orchards. There is a lovely terrace and swimming pool and lovely shady grassy area that looks out across the valley, where in the heat of summer you can take your dinner outside.

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

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £294.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

Tuscan food is based on the Italian idea of 'cucina povera' (poor cooking); simple inexpensive meals that can be made for large groups. Whilst this was once dictated by the economy and expense of the produce, the tradition has remained. The cuisine of this region doesn't use complicated seasonings or elaborate recipes, and instead focuses on fresh, high quality ingredients that allow the natural flavours in each dish to shine through. Typical dishes include fagioli con salsiccia (cannellini beans with sausage), tagliatelle al tartufo (pasta in a truffle sauce) bistecca Fiorentina (a T-bone steak often large enough to share!), pici (a fat, handmade spaghetti, often served with tomato and garlic sauce or game meat). Don't miss the local cacio and pecorino cheeses, and sample the famous wines: Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

April and May departures can expect warm days, although rain is always possible. Nights may still be rather cool. Early June is similar, with the days becoming progressively hotter and the evenings much warmer. September and October are cooler and wetter, yet visibility is usually better. We strongly recommend a fleece-lined jacket or warm sweater in May, September and October.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Alternative Air Travel
Alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports. If you would like to use one of the many 'low cost' airlines, we can book these on your behalf (£30 admin fee per person). We can also book UK shuttles to connect with your onward flight, please call for details and prices.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers, then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

Self drive
We can arrange various channel crossings for you. Please call for details and prices.

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

Air-rail prices include our standard flights, onward rail and station transfers
British Airways Heathrow to Rome Fiumicino 07:30/10:30 then rail Rome Termini to Chiusi 13:00/14:49 and transfer to hotel 25 minutes. Return: Transfer to Chiusi station 25 minutes then rail Chiusi to Rome Termini 10:54/12:48 then British Airways Rome Fiumicino to Heathrow 17:25/19:05.

Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Standard transfers
tandard return transfers are only included for flight inclusive bookings from Chiusi train station at 14:49, and back to Chiusi train station at 10:15. Customers booking a land only trip will be able to add arrival/departure transfers at a supplement payable in advance.


Location start:
Chianciano Terme
Location end:
Chianciano Terme

What to Take

Local Bike Details

A quality local hire bike is 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. You will also be responsible for assembling and disassembling your bike as well as bringing along spare parts and any tools specific to it. Our cycling team only carry the relevant spares for the hire fleet. 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.

Please be aware that you will be passing through some remote villages where the locals are unaccustomed to seeing people in tight lycra - we recommend you wear baggy shorts or loose 'over shorts' so as not to cause offence.

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.

Reading List

Lonely Planet Florence & Tuscany
Rough Guide Tuscany & Umbria
DK Eyewitness Florence & Tuscany

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.

Visa

Italy

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

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.

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

An ATM is available in in all the major towns visited. Most places take major credit cards, however, cash is generally easier.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Allow about €5-20 per day for lunch, depending on whether you have a picnic, snack or a light restaurant meal. For evening meals you should allow about €15-30 including drinks, although it is possible to spend more than this if you choose expensive dishes or drinks.

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 14 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 & Development 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 our website for online bookings, 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.