The best Tuscany bike tour unfolds in a charming hilly area known as Val d'Orcia. Geographically, this area is a wide valley located in the province of Siena, north of Mount Amiata and close to the border with Umbria.
Gentle hills, cypress trees and chapels surrounded by greenery and villages where time seems to stand still. Val d'Orcia is a corner of Tuscany that seems to have been painted by an artist; a wonder of nature to be discovered slowly by bike. In the province of Siena, there are different cycling routes suitable for those who love to pedal off the busy roads, in the silence of nature, among the woods and plowed fields.
This is a paradise for gravel bikes!
Buonconvento the heart of gravel bike
Buonconvento is the centerpiece of the best Tuscany bike tour by gravel. The village, located at an altitude of 147 m in the Ombrone valley, is actually the scene of one of the most important cycling events at an international level, which over time has also become a permanent route - L'Eroica. Discover its peculiar alleys among taverns, religious buildings and local craft stores.
The Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore in your Tuscany bike tour
Leaving the 14th-century walls that enclose one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, you can head northeast. After about eight kilometers from Buonconvento, you will admire a monastic complex founded in the 14th century, then go through a drawbridge that gives access to a medieval red-brick palace. After an atmospheric passage through an avenue of cypress trees, you reach the actual structure of the abbey, consisting of a church with a Romanesque-Gothic style bell tower, the Chapter House, the large cloister, the pharmacy and the library.
Val d'Orcia by bike: a look at the Crete Senesi
After a visit, head to the area that encloses the Crete Senesi, a large expanse of clay molded into hills. Called lunar landscapes for their clay - the Crete - are characterized by barren hills, lonely cypresses, farms and woods. It’s here where your Tuscany bike tour reaches the next level. Gravel bike on the roads of L'Eroica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! After the charming hamlet of Monterongriffoli, you can go along one of L'Eroica's many stretches of unpaved road, well indicated by specific markers, witnessing the beauty of this permanent route.
Val d'Orcia Gravel Event
A great event related to this type of cycling was indeed organized: Val d'Orcia Gravel, a free cycling tour in the UNESCO World Heritage lands.
In autumn 2022, the beginning and end will be in Montalcino, which will then rotate each year with Castiglione d'Orcia, Radicofani, San Quirico d'Orcia, and Pienza to form five distinct stages.
Three routes have been studied for this year:
- “Frugale” of about 38 km, suitable for everyone;
- “Saporito” of about 75 km and more than 1,000 meters of elevation gain;
- “Goloso” (which will touch all 5 municipalities in the district) of 115 km and 2,500 meters of elevation gain.
All routes will cover 50 % dirt roads and 50 % paved roads.
The planned routes are truly awe-inspiring: you will pedal from the intense and saturated colors that the Brunello grape vines offer in autumn, to the spectacular views, distant and melancholy, immersed in the Crete Senesi amidst the rows of cypress trees. See you there!