Tuscany

One of the most picturesque destinations in Italy has got to be the region of Tuscany. This region if full of iconic Italian landscapes and architecture. This is due, in no small part, to the birth of the Renaissance within this region.

Tourist Sites

The long list of tourist sites in Tuscany includes Montefollonico, San Biagio, and Pienza. Montefollonico, named for the ancient wool workers that once inhabited this area, this walled city is built on the site of a pre-existing Roman settlement. The plans for San Biagio were taken from a previous work by Filippo Brunelleschi and were also used by Michelangelo when designing St. Peter's Basilica. Thanks to Pope Pius II, Pienza is the original model of humanist architectural design, or modern urban planning. The whole valley surrounding this town is on the list of UNESCO World Cultural Landscapes and was used at the movie set for The English Patient and Gladiator.

Wineries

Three of the more popular and interesting wineries and wines of Tuscany are Vino Nobile, Cantine Vittorio Innocenti, and Casa Nova Dei Neri. One of the oldest wines of Italy is Vino Nobile and there are many vineyards which have developed their own variations on this classical wine. One such winery is owned by, playwright and philosopher, Vittorio Innocenti. This local wine maker of Montefollonicio is the proprietor of Cantine Vittorio Innocenti. There are three main wine regions in Tuscany - Montalcino, Chianti, and Montepulciano. They are most famous for their Sangiovese-based reds, which are medium-bodied and pair amazingly well with Italian food. Tuscany is lined with these vineyards and a great tour option is to ride through all three, something you can do withmany of the leading bike tour companies.

Major Cities

The most important cities of the Italian region of Tuscany include Florence, Empoli, and Pisa. Each of these cities is connected by the Arno river and share a long and interconnected history. Florence is the capital city of the Tuscany region of Italy, birthplace of the Renaissance, and a city rich in architecture, history, and art. Empoli has been built-up around agriculture and has existed since before the time of the Roman Empire. Its location on the Arno river, between Florence and Pisa, has made Empoli a very strategic location for trade and military conquest. With the iconic leaning tower, Pisa is easily one of the more popular tourist destination in Italy. However, this city also contains more than twenty exquisitely preserved churches, many palaces, and several intricately designed bridges over the Arno river. Lastly, the most popular tourist destination in Tuscany is Siena. This city is internationally renowned for its cuisine, medieval architecture, museums, and art.

Bike Friendly Vacation Spot

Most of the major attractions of the Tuscany region of Italy can be found along the banks of the Arno river. This makes for a natural and moderate to easy bike tour of the region. Although there are some hills which are more suited to intermediate riders, many of the tours avoid steep hills in this region. Also, most tour operators supply passenger vans that can assist riders who want to skip a hill or two. Add to that the beautiful vineyards, amazing architecture, and relatively mild climate, and you've got a premier bike vacation destination.

Airport and Transportation

The two largest cities of Tuscany each has its own international airport. Galileo Galilei International Airport is located in Pisa and provides rail, bus, and taxi service to other parts of the region. Amerigo Vespucci Airport is located in Florence and similarly offers many transportation options for the traveler seeking to make their way into the deeper recesses of Italy.