While we were visiting Florence, we decided to take one day of our trip and visit Tuscany. After getting to the city and seeing what our options were, we decided to rent bikes and tour the hills on 2 wheels. Needless to say this was a great choice, and was one of the highlights of the entire trip. Not only did this get us out of the city for a day, but it also allowed us to experience the beautiful Tuscan landscape with the tranquility that can only come from biking (vs. renting Vespas, a tour bus, or a private driver).
We chose to use I Bike Italy for our tour. They provided us with fairly new 21 speed Kona touring bikes, helmets, water bottles, a delicious traditional Tuscan meal in a Villa, and a leisurely, professionally guided and fully supported tour. Our guide Bill was fantastic and his jack russell terrier Jake hung out with the group, and had the best seat on the tour as he rode most of the trip on the back of Bill's bike in a crate.It also gave us the opportunity to ride with folks from Australia, London, and a mix bag of Americans like us from San Fransisco, DC, and Boston.
The ride was about 20 miles and had a few hills that topped 10% gradient, but everyone made the entire trip. On the tour we rode through olive groves and vineyards and our lunch was at a historic villa that was still in operation producing fresh olive oil and wine. Of course the villa tour included tastings of the villa's wine and oil and an insight into the villa's production operations. The ride had plenty of stops for panoramic pictures and even opportunities to eat grapes fresh from the vine.We also got to cruise through several quaint towns and come across a few cycle clubs that were out on training rides.
If you get a chance to ever visit Florence, look I Bike Italy up and go on a ride with Bill. You won't ever forget it and you won't be disappointed.