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Italy Guided Bike Tour / Tuscany Villas and Vineyards – NEW TOUR!
Tour Dates: April 23 – 30, 2017

This tour will be accompanied by Chuck & Judy Nichols

NEW TOUR! Join Chuck and Judy Nichols on our newest Italy Bike Tour – Tuscany Villas and Vineyards. This is an amazing new route along the Etruscan Coast of western Tuscany. From the Chianti hills to the vineyard laden coast, this cycling tour reveals a hidden side of Tuscany filled with beautiful medieval villages, a stunning coastline, amazing gastronomy and vineyards where we will taste some of Italy’s best Chianti, Vermentino and Super Tuscan wines.

We have selected upgraded lodgings and we spend two nights in most of the villas so you do not have to pack your suitcase each day. A support van accompanies us on each ride, and shorter riding days will leave more time to appreciate the many scenic destinations we visit on this tour. Great food and wine, fantastic scenery and riding bikes under the Tuscan sun…va bene!

2017 Price: €2,450 Euros/pp double occupancy

Single Supplement: €450 Euros

Price Includes:
  • 7 nights lodging
  • all breakfasts and 7 dinners
  • 2 wine tastings
  • luggage transfers and van support with local guide/driver
  • maps and route directions
  • Chuck and Judy Nichols will personally accompany this tour and be there to handle bike maintenance and logistics.
Price Does Not Include:

International flights, bike rentals (you may choose to bring your own bike or rent one Hybrid bike rentals: €165 Euros, Road bike rentals: €200 Euros, Electric bike rentals: €280 Euros), lunches, beverages

Tour Difficulty

This is a moderate trip. There are some hills, but the distances are relatively short – 30 - 50 km/day (approx. 20 – 30 miles/day). Our route follows secondary roads in the countryside and we’ll have a support vehicle to assist if anyone would like a lift.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Road Conditions: Paved
  • Recommended Bike: Hybrid, Road or Electric

Tour Highlights

  • Chianti vineyards to the Eturscan coast
  • Upgraded inns with 2 nights in most villas
  • 2 wine tastings
  • Excellent gastronomy and renowned wine regions
  • Tuscany’s most interesting hill top towns
  • Medieval villages
  • Shorter distances and relaxed pace

Tuscany Villas and Vineyards Tour

Our ride begins with a scenic loop linking our villa with the medieval towns of Poggibonsi and San Gimignano. Heading westward, we visit Volterra, with its excellent Etruscian museum, and then descend into the Cecina River Valley to Sassetta, amidst olive groves and chestnut trees. The next day begins with an easy morning’s ride through the vineyards. We stop for lunch and a wine tasting in the castle of Bolgheri, and then we continue along the coast to our stunning hillside villa with views of the Mediterranean islands of Elba and Corsica. Our final ride combines ancient Etruscan ruins and a tasting of some exceptional Vermentino white wine before returning to our villa for a farewell dinner.

Chuck and Judy pulled out all the stops on this one with scenic routes through a little known cyclist’s paradise, a collection of spectacular lodgings and a chance to enjoy the fabulous Italian gastronomy of western Tuscany. We rate this tour as moderate, we will have road, hybrid and E-bikes available for rent, and each day we will have a support van to carry any riders needing a lift. We hope you will join us in Tuscany for this NEW TOUR – va bene!

Tour Map

Day 1: Arrival at Poggibonsi train station and taxi transfer on your own to Villa San Lucchese for 2 nights.

Late afternoon bike fitting, tour orientation and dinner. Lodging: Villa San Lucchese (2 nights)

Day 2: San Lucchese Loop, 37 km

No need to pack up, we will be back at the same villa again tonight. After breakfast, we depart for one of Tuscany’s most iconic medieval towns, the unforgettable San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage site. With its hilltop setting and unforgettable skyline, San Gimignano is known as the “Town of Fine Towers,” and it has medieval architecture with tower houses, exquisite piazzas and churches that contain frescos dating back to the 14th century. On the way back to our villa, we will pass through Colle Val d' Elsa, a town made famous by its glass blowing artisans. Lodging: Villa San Lucchese

Day 3: San Lucchese to Volterra, 34 km

Our destination tonight is Volterra, a important Etruscan Center believed to be inhabited continuously since the 8th century BC. Located above the Cecina River Valley, Voterra’s is a quiet little Tuscan hill town. Many works of art from the Etruscan, Roman, Mediaeval and Renaissance periods can be found in Volterra. You will have time to explore Voltera’s cobblestone streets and visit the Archaeological Park where an acropolis stood from 1500 BC until 1472 AD. Lodging: Hotel Parco alle Fonti

Day 4: Volterra to Tenuta la Bandita, 52 km

Today’s ride takes us through the Cecina Valley, one of the more remote areas in Tuscany and well off the beaten track for tourists. We end our day at Tenuta la Bandita, an amazing lodging situated in an oak forest with olive groves and chestnut trees. Our villa is an elegantly restored historic building with a great restaurant. We will be quite happy to spend 2 nights here. Lodging: Tenuta la Bandita (2 nights)

Day 5: Sassetta/Suvereto Loop - 41 km

No need to pack up, we will be back at the same villa again tonight. This loop ride is a cyclist’s dream that passes through the picturesque village of Sassetta, a medieval stronghold that literally appears to cling to the side of a cliff. Sassetta’s historical center is a network of interwoven alleyways and passages dominated by a castle. We continue on to Suvereto, another charming medieval village with ancient walls, impressive churches and streets lined with beautiful stone houses. Our route passes through an area of olive oil mills and wineries before we return to our villa. Lodging: Tenuta la Bandita

Day 6: La Bandita to Poggio ai Santi, 44 km

After breakfast, we say good-bye to La Bandita and ride on the Bolgherese Road, a spectacular route through the wine area known for its famous Sassicaia and Ornellaia wines. Our destination is Castagneto Carducci, where we will enjoy a lunch and wine tasting at Castello di Bolgheri. After lunch, we take the scenic Accattapane Road to the harbor of San Vincenzo and continue on to our amazing villa where we will spend the last 2 nights. From the terrace, we can admire the coast where the islands of Elba and Corsica can be seen in the distance. Lodging: Poggio ai Santi (2 nights)

Day 7: Poggio ai Santi Loop, 30 km with a transfer, 48 km if you ride the entire loop

Our final ride combines the incredible seaside views of the Gulf of Baratti with amazing archeology near Populonia, where the ancient Etruscans built their only city by the sea. From Populonia, we descend to the Poggio Rosso winery to enjoy tasting the best Vermentino white wine in the area. We return to our villa either by van (30 km ride total) or on our bikes (48 km ride total) and enjoy our last dinner together in a small rustic trattoria that features delicious local recipes.

Day 8: Tour ends after breakfast.

We say our good-byes and arrange short transfer to the train station in Vincenzo with easy access to Rome, Pisa and all other locations in Italy.

Who comes on a Nichols Expeditions bike tour?

You can expect a spirited mix of singles and couples in their 20′s to 80′s from all corners of the US and a few international locations as well. Many have accompanied us on numerous tours in the past. Most folks are recreational riders and all seem to share the common bond of an active lifestyle, an appreciation for the outdoors and a love for fun. We will gladly supply references of any trip that you are interested in joining.

Can I charter this tour?

Yes! You bring the people and we will take care of all the details! This tour can be chartered as either a Guided Tour or Self Guided Tour. Call us for details and availability, 800-648-8488.

The Food

This region has earned its reputation of having the best cuisine and wine in all of Italy. You will be staying in hotels and inns that serve gourmet meals with enough variety to please everyone. As per the itinerary, breakfasts and 7 dinners are included and lunches are on your own. Vegetarian and other dietary restrictions can usually be accommodated with advanced notice.

Weather

Weather can be changeable, so be prepared for riding in both sun and showers. Daytime temperatures are 60º to 75º F. and nights are 40º to 60º F. There is always the chance of rain, so to ensure your personal comfort please make sure you have a good quality rain jacket with a hood and rain pants, too. For the sunny days, we recommend using SPF 30 sunscreen and lip screen. If you are really sun sensitive, we suggest sun-blocking clothing.

Rental Bikes

We rent good quality road and hybrid bikes and electric bikes with a bike bag, a water bottle cage and flat pedals without toe clips and straps. You are welcomed to bring your own pedals and seat. We will supply full mechanical support during the tour. NOTE: You can bring your own helmet or request a rental.

Camera Gear

Whether you shoot a digital or film camera, bring more media storage cards or film than you think you need! A portable hard drive may be the answer for digital storage. Other useful items are plenty of extra batteries, lens cleaner, lens tissue, lens brush, a mini tabletop tripod and a clean toothbrush to remove grit from your camera.

Language

You do not need to be able to speak Italian, but it can be lots of fun, and our Italian guide can always help you with the finer points of the language. A small dictionary and some creative sign language are helpful, and many people at airports and hotels speak English.

Money

The currency of Italy is the Euro. You will need Euros for lunches, meals before and after the tour, beverages, shopping, snacks, and tips for the Italian guide. We suggest starting with a minimum of $250US (more if you like to shop and sample the local wine and ice cream).

Tipping

On the tour: we suggest $125 per guest to cover our local guide and various service people at the lodges during the tour. On your own: most restaurants include a service charge, but an additional 5-10% for exceptional service is always appreciated. We suggest a small amount for baggage and taxi service.

Cash & Credit Cards

US CASH: bring only NEW bills with NO tears. You can exchange money at the airport and in major towns. CREDIT CARDS: bring 2 or more Visa or Master Cards in case you have trouble with one. There are ATMs in most of the towns on the tour. To use your Credit Card to get Euros at an ATM, each Credit Card will need a PIN#. Be sure to activate the PIN# and check that it works BEFORE you begin your travels. We also suggest contacting your credit card company prior to your trip to inform them of the countries where you will be traveling and the dates. We do not recommend bringing Travelers Checks because some places do not accept them, exchange rates vary widely and they require a bank to exchange them.

Passport

U.S. citizens must have a current Passport to enter Italy. Make sure your PASSPORT DOES NOT EXPIRE WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF THE COMPLETION OF YOUR TOUR. These requirements do vary from country to country, but just to be safe, we recommend going by the 6 month standard, because it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry when it comes to international travel! Make copies of your passport! We recommend making 2 photocopies of your passport’s photo page and any other valuable documents you might carry with you on the tour. Travel with one copy stored separately from your passport. Leave the other copy at home with a relative or friend (ideally the same person you gave as your emergency contact). In the event that any of your documents are lost or stolen, this will greatly assist the process of replacement.

Travel Information

This trip begins in Pogibonnsi, Italy and ends in Vincenzo, Italy. Both have train stations with good access from Florence and Rome.

Travel Delays

Nichols Expeditions is not responsible for any costs you may incur due to delays with transportation (airline or other), weather, road conditions, government intervention, sickness or other contingencies we are unable to control. For international flights, arrive at least 2-3 hours prior to departure (check with your air carrier for their requirements) and allow ample time between connecting flights. If you miss your flight and you need a special shuttle to meet up with the group, you will be responsible for the cost.

Travel Insurance

To protect yourself against life’s uncertainties, we highly recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy!

Learn more about the Travel Insurance.

About Tuscany

Tuscany (Italian: Toscana, pronounced [tosˈkaːna]) is a region in central Italy with an area of about 23,000 square kilometers (8,900 sq mi) and a population of about 3.8 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence.

Tuscany is known for its landscapes, traditions, history, artistic legacy and its influence on high culture.
~ Wikipedia

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