Leaving Rome in the morning was easier than expected, most of the traffic was coming inside the city and we were fortunately going the opposite direction! Once we left the city we started riding through nice windy roads and quickly entered Umbria, the "green heart" of Italy, where we stopped in Narni for a coffee break and then Montefalco, hometown of the famous Sagrantino wine, where we had a great lunch before finally reaching Assisi. Then we had some time to explore this holy town (hometown of St. Francis) or relax in the spa of the hotel before meeting again for dinner. Time to go to bed now!
Today we leave Umbria and ride to the beautiful city of Florence in Tuscany. We leave Assisi and take the autostrada to give us quick access to Lago Trasimeno, where we stop for a quick foto. After that we hit the small and winding back roads that take us to Cortona. It's a bit bumpy and the roads are not all in great shape, but we can press on and have some fun here We arrive in Cortona and walk into the main square where we take a quick coffee break. Then the weather is looming so we decide to ride straight to Arezzo and skip lunch in order to avoid the downpour headed our way. We are lucky - the roads are a bit wet but not much rain so eventally we stop in Reggello for a light bite and another coffee. And then the downpour starts! We wait a while until it lightens up and then we leave, but shortly afterwards we are caught in another downpour. Eventually it stops and we make our way into Florence and the warmth and dry of the hotel.
Today we had a scheduled rest day in Florence - and for once it really was a rest day! The weather forecast was not particularly great and most of the group wanted to relax, so instead it was decided to have a day of shopping, sightseeing and eating and drinking some fine italian fare.
From Florence to San Gimignano normally it takes one hour or a little bit more, but we managed to have another great riding day, reaching Volterra first (where we had a coffee break in the centre) and then Cecina, for a great lunch by the sea! We spent all day on nice curvy roads, surrounded by the wonderful Tuscan countryside... what else could we ask for?
Today we had another great riding day. It had rained during the night and the roads were still damp first thing in the morning, so we had a relaxed ride until coffee. We stopped at Greve in Chianti in the main square and relaxed a bit taking some coffee and croissants, and soaking up the ambience. By the time we started again the roads had pretty much dried out and we had a great ride through the rolling Tuscan countyside until we reached Castello de Meleto where we took a few quick snaps before descending to have lunch at the Osteria at the bottom of the hill. After a nice relaxed lunch we hit the road again and were back into the rolling hills and small curvy roads - the perfect dessert! We arrive in Siena in good time and everyone has the chance to freshen up before taking a stroll around this famous and beautiful city.
Also from Siena to Pienza, looking at the map, the distance is not big, but zigzagging through Tuscany really makes sense! First we reached the famous San Galgano cathedral and admired the only real "sword in the rock" and then reached Monteoliveto for lunch. Another break in the beaufiful Bagno Vignoni and then a great ride around Monte Amiata (an extinct volcano) before finally arriving in Pienza just in time before dusk!
Let's go back to Rome after a fantastic week in the central part of Italy! Leaving Pienza, we soon left Tuscany and entered Umbria, where we stopped in Orvieto for coffee and then soon reached the lakes district north of Rome. Lago di Vico is a natural reserve ant that's where we had our lunch. Being sunday and being the weather so good, the place was quite crowded so the service was not so quick... but after lunch it was fortunately not a very long stretch to Rome! We're back, what a great tour! Thank you for an unforgettable week together!