Cycling in Tuscany, Florence to Rome
Cycling in Tuscany is popular. Especially in the weekends you can see many Italians go out on the road. There is a lot to explore in Tuscany and it's easy to spend a week or 2 on the bicycle in the province.
I was at the Mediterranean but had to go inlands on the way to Florence. The question was to visit Pisa first or to skip it and do it a next time and continue straight to Florence.
I decided to go straight to Florence with a stop halfway in Monsummano passing the spectacular city of Lucca.
One could argue if Lucca had been a city in, say France, Germany or Belgium, it would be world famous but with Pisa, Florence and Genoa nearby, many people simply skip Lucca.
It's not a fair deal as Lucca too has quite some spectacular city walls and a beautiful city center which is maybe less famous as Florence but it's for sure as beautiful.
I visited the Lucca city walls but decided it would be nicer to spend some extra time in Florence which was now nearby but I decided to do that the next day.
Florence... ahhhh.... city of angels some call it. The city is like an open air museum, like many other renaissance cities in Italy. The cathedral in the city center alone is a masterpiece of early renaissance architecture and the streets around the city center are all medieval in style.
Even though nowadays the little stores contain souvenir shops and restaurants it is still possible to breath some of the old atmosphere of medieval times. One can spend days in Florence without being bored. There is so much to see here.If there is one city where history and present go hand in hand it's probably Florence. Wandering through the Medieval streets was fun. Many of the old shops are transformed into souvenir shops but it still gave a special atmosphere.
As I was traveling on a small budget, I didn't want to stay in a hotel or hostel. And the weather was wonderful for camping. Just outside the city center on a hill top I found a great camping with cool views over the city.
The road south to Rome
But I was on my way south, to another legendary city: Sienna. Florence might be more famous but Sienna is no less spectacular.
I wrote in my diary that Sienna reminded me of Gent in Belgium. That is not totally strange as both cities were important in the same time.
The road from Florence, although only 64 km was quite hard, short steep ascending and seldom time to recover, quite typical for cycling in Tuscany.
But in Sienna I had time to recover. The central market square is medieval and in excellent state.
I expected 3 more days before reaching Rome. I kept taking lesser busy roads through a never ending hilly land of green and yellow. Another reason why it is so popular with cyclists.
My next stop was the little town of Castiglione at the Trasimeno lake after a very hard day cycling. The old city walls were great restored but the lake was much smaller then I had anticipated.
Another 110 km south was my next stop: Bosena. But the real gem that day was the little town Orveito. This spectacular little town is located on a hill top with a short climb up. The center of the town is total medieval.
I had come on a Sunday. The church service had just finished and the locals were sitting around the city square enjoying their coffee. I could have come here 100, 200 years ago with the same sight. Time stood literally still in this little town.
And from Bolsena it was just over 100 km to Rome. It was a kind of the end of the road for me. After Rome I would start another chapter of my journey. When I had left Holland I felt Rome would be the first stop before the next chapter would start. I would spend a couple of days in Rome because ... well because it is Rome and there is so much to see.
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