The world famous Tuscan spa town of Montecatini Terme lies halfway between Florence and Lucca (and just 40 minutes’ drive from Pisa airport) and is the perfect base from which to explore everything this beautiful region of Italy has to offer – from stunning landscapes and historic treasures to fine food & drink and of course, first class cycling.
Our routes are within easy reach and are suitable for all types of cyclist – depending on your interest they can include anything from tough mountain ascents or flat coastal cycling through to sightseeing rides along gentler routes, through stunning landscapes and villages.
For riders who love a challenge, head to the nearby mountain range up a series of climbs to Goraiolo and Vellano, with amazing views of the mountain range and hill top villages. Keen climbers can continue towards the ski resort of Abetone at 1400m – a 120km round trip with 40km of climbing!
Heading west from the town takes you through Collodi (birthplace of Carlo Collodi, author of The Adventures of Pinocchio) and over a number of short climbs through the Luchesse hills overlooking the city of Lucca and the many stunning villas of the area.
Home of world famous composer Giacomo Puccini, Lucca, say the locals, is like a cake with a cherry filling in its centre – every slice is equally good!
The beautifully preserved walls that encircle the city date back to the Renaissance and are so wide that the top accommodates a spacious traffic-free road as well as extensive gardens and green areas. It is an area loved by the city’s residents and visitors alike, who use it as a community roof garden, for walking or cycling or just sitting with friends and sharing a bottle of Chianti while watching the world go by.
Further west takes you to the Tuscan coast and the ‘riviera della versillia’. Viareggio is the main town on the riviera and one of the most popular seaside resorts on the Tyrrhenian coast.
Famed for its beautiful beach and grand old buildings which line the ‘Passeggiata Margherita’, Viareggio’s famous promenade has golden sandy beaches set against a stunning backdrop of the Apuane Alps. The flat, wide roads run for 40km in each direction, north and south – perfect cycling territory, whether you want a gentle spin down the coast road or to push yourself to a personal best on a time trial!
Taking the roads to the east lead you through winding lanes, olive groves and along roads used in the World Road Race Championships of 2013. The coffee stop at San Baronto is a popular meeting point both for professional riders and amateurs, while the nearby village of Mostro Marcho is home to 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali.
The long descent to the historic town of Vinci has stunning views – when you arrive in the town, be sure to visit the Museo Leonardino which houses a superb collection of the great artist’s work, including drawings, machines, models and much more.
The routes to the south take you along mostly low-lying country roads, through sleepy villages and the marshlands of Fucchechio. For a challenge in this flat area, take the climb up to Monte Serra which, at 900m is worth the effort for the spectacular views of Lucca below and the expanse of the Mediterranean sea ahead.
Montecatini Terme’s renowned spa facilities and many welcoming bars and restaurants combined with fantastic and varied cycling routes through wonderful countryside make this a perfect holiday destination, whether you’re looking for gentle, easy-paced cycling for leisure with family and friends, full-on training with plenty of challenges or something in between!
We had such a wonderful day with Massimo, exceeding all our expectations.
The ride was great and we even learned some Italian!
We will highly recommend Gusto to anyone we know coming to Tuscany and I’m happy to write a good review on TripAdvisor if you want.
Erica S – New York