Tuscany

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Jo Hardman, May 15, 2003.

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  1. Jo Hardman

    Jo Hardman Guest

    Due to various transport problems we have just changed our family holiday destination for the third
    time. We will be flying to Pisa in August with our bikes. We don't want this to be a major cycle
    tour as not all the family are keen cyclists. We intend to use the bikes as transport to get to
    places of interest, using trains as well where appropriate. We will be camping, so expect to be
    moving on, rather than having one base. Family comprises:-
    Me: keen & experienced cycle tourist, but slow, with a tendency to walk up some hills. Mark
    (husband) keen & experienced cycle tourist, fit, fast and with an aversion to getting off the
    bike at all during a ride. Jonathan (18) Not a keen cyclist, but has a level of fitness he
    doesn't deserve given his couch potato lifestyle. If he decides not to be awkward he is capable
    of keeping up with Mark. Samuel (16) Very keen cyclist, some touring experience. Not interested
    in speed. Will do any distance. Joy (15) Feels the need to avoid becoming a 'cycle nerd' like
    her parents and brother! Quite willing to cycle if it is requires, but has no confidence in her
    own abilities, and it terrified of the hills and distances that may be involved, even though we
    have told her we will not do a huge mileage and could use some trains. Anybody have any useful
    knowledge/experience of the area, or of similar family cycling? We have never cycled any
    distance all together before. Jo
     
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  2. > Anybody have any useful knowledge/experience of the area, or of similar family cycling?

    Tuscany is *hilly*. It may not be the alps, but it is surprisingly hilly. Around Pisa is flat but
    the rest is hilly!

    Worth a visit is San Gimiginano (spelling?), it is beautiful and the gelataria on the corner of the
    main square has the most wonderful ice cream - but it is on the top of a hill - as are lots of
    places in Tuscany :)

    Cheers, helen s

    ~~~~~~~~~~
    Clean up the waste & get rid of the trapped wind to send a reply

    Any speeliong mistake$ aR the resiult of my cats sitting on the keyboaRRRDdd
    ~~~~~~~~~~
     
  3. Nick Kew

    Nick Kew Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, one of infinite monkeys at the keyboard
    of [email protected] (wafflycathcsdirtycatlitter) wrote:
    >> Anybody have any useful knowledge/experience of the area, or of similar family cycling?
    >
    > Tuscany is *hilly*.

    In parts, yes. Going north from Pisa you're into the "Apuan Alps", which are genuine mountains. Of
    course, there's no substantial non-mountainous area of Italy except for the Po valley in the north
    (Don Camillo country).

    > It may not be the alps, but it is surprisingly hilly.

    Much of Tuscany is amongst Italy's flatter parts, with modest hills but not mountains. And yes, many
    of the towns are up the hills.

    > Worth a visit is San Gimiginano (spelling?),

    A couple of other places near Pisa are Vinci (small but good museum to the early inventor of many
    things including IIRC bikes) and Lucca (not too high on the scale of historic interest by Italian
    standards, but worth a trip if you're looking for pleasant, flattish day-excursions).

    The best thing to do in Italy is to head off into the countryside and enjoy the minor roads and
    villages. Bigger towns and cities - especially tourist-traps like Firenze - tend to be ugly and
    heavily-trafficked. The renaissance art is of course worth viewing, but best seen in context - even
    a modest church can be a feast for the art-lover. OTOH some of the organised galleries can be
    appaling: my reaction to the main one in Siena was a crime against art (though apart from that,
    Siena is well worth a visit).

    --
    Axis of Evil: Whose economy needs ever more wars? Arms Exports $bn: USA 14.2, UK 5.1, vs France 1.5,
    Germany 0.8 (The Economist, July 2002)
     
  4. In message <[email protected]>, Nick Kew <[email protected]> writes
    >Lucca (not too high on the scale of historic interest by Italian standards, but worth a trip if
    >you're looking for pleasant, flattish day-excursions).

    ...And, according to The Rough Guide Italy, "perhaps uniquely in Italy [Lucca] has a population that
    chooses to ride bikes rather than cram the centre with cars".

    It's a pretty place, surrounded by impressive walls and fortifications that you can walk (cycle?)
    all the way round. There's also a tower with a tree growing out of the top. As Nick says, it's not
    the most spectacular of cities in terms of historic interest but it does make a reasonable base in
    northern Tuscany.
    --
    Michael MacClancy
     
  5. Allan Nelson

    Allan Nelson Guest

    Hi Jo: August eh. Lots of time left for training then ;-)

    Even if it's just to point out a way you might prefer not to go from Pisa to Lucca by bike (it's
    hilly! ;-) some of the info here might be useful...
    http://www.a-nelson.dircon.co.uk/Italy98/index.htm

    Your husband will love it - oh and it's one of THE training ride in the area, so you'll see lots of
    cyclists on that road.

    Day 1 was our Pisa to Lucca leg. From our point of view we couldn't have planned it better (we
    didn't of course). We had a great ride on very quiet roads (unlike most of the roads around Pisa)
    over Monte Serra. It's a bit of a slog, but it really is (in my mind) the best way to get to Lucca
    from Pisa - by bike. The views are superb. For those not wanting to climb the hill, they could go by
    train and meet you/him there. As someone's already pointed out, Lucca is a lovely place and a ride
    around on the top of the massive walls at sunset is bliss.

    Have a great time...

    Allan. ~~~ http://www.a-nelson.dircon.co.uk/ Italian cycling tours and the home of Cycling
    before Lycra
     
  6. In message <[email protected]>, Allan Nelson <[email protected]> writes
    >Hi Jo: August eh. Lots of time left for training then ;-)
    >
    >Even if it's just to point out a way you might prefer not to go from Pisa to Lucca by bike (it's
    >hilly! ;-) some of the info here might be useful...
    >http://www.a-nelson.dircon.co.uk/Italy98/index.htm
    >
    >Your husband will love it - oh and it's one of THE training ride in the area, so you'll see lots of
    >cyclists on that road.
    >
    >Day 1 was our Pisa to Lucca leg. From our point of view we couldn't have planned it better (we
    >didn't of course). We had a great ride on very quiet roads (unlike most of the roads around Pisa)
    >over Monte Serra. It's a bit of a slog, but it really is (in my mind) the best way to get to Lucca
    >from Pisa - by bike. The views are superb. For those not wanting to climb the hill, they could go
    >by train and meet you/him there. As someone's already pointed out, Lucca is a lovely place and a
    >ride around on the top of the massive walls at sunset is bliss.
    >
    >Have a great time...
    >
    >Allan. ~~~ http://www.a-nelson.dircon.co.uk/ Italian cycling tours and the home of Cycling
    >before Lycra
    >
    >

    I have a cycling guidebook to Tuscany and it recommends the following route from Pisa to Lucca, all
    on minor roads..

    Pisa - Pontesserchio - Vecchiano - Nozzano Castello - San Pietro - Lucca

    Ride rated as Easy, distance 23km, 20m of climbing, 0m of descent.

    Allan's route certainly represents quite a detour! I only mention this to show that Tuscany isn't
    ridiculously hilly.
    --
    Michael MacClancy
     
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