By spokesman | May 7, 2008
The Chianti region in Tuscany offers great options for bicycling tourists. The combination of the beautiful landscape and the low traffic roads make it idea for cyclists. Many tour companies provide fully supported tours in the region and I have done one of those tours in the past. Several years ago I did a tour with Backroads. However, I just returned from another Italian vacation where I went to the Tuscany region and Bellagio. This recent trip was not a bike tour, however I did some riding. I also did some research on local bike shops and outfitters. I will be doing several blog posts covering what I learned. These posts will provide information on the regions and will be useful to people interested in doing some day rides as part of their vacations, those planning a self supported tour or those who want more information about the region as they select a fully supported tour.
The Chianti region has been described as a cyclist’s dream. The L’Eroica, which means heroic in Italian is a one day cycling event in the Chianti region that covers 205 kilometers, half of that distance on unpaved surfaces (”strade bianche”, gravel & shale roads). There are also two shorter routes. The event is organized by the Association of the Cycling Park of Chianti and was started to commemorate an earlier era of bicycle racing or the great days of cycling (il grande ciclismo) when Fausto Coppi was the Italian Champion. The route includes unpaved roads typical of that era. Many participants use equipment of that era including bikes with downtube or lever shifters, leather saddles, aluminum water bottles with cork stoppers and wool jerseys. There is no mechanical support and the feed stations stock food eaten by riders of that era - grapes, salami, Tuscan bread and wine. There are no power bars or Gatoraid in sight. The event is held in the Fall.
Even if you choose not to participate in that rugged event, you can still take advantage of the route. The long and medium routes are permanently marked with road signs and tourists can use the route or portions of it on day trips or multi-day tours of Chianti. In fact many of the touring companies use the paved segments of the route as part of their itineraries. More information on L’Eroica including maps of the routes can be found at http://www.eroica.it/eroicae.htm
The photo in the post is of the vineyards at Castello Vicchiomaggio. It is the site of a castle where Leonardo D’Vinci once stayed. Now there is a hotel at the Castle and a winery. Unlike many of the wines from that regions, there is an American importer for their wines.
Topics: Italy |