Ah Tuscany… with its quaint hillside villages, olive groves, rolling fields, wine, and artistic sophistication, is there a more iconic region of Italy? When most of us imagine ourselves in Italy, we often think about the splendours of Italy’s most iconic region, which makes it a top destination in the world. With a strong legacy of art, culture, food, and language, Tuscany is often referred to as a ‘nation inside a nation’ and the birthplace of the renaissance. With 7 designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites and dozens of parks and nature reserves, Tuscany really does have something for every cyclist.

Florence is the capital city of Tuscany and it is recognised as the most beautiful city in Italy, and one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. Take an art and culture tour of the city and visit works by Michelangelo, Da Vinci, or the iconic dome of the Brunelleschi cathedral before wandering through the shops that line the Ponte Vecchio. Florence is a legacy city where one can wander and explore for an entire lifetime. Florence is roughly centred in Tuscany and you have the option to explore the surrounding sites in all directions.  To the south you find the medieval city of Siena, the once powerful centre of trade and industry. Florence can be overrun by tourists during the summer months and many find themselves in Siena for a more intimate experience. Its medieval winding streets make way for the thrilling Palio bareback horse race. San Gimignano lies 27km northwest of Siena and is arguably the most visited small village in all of Italy and is definitely worth a night's stay or two.

West of Florence you find the beautiful and underrated cities of Lucca and Pisa. Known for the leaning tower, Pisa is often a day trip destination for bus tours from Florence yet it offers so much more. Both Pisa and Lucca offer fantastic sites off the beaten path and are usually a lot less crowded with tourists then Florence or Siena. The ride from Florence to the coast is a beautiful but busy one, so it really pays to get off the regular routes and into the lesser known streets and roadways. The Tuscan coast is overdeveloped and busy in the heat of the summer season, so don’t go expecting a relaxing beach getaway if you’re here in the summer. With Tuscany being one of the most popular global destinations things can get a little hectic, however with the Mediterranean climate being so favourable, visiting Tuscany if the shoulder seasons is more than enjoyable.

Best Seasons:Apr - Jun; Sep - Oct
Popular Locations:Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignano