- Staying in Tuscan accommodation overlooking stunning landscapes
- Discovering the amazing towns of Siena, San Quirico and Pienza
- Sampling the best wines of Chianti, Montepulciano and Montalcino
- Enjoying the journey from Tuscany to Rome on a variety of terrain, including ancient Roman roads
- Exploring the lesser-known historical towns of Lazio, such as Sutri with it’s Roman amphitheater
- The sense of achievement riding into St Peter’s Square in Rome
You will be met at Pisa airport and transferred (approx. 2 hours) to Siena and your first accommodation.
Depending on flight times, there will hopefully be some time today to explore Siena and immerse yourself in Tuscan culture right away, visiting the Duomo di Siena and taking an “Aperitivo” in Piazza Campo.
- Meals: Breakfast
We’ll start our journey today leaving Siena through the ancient town gates, heading south on the Via Francigena and the beautiful Crete Sienesi with a roller coaster ride through classic Tuscan landscape.
Picking up the Via again, we’ll head to Buonconvento were we’ll have time to stop for a refreshing break and, if inclined, visit the fortified walls. The next section will lead us, with the help of our e-bike gears, over the rolling hills, to San Quirico, a medieval hamlet with a quaint centre where we’ll stop for the night.
- Meals: Breakfast, dinner
From San Quirico, we’ll head towards the Orcia valley and we’ll descend quiet lanes to the medieval hamlet of Bagno Vignoni, with its healing baths – home to the legendary water nymphs! After resting and taking time to explore the hot water springs, we’ll head right into the centre of the UNESCO heritage site of Val D‘Orcia, a natural paradise that cannot fail to stir the soul. From here we’ll take a detour, away from the Via Francigena and head towards Pienza, which was also a popular Renaissance town amongst the pilgrims, as birth place of Pope Pio II. Pienza’s location in the centre of the Val d‘Orcia, helps the town to embody the fundamental principal that humanistic architecture attempted to incorporate – the balanced relationship between Man and Nature.
Leaving Pienza after lunch, we’ll continue with a fantastic descent through the region with conical hills lined by cypress trees, the ultimate aesthetic of Italian landscape, joining up again with the official Via Francigena route. We ride on towards Radicofani and our Agriturismo stay for the night.
Depending on the time it takes to get to this medieval hilltop village, you will be able to take in a tour of the sights or relax at your accommodation for the rest of the day.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Leaving the hamlet behind we’ll bike along the old Via Cassia, the Roman route to Rome, now a cobbled road, surrounded by stunning scenery and dominated by Monte Amiata.
We’ll take a break in Acquapedente, famous for the Romanesque crypt beneath the Basilica del Santo Sepolcro where, according to tradition, some stones bathed in the blood of Christ are thought to have been kept. Getting back in the saddle we’ll continue riding towards Lazio and the stunning Lake Bolsena.
The view of the lake will open up as we descend, a great way to finish a day in the saddle amongst the thick woods and meadows scattered with olive trees, until we reach Bolsena itself. There will be time in the evening to explore its fortress and narrow streets.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Today’s ride starts with a stunning route through woods and olive groves as we make our way around Lake Bolsena and onto the region of Lazio.
As we descend into the lower plains, we’ll cross an area famous for the production of extra virgin olive oil, before arriving in Montefiascone were we’ll take time in one of the Piazzas to have yet another cappuccino break!
The next section leading into Viterbo is across cultivated countryside, with the option of stopping off at the thermal waters of Bagnaccio for a quick dip in the open air pools, where pilgrims would also stop before proceeding towards Viterbo. In Viterbo, we’ll allow time to admire the splendid Palazzo dei Papi and the Longobard cloisters of Santa Maria Nuova. We’ll then carry on to Vetralla, our home for the night.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
We’ll continue our journey south, first riding through a dense forest and then open countryside, through fields of hazelnuts.
We’ll come across the Torri d‘Orlando, the ruins of an abandoned monastery, on our way to Sutri, a fascinating little town with dwellings carved out of the tuff. We’ll stop for a short visit to the Roman amphitheatre which dates back to Emperor Augustus and which is completely carved out of the hill. Moving on, the ride heads into the hills (time to turn up your power!) and we’ll pass the waterfalls of Mount Gelato, an ideal location for a refreshing stop.
A short sharp climb will lead you onto your accommodation for the evening at Campagnano.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Leaving Campagnano we’ll enter the regional Park of Veio (with our e-bikes we’ll tackle the roller coaster route with ease.) We’ll stop to rest in the village of Formello with its fine medieval buildings. As we approach Rome, the roads get busier and we’ll make our way to the cycle path alongside the River Tevere, enjoying the final ride along its banks, leading us to the gates of the Vatican City.
As we enter St. Peter’s Square, with its grandiose architecture, our cycling journey of the Via Francigena will come to a celebratory end!
- Meals: Breakfast
Time for one last delicious breakfast, before transferring to the airport for flights home. Ciao! (Transfer approx 1 hour.)
Do let us know if you’d like to extend for a couple of days in Rome, and we’d be happy to help organise some extra nights.
Terrain We follow the Via Francigena pilgrimage route as closely as possible making our way south on a multitude of different surfaces. This electric bike tour mostly follows back roads, strade bianche, country lanes and a few rough dirt tracks so you must be confident riding on gravel. You’ll encounter a few cheeky climbs (quite steep in places!) and this is where the e-bike gearing will come in useful. Roads can get busier closer to the bigger towns so you may encounter traffic in these areas. For this tour we provide electric mountain bikes and recommend this if bringing your own, however some leisure/hybrid style electric bikes may be suitable.
Grading We have graded this tour as a 3 out of 5. The often gravelly and uneven nature of some of the terrain and the cheeky climbs throughout make the route relatively challenging (and would be graded as a 4 if using standard mountain bikes). Since however, this tour is offered on electric bikes, this enables us to more confidently tackle and conquer these challenges, allowing for a less strenuous ride and more time for sightseeing along the way.
Leisure Cycling Grade
Distances generally between 20-45 miles / 32-72 kms per day
For the leisure cyclist with a good level of physical fitness
May include some steeper, cheeky climbs and possibly sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc)
Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!
For more information about our grading system click here.
Is this suitable for you?
Although you may not cycle everyday, you do keep yourself relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on your bike at the weekend. Your preference is perhaps for flatter terrain but you don’t mind tackling some hills, and the occasional steep climb if you can take it at your own pace. For those happy to tackle some ups and downs, and possibly some sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc) we’d recommend our grade 3 trips. We’d generally expect those on a Grade 3 holiday to have a decent level of physical fitness and be comfortable with some longer days in the saddle.
Dates & Prices
Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.
A) Accommodation (shared twin / double rooms) in hotels / agriturismi
B) Meals as per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides
D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid
E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers
F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Pisa airport (PSA)
G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Rome Fiumicino airport (FCO)
What's not Included
A) Bike rental (available if required)
B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)
C) Single room (available if required)
D) Travel insurance
E) Meals not stated in the itinerary
F) Personal clothing and equipment
G) Personal expenditure (bar bills, hotel facilities etc.)
H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route
I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days
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The Daily Mail (2018), The 10 best cycling holidaysAs seen in the press...
Follow an old pilgrims’ route through the Tuscan hills from San Gimignano to St Peter’s Square in Rome. Encounter rolling countryside studded with tall cypress trees and delightful hill towns.
Elaine, LiverpoolDidn't have to worry about the logistics, just cycling and eating!
This route took us to places we would not normally have visited on a standard tourist route in Italy and allowed us to meet the locals and see aspects of Italian life outside of the main tourist areas. Overall standard of accommodation was a pleasant surprise and pleased so many had pools. Our guide was really excellent; she was friendly, professional and knowledgeable about the route and places to visit on the way. Didn’t have to worry about the logistics, just cycling and eating!
The Telegraph (2018), Italy's greatest cycling holidaysAs seen in the press...
For those with time to burn, it has to be the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route that finishes in Rome. It is the longest signposted cycle route in Italy, 620 miles from the Great St Bernard Pass to St Peter’s.
Or, for something more manageable, tackle the final 200 miles. It features the most picturesque landscapes – Tuscany – and still offers the satisfaction of rolling into Rome. Adam Ruck wrote about the ride for Telegraph Travel earlier this year. “Beneath a cloudless sky, Tuscany is a picture: the fields not yet cut and dried, but spring green and ablaze with poppies,” he said. “Cypresses line the road and prick the skyline in a landscape lifted from a Renaissance painting.
“Thirty miles may not seem much for a day’s cycling, but progress on the country paths is slow, and towns like San Gimignano keep popping up as an excuse to stop for pictures. After Montalcino and its immaculate vineyards, Tuscany’s highest mountain, Monte Amiata, is the backdrop to our exertions for two days. Medieval pilgrims did not feel the need to go up it, thank goodness.”
Michael, CrymychOne of the most enjoyable holidays!
One of the most enjoyable holidays, probably made more so by the fun loving group! Hotels were extremely good with the scenic swimming pools as an added bonus. Our Tour leader Cristina had just the right combination of safety, when required, and fun. She provided an alternative route for the weaker rider to ensure they had an equally enjoyable experience. It’s a nice touch to be contacted by phone just prior to the beginning of the holiday to ensure all is ok. I have already recommended Skedaddle to my friends on numerous occasions!
The Telegraph (2018), How to tackle the most beautiful cycling route in ItalyAs seen in the press...
Completed in 2016 after a 10-year campaign of marking and mapping, the Via Francigena is the longest signposted cycle route in Italy. For an easier and more sociable holiday, I joined a guided group organised by the cycling tour operator Saddle Skedaddle, which has added the last 200 miles of the Via Francigena to its programme: a “leisure cycling” ride through the olive groves and vine-clad hills of fashionable Tuscany and Lazio.
Nick, SalisburyExcellent in all aspects!
Overall a 9 out of 10. Excellent in all aspects, one of the best cycling trips I have ever been on, very enjoyable and would relive next week if I could.
Gillian, Surrey UKFantastic holiday!
We had a fantastic holiday in Tuscany riding from Pisa to Rome. We weren’t sure what to expect never having used e-bikes before but they were a godsend up those hills. The rides were well planned out. Our two guides were brilliant – very professional and good company. Couldn’t praise it more highly!
Fran, NewcastleBest holiday ever!
Every single day was a favourite – seriously! Really hard to choose a favourite as they were all so varied and filled with stunning scenery. Tuscany had the best views and the hills always offered up great views once accomplished. Lazio’s wheat fields and flatter landscapes were a nice relief later in the week! I did particularly enjoy day 6 which saw us explore the amphitheater park and cycle through Italian canyons.
There was a great variety from modern and quite fancy, to more traditional yet still very comfortable accommodation. One of the highlights of the trip was rocking up to find out where we’d rest our heads of the evening. By far my favourite was the agriturismo which was like a little haven in the Tuscan countryside, i’ll always remember the pool with incredible view and our meal under the giant fig tree.
Totally converted to Skedaddle picnics! So many amazing salad options each day, prepared by our guides and presented wonderfully. The cookie and juice stops were always strategically positioned before or after a big climb too – very well thought out!
I’ve got so many amazing memories from this trip that I am going to cherish forever. A little tough at times, but the scenery, food and company were second to none and made those hills much easier to handle. 100% certain the best way to explore Italy is by bike now! Take me back!
Alan, KentBeyond expectations!
A great combination of beautiful landscapes, quiet off road cycling, superb, off the beaten track accommodation and good company! Everything was sorted before we left with reassuring calls from the office at Skedaddle.
Accommodation was superb. Each one was unique with very welcoming hosts. The electric bike was beyond expectations, extremely powerful. The support vehicle turned up very promptly when there was any problem. Very impressive.
Attention to detail was provided and is the reason I continue to book with Skedaddle!