Chianti, Day Trips, Things to do in Tuscany, Tuscany Bike Tours, Tuscany Video

Tuscany Bike Tour of Chianti

Tuscany Bike Tours offer a one day bike tour in the Tuscany Hills – or Colli Fiorentini around these parts – just south of Florence in the heart of the Chianti wine region. They offered me a chance to go out with them, take some video, try some wine and olive oil, get some great views, eat a nice lunch and, oh yes, do some cycling.

The single day bike tour starts at Castello di Poppiano, a charming 12th century medieval castle which is home to a Count and Countess. Once you arrive, you are taken on a tour of the Castle and its wine making facilities and up to the amazing views from the tower. There was so much to see, I had to do a separate video which you can see here:

Castello di Poppiano – Tuscany Bike Tour

We started our Tuscany bike tour with helmet fitting and a short safety talk. then Keith (the Irish one), Andy (the Scottish one) and Alessio (the Italian one) handed out bicycles ensuring everyone had the right seat height and was comfortable. I had “James Bond” – each bike is named – whilst one of the girls on the trip was delighted to see that she was, erm, riding Brad Pitt. The morning’s riding started gently and took us on a breathtaking cycle through the hills of Chianti passing vineyards, villas and olive groves.

The morning flew by and before long, it was time for a lunch break. We sat down to a full lunch at a quaint family owned restaurant nestled amongst the Florentine hills. There was a choice of pasta dishes, salad, dessert and coffee. Though I had opted for the fruit rather than the ice cream, I was ready for a nap but there was no chance as we moved on to the afternoon ride. More vineyards and lovely scenery plus a hill. Ah, the one downfall of cycling in beautiful Chianti: hills. And, more specifically, going up hills. But it’s no problem as there was a man with a van waiting at the bottom! The more sporting-inclined can brave the ascent while anyone who doesn’t fancy it can put their bike on a trailer and drive up. Very civilised.

But, what goes up… So, after a well deserved (for some!) rest at the top of the climb, there is a more downhill flavour to the second part of the afternoon which was welcome. This ride includes what is, in my opinion, one of the best views from a road in Chianti; you can see it in the video.

Find out more about a Bike Tour of Chianti at the Tuscany Bike Tours Site

tuscany bike tour chianti view

Day Trips, Things to do in Tuscany, Tuscany Bike Tours, Tuscany Video

Castello di Poppiano

Castello di Poppiano is a hill-top Tuscan castle that is the base for Tuscany Bike Tours.  After meeting at the bike shop in the centre of town (on Via Ghibellina), we went on a short minibus ride into Tuscany. The journey out of Florence takes you through some spectacular scenery along the Via Senese – or Siena Road – which winds itself through steep curves out of the city. To the south, the town of Galuzzo quickly gives way to a rustic rural setting with olive groves and grape vines that have been grown here for centuries.

wine and oil castello del poppianoThe castle itself has been a property of the Guicciardini family for almost nine centuries, a claim documented by an inheritance act of 1199. Here, amongst such a depth of lineage, they grow grapes for their own wines: Chianti (naturally) but also the much respected Vin Santo sweet wine. If you come away with just one purchase from a trip to Castello di Poppiano make it a bottle of Vin Santo.

The bike tour of Chianti starts with a guided trip around the castle: through the wine making facilities, the huge barrels containing hundreds of bottles of wine and rising through the tower, past the Vin Santo area and finishing with a 360 degree vista of the surrounding countryside. There’s plenty of time for photos (or video ;-) ) before heading down to the courtyard for some wine and the exceptional Extra Virgin Olive Oil that is produced locally.

Now, for an English guy, the idea of just oil on bread was a bit strange when I first arrived here. However two years on I can totally understand the concept and even flatter myself to believe that I can taste a difference between oils. And there is a difference: just a few months ago I went to an oil party where each person brought a different fresh pressing of the year’s olive oil. Putting the oil on low salt white bread allows the flavours to come through. The best part is that small taster bottles are available to buy for the lightweight traveler!

castello del poppiano