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Italy - location recommendation

chocolateboychocolateboy Posts: 47
edited December 2007 in Tour & expedition
It's my 40th birthday next year - as good an excuse to have a good time as ii can think of! I am considering renting a really nice villa somewhere with good riding (Tuscany? Umbria?) and escaping for a couple of weeks - preferably around the end of May/early June. Ideally, said villa would be close to an airport served by cheapo airlines so that those friends and family that wished to could join me for a few days over the period and help me drain the italian reserves of chianti.

I live in SW London and friends live in Bath so, ideally, I need a location in Italy served by flights from Heathrow and Bristol airport.

Grateful for any suggestions.


  • CPeacheyCPeachey Posts: 1,057
    You need to work backwards from the airport. Look up Bristol Airport and see who flies where. You are not likely to get cheapies from Heathrow but Cardif migh be an option
  • EasyJet fly from Bristol & Gatwick to Pisa. EasyJet are one of the more cycle friendly airlines.

    Most trains from Pisa's main railway station will take bikes. A couple of easy km from the airport. No bikes on the airport to city railway though.

    Trains will soon get you into the heart of Tuscany - highly recommended. Railways cheap & easy to user. Suggest getting away from the Pisa/Florence valley ASAP - busy/ crowded/ industrial.

    Umbria is well served by the Rome airports but the rail connections are longer.

    Tuscany is hilly but less so than Umbria with more roads giving more route options. Food is better in Tuscany (IMO) & visitors are well served & there is lots to see. Tuscany is busy all the time though.

    Umbria is still great though. More to discover & far less touristy.

    I've done Umbria from Rome & Tuscany from Pisa & really enjoyed both trips but they are different. For your first cycling visit to Italy I'd recomment Tuscany. For a 2 week trip you may want to try a 2 centre holiday if cycling is important to avoid going over the same ground.

    Post again if you want any comments on maps etc
  • Thanks harryDD - v helpful.
  • I cycled Tuscany top to bottom last summer and I second harryDD remark about getting away from the Pisa - Florence valley.

    North Tuscany around the Cisa Pass is beautiful country by mountainous.

    South Tuscany has hills and is the Tuscany most people imagine. The area south of Sienna is where I would recommend for cycling and walking. Choose a hill town. San Quirico d'Orcia is one town we stayed in and the hotel there was used to hosting walking and cycling people. It was the Relais Palazzo del Capitano but there is cheaper accommodation..
  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    We were in Lucca a couple of years ago (easy reach of Pisa). The people there were cycling daft, it seemed. There were a couple of seriously good bike shops where you could rent a tandem and ride round the city and its fortified walls (good fun with young kids and non-cyclists). At the more serious end of the spectrum, in the hills nearby, there seemed to be a constant stream of riders out on individual and club runs, looping up from the coast and back again.

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  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    Ages ago we staed in San Gimignano, which is a charming medieval hill town, equidistant from Pisa Florence and Siena. Would make a great ase for a while. Not on train route but I'm sure Poggibonsi, quite near it is on main Pisa to Sienna line.
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  • tommywmbtommywmb Posts: 148
    Santa Maria. Past Napoli on the south coast, ride all the way round the Amalfi coast, eating and drinking as you go! :lol:
  • ju5t1nju5t1n Posts: 2,028
    A couple of years ago my wife and I did a short tour flying to Venice, then riding to Verona, Lake Garda, Cortina etc. Nice area, The Dolomites would still be snow-capped in May/June - so would look fantastic.

    There's some pics here...
  • Thanks for all the comments. have now booked a villa for the last week in May/first week in June (can always stay in and watch the Giro if too tired to cycle!).

    Location is mid-way between Perugia and Assisi. Anyone know if there is anyway of getting a guide to show some good routes? I'll be checking the usual route sites (mapmyride etc) but I wondered whether there was any company/individual who could show the way? I'd hate to go there and miss all the decent stuff just cos I turned left at a junction rather than right!

    Need now to get into serous training to lose the flab so i can make it up them thar hills...
  • How about Ancona? I think Ryanair fly there.... anyway, from Ancona you're only about an hour by train south to the fabulous hills of Le Marche and I must say the ride out of Ancona and along the coast via PortoNovo (sp?) is incredibly beautiful as well. I would get a villa in Le Marche and spend every day going in a different direction over the rolling farmland. Gorgeous.
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