Tuscany - family/biking holiday combo

Just back from Mallorca where with some early rising and sustained wife-charming I managed to get out for a few decent half-day rides combined with a 10 day family pool and beach holiday. The search is now on for next year, and swmbo has decreed Tuscany to be the destination. We're thinking Lucca or its environs, and I've noticed quite a few wiggly roads up to the north of Lucca.

So - a few questions: anyone got any recommendations for places to rent - needs a pool (ideally not one of those oversized bathtub jobs), nice views and to be self-contained (ie not part of a complex). Secondly, bike hire places - don't want to be transporting my bike, so somewhere that'll rent a decent road bike. And thirdly, anyone got any recommendations for classic rides/hills to do when I'm there?

Cheers all...


  • TommyEss
    TommyEss Posts: 1,855
    I went last year with my (now ex-) girlfriend and her family/

    We stayed near Volterra in a villa from James Villas, up a pretty secluded bit of strada bianchi. Was striking distance of Siena, Firenze and Volterra with a car.

    The riding was beautiful, but to be fair none of us were fit enough to do it justice, and we had lots of hanging around. When we did get on to a glorius descent we then turned off onto the rough stuff to get her mum away from the traffic! :?

    Edit: This is the villa http://www.jamesvillas.co.uk/tuscany/volterra/il-chiassale-2474/

    As for bike hire, we used Bike Rentals Plus - they're a US company operating out of Italy. They're actually based quite a way from Tuscany, in Faenza (home of Torro Rosso F1 Team apparently), but after an inquiry, it turned out they were running a touring holiday in Tuscany at a similar time to our holiday, so were able to deliver ours with the tour's, if that makes sense.

    Anyway, they were very very helpful, and I'd happily recommend them. They weren't cheap as chips, but we got Cannondale hybrids and a road bike (I hear they bought a few of aluminium Synapses last year to add to the fleet)

    So I would say at the very least, get in touch with them - a chap called Igor Baccini helped me out, before during and after the holiday (asked him for sizing help before buying my Cannondale)

    If you need any more info just PM me!

    Cannondale Synapse 105, Giant Defy 3, Giant Omnium, Giant Trance X2, EMC R1.0, Ridgeback Platinum, On One Il Pompino...
  • rhnb
    rhnb Posts: 324
    Hi Andy
    Lucca is a great choice, and in my opinion, the only way to get to it is via Monte Serra - a wonderful climb (used for training by a lot by pro riders from the area).

    If it's any help I've toured Tuscany a couple of times and you can read those here...


    The 1998 tour includes our 'unplanned' ride over Monte Serra from Pisa to Lucca.

    Re the bike rental - can't really help there but there is a great bike shop near Lucca...
    'Fanini' at Segromigno in Piano, just outside of Lucca. An aladdins cave of top range bikes. Not sure if they hire, but might be worth a call if you can find a number for them.
    They sponsor a couple of racing teams as far as I know.

    Cheeers... allan.
    Cycle tour reports and the home of \'Cycling Before Lycra\'
  • Kléber
    Kléber Posts: 6,842
    The area around Lucca is good, head eastwards for some hills and aim to get lost in them. There are some great roads towards Pistoia and beyond. It's also one of the two hotbeds of cycling in Italy (the other being the area north of Milan) and you'll see more cyclists than you've ever seen on a Sunday morning. Swing through Quarrata and you might spot Mark Cavendish as he lives there.
  • Thanks all - we've actually booked somewhere north of Lucca in the Garfagnana, which looks to have some very wiggle roads. The US bike hire place will deliver but for €110, which seemed a bit steep! I think there's a place in Castelnuovo, which is near us, or I could always get one from Lucca. Any other suggestions, and especially rides to do in the area much appreciated!