Thursday, September 17, 2015

A View from the Saddle: 8 Days in Umbria & Tuscany

There is no better way to experience the scenery and culture of Italy than on a bike. I rode with my friend Philippe on a 8 day cycling adventure in Umbria and Southern Tuscany with “Experience Plus” out of Fort Collins, Colorado. I love how they blend fabulous cycling routes, wonderful local cuisine and wines, great bikes and use such experienced guides! They even send one of the guides out early each morning and mark your bike route with chalk arrows! It was a fantastic trip, surprisingly challenging with all the medieval towns up steep hills, and lots of fun!

We started in the tiny hamlet of Torgiano in Umbria. I love all the colorful buildings!

The group gathers at the hotel for a meet & greet reception. One rider from Chicago met up with us after riding 1800+ kilometers from Budapest! He signed up for the 11 day ride! Yes,…the group was very hardcore gearheads!

I took this shot while visiting the ancient church in the medieval hill town of Spello on our way to Cortona.

Quaint lanes of Spello.

This is an entrance gate to the famous town of Assisi.

On the road to Cortona.

Sunflowers lined the route on the way up to Cortona, seen in the upper right.

We really enjoyed the group dinner in Cortona, especially after all the hours in the very hot Tuscan sun!

A favorite stop on the way to Pienza was the medieval hill town of Montepulciano. Flags are flying with the colors of a contrada, or town district. Love this place and hope to return for sure!

Believe it or not, this was the incredible view of the Val d’Orcia valley from the terrace of our hotel in Pienza!

Our final night was in the enchanting town of Siena. I was very tired after 7 hard days on the bike, but thrilled and inspired by the magnificent countryside! If you are intrigued, check out I would highly recommend them for your next big adventure!

***Photo credits: Dick Gentry

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