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Tuscany and Umbria: Cycling in the Heart of Italy

  • 4.4

    (7)

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  • 7 nights | 34 miles/day
  • Difficulty Level: 3
  • Self-guided from: €775
  • View Dates

Tours using road, hybrid or touring bikes:

  1. Mostly flat
  2. Flat with some gentle slopes
  3. Rolling, hilly terrain
  4. Some long and/or steep climbs
  5. Extensive climbing

Tours using mountain bikes:

  1. Mostly flat, wide trails
  2. Some gentle slopes, wide trails
  3. Rolling, hilly terrain and/or narrow trails
  4. Some long and/or steep climbs and/or technical trails
  5. Extensive climbing and/or highly technical trails
  1. Variety: Choose from more than 200 tours offered by local operators in 35 countries.
  2. Advice: Our informed advisors help you choose the trip that's right for you.
  3. Lower cost: You pay local tour company prices—less than what big American companies charge.
  4. Great exchange rates: Pay low rates thanks to the millions of dollars in foreign currency we buy each year.
  5. Convenience: We handle the full booking and payment process.
  6. Support: We’re your advocates from initial planning through final pedal stroke.
Tour Type: Guided Self-guided

Tour description

An evocative bicycle tour in the Etruscan and Roman heartlands of Umbria and Tuscany. Water courses and magnificent scenery landmark these regions which have been shaped by the forces of nature and by human hand.

The tour starts from Assisi, the most atmospheric and mystical town of Umbria. From here, as you pedal you regenerate mind and body in a setting of palpable harmony, where each stretch of land and each citizen has an unmistakable identity: the fruit of millennia of civilizations which have left thick layers of memories and timeless masterpieces.

Tuscany and Umbria are lands of magnificence, where a single fresco can capture a thousand different facets and moods. You will encounter paths set between rolling hills rich with vineyards and olive groves; water courses immersed in greenery and big lakes of an intense blue; medieval villages; necropolis and other Roman and Etruscan remains of incomparable value. By the end of the trip, having crossed these two regions, one thing is clear: that humankind and nature can achieve a balanced fusion.

This tour is also available in a 9 night/10 day version. Please inquire for futher details.

Daily program

Day 1: Arrival
On the first day you arrive in Assisi, a medieval town of global renown which is rich in both famous and lesser-known artistic treasures. Embraced within its old town walls on the slopes of Mount Subasio, Assisi is a magical place and the fact that it has hardly changed since ancient times has preserved its charm. You cannot miss the opportunity to admire the Basilica of St. Francis, an architectural masterpiece which consists of two churches, one above the other, and is brimming with frescos by great masters such as Giotto, Cimabue and Simone Martini.

To fully appreciate this historical town, however, it is also worth visiting historical sites dating back to the Roman period, such as the Roman Forum with its archaeological remains and the Temple of Minerva. Wander the narrow streets and allow yourself to be enchanted by the beauty of all the town's buildings, both sacred and secular. At the end of the day: route briefing an bike setting.
Overnight in Assisi

Day 2: Assisi – Ponte San Giovanni (21 miles/33 km)
Following the paths and roads of a part of the 'Valle Umbra' valley, dominated by hills thick with vineyards and olive groves, you arrive at Ponte S. Giovanni. Here you can visit the Ipogeo dei Volumni, which is an Etruscan tomb site discovered in 1840 and now classified as one of the most important monuments of the Etruscan period. This site, along with many other findings, is part of the Palazzone Archaeological Park.

From Ponte San Giovanni you can also visit Perugia, taking the train for Sant'Anna station. In just a few minutes you are in the heart of Etrusca Perusia (Perugia) and you can appreciate the extraordinary Etruscan civilisation by visiting the Etruscan Well (Pozzo Etrusco) and the necropolis in the suburbs as well as stopping to admire the old town walls and arches. Perugia is an eclectic and particularly beautiful city which is rich in culture, architectural monuments, events, shops and characteristic wine bars where you can taste the famous Umbrian wines.
Overnight in Ponte San Giovanni

Day 3: Ponte San Giovanni – Passignano (40 miles/65 km)
To reach Passignano you cycle along paths and roads which enjoy a panorama of the rolling green hills sloping down to the shores of Lake Trasimeno. Passignano is on the gently sloping northern shores, where the lake meets the rocks. The town is often referred to as l'isola felice (“the happy island”) because it is a meeting place for nature and history, art and folklore, peace and vitality.

It was along these north shores, between Malpasso and Passignano, that the epic battle between the Carthaginians and the Romans took place; the battle which marked the beginning of the legendary 20-year war between Hannibal and the Romans.
Overnight in Passignano

Day 4: Passignano – Castiglione del Lago (32 miles/51 km)
In the morning you leave Passignano to head for Castiglione del Lago, a charming village at the western shore of Lake Trasimeno. Your journey through Tuscany begins here, in the farmlands of the Val di Chiana, with the fragrance of its orchards.

Your route, in fact, crosses a number of 'food trails' - cheese, fruit, olive oil, wine and Chianina beef - adding flavor to the list of attractions alongside history, art, human resourcefulness and water. Your Etruscan journey continues through legends and mysteries, ancient town walls and necropolis such as those of Cortona. This town is an important cultural and artistic center for the valley, well worth exploring and enjoying in all of its aspects, and something of interest can be found here for everyone: enthusiasts of history and art, lovers of nature and adventure, those keen on sport and fitness, food and wine experts and those interested in fashion and shopping.

Castiglione del Lago is built on a promontory and from the old center; you have a nice view over the lake and its islands. Evidence can be found in the town of both Etruscan and Roman origins and there is the 6th century castle Rocca Leone, built by Emperor Frederick II. The town is a real meeting place for nature and history, art and folklore, peace and vitality. From Castiglione del Lago you can visit Isola Maggiore, one of the three islands in Lago Trasimeno. It has less than 100 permanent residents who live in homes dating back the 15th century.
Overnight in Castiglione del Lago

Day 5: Castiglione del Lago – Orvieto (43-47 miles/69-76 km)
The first part of this stretch offers you some wonderful atmospheric scenery. You pedal immersed in the green landscape slight hilly landscape of the surrounding areas of Lake Trasimeno and will have a glimpse of Lago di Chiusi.

You can decide to make a detour and visit Chiusi, which rises on a hill on the southern side of the Valdichiana. Between 7th and 5th century B. C. Chiusi got to its greatest splendour under the King Porsenna’s domination. Among the most interesting monuments to see in Chiusi we point out: the Cathedral, the Chiesa di San Francesco, the Bishop’s Palace, the Museo della Cattedra, the remains of the Fortress and Porsenna’s labyrinth.

You then climb up to Città della Pieve, where are several important monuments from the 13th to 17th centuries. The town is the homeland of Perugino, the Maestro of Raphael. The city retains some of his most important works. Pedalling along a route with short rises and dips until you reach Orvieto, an ancient town rich in art and culture. It is worthwhile to book an extra night in this lovely town.
Overnight in Orvieto

Day 6: Orvieto – Todi (28 miles/45 km)
Before leaving the splendid Umbrian town of Orvieto don't forget to visit the Duomo, a masterpiece of Italian Gothic architecture. Its façade is decorated with magnificent bas-reliefs and sculptures designed by the Sienese architect Lorenzo Maitani. Also not to be missed are the Pozzo di San Patrizio, a great work of hydro engineering built by request of Pope Clement VII to ensure a water supply to the town in the case of a siege. He had taken refuge in Orvieto during the Sack of Rome in 1527.

In the saddle once more, you leave Orvieto to reach a panoramic road by Lake Corbara. Pedal slowly, enjoy all the shades of colour nature offers you and stop to breathe the fresh air. If you are a keen historian remember that near here, where the Paglia and Tiber rivers meet, are the remains of what was an important river port in Roman times (The Roman Port of Pagliano).

Today's ride finishes in Todi, which in 1992 Prof. Richard S. Levine of U.S. Kentucky University defined as “the most livable town in the world”. Todi is another Etruscan town, but was founded between the 8th and 7th centuries BCE by the Umbri (whose settlements were on the other side of the Tiber from the Etruscans) and named Tutere, which means 'boundary town'. In 340 BCE the town developed significantly when it was conquered by the Romans. It acquired the name Colonia Julia Fida Tuder (1st century BCE) and was granted the right to mint its own currency. The town's most beautiful Roman constructions were built after it became part of the Roman Clustumina tribe.
Overnight in Todi.

Day 7: Todi – Bevagna – Cannara – Assisi (37 miles/54 km)
In the morning you leave Todi and pedal through a hilly landscape of farmed fields and vineyards to get to Bevagna.
This charming medieval village, listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, is rich in art, history and cultural events which celebrate folklore and traditions (such as the 'Mercato delle Gaite'). If you visit the village starting from the upper part you find some important Roman monuments dating back to the 1st -2nd century C.E.

You can see the remains of the Roman forum and of a Roman temple with half columns and pilasters. Not far from this is the site of the Roman baths, of which the frigidarium remains. This is decorated with a very fine mosaic in black and white tiles with designs inspired by the sea. Walking along the narrow streets you come across the Roman theatre, of which evident and significant signs are still visible and which determines the curve of the houses built on the remains of this great civilization. The other buildings are of medieval and renaissance origin and demonstrate a perfect example of architectural harmony between the forces of municipal hegemony and ecclesiastical power.

Leaving Bevagna you pass through lush, fertile land which belongs to the Sagrantino DOCG area. This is a wine with definite character and intense flavour, which is famous worldwide. Your route takes you to Cannara, which rises on the left bank of the Topino river and is situated almost at the centre of the Valle Umbra in an area which in ancient times was wetland (known to the Romans as Lacus Umber). Cannara, in fact, derives its name from 'canna' (cane), an aquatic plant which still thrives today. Historians reckon that the first settlements in this marshy area were founded in around 1000 C.E.

You are now coming to the end of this evocative journey through the art, history and nature of the two unique and uncontaminated regions of Umbria and Tuscany. The last stretch of your trip brings you to Assisi.

Embraced within its old town walls, Assisi is a serene and atmospheric town which is a symbol of peace and harmony. It is a place of saints, churches, monasteries and convents; buildings in which devotion and art live together in a symbiosis which few places have ever equaled. A grand example of this is the Basilica of St. Francis.

Nevertheless, in Assisi the secular buildings in the town also blend in perfectly with the religious architecture. Crossing the main square, Piazza del Comune, you can admire secular medieval buildings such as the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo along with the Roman temple of Minerva, which has now become the Church of Saint Mary above Minerva. At the end of the town square, if you go into the Museo del Foro Romano, you are effectively turning back to pass under the present day square. In the vaults here you can admire the original paving and the remains of impressive masonry and sculptures. The magic of this town can also be felt in the evening, sipping a glass of wine in one of the characteristic local wine bars, or at night when you wander the tastefully lit streets and alleys.
Overnight in Assisi.

Day 8: Departure from Assisi

Route Map

Maps are for information purposes only and reflect typical routes between overnight locations. They may not reflect your actual route.

Dates

Daily: Apr 1-Nov 30, 2019 (minimum 2 persons)

Prices

Category A
Per person, double occupancy
€775
Single room surcharge (1 person/1 room)
€255
Optional dinner package
€140
Bike Rentals
Hybrid touring bike
€85
Electrically assisted bike
€190
Road bike, carbon frame
€190
Category B
Per person, double occupancy
€680
Single room surcharge (1 person/1 room)
€130
Optional dinner package
€165
Bike Rentals
Hybrid touring bike
€85
Electrically assisted bike
€190
Road bike, carbon frame
€190
Please note: Instead of operating bicycle tours ourselves, BikeTours.com represents local bicycle tour operators around the world. Review the tour operator's information and terms below, then submit your booking request through BikeTours.com. The primary benefits of booking your tour through BikeTours.com include:
  • Lower cost: You pay local tour company prices—less than what big American companies charge
  • Variety: Choose from more than 200 tours offered by local operators in 35 countries.
  • Advice: Our informed advisors help you choose the trip that's right for you.
  • Great exchange rates: Pay low rates thanks to the millions of dollars in foreign currency we buy each year. Or pay in euros!
  • Convenience: We handle the full booking and payment process.
  • Support: We’re your advocates from initial planning through final pedal stroke.
Contact us with any questions about booking and paying for your tour through BikeTours.com. We look forward to serving you!

Ecologico Tours Umbria Terms and Conditions

If you cancel your booking:

For a cancellation received more than 49 days before the start date of the holiday the deposit will be forfeited, whilst any other payment towards the cost of the holiday will be refunded. For later cancellations, the deposit will be forfeited and any payment towards the holiday will be refunded less the following charges:

  • More than 49 days Deposit: 20% of tour cost
  • 48-35 days before the starting date 30% of tour cost
  • 34-15 days before the starting date 50%of tour cost
  • 14-5 days before the starting date 80% of tour cost
  • 4-1 days before the starting date 100% of tour cost

Modifications of the booking:
Any changes after the booking has been made will be subject to a fee Euros for administration costs. The decrease of the number of participants will be considered as a cancellation and will be refunded according to the above charges. The modifications requested by the clients may not always be possible and the tour operator is not under obligation to carry out any modifications requested.

Rules of law enforceable:
This contract is regulated by rules of law which follow the legislative decree n° 206 ‘Codice del Consumo’ (code of consumption) of 6th September 2005, the directives 90/314/CEE and in particular the L27/12/1977 n° 1084 of ratification and implementation of the international agreements related to the contract of travelling (CCV) signed in Brussels on 23/04/1970

Booking and Payment Terms and Conditions:
After full and final payment for your holiday has been received, you will be sent the accommodation details, route instructions and other information relevant to the holiday in question. This will be sent by post to the address of the party leader. Maps will be handed over by us at the place of your first overnight accommodation.

Groups:
When making a group booking, the booking form must be signed by the person first named on the booking form (the party leader), accepting these booking conditions on behalf of all your party. The confirmation invoice and tour pack for the group will be sent to the party leader. Any questions concerning the holiday from members of the group should be sent to us by the party leader only.

Changes or cancellation by us:
Very occasionally we have to make changes to a holiday after a booking has been confirmed or cancel confirmed bookings. Whilst we always endeavor to avoid changes and cancellations we must reserve the right to do so. We feel responsible to give you what we offered, but unfortunately sometimes changes are inevitable. It can be possible that the hotel of your choice hasn’t anymore availability, restaurants can be closed, train timetables can change.

If we have to cancel your holiday or make a significant change before departure (such as a change of accommodation to that of a lower official classification or standard for the whole or a major part of the time you are away, a change of accommodation area for the whole or a major part of the time you are away or a change to the date of departure) we will tell you as soon as possible and you will have the choice of:

  1. accepting the changed arrangements or
  2. taking the alternative holiday we offer you (and where this is of a lower price we will refund the difference) or
  3. cancelling or accepting the cancellation and receiving a full refund of all payment made.

The tour operator will not, however, be liable to refund any incidental expenses you may have incurred as a result of your booking, such as flights, travel insurance, visas, additional travel arrangements, etc.

Force majeure:
We regret we cannot accept any liability or pay any compensation where the performance or prompt performance of our contractual obligations is prevented or affected by, or you otherwise suffer any damage or loss as a result of, force majeure. Force majeure means any event which we, or the supplier of the service(s) in question, could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. Such events include war or threat of war, riots, civil strife, terrorist activities, industrial disputes, fire, natural or nuclear disasters, adverse weather conditions and all similar events outside our control.

Prices:
Prices may change at any time due to changes in exchange rates, increases in transport, accommodation or other costs, or if government action forces us to do so. Once a confirmation invoice has been issued we will endeavour to abide by that price. Once the holiday has been paid in full we will absorb any subsequent price increases or surcharges.

Complaints:
We are committed to providing excellent care for our guests. However, any complaints regarding a guided tour should be made to the tour leader who will normally take the appropriate action. If at the end of the tour you feel that your complaint was not dealt with satisfactorily you must notify us of your complaint in writing within 15 days of the completion of the tour. On self-guided tours, any complaint regarding accommodation, food, etc. should be made at the time of your stay to the owners or manager of the establishment concerned and to us, the tour operator. Subsequently a letter outlining the complaint should be sent to us on your return. All complaints received are thoroughly investigated and guests are kept informed. We aim to settle all complaints amicably.

Liabilities:
The tour operator shall not be held liable for any damage caused by the total or partial failure to carry out the contract if such failure is

  1. attributable to the customer
  2. unforeseeable or unavoidable and attributable to a third party unconnected to the Company
  3. as a result of unusual unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control such as strikes, war, civil or political unrest or government action or what is usually known as "force majeure".
  4. a result of an event that we, with all due care, could not foresee or forestall
  5. due to the theft of bicycles
  6. due to the client choosing an inappropriate level of activity, or due to poorly maintained equipment. Our tours have different levels. Every participant should inform himself or herself before departure about what equipment will be necessary for the holiday booked and whether he or she is in the right physical condition for the level of the booked tour. We are not responsible for injury as a result of health conditions or lack of fitness, injuries incurred cycling or walking either on- or off- road and in particular injuries as a result of inadequately maintained and serviced personal equipment or failure to wear the correct safety equipment, most notably cycle helmets.

Where the Company is found liable for damages in respect of its failure to carry out the contract, the amount is limited to the price of the tour.

Insurance:
We strongly recommend that you protect yourself, your equipment and luggage with a suitable holiday insurance policy. This insurance should also be arranged to cover non-returnable costs should you have to cancel your trip due to unexpected personal circumstances.

Data Protection and Privacy
In order to process your booking and to ensure that your travel arrangements run smoothly and meet your requirements, we need to use the information you provide (such as name, address, any special needs). We take full responsibility for ensuring the proper security measures are in place to protect your information. We must pass the information on to the relevant suppliers of your travel arrangements (e.g. hotels). The information may also be provided to public authorities such as customs/immigration if required by them, or as required by law (Informativa ex. Art 13 D Lgs. 196/03).

Comunicazione obligatory:
According to the law article 16 of the legislative degree 269 ofl 3/10/98: the Italian law punishes the violations related to prostitution and pornography with minors, also when the are committed abroad.

All prices are in Euro and are calculated on the exchange rate of january 2010.

All photos used by permission. ©Ecologico Tours Umbria

Ratings

Ratings Snapshot

  • 5 Star 4
  • 4 Star 2
  • 3 Star 1
  • 2 Star 0
  • 1 Star 0

Average Ratings

  • Overall

    4.4

  • Difficulty level (Actual vs. expected) 3.9
  • Value 4.4
  • Included meals 4.2
  • Bikes & equipment 4.6
  • Hotels or boat 4.7
  • Scenery 5
  • Ease of navigation 4.1
  • Tour documents 4
  • Local tour company services 4.6
  • Route selection 4.6

Reviews

karnhaus September 22, 2018

It was an adventure!

Beautiful trip through Umbria and Tuscany; although the elevation on some days was more than we expected. The views were spectacular, and all of the accommodations were excellent. Loved the B&B in Castiglione del Lago - it was our favorite. Could have used more tips of places to see along the way, such as wineries, local farms, etc. Ecologico Tours did a great job organizing the trip, the bikes were top notch, and they were very accommodating in helping us switch out our pedals, provide carriers, etc.

CCandPC July 3, 2018

Gorgeous scenery and perfect weather!

My partner and I did this trip, self-guided, and it was great. BikeTours.com was very responsive to our questions, pre-trip, and the local tour company was great too. We rented carbon road bikes from them, and the bikes were excellent. We brought our own pedals, and I brought my saddle, and they helped swap them and ensured we were happy with the setup. As a level 3 tour, the mileage was mostly 50-75 km per day, which was perfect for us. A bit more hilly than expected, but that was fine too. I'd estimate it at a 3.5. The views were gorgeous, and each little town we passed through or stayed in was beautiful. The hotels were nice, with large buffet-style breakfasts, usually in hill-top old fortress towns. We went in late June and the weather was upper twenties celsius. One thing to watch out for is that Italian roads (secondary roads) are not always well-maintained, so while the scenery was stunning, the poorly maintained roads were a surprise and impacted our speed at times. Other than that, it was dreamy and I'd recommend it highly!!

Dave64 June 19, 2018

Loved this tour!

We enjoyed our tour very much. We loved this method of touring the Italian countryside. The itinerary took us on very quiet country roads (sometimes on dirt roads) where we could stop at our leisure and take pictures. We are both 64 years old, and ended up using e-bikes for this trip, which turned out to be a very good decision. We worked just hard enough, we could enjoy the countryside, get a good physical challenge each day, but have enough gas in our tank to enjoy the evening tour and meal in town. The towns we visited were very enjoyable, a break from the crowds in Florence and Venice. Other bikers we met on our travels were friendly and helpful with tips. The Italian drivers were very courteous to bikers. It was a fantastic trip.

CapeCodders October 4, 2017

Best vacation EVER !

A big thank you to the entire staff at BikeTours and a special thank you to our Umbrian Tour operators Pablo and Petra. Everything was incredible ! The biking was phenomenal, the scenery, the food, and hotels exceeded all of our expectations. Pablo and Petra went above and beyond providing detailed maps and GPS tracks for our self guided tour in addition to historical facts and sites to be seen in each of the beautiful villages we visited .

Responses from Biketours.com

Brittany December 11, 2018
We're glad to hear you had a great time on tour and thank you for the pictures! I visited Umbria by bike this year and what a hidden gem. We hope to help you plan another bike tour in the future!
Ana outsubo August 8, 2017

Needs improvement

They need to improve. We were three... but we only had 1 map, I had to ask for at least one more.... the full package like odometer.... bike tray to put the map... direction booklet... they did not have it all, although we paid 3 packages. They forgot our greeting meeting. Good points: they tried to provide everything we had asked... they were helpful. But definitely they were overwhelmed with the amount of tours and needed help.

dave403 May 8, 2016

Outstanding route and operator for central Italy - Awesome trip!

Really excellent self-guided trip run by a first class small operator (Petra and Paulo). Stunning terrain, mostly in Umbria which is quieter and perhaps even more charming than Tuscany. Accommodation was excellent quality and value. Not over-the-top fancy but great. Breakfasts good - usual European-style. Generally on our own for dinners and so many incredible choices - Umbria has first class food and wine. Luggage transfers perfect. Directions provided excellent. Relatively challenging rides which we expected. At the higher end of level 3. Terrain is hilly (and gorgeous) which isn't an issue where roads are switch-backed. Tougher when they're not but we managed fine. Best to be in decent shape. We're 60 and in good fitness. Winter training via spin classes helpful. Would be more challenging on hybrids - we upgraded to road bikes and were happy we did, riding with our own shoes and clips. Took an extra day in Orvieto which helped give a recovery day and was very interesting/worthwhile. Lots of history and art along the way. Great trip! Highly recommend this operator and this trip.