It is mid summer in Italy as we wrap up our 2020 schedule. As always we like the challenge of keeping our trips exciting for our returning guests, and maintaining an appeal as the best folks to travel & cycle in Italy with. In a few weeks we will continue 2019 our season with a tour to the northern mountains, then back to Tuscany for our annual Cooking & Cycling tour, and sliding into fall with our second visit this year to the Cilento area in Campania. My legs and stomach look forward to them all.
As we’ve been touring more in southern Italy and trying to keep our rides within a manageable difficulty level (a happy two or three-pigger, say), we’ve been having to avoid the long strip of mountains that litter Italy’s central spine.
Many of our friends come from these areas, with great stories of how accommodating the people are, how delicious the food, how quiet the roads….
So for 2020 we jumped into the heartland of Italy with a tour exploring the mountain ranges of Abruzzo and Molise. I remember racing in these southern mountains in the Giro d’Italia, riding up great climbs past empty pastures to alpine ski areas. I will miss our well known passes in the northern Alps and Dolomites, but the lack of traffic, abundant natural beauty and amazing food will make this a fun diversion.
The more we travel and look for new places to ride and visit, the more we love our home village of Castagneto Carducci. Much of Italy enjoys plenty of tourists, but we all know that comes with a burden of being over run. Tuscany’s treasure is that there are so many great places to ride, that if some are too busy, it is a simple task of looking under our noses for other jewels.
Our Castagneto Delights tour is back, a week at one magnificent place, with every day an opportunity to experience our favorite routes and flavors of our home town.
In early June we will return to the Val d’Orcia area south of Siena, to the romantic town of San Quirico. This tour will wander through some of our favorite Tuscan haunts—the island of Elba and our hometown of Castagneto Carducci.
Our Cooking & Cycling tour is still the popular tour for an ideal week for couples and friends to discover Tuscany together. I sometimes think I will get tired of riding the same roads in my village, yet even in this August heat I am able to find new places to visit on my early morning rides.
Sometimes it takes the heat and the crowds to help us discover what lies beyond the obvious touristed sites, and fall in love with Italy all over again.