Bicycling and Walking Vacations Since 1971 Call a VBT Tour Consultant: (800) 245-3868

La Bella Toscana: Lucca, Montecatini and Pisa

The warmth and beauty of Tuscany unfold before you on this thrilling itinerary.

  • 10 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 18 - 40 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 4 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking
  • Easy / Moderate
  • Plane

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

La Bella Toscana: Lucca, Montecatini and Pisa ​

We’ll pedal through a rich history, with natural and architectural wonders at every turn—from the gentle slopes of the glorious piedemontana route at the foot of the Apuan Alps to the splendor of the villa-lined Via delle Ville. We’ll ride atop Lucca’s medieval walls, soak in the thermals of Montecatini, delight at quaint villages, and marvel at Pisa’s Square of Miracles. Along the way, meet passionate Tuscans during VBT-exclusive home visits, walking tours, and lectures that reveal this magical region through the eyes of locals.

Cultural Highlights

  • Learn about Leonardo da Vinci's inventions in his hometown museum
  • Follow a local guide on a Lucca walking tour
  • Stroll Pisa and its famed Campo dei Miracoli
  • Enjoy compelling tales of Pisa from a lecturer
  • Cycle along a picturesque route to Lake Massaciuccoli
  • Relax at the thermal pool in Montecatini Terme
  • Learn about composer Giacomo Puccini and listen to his famous arias
  • Taste unique local food like brigidini cookies and testaroli
  • Admire the rarest Vespa scooters at a factory museum in Pontedera

What to Expect

This tour offers a combination of easy terrain and moderate hills with some stretches on well-traveled, unpaved bike paths. Our VBT van support shuttle is always available for those who need assistance. Ideal for beginning and experienced cyclists.

Average Daily Mileage: 18 - 40 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 - 4 hours

Climate Information

Average Daily Temperature (°F) – Lucca
Apr 68°  May 75°  Jun 84°  Jul 89°  Aug 88°  Sep 81°  Oct 69°

Average Rainfall (in.) – Lucca
Apr 2.2  May 2.9  Jun 2.2  Jul 1.6  Aug 3 Sep 3  Oct 3.5

What’s Included:

Biking Tour Only – without Air

  • 6 nights in 3- and 4-star hotels
  • 13 meals – 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • 8 nights in 3-, 4- and 5-star hotels
  • 15 meals – 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • Transfers

AND, the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions:

  • Pre-trip: Florence – 2 nights for only $345
  • Post-trip: Rapallo – 2 nights for only $345

Both Vacation Options Include

  • Service of two bilingual VBT Trip Leaders
  • Full Van Support
  • Free use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount
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Land Only

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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $395 | Land Only Single Supplement: $295

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2015 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What's Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart U.S. / Fly overnight to Florence

Depart the U.S. for Italy. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

DAY 2: Arrive in Florence

VBT Air Package guests: Upon arrival at the Florence airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. VBT's local representative will meet you outside the customs area in your arrival terminal and will be holding a VBT sign. Your representative will help you transfer (approximately 30 minutes) to your hotel.

If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer representative for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please have airport staff page our driver with your last name so they may be notified of your delay. You may also contact our One Call travel assistance to advise of your delay and they will contact our transfer service. Our drivers are only able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands after which you would be responsible for your own transfer.

Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 2 pm. You may store your luggage with the reception desk.

You have the rest of the day free to explore the historic city of Florence and enjoy its Renaissance architecture and famous museums, using VBT's City Information Packet included in your Final Travel Booklet as your guide. In the evening, relax in one of the city's restaurants and sample the local cuisine.

Hotel: Hotel Tornabuoni Beacci

DAY 3: Meet Trip Leaders in Florence / Transfer to Lucca

VBT No-Air Package guests: Your tour starts at 1:00 pm at our Florence hotel (Hotel Tornabuoni Beacci, via de' Tornabuoni 3, Firenze, phone +39 055 212645). Your Trip Leaders will be in the lobby wearing VBT staff garments. From here, we will transfer by private coach to Lucca. Please have lunch before meeting your group and Trip Leaders. If your arrival at our Florence hotel is later than 1:00 pm or if you are delayed, you must take a taxi (approximately 90 minutes) at your own expense (approximately €150 euro/$200 USD) to our hotel in Lucca. Or take a regional train (approximately 80 minutes, ticket cost approximately €8 euro/$11 USD). Contact our hotel in Lucca if you experience any travel delays or changes, and ask the front desk staff to pass the message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package & Pre-Trip Extension guests: This morning, spend more free time exploring Florence's wonderful museums, shops and cafés. Discover the 14th-century Duomo, which serves as the focal point of Florence. Its structure and façade are grand symbols of the Renaissance. Take a walk across the Arno River on the famous Ponte Vecchio and browse the shops of the goldsmiths and silversmiths who have replaced the butchers and grocers of centuries gone by. See works by Caravaggio, Botticelli, Raffaello and Rembrandt at the Uffizi Gallery. Or just relax and enjoy a cappuccino or espresso in the Piazza del Signoria and Piazza del Duomo, where Florence's art and history surround you.

At 1:00 pm, meet your VBT Trip Leaders in the hotel lobby. They will be easy to recognize as they will be wearing VBT staff garments. Once the entire group is assembled, we transfer by private motorcoach (approximately 90 minutes) to Lucca. Please have lunch before meeting the rest of the group.

Upon arrival in Lucca, we proceed to our hotel. After settling in, meet your Trip Leaders for a safety and bike-fitting session before a short warm-up ride over the city’s famous Renaissance walls. These large and well-trodden avenues have been refashioned for pedestrians and bikers. Later this afternoon, gather for our welcome cocktail at the hotel, sampling local wine and cheese. From here, we walk to our trattoria for our dinner of Tuscan specialties.

Hotel: Hotel Ilaria & Residenza dell'Alba
Alternate Hotel: Hotel San Marco
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 3.3 miles (5.3 km)

DAY 4: Ride to Massaciuccoli / Home-hosted meal / Optional Evening Concert

We cycle out of Lucca this morning and ride along an easy bike path lining the Serchio River. After a few miles we join the gentle rolling piedemontana route at the foothills of the Apuan Alps—not too far from where Michelangelo used to personally choose the big blocks of marble from which he crafted his iconic sculptures. Before noon we reach Lake Massaciuccoli—a shallow lagoon hosting more than 100 species of permanent and migrating birds. Later we meet the descendants of the Ginori Lisci family—of the world-famous Italian housewares brand—for a prepared lunch on the manicured grounds of the Ginori villa. Here we find tracks of famous composer Giacomo Puccini (La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, La Fanciulla del West) who lived just across the lake and was good friend of Marchese Ginori.

This afternoon we'll return to Lucca for a walking tour with our local guide. This is the home town of Giacomo Puccini, and we will hear more about him. From April 1st to October 31st , an interesting event takes place every evening in the Lucca city center at 7 pm in the San Giovanni Basilique: a one hour concert with arias and duets from the great masterworks of Puccini, Verdi and other Italian composers at the cost of 20€ per person. This is an optional event that can be booked on site or beforehand at www.puccinielasualucca.com. Dinner is on your own in one of the many enticing and cozy city osterias.

Hotel: Hotel Ilaria & Residenza dell'Alba
Alternate Hotel: Hotel San Marco
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 15 or 31 miles (24 or 49.7 km)

DAY 5: Ride to Montecatini Terme / Lunch at winery / Cocktail at Terme Tettuccio Complex

We leave the city walls of Lucca and ride along the Serchio River on secondary roads to Montecatini Alta. Our route follows the lower hills of the Appennino Tosco Emiliano and part of the Via delle Ville. This “Villa Way” was named for the beautiful summer homes built between the 15th and 19th centuries by the noble and rich families of Lucca. They are still owned by descendants. Along the way, we pedal by and stop to take pictures of Villa Torrigiani, the best example of Baroque architecture in Tuscany.

A country road lined with big umbrella pine trees leads us to our lunch stop, the Fattoria del Teso winery. Here we sample local Vermentino and Vin Santo, still prepared as they did 100 years ago, accompanied by delicious specialties like fagioli al Vermentino, crostini toscani, and sheep’s cheese with a blueberry and balsamic vinegar marmalade. We resume cycling to Montecatini Terme. The town, known for its spas, is considered Italy’s capital of natural hot springs. We arrive at our hotel in time to enjoy the swimming pool and perhaps one of the hotel’s famous Thai massages.

Later tonight we meet for a cocktail at the Terme Tettuccio, the heart of the Terme complex which dates back to the 1920's, but used since the 14th century, where people still ‘take the waters'. It is not rare during our cocktail to bump into the rehearsal of an open air concert hosted in this magical and imposing complex. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Croce di Malta
Meals: B, L,
Daily Options: 17 or 36 miles (27 or 58 km)

DAY 6: Funicular ride up to Montecatini Alta / Bike to the hometown of Leonardo da Vinci

This morning a funicular ride takes us up to Montecatini Alta for spectacular views of the surrounding Tuscan countryside. Then, we start our ride on winding, gently rolling roads past olive trees and country houses in the Valdinievole valley. In the town of Vinci, we arrive at the Castello dei Guidi, a former castle and home that now functions as a museum dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci. Here, we’ll learn about the incredible inventions of the local genius.

We ride back to Montecatini along a scenic route that follows the massif of Montalbano. Later, take your time to soak in Montecatini’s thermal springs or browse the fashion shops of this small but lovely town. You have time to enjoy a massage at the Thai Silk Spa in our hotel (www.grandhotelcrocedimalta.com), or perhaps soothe sore muscles with one of the thermal water treatments offered at the near Terme buildings (see below for more details, or visit the website at www.termemontecatini.it) or even take a shuttle to try something really unique, a thermal steam bath at Grotta Giusti, a unique millennial grotto in the nearby hamlet of Monsummano Terme. Dinner tonight is included at our hotel restaurant.

About Montecatini’s Thermal Springs
The Terme is a complex of nine buildings, each with its own character, staff and range of treatments. They are located at short walking distance from our hotel. To enjoy the hot natural thermal springs, the easiest and quickest way is to access the Thermal Pool, open from March to October. It is located in the building called Terme Redi. The ticket costs €12 euro; no reservation is required and the total time allowed for the bath is 60 minutes. The thermal pool is fed with 91° Leopoldina thermal water, excellent for rheumatic troubles and vascular disease.

A vast range of relaxing thermal water treatments and esthetic treatments are available at the Terme Excelsior, also within walking distance from our hotel. Reservations are requested. Visit the website www.termemontecatini.it to become familiar with the range of packages. Our local staff and Trip Leaders can help you book in advance when you arrive in Italy.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Croce di Malta
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 16 or 20 miles (25.4 or 31.9 km). Additional moderate ride option: 21 miles (35 km)

 

DAY 7: Ride to Calcinaia / Tour the Vespa museum

This morning, we'll enjoy an incredible cycling experience to our next destination. We enter a forested area known as Le Cerbaie, coasting along the protected scenic marshlands of Padule di Fucecchio. We'll stop on the way for an included picnic lunch prepared by our Trip Leaders.

Later this afternoon, we arrive at our fine country hotel. After settling in, you have the option to visit the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera. The Vespas on display here are the most beautiful and rarest examples of this world-famous scooter. Before dinner, a local historian will entertain us with stories about Pisa. We dine at our hotel tonight.

Hotel: Calamidoro Hotel
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 26.5 or 32.5 miles (42 or 52 km)

DAY 8: Ride to Pisa and explore the Campo dei Miracoli

This morning we ride by one of the most beautiful villages of Italy, Vicopisano and enjoy views of its splendid medieval tower and cobbled streets. We then head to Pisa where we'll see one of the most outstanding piazzas in the world: the Campo dei Miracoli, or the Square of Miracles. Here we'll view the famous Leaning Tower, the cathedral, baptistery and cemetery. You'll have plenty of time to explore and have lunch on your own. Tonight we'll celebrate with a farewell dinner at a local osteria just outside the beautiful medieval village of Vicopisano.

Visitors are allowed inside the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but at a strictly managed schedule dictated by the time on your entry ticket. There are about 290 steps to the top; visits typically last a maximum of 30 minutes, including the climb and descent. If you are not at the entrance at the precise time on your ticket, you will lose your reservation. The entrance fee is €15 euro and can be paid at the ticket office in the square. We recommend you book in advance online at: http://www.opapisa.it/en/plan-your-visit/ticket-office.html (click on Ticket Office). The cost is €18 euro if you choose to book in advance online. Please note that you cannot carry large backpacks. This visit is not recommended for travelers who experience claustrophobia or vertigo.

To visit the other great monuments in the Campo dei Miracoli (the Baptistery, Duomo, Cemetery, and Opera Museum) you can buy tickets onsite.

Hotel: Calamidoro Hotel
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 17 miles (27.5 km)

DAY 9: Transfer to Rapallo / VBT No-Air Package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: You will be transferred to your choice of Pisa Airport (arriving at approximately 9:30 am) or our hotel in Rapallo (arriving at approximately 10:30 am).
You are responsible for your own transfer to the airport for your flight home if you do not leave from Pisa airport.

VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, transfer to the lively city of Rapallo in Liguria and check in to our luxurious hotel. The Excelsior Palace Hotel is the only 5-star deluxe hotel in the entire Riviera di Levante and located in a wonderful setting and convenient point for your excursions. Rapallo is an old small town on the sea and a gateway to Cinque Terre and Portofino. Our local expert will be at the hotel on your arrival and guide you on an orientation tour in Rapallo. She will help facilitate your excursions in Cinque Terre and the lovely surroundings. Your hotel room may not be available until 3 pm; you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

If you have chosen the independent Post-Trip Extension to Rapallo, you will remain at this hotel for three nights. Our local representative can answer your questions and facilitate your discovery of Cinque Terre and Portofino over the next few days. VBT's City Information in your Final Travel Booklet includes recommendations for restaurants, museums and transportation in the area, and will help you explore on your own.

Walking is the best way to discover Rapallo. Travelers come from all over the world to hike on the spectacular walking paths of this region. Rapallo’s Sanctuary of Montallegro, accessible by cable car, is the most important religious center in the Tigullio area. If you’re feeling energetic, the walking path leading up to the sanctuary has its own reward--the lovely San Fruttuoso Abbey. Lace-making also has a long tradition in Rapallo; the 17th-century Villa Tigullio houses a Lace Museum.

Also worth noting is our luxurious 5-star deluxe hotel, which has a unique setting facing the bay to the east and the headlands of Portofino to the west. You’re sure to enjoy its refined ambiance, panoramic restaurants, scenic swimming pool and poolside bar, fitness club, private pier and access to the sea for swimming.

Hotel: Excelsior Palace Hotel
Meals: B

DAY 10: Depart for U.S.

After breakfast* this morning, you will transfer to the Genoa airport (approximately 40 minutes, depending upon traffic) for your departing flight. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated transfer time**.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**Please note: VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: B

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Accommodations

Calamidoro Hotel

This classic Tuscan hotel offers a beautiful spot to enjoy your time in the region. Enjoy the many features the hotel complex has to offer—use the practice golf course, swim in the semi-olympic sized pool or stroll through the manicured grounds.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Tornabuoni Beacci

Located in two Renaissance palaces on one of Florence’s most elegant shopping streets, the Palazzo Minerbetti and the Palazzo Strozzi del Poeta are close to all the important monuments of the city. Featuring a rooftop garden with panoramic views of Florence, the hotel welcomes guests in its elegant rooms decorated with frescos and antique furniture. Typical of historical Italian palaces, each room is different in layout and size. The historic paintings, antique pieces from the 17th-19th centuries and elegant chandeliers in Murano glass are definitely part of the charm.
Free WiFi Included
Photos

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Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With LOw-Cost Trip Extensions

Pre-Trip Extension - Florence

2 nights for only $345

Post-Trip Extension - Rapallo

2 nights for only $345

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(800) 245-3868

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