Motorcycle Tour of Tuscany and Umbria
On day 1 we shall ride out of Rome on a Sunday morning. Romans will be enjoying a lie in and will let us leave in peace. Our first port of call will be the volcanic lakes of Bracciano and Vico. In between the two lakes we visit the amphitheater of Sutri, carved into volcanic tufa stone.
Our motorcycle tour heads over the Cimini hills and reaches Civita di Bagnoregio. We’ll view it from a distance from a great sport, as the city council have progressively blocked access to private vehicles flocking there in numbers over the weekends. We then head on to our first double night stopover, Orvieto. We’ll be staying right in the historic centre, and right by the Duomo (cathedral), a real masterpiece! Orvieto is a very nice place to spend two evenings. It’s a real pleasure to stroll around this town.
Day 2 will see us do a loop ride to Assisi (Umbria) and back over Monte Peglia. This road starts with an amazing twisty section used in hill climb races. It’s also known as the “University of Motorcycling” for offering all the possible types of turns in succession.
On the way to Assisi we also stop in a small church near Deruta, famous for its pottery. In this little church the walls are covered in small PGR pottery tiles. PGR means “per grazia ricevuta” which is a sign of the person’s thankfulness towards the Madonna for having helped him/she in the time of need. The visit to Assisi is a must. The paintings by Giotto and the 3 layers of the basilica are a must see, even for bikers ; )! Once we have visited the basilica of Saint Francis, we shall head to Montefalco, home of the superb Sagrantino red wine, and then back to Orvieto via Todi and lake Corbara.
On Day 3 we finally reach Tuscany. Immediately after our visit to the third volcanic lake north of Rome, lake Bolsena, we cross into Tuscany. After a small section of maremma, we visit Pitigliano and its ancient synagogue. Once we leave Pitigliano and approach Sorano, we cross a secluded valley and ride what we call the “Etruscan switchback”. It’s a switch back carved in tufa stone. The Etruscans had a habit of carving narrow paths between valleys to attain building material and offer shortcuts in between long valleys. They were known as “Tagliate Etrusche”. When we reach Radicofani we’ll be on the southern edge of the Val d’Orcia. It’s a great place for lunch, should that be the hour of the day : )! Our route into Siena will then take us to two other outstanding locations: Pienza, a renaissance gem, and Montalcino, known for its Brunello wine.
Day 4 Siena is an amazing town with really too much to offer for just a few hours, so some may take the opportunity to take a day off riding and enjoy the history, culture and art this small city has to offer.
For those who want to ride out of Siena you are spoilt for choice. We suggest a route to the south and west covering Montalcino, the Abbeys of San Galgano (famous for its sword in the rock) and of Sant’Antimo, and San Gimignano. Some truly amazing riding and the classic Tuscan rolling hills.
On day 5 we ride Chianti Classico as far as Florence and view the city from Piazzale Michelangelo. A stunning view for a busy city. No doubt you’ll visit Florence at some point in your life. For this you won’t need a bike and you’ll need a fair few days. We then ride south again into Chianti and reach our overnight stop in Cortona for another double night stay.
Day 6: Another opportunity to relax “Under the Tuscan Sun” in the interesting small Tuscan town of Cortona on day 6. Have a look at the link we have added here for things to do and see.
The loop ride instead will take us on some really amazing roads to Valentino Rossi’s birth place, Urbino, and then on to Gubbio. Before we reach Urbino we pay a short visit to the Madonna del Parto in Monterchi. An amazing paining of a pregnant Madonna by Piero della Francesca. Then it’s time to really rev our engines and tackle Bocca Trabaria. Another hill climbing stage from San Giustino all the way to the top. It’s of course twisty all the way to Urbino. Lunch most probably will be in Urbino and then we ride to Gubbio, yet another wonderful small town in Umbria before returning to Cortona.
Day 7 of the motorcycle tour of Tuscany and Umbria has arrived and we must make our way back to Rome. But the fun isn’t over yet! After a short stop to view the battlefield where the Hannibal slaughtered the Romans by lake Trasimeno, we tackle the SS71 all the way to Orvieto and then the SS205 to Amelia. Both of these roads run along the Tiber valley and offer a very entertaining and scenic ride. Both follow the ridge, or just below along the Tiber valley. Views are wide and traffic scarce. Great roads to end one of the best weeks riding in Central Italy.