Pisa, Lucca, Puccini locations, Viareggio, Porto Venere, 5 Terre deserve to be visited with time.
In addition to the cities with their art and historical background, you can see a mixed landscape that changes at every km along your ride, as you can see different cultures, histories, traditions, cuisines and also wines and olive oil, everything is marvellous, like the strong local patriotism that has always characterised the inhabitants.
On the bicycle, you can also explore the countless scents that you breath in every location: sea, lake, countryside.
This experience will bring you far away from crowds and you will appreciate the small details of this territory; a visit to the Piazza dei Miracoli and the Walls cannot be missed, however they will be just a small parenthesis of the trip.
Day 1 – Historical center of Pisa, distance km. 13
After arriving at the hotel, you will start the tour of the city of Pisa travelling through alleys, squares and the Lungarni. You will cycle along the well-maintained public garden of Fortezza Sangallo, the bridges with breath-taking views, the modern art mural painted by Keith Haring “Tuttomondo”, and part of the ancient medieval walls of the city. The entire excursion will take place on the cycling path.
A quick stop at the leaning tower and then more cycling at the discovery of this city rich of history and culinary traditions. You can choose to take a small break: a delicious coffee with a rice pudding or the famous “cecina” and wrap up the evening with a fine dinner in a typical restaurant.
Day 2 – Pisa / Lucca, distance km. 40, altitude difference m.220
Depart towards Lucca, crossing the countryside along the Medici aqueduct, dating back to the early 17th century, built by Ferdinand I de’ Medici. The path follows the aqueduct with its arches, continues along the countryside towards Monti Pisani and then along the Serchio river, through Puccini cycling path (which takes its name after the famous composer Giacomo Puccini who was born in Lucca). Surrounded by the green, among the towers that mark the border between Lucca and Pisa and the Rocca di Ripafratta, you will reach the Medioeval walls of Lucca where you can pedal and enjoy the city from another perspective, and then continue through the alleys and taverns, with their typical products.
Day 3 – The Villas of Lucca and Montecarlo ring tour of km. 50, altitude difference m. 500
The villas of Lucca. We leave Lucca, along the cycling path that runs along the Serchio river going north, and we arrive in Ponte a Moriano. The first villa that we see is Villa Oliva, located in San Pancrazio, and after a few metres, we will see Villa Grabau and Villa Reale. You can visit all the villas by purchasing the ticket and cycle along the magnificent Park of Villa Reale. Then you will continue towards Villa Torrigiani, one of the most interesting examples of 17th century architecture in Lucchesia. The garden is characterised by flower parterres and large pools inspired by the projects of the Palace of Versailles, with caves and water fountains still functioning today. Near the villa, there is Bordocheo agricultural farm that you can visit and taste the wines and oil, upon reservations.
Day 4 – Lucca / Viareggio, distance km. 55, height difference m. 180
Also today, you will start on the cycling path along the Serchio river, this time travelling in the opposite direction. Immersed in a natural and extremely relaxing landscape, you will suddenly see the lookout towers on the border between the cities of Lucca and Pisa, ancient rivals, and the Castello di Nozzano. Then you will enter the Massaciuccoli park, cycling along the homonymous lake until reaching the dock, to start navigating towards Torre del Lago Puccini, then you will resume cycling along the coast where the path continues along pine groves and pristine beaches, with some sandy sections, and you will end the tour in Viareggio.
Day 5: Viareggio-La Spezia. Distance km. 56, eight difference m. 470
Warm up in total relax on the flat cycling track along the beach of Versilia, from Viareggio to Marina di Carrara, with a marvellous sea view and white Apuan Alps; they seem snowy also during the summer due to the quarries of Carrara white marble. The landscape changes from Bocca di Magra, from sand to rocks; after a climb, you will reach Punta Bianca where a breath-taking view will accompany you until Lerici, where you will have a snack with the famous Ligurian focaccia. You will continue until La Spezia.
Day 6: La Spezia-Monterosso. Distance km. 38, eight difference m. 960 (variant Portovenere + km. 20 and m. 240)
The most challenging part starts here, bring plenty of water because there are only a few points to get water along the way; it is important to be well hydrated especially during the summer.
The effort is well rewarded, it is difficult to describe the sensation that you will feel when pedalling along these roads; I suggest you not to distract yourself too much with the views, it could be dangerous.
The attraction to pedal down the panoramic view in one of the five villages will be strong, however I do not recommend it unless you are well trained and in any case, you will visit all these villages tomorrow on foot.
The stop in Portovenere is stunning, a charming bay with a romantic historic centre and Palmaria island in front, unforgettable, but remember that you will have to pedal an extra 20 km to visit them and 240 metres slopes during a day that is already challenging.
Day 7: trekking delle 5 Terre, Monterosso, Vernazze, Corniglia, Manarola, Rio Maggiore. Distance 10 km, dislivello m. 500.
Trekking day touring Cinque Terre. From Monterosso, you will walk along the spectacular path of Cinque Terre’s park and you will reach Vernazza, in about two hours; in addition to visit the village, we recommend a stop on the beautiful beach and a swim. Here you can choose between two options, take the train until Corniglia and then continue on foot until Rio Maggiore or walk up to Volastra and descend directly to Rio Maggiore.
Which one to pick? The first option involves a less difficult walk and you will visit 5 villages, the second option is challenging, it offers amazing views that make 5 Terre famous with its villages.
You can return to Monterosso by train or boat.
Day 8: game over
We suggest to extend the vacation at least by two days, there are plenty of things to do, see and taste. If you like walking, the trekking routes are amazing, I recommend Palmaria island and Levanto, if you want to relax you can go to the beach or rent a small boat or look for a bay and for those who like food, I suggest a visit at a sciacchetrà producer.