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Biking Vacation La Bella Toscana: Lucca, Montecatini and Pisa ​

Activity Level: Easy / Moderate  |  Daily Mileage: 18 - 40 mi  |  Daily Biking: 2 - 4 hr
Air package plus
10 days from only
Price includes roundtrip airfare.
Land only
7 days from only
Pre-trip Extension
Florence • 2 nights $345

Post-trip Extension
Rapallo • 2 nights $295* 
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Detailed Itinerary 

Days 1 - 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 2:00 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 with VBT's City Information 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.

Day 3 - Meet Trip Leaders in Florence / Transfer to Lucca

VBT No-Air Package guests: Your tour starts at 12:30 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. We will transfer by private coach to Lucca. During our transfer, the coach will stop and you will have the opportunity to buy lunch. If your arrival at our Florence hotel is later than 12:30 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 a regional train (approximately 80 minutes, ticket cost approximately €8 euro/$11 USD). Contact our hotel in Lucca to advise of 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 facade are symbolic 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 12:30 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. During our transfer, the coach will stop, and you will have the opportunity to buy lunch.

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 famous Renaissance city walls. They are large and well-beaten avenues created 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 with Tuscan specialties.

Day 4 - Ride to Massaciuccoli / Home-hosted meal

We leave Lucca and ride along an easy bike path lining the Serchio River. After a few miles we join the gentle rolling ‘piedemontana’ route at the foot hills of the Apuan Alps—not too far from where Michelangelo used to personally choose the big blocks of marble that he used to craft 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.

This afternoon we’ll return to Lucca in time to follow our local guide on a walking tour of the town. Dinner is on your own in one of the many enticing and cozy city osterias.

Day 5 - Ride to Montecatini Terme

We leave the city walls of Lucca and ride along the Serchio River on secondary roads to Montecatini Alta. Our way follows the lower skirts of the Appennino Tosco Emiliano and part of the ‘Via delle Ville,’ or Villa Way. This name comes from the beautiful private villas built between the XV and XIX century as the summer homes of noble and rich families of Lucca, which are still owned by their descendants. We pedal by Villa Torrigiani, the best example of baroque architecture in Tuscany. We stop on the way at a local farm for our lunch before reaching Montecatini Terme. The town, known for its spas, is considered the capital of natural hot springs in Italy. We arrive at our hotel in time to enjoy the swimming pool and perhaps one of the hotels famous Thai’s 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, where people ‘take the waters’. We then walk to our local restaurant for dinner.

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. After taking in spectacular views, we start our ride on winding, gently rolling roads by olive trees and country houses that crisscross the Valdinievole valley. We arrive in Vinci at the Castello dei Guidi, a former castle-home that now functions as a museum dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci. We visit the museum and learn about the incredible inventions of the genius. We ride back to Montecatini along a scenic route that follows the massif of Montalbano. Later take your time to enjoy the thermal springs or browse the fashion shops of this small but fancy town. You also have the option to enjoy a thermal steam bath in a unique millennial grotto, called Grotta Giusti, in the nearby hamlet of Monsummano Terme. A shuttle to the grotto is available from the hotel. Dinner tonight is on your own.

The Terme is a complex of 9 buildings, each with its own character, staff and range of treatments. 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, which is walking distance from our hotel. 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 Leopoldina thermal water at 91°, excellent for rheumatic troubles and vascular disease. A vast range of both relaxing treatments with thermal water 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 get familiar with the range of packages and book in advance when you arrive in Italy with the help of our local staff and Trip Leaders.

Day 7 - Ride to Calcinaia / Tour the Vespa museum

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

Later this afternoon, you have the option to visit the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera. The Vespas on display 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’ll dine at our fine country hotel tonight.

Day 8 - Ride to Pisa and explore the sites

This morning we ride by one of the most beautiful villages of Italy, Vicopisano, and enjoy the vista of its medieval tower and cobbled streets. We then head in to Pisa where we’ll see one of the most outstanding piazzas in the world: Campo dei Miracoli. 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.

Note about the Leaning Tower: To visit it inside, there are about 290 steps; visits typically last a maximum of 30 minutes, including the climb and descent.  Be aware the times are very rigid, so make sure you are there at the precise time, otherwise you lose your reservation. The entrance fee is €15 euro and can be paid at the ticket office in the square. It is recommended to book it in advance, and this is the best resource: http://www.opapisa.it/en/plan-your-visit/ticket-office.html (click on Ticket Office). Cost is €18 euro if you choose to book online in advance. Please note that you cannot carry large backpacks, and this visit is not recommended for travelers who suffer from claustrophobia or vertigo.

To visit the other great monuments in Campo dei Miracoli (Baptistery, Duomo, Cemetery, Opera museum) travelers can buy tickets right there.

Day 9 - Transfer to Rapallo / VBT No-Air Package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: Your trip ends at the Pisa airport at approximately 9:30 am. You are responsible for your own transfer to the airport for your flight home.

VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, transfer to the lively city of Rapallo in Liguria and get acquainted with our luxurious hotel. Rapallo is an old small town on the sea and a gateway to Cinque Terre and Portofino. A local expert is there to welcome us and be our guide for the remainder of the morning. Your hotel room may not be available until 3:00 pm and 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 facilitates 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 and the most popular activity here. Tourists come from all over the world to hike on the spectacular walking paths of this region. The Sanctuary of Montallegro in Rapallo, which can be reached by cable car, is the most important religious center in the Tigullio area. The pathway leading up to the sanctuary is very interesting, as it is the route to San Fruttuoso Abbey. Lace-making also has a long tradition here, and seventeenth-century Villa Tigullio houses a local 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 headland of Portofino to the west. Travelers will enjoy its refined ambiance, panoramic restaurants, scenic swimming pool and poolside bar, Fitness Club, and the private beach.

Day 10 - Depart for home

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.

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