Riding a motorcycle in Tuscany

Tuscany is one of the most famous regions in Europe and probably in the World. In 23,000 sq km (8,900 square miles) you will find many famous and interesting places to see. Cities like: Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignano… Areas like: Chianti, Maremma, Val d’Orcia, Mugello… Islands like: Elba, Giglio… Culture legacy from: etruscans, romans, renaissance…

But what does of Tuscany a special place you should explore while you ride a Motorcycle?

1 Roads:

Tuscany has a huge net of countryside roads linking hundreds of little and pretty towns. As hills make up nearly two-thirds (66.5%) of the region’s total area, these roads are full of curves which makes the ride much funnier and enjoyable.

2 Landscapes:

Let’s be honest: the sights in Tuscany are truly special. The countryside, the villas and farmhouses, the sky… They all create a special atmosphere that is unique! On a motorcycle trip in Tuscany you will feel the need to stop each 10 minutes to make a photo!

3 Nature:

Tuscany has a nature diversity known all over the world: the Chianti with its forest and vineyards, the “Crete Senesi” mounts and their grey coloration that gives them an appearance often described as lunar, the Val d’Orcia and the sweet hills with their cypresses, the Maremma and a fantastic sea… And anybody who has ever traveled in a motorcycle knows that the link between the rider and the nature around him is very particular.

4 Land of riders:

Italy and Tuscany are a place where traditionally motorcycles, scooters, riders and champions have a lot of tradition. Many of the Italian champions like Rossi or Dovizioso grew-up riding on the Apennines hills between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. Vespa was born in Tuscany (and still have its headquarter). Some of the most famous Italian passes are in Tuscany: Passo della Futa, Raticosa, Giogo, Muraglione, Porrettana, Consuma, Chiantigiana, Massetana… In many of these roads take place every year some exciting road races!

5 Distances:

Tuscany is not too big and not too small. I would say perfect for visiting during a week. That’s time enough to go around all the region without having to make 2 times the same road and seeing every day new and interesting places. A must region to visit if you like nature, beauty, culture, history, gastronomy, wine and first of all… motorcycles!!

If riding a motorcycle is not easy and you need some skills, riding a motorcycle in Italy is much more complex. You need to pay extra attention to everything that surrounds you:

  1. Cars: people drive aggressively, so it is important to anticipate their moves and double check before making your moves. You need to be some kind of “mind reader” of the drivers as they will often not indicate lanes changes, turns, etc. Keep your distance with cars! In these last years the use of cellphones during the drive has become a serious problem in all the world and Italy is not an exception, so this is another reason to pay double attention.
  2. Pedestrians: some times pedestrians will act like the city belongs to them and so you can find them walking in the middle of the street or, after dropping from the bus, they will cross the street in front of the bus (pay attention when you overtake a bus which is stopped dropping passengers!).
  3. Bicycles: another “player” in this jungle. In the cities you can find bicycles on the wrong way, coming from every corner while texting on their phones and passing red lights, so if you see a cyclist on your way keep an eye on him! In the country roads you will find many professional or amateur groups of cyclists, they usually are on their right and go fast but it is always a good advice to keep you eyes open.
  4. Radars: there are MANY radars in Italy and sometimes they’re hidden quite well and they’re positioned in strategic places where you could go too fast (E.g. a road downhill). You will recognize them because normally they are on a grey or orange box on the right of the road. Sometimes, the radar on the opposite lane might work also for your lane.
  5. Roundabouts: here the rule is, the priority is to the one who gets in faster… So pay attention: check, double check, triple check and then get in. Pay attention also to the exit!
  6. Crosswalk: usually Italian drivers very rarely will stop if a pedestrian is in front of the crosswalk. If you are riding a motorcycle, are approaching to a crosswalk and have a car on your back, be careful! The car may think you will not stop, so, if you stop, the car could hit you in the back!
  7. Directions and signs: let’s be clear: signs in Italy sometimes are a shame. In some crosses or roundabouts there are too many, too small and too hidden. It is so easy to get the wrong road and to get lost. This is particularly sad when instead of riding a nice and exciting road you find yourself on an ugly road with traffic jam
  8. Scooter: I will make a post dedicated to scooters another day haha!

So, how a guided tour can make things easier?

With a guided tour many of these problems will disappear and the danger will be much lower. Riding a motorcycle in Italy freely and with no stress following an expert will give you a higher security level. Your interaction with cars will be lower, riding in group will make you more visible, an expert in the area knows almost all the radars positions (saving you potentially a lot of money in fines) so, in two words: just enjoy.

Montesenario benediction

Montesenario benediction is one of the most loved traditions in Italy and italians are also very superstitious. If an Italian rider sees a black cat crossing the street, he will probably stop as soon as possible and wait for a car to pass before himself. This way, the bad luck (that can produce an accident!) that the cat brings to the first one to cross “it’s line” goes to the car and not to the rider.

Following these popular beliefs, it is a tradition for Tuscan riders to get on their motorcycle on January 1st, facing the cold, the snow, the wind and the rain (in an heroic and very dangerous ride), to reach the Montesenario Convent in a mount near Pratolino (around 15 km from Florence). In this yearly event, the Monk of the Convent will pass in front of all the motorcycles throwing holy water to them: this way the motorcycle will be “safe and lucky” for all the year.

On this event we can find all kind of riders and bikes. From elderly men with old classic motorcycles to young fellows with their brand new Japanese bikes full of electronic. The Monk, the destiny, and the road make no differences, we all need to be blessed…