As a born-and-bred Florentine, I’ve had the delight of guiding hundreds of B&R travelers in my home region of Tuscany, a place I know by heart.
As I’ve seen time and time again, there’s nothing better than in our fast-paced world to go slow, and here in Tuscany, we do just that, in the spirit of enjoying life, moment by moment. Here are my secrets to getting the most out of your Tuscan visit.
Secret 1: Explore!
The first secret to enjoying Tuscany is to do as my fellow Tuscans have done: explore the wide world around them. As a proud native, I like to ask my travellers from North America if they know why and how the New World, the Americas, were named. Enter the Florentine explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci, who, in 1502, demonstrated that Brazil and the West Indies were part of a heretofore undiscovered continent, rather than the eastern outskirts of Asia.
Many of my travellers are also surprised when I mention that another Tuscan has made his mark on one of New York City’s most famous sights. Standing at the entrance of New York Harbor, the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge was named after the explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who first sailed there in 1524 from the little hilltop town of Montefioralle. (Verazzano actually never made it back home, because on the way back he made a stop in Guadaloupe and was eaten by flesh-eating tribes—but fear not, the only devouring happening on your B&R trip will be you, digging into the famous cuisine of Tuscany).
In the spirit of exploration, my fellow countrymen longed for adventure, to make a name for themselves, and to see what was at the edge of the known earth. Personal experience trumps any other knowledge, so if you want to truly get to know Tuscany, don’t take it from me—come experience it for yourself.
Secret 2: Embrace the Challenge
Like many of the great metaphysicists say, you cannot understand joy until you understand the struggles of life. I won’t sugarcoat this: if you go to Tuscany on a bike trip, you cannot expect it to be easy. It’s not.
But having guided and encouraged so many travellers of all abilities up and down these gorgeous hilly landscapes, I can say this with all confidence: you will love biking in Tuscany. People end up loving the hills just as much as they love to complain about them, but in the end, everyone’s sense of pride and achievement is worth the hard work. I’ve seen it time and time again. And, remember, just like the famous commercial says, “For everything else, there’s the e-bike.” It’s a game-changer.
Secret 3: The Rewards Are Worth It
In Tuscany, we travel the lesser-known rural roads through small hill towns, farming villages, acres of vineyards and olive groves. After the challenges come the rewards: time slows down and the gastronomic delights of Tuscany are yours to indulge in.
On a B&R trip, you can get away from your usual routine, and connect back to being yourself again. We sip the best regional wine, indulge in rich Tuscan cuisine, all in the company of our friends. (And we’re experts at making this magic happen).