San Gimignano and the Castelvecchio Nature Reserve
The tour difficulty is primarily a subjective factor, determined by different elements and from never equal situations.
The most important of them is the effort: the more the climbs are high, the more effort is made.
But climbs are not all the same: they can be more or less steep and of variable length.
To get an idea of how many climbs are waiting for you on a tour, you should check the "elevation gain uphill". The higher the "elevation gain uphill" is the higher the number of climbs you have to face.
Another element that can make a tour more or less difficult is the climate and in particular - in summer time - the exposure to the sun.
Doing the same path in autumn or spring with 20/25 degrees is completely different if done in summer with 35 degrees.
In addition to the temperature, even the humidity, the presence of shade and the road surface can increase (even in the worst cases) the difficulty of 20%.
For this reason, there is no a unique answer to the question 'how difficult is a course' is; everybody has its own parameters and sensations that also depend on your training level, so the difficulty index is considered an indicative value.
To help you choosing a guided tour, in addition to the degree of difficulty, we ranked the tours according to the following parameters: Landscape, Nature, Art and History.
The trail winds through panoramic paths from which you can admire some of the most beautiful landscapes of the Tuscan countryside.
The tour takes place predominantly in wooded areas or crosses areas of important naturalistic interest such as parks or nature reserves.
Art and history
During the tour you will find places of great historical and artistic interest such as medieval villages, abbeys, churches and castles.
This route runs entirely inside the Nature Reserve of Castelvecchio, a large wooded area of about 700 hectares of limestone hills, which at 600 meters above sea level, dominates the landscape to the west of San Gimignano. You will be in awe of this imposing landscape.
After leaving San Gimignano we go into a rich Mediterranean forest of dense beeches, oaks, cypress, pine and sycamore trees. The fauna includes wild boar, fox, hare, deer and many birds from pheasant to partridge and from hawk to wood pigeon. After a few kilometres, on an outcrop of rock we can admire (and make a small detour to visit) the ruins of Castelvecchio which is composed of several buildings, a tower and a Romanesque church, where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the surroundings.
Castelvecchio or Castrum Vetus, was inhabited as early as the sixth and seventh centuries, and was built on the site of a sacred cliff of the Etruscans, who were the first to build in the area. There you too will discover that this is a magical place, chosen by the men of antiquity to celebrate their sacred rites. After the year 1000 - the period in which it had its maximum splendour thanks to its strategic position; just a short distance from the intersection with the Via Francigena coming from the north and heading directly to Rome, and the Salt Road that connected Volterra and salt mines in the cities of Tuscany such as Chiusi, Arezzo and Cortona – Castelvecchio was often fought over between San Gimignano and Volterra and transformed in "Castrum" or fortified town after which, since 1400, it experienced a rapid decline.
After this fascinating dive into the past we will continue our ride up to the farm of San Donato, where we expect a tasting of their wines and typical products.
Important things to know before you book a tour
- Before booking a guided tour, be honest with yourself.
Although our tours take place mainly on relatively easy routes, sometimes you need to tackle more technical sections (steep climbs or descents on dirt roads), so make sure you have the technical skills and know how to drive a mtb in order to be able to finish the tour.
If you are used to cycling only a few times a year and never on a dirt road, perhaps you should not book a guided tour, as you could seriously endanger your safety and that of other participants.
- Whether you choose to take a guided tour with a traditional mountain bike or an electric one, a good ability is required in knowing how to ride a bike on a dirt road and how to use the gear.
- Before booking a guided tour please check the characteristics, in particular those relating to the length and difficulty making sure to have the technical skills and physical properties necessary to complete the course, read our read our tips to ride safely and check the levels of difficulty of the tours
- We suggest that you choose the dress suitable for the type and length of the route and weather conditions. It is forbidden to wear slippers or sandals.
- Children under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult (parent / guardian).
- Given the length of the tour, to participate, we recommend a good level of training, spirit of sacrifice and ability to pedal for long distances uphill.
- During the tour, several stops are made, to take pictures or just to relax and do some chat. This makes the tour enjoyable and less stressful even for those who are less trained.
- iBikeMontaione reserves the right to change with or without notice, before and during the tour the logistical organisation and the type of route depending on the weather conditions, ability and preparation of the participants, or other problems.
- If the weather is questionable, please send us an sms (if possible via Whatsup it's free!) at the number +39 346 7623211 one day prior to the start time to confirm the tour status.
- Read also our tips to ride safely.