May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine

The Trip-Finder, January 1999
Cycling the Grand Tour
Outfitter Price Accommodations
Legendary Expeditions
$3,250, includes airfare from U.S. camping

The Route: Tuscany, Umbria, Veneto, Lombardy, Romany, Abruzzo: Why bike one when you can bike them all? Itineraries vary from 12 to 15 days and 300 to 700 miles; all promise your fill of purple artichoke and red poppy fields, as well as natural hot springs.

When to go: May through October

Difficulty: Moderate

Travel advisory: Your outfitter should match your energy level. Eurobike and Experience Plus average 30 to 35 miles per day, while Cyclismo Classico riders reel off a brisk 45.

High/low points:

  • Buying a snazzy cycling cap from 72-year-old Mario Conti, whose grandfather started the family's legendary Florence bike shop in 1920.
  • Navigating the high-speed, hairpin descent from the town of Calasca after a lunch spent gustily imbibing the local red wine.

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