After a couple of days in Florence, we were ready to get out of the city. It’s not that I didn’t like Florence, it’s more so that I was unprepared for the amount of people that would be in Italy in August. After almost a week of pushing through crowds to see iconic monuments, we wanted something different. So, naturally, we decided to rent bikes– ’cause we’re adventurers.
That was one of those moments when Jay and I think we’ve got it all under control, what could possibly happen mentality, when really we’re just going with the flow and don’t know exactly what we’re doing. We chose a company, suited up, and were given a map and brief directions to get out of the city.
We hadn’t even made it over the Arno River before a gear in my bike busted off. I felt it pop and then a man in a passing car was yelling at me in Italian and pointed to my bike until I noticed the chain was hanging. We searched the bridge for the gear pieces and then walked back to square one– typical for our time in Italy.
However, we were fixed up fairly quickly and set out to “blaze the trail.” We began by climbing uphill to Piazza del Michelangelo, a well-known spot for seeing the views of Florence at sunset. It was tough going and steep in the hot weather, but we made it and then referred to our map to see where to go. Turns out, we hadn’t even made it to the edge of our map yet… Whoops!
We picked a general direction and a road to follow. Surely we couldn’t get that lost, right? We did not, in fact, get lost. We chose to ride left into the tiny village of Pian de’ Guillari. It was practically empty: quiet and lovely.
We streamed through the narrow streets, periodically passing views of the countryside or open gates into gardens that looked like they came straight from a painting. The afternoon was spent racing down hills, trudging up hills while muttering curse words, and dodging tiny, Italian Fiats that would speed unexpectedly around corners.
Even though we had rented bikes for the entire day, after a couple hours we were exhausted with no clue where we were headed (still hadn’t made it onto our large map of the Tuscany wine regions). But hey, we gave it a shot! We decided to roll back into Florence, both looking forward to cruising down all the hills we had to climb to make it out of the city.
Dreaming of biking in Tuscany? You can do it! Conquer the hills and you’ll be rewarded. Maybe even hire a guide!
Not pictured: “Taking advantage of having a bike” and trying to ride from our current hostel to the next with our travel backpacks on. It was really a struggle maneuvering through people on cobble stone streets. I had to stop unexpectedly and almost fell over and an older man nearby told me, in English, “I am very worried to you” then tried to help me balance the weight of my bags. Oh, sweet, sweet memories.