The Chianti Classico area has long been a favourite of cyclists, both on and off road. Dievole itself has an important bike path we call our “Natural Path” which can be used year round, but there are some important bike events in Tuscany each year that you’ll want to know about if you’re a die-hard biker or just an enthusiastic sideline “cheerer”. As a bonus we’ve also added some movies and museums to help you get in the mood!
Bike events in Tuscany
May: Giro d’Italia
While not an event just in Chianti, the Giro d’Italia passes through our roads, and we fully embrace it! In 2016, the Chianti Classico Consortium has a month of activities planned to coincide with the big day of May 15, when two-wheelers will whiz past us. Even if you’re not a passionate biker, the emotion of seeing these great athletes is a rush.
The most important moment in our area other than the day the bikes come through is on Saturday May 14, 2016, at the Casa Chianti Classico, where there will be a dinner party and DJ set as well as tasting tables featuring numerous labels from the area, Dievole included. For the whole month, there are art exhibitions, book presentations and films scheduled. We’re particularly excited about an art exhibit called “On Cycling and Wine” which will show works in glass telling the story of the Giro d’Italia. Another great event that will provide an interesting photo opportunity is on May 8, 2016, when vintage Vespas will ride the route of the Giro’s Chianti Classico stage. On the same day there is also a non-competitive mountain bike tour and a guided hike, both of which that will take you through vineyards and stunning sceneries.
Find full details on the website www.chianticlassico.com/en
On the first weekend of October each year, the Eroica is dedicated to the “heroes” of vintage bike racing on our area’s “white roads” (strade bianche). The route of this beautiful race passes right on Dievole property, where each year there is one of the refreshment points. In 2015, we stood by in the pouring rain to cheer on the racers, who arrived soaking wet and happy to wash down some bread and prosciutto with a gulp of Chianti Classico. The mood of this race is always happy, where going the distance is as important as going well dressed. We’ve written more about this race here.
A Springtime Eroica through the Val d’Orcia area, not far from Dievole, is a recent addition to the Eroica family and is not as large as the one in October.
For information see http://eroica.cc
Year-Round: Natural Path
If you prefer to cycle at your own pace, or if you can’t make it to one of these larger events, fear not! Dievole’s Natural Path has over 27 kilometers of cleared bike path through woods and vineyards. Inaugurated in 2015, it’s part of our dedication to bringing this territory to its full glory. The path revives the roads used by past sharecroppers, and we’ve given it back to the community, making it free to access at any time. There are routes for all levels, and the trail can also be accessed by foot or on horseback.
To get in the biking mood
Whether you’re greasing up the gears or supporting cyclists, there’s lots you can do to get in the biking mood that goes well beyond diet and exercise.
Museums / If you’re visiting Italy, we recommend a visit to the newly renovated CicloMuseo Gino Bartali, just outside of Florence on the Chiantigiana road at Ponte a Ema, where this famous cyclist is from. If you don’t know anything about Bartali or biking, you’ve still probably seen the heartwarming and famous photograph of Bartali passing a bottle of water to Fausto Coppi (or vice versa – we may never know) during the 1952 Tour de France. The image is considered a symbol of good sportsmanship, an honour for which Bartali is generally recognized. Bartali’s story, his life and bikes, is the center of this museum.
Movies / Bicycles provide inspiration for numerous themes, which we recommend watching. Some will be screened during the Chianti Classico’s events for the Giro d’Italia 2016, but you could look for any of these in streaming or DVD wherever you are.
- Bicycle Thieves by Vittoria De Sica is a true classic of Italian Neorealist cinema. Set in post-war Rome and released in 1948, it’s a picture of the city and its poverty, as well as a moving story of parenthood.
- Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist is a gripping documentary from 2014 that will have even non-cyclists on the edge of their seats, hoping to understand what happened to this champion who died tragically young.
- Beijing Bicycle by Xiaoshuai Wang takes us to China, where the bicycle is protagonist in a story that compares the fortunes of two boys from two different social standings.
- The Green Bicyle by Haifaa Al Mansour received critical acclaim in 2012, telling the story of a young girl in Saudi Arabia who wants a bike to race with her friend, but faces the challenge of gender. Interestingly, the movie was later made into a young-adult book in 2015.