The Maremma looks as if it was made for cyclists. Wide sweeping roads and hardly any traffic, you can pedal the length and breadth of the province and never meet another soul.
But all that isolation and picturesque beauty doesn’t come at the sake of convenience. The Maremmani are environmentally conscious. They recognize just how ideal their home is for pedal power and they’ve put together plenty of resources to help you explore it with your road or mountain bike.
Any cycling holiday starts with the accommodation. Before you set your heart on a hotel, think about what you want to explore with your bike and how far you’d like to go. The Maremma is a big region – making up almost a third of Tuscany’s total landmass.
The best area’s for cyclists are the Maremma’s coastal areas and those around the province’s capital, Grosseto. Not only do these promise plenty of flat foothills to explore, but they also have the best connected roads and paths to ensure you not only enjoy a smooth ride, but have easy access to breathtaking beaches, gorgeous nature parks and stunning coastal tours.
Location picked, it’s time to think about where you’re sleeping. Whether you’re bringing your own bike or thinking about renting one, there are plenty of amazing accommodations in the Grosseto area that are cycling friendly. Since you’re doing something that is so close to nature, it’s a no brainer to pick one that is eco-friendly. You don’t want to spoil your cycling holiday with greasy fried foods and cramped spaces. So choose a B&B or agriturismo that has plenty of open spaces for you to explore on foot when you’re not cycling.
Since you are what you eat, there’s no point making life difficult for yourself by eating poorly when you’re off the bike. The Maremma is famous for hearty and seasonal dishes like acquacotta (a vegetable and bread soup) and tortelli (big ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta and served with either a meat ragu or butter and sage). Not only are these dishes delicious, but they’re also satisfyingly healthy – the stuff the local contadini (farmers) would prepare for a day in the field and perfect after a day on the saddle. Since the Maremmans plan their menu by the seasons, look for an agriturismo that grows the produce it uses in its dishes and locally sources the rest. Added bonus if that agriturismo embraces organic food and produce. After all, cycling and ecotourism go hand in hand.
The Maremma has a bunch of cycling schools if you’re not too confident on the back of a mountain bike or just want to someone to guide you through the best routes inland or on the coast. Simply ask at your hotel reception and they should be able to organize half-day, full day or even multiple day cycling itineraries that are perfect for you.
If you’d prefer to see the sights on your own, the Maremma has 30 defined cycling routes. The best naturalistic paths are inside the Parco della Maremma just outside of Grosseto. This nature park has trails for all expertise levels and takes you from deserted beaches to abandoned medieval lookouts… watch out for the vacca Maremmana (the Maremma’s own breed of cattle) that roam the park.
For sun and surf, soak up the coastline on the Ciclopista del Sole, a trail crossing the peninsula from Brenner in Italy’s north to Sicily. The Maremman section favours the coastal area and the immediate inland, developing for about a hundred kilometres. From Follonica, it heads to the inland, taking a turn in Marina di Grosseto and crossing the provincial capital to reach Magliano in Toscana.
For something shorter, consider the Tour of Monte Argentario, which navigates the entire Argentario Coastline from Porto Santo Stefano to Porto Ercole with plenty of opportunities to stop and take a dip in the crystal blue waters.
While for the ultimate challenge, consider the Grand Tour of the Maremma. A 366 kilometre journey through the very essence of the Maremma, discovering historical towns, beautiful scenery and hidden splendor from one end of this gorgeous region to another. The Grand Tour of Maremma starts from the Metalliferous Hills and heads to Pitigliano by way of Amiata, from the hills surrounding Manciano to the Argentario Coast and the Grosseto countryside, riding back by way of the coast to Castiglione della Pescaia and up to the Metalliferous Hills.
You can download a copy of all the Maremma’s 30 cycling routes from the official tourism website: www.turismoinmaremma.it