Ciclismo classico, or classic cycling in Italian, is the theme of L'Eroica. This wonderful cycling festival celebrates the heart, soul, and traditions of cycling.
The past October, I had the pleasure of attending the sold-out Ciclismo Classico Tuscany and L'Eroica tour! I spent a week savoring Tuscan roads, foods, and wines, from the quaint countryside of Serre di Rapolano to the Chianti area. We pedaled from Val d'Orcia to medieval Siena, where the an air lingers amidst the twisting streets of warm, brown brick.
This one-of-a-kind Italian cycling experience began at Il Molinello, an agriturismo (farmhouse) run by Ciclismo Classico Top Guide, Alessandro Molinello and his delightful family (and two affectionate dogs!). For three days we explored Sandro’s favorite roads and got a taste for the gravel roads, le strade bianche, that twist and turn through some of the most amazing landscapes in the world. Our loop rides brought us into the heart of crete senesi. Then we spent two fulfilling days in the charming hilltop gem, Siena. And, it's not all about the biking—There is a cooking lesson with Sandro's wife, Elisa, a class in olive oil by Sandro, a visit to the family run Nostra Vita Winery, a private dinner concert by top Tuscany musicians, and, of course, on every ride, your guides Marcello Bonini and Sandro will teach you about Tuscan history, culture, geography and the enogastronomy of this beloved region!
Day after day, pedaling amongst olive groves and vineyards, I could feel myself breathing in the spirit of old-time cycling. The tour through the heart of Tuscany is the antipasto to the main event, the grand finale of the greatest cycling celebration, L'Eroica, Gaiole. Being a part of this world famous vintage cycling festival was thrilling. For one magical day, cyclists from all over the world ride vintage bicycles, take the plunge into cycling's romantic past of wool, steel, gorgeous landscape, hearty food stops serving prosciutto, cheese, panforte, fresh Tuscan bread and abundant pours of Chianti Classico.
L’Eroica started in 1997 because one man, Giancarlo Brocci, admired the historical values of cycling so much that he wanted to reconnect others to the heritage that inspired much Italian history, literature, culture, and music. It also began as a foundation for the protection and preservation of the last gravel roads in Tuscany. These romantic concepts led to the idea of L’Eroica, an event that initially saw 92 “hunters of feelings and emotions”, as the creator Giancarlo Brocci defines them. This year, 8,000 participants dispersed along 4 routes that zigzag along the gravel roads. As a passionate cyclist who revels in the chance to connect with people, culture, and the Italy, L'Eroica was the perfect place. It’s a spinning international festa—a bucket list must that takes a deep dive into heart and soul of bicycling's colorful and passionate history.
The festival is so popular that the registration is by lottery only. By joining the Ciclismo Classico tour, the only North American bike tour operator attending, you can guarantee your place at the unforgettable international bicycle celebration, L'Eroica, next year and explore the wonders of Tuscany! You’ll laugh, be invigorated, have fun, and want to come back year after year. Tuscany and L'Eroica sells out, so make sure to sign up early to save your spot for next year. People from all over the world will gather in Tuscany to ride the white gravel roads and share an epic day of sport, friendship, and fun.
Watch this video to hear how Ciclismo Guide and passionate participant, Alessandro Draghi, describes Eroica. Sandro has participated in L'Eroica for over 10 years and is considered an expert on the subject. He is also the designer and visionary for the Tuscany and L'Eroica. Sandro has lived in Tuscany all his life, and his passion and experience for the spectacular roads around his home and his insider knowledge of L'Eroica make this the perfect trip in every way.
Every year L'Eroica inspires and invigorates riders from around the globe, including the two happy Ciclismo Classico riders who were overheard at the finishing line after 48K of gorgeous pedaling saying, "That was FUN!"
See our 2018 highlights! More photos are available on our Facebook page.