[ blog » 2022 » 03_Firenze ] Siena – San Gimignano – Firenze (by Philipp Gesang, location: Firenze)


Completing another part of the slow paced Strade Bianche route puzzle, I started out following the the finale route from the train station over the second to last climb with that iconic descent. To my surprise the Via Santa Caterina turned out rather easy – not riding a fully loaded touring bike and climbing it first thing in the morning with fresh legs seems to make a substantial difference. Not unlike my experience last year I again had a hard time finding my way out of the maze of one-way roads and ultra-steep cobbled climbs which took me about an hour to escape.


The scenery around Siena is just unbelievably amazing. The best region on the globe to cycle in, full stop. Or, depending on how you look at it, the worst, as there’s a scenic view waiting at every corner prompting you to halt and take a picture! Hard to get any actual cycling done when you’re stopping all the time.

Monteriggioni anyways was a bit of a letdown. The walls sure look impressive from outside, especially from a distance, but inside there’s little more than one empty square and a bunch of tourist traps. San Gimignano could be described as a miniature version of Siena. It boasts more medieval towers but is just as hard to navigate. Also tourists.

Firenze Outskirts

Around Sambuca the countryside reached ridiculous levels of idyllic. I had planned the route so as to use mostly quiet country roads and it paid off. The drawback was those roads tend to be steeper so the late afternoon turned out rather climbing heavy. That was alright though, I had packed a ton of food.

One of the absolute highlights of trip so far was the stretch of road that passes through the borgo of Impruneta. A narrow, almost single-track road undulating over a ridge, with stunningly beautiful vistas left and right.


One of the stretch goals for today was to grab some Lampredotto after the ride. I missed the Tripaio I wanted to buy it from distracted by heavy traffic, but ultimately found another one operating out of a booth near the San Miniato al Monte. Hard to think of a better place to wind down after a hard ride.

Distance: 119 km. Elevation gain: 2003 m.


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