Montecatini Terme - Sovigliana - Touring Tuscany - CycleBlaze

May 1, 2009

Montecatini Terme - Sovigliana

Today's route is perhaps the prettiest so far, Tuscan hills, but hills we can still manage. The holiday is also in our favor, there is much less traffic.

Leaving our hotel in the morning
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We take a look around Montecatini before we leave - here casa di cura
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Lovely fields of poppies in different shades of red and orange
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Spring must certainly be the best time of year for Tuscany
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Wild flowers in all shades of the rainbow
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Quiet roads and some climbs
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On the way to Sovigliana, where we are booked in to wait for the big holiday weekend to pass, we want to pass through the town of Vinci, birthplace of Leonardo. We miss the turnoff and ride to the Medici villa in Cerreto Guidi instead, which would have otherwise been on our agenda for tomorrow.

Scandalous stories die hard. It was at the Villa Cerreto Guidi that Isabella de' Medici was murdered - strangled by her husband. Even today, some 450 years later, the story piques one's interest.

Isabella de' Medici, intelligent and well educated, had a nasty husband (Photo from Wikipedia)
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Cerreto Guidi's impressive staircase, known as the ponti medicei (Medicean bridges): The villa hides behind it and is hard to see from below
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Front view of Cerreto Guidi's grand stairs
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On my way up to the Medici Villa Cerreto Guidi
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From Cerreto Guide we have a great downhill ride to Sovigliana where it was possible to find a hotel on this busy weekend. The main street is all new and still in the process of being built. Our hotel is big and modern, from the outside it looks like a giant bathroom turned inside-out. It is covered with tiles. It is also very comfortable for a decent price. What is lacking in charm is made up for by big bath towels and excellent mattresses.

Our hotel in Sovigliana
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We shower, do a bit of laundry and then ride our bikes over the Arno, yes we are back on the banks of the Arno. We head for Empoli which has an interesting historic center. It's May Day and the parks and pedestrian areas of the town are full. Everyone is enjoying the day off and good weather. It being a holiday, even the restaurants are closed. If worse comes to worse we decide we could eat a kebab at the train station. We are very surprised to find that in brand new, sterile Sovigliana there is a fine restaurant and pizzeria. We've been saved.

Today's ride: 35 km (22 miles)
Total: 285 km (177 miles)

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