28-30 September 2007
Tuscany is famous for its romantically hilly scenery and sleepy villages basking in the sun. I should have known better than to cycle it.
The leaning tower, of course. Yes, it is very tilted and Ev does a very straight headstand.
Take the train from Pisa to Lucca instead of trying to cycle up a professional level mountain pass with city bikes, panniers of food while wearing your best Audrey-Hepburn-Roman-Holiday outfit. Just a suggestion. Unless you like pushing bikes uphill and turning a 30 minute train trip into a 6 hour ordeal likened to 'the seventh level of hell'.
For more photos of the stupid mountain range and varyingly brutal accounts of the Great Tuscan Bike Push:
Federico Salza - heavenly breakfast of thick Italian hot chocolate, caffe, foccacia and cornetto. The counter contained a myriad of tempting pastries and cakes, including the house-made panforte.
Buca di San Antonio - the oldest restaurant in town, specialising in Tuscan fare and fully booked the night we dined there. The dining room was charmingly decorated with pots, instruments and other copper paraphernalia. Pick your dishes carefully: our food ranged from delightful (maccheroni with rabbit) to vile ('unusual regional dish' of fried lamb chops and fried porcini). All of which was accompanied by a great Lucchese Sangiovese and much moaning about sore bike bums.
Frate from Prodotti Nella – yummy lemon scented doughnuts you can smell for miles around. Apparently an old family recipe and Lucchese speciality.
Italian deli-raided picnic from the markets at Piazza delle Vettovaglie Go to ANY deli or market in Italy and you’re guaranteed to come away with a huge picnic of cheese, bread, prosciutto, olives and sweet things. Combine that with Tuscan sunshine – bliss.
Federico Salza: Borgo Stretto 46, 56127 Pisa
T: 050 580144
Daily food market: Piazza delle Vettovaglie - just off Via Borgo Stretto
Buca di San Antonio: Via della Cervia 3, A hidden alley just west of Piazza San Michele
Prodotti Nella: Piazza San Michele
Torre Guinigi: Via San Andrea