I hadn't been on a bike since we moved to Florence. But, when we received an email from Italy by Cruiser Bike offering to take us on a "molto romantico" bike tour of Florence, I jumped at the chance.
Only later did I stop to consider that: Italian drivers are crazy, Italian traffic laws are nearly non-exisent and that the offer was for two. Meaning my, how do I say this nicely -- ballence-challenged, pregnant wife was invited along for the ride. Why not go, right?
Well I did, but we decided that Kate had better sit this one out. So, that meant I was one person short for a sunset bike tour of Florence. Luckily, my friend Tommaso was available, so he joined me for the tour, which took place on the only evening that it hasn't rained in this city for the last few weeks.
We started the tour at 6pm, which left us a lot of sunlight for the tour, even this early in the year. It was a small group, probably 8 of us total and we all spoke English. Everyone was really excited a living, breathing, real-life Italian (Tommaso) showed up to join us. The people at Italy by Cruiser Bike thought he was lost at first (who takes a tour of their hometown?), but that's understandable.
All of the major sites were on the route: The Duomo, Bapitstry, Palazzo Medici, Innocenti, Santa Croce, Palazzo Pitti, Ponte Vecchio, and Piazza della Repubblica. There were also others you might not expect: the English Cemetery, Piazza Beccaria, Ponte San Niccolo and lots of time on the bike trail that borders the Viale. Unfortunately, we had to skip Santa Maria Novella and a couple of nearby places because we were running late due to a few slow pokes on our tour...fellow countrymen of ours, I'm sad to admit. Hey Americans: get off your butts and start exercising...you're ruining the bike tour for the rest of us :-)
I have to say, I've seen all of these places before, with the exception of the English Cemetery, and they were much better by bike. I know that a bike may not be everyone's idea of a great way to get around, but I'm increasingly convinced that people who hold that opinion haven't been on a bike in years. Biking around Florence was fun and surprisingly easy. I immediately came home and started begging Kate to let me get a bike.
So, if you are visiting Florence and looking for a great way to see the city,
give Italy by Cruiser Bike a call. We highly recommend them!
The highly-requested (by Georgette and Kate) romantic bridge photo: