In Tuscany, overlooking the sea and framed by the Apuan Alps, the Apuan Riviera Terra Scolpita is a mosaic of landscapes that allows you to enjoy a variety of experiences and undertake various types of excursions: from the more touristy and urban ones, suitable for the whole family, to the more demanding, but also relaxing ones, to discover nature. One of the most practical and funniest ways to explore the area is definitely by bicycle! An environmentally friendly means of transport, versatile and fashionable, loved by the young and the old, perfect for those who wish to practice sports or engage in leisure activities, the bicycle seems to adapt to all the different landscapes that the area can offer, from the sea to the mountains, with passable routes on cycle paths or on more difficult paths, for those wanting to put themselves to the test without giving up the fun.
There is plenty of choice: from wild beaches to elegant seaside resorts, passing through the large pine forests that characterise the coast, or visiting protected areas and river areas where the vegetation is heterogeneous, or riding on the gentle hilly paths where you can undertake a food and wine tour among the vineyards, through villages and cities of art, between history and culture, up to the first mountain ranges, entering the woods and reaching those hills that offer breathtaking views! Here are some proposals to treat yourself to a day as perfect riders.
Who says bike says seafront! The most typical of walks, but certainly not without appeal: crossing the beautiful coast, via the cycle path running alongside the bathing establishments along the residential area of Art Nouveau houses that characterise the Apuan-Versilian coast, allows you to enjoy the sea air and, turning around, the extraordinary view of the mountains. From Marina di Carrara you can reach Viareggio and beyond, passing by Marina di Massa, Ronchi, Poveromo, Cinquale, a route suitable for everyone, adults and children, and especially for untrained tourists who can, if necessary, rent a bicycle at the many bikes rent of the coast. From the Cinquale coast you can go up towards the mountains, passing through the most characteristic and hidden villages and towns, where culture and tradition can be breathed. Here you can stop for a food and wine break, tasting typical foods and wines, visiting artisan shops, squares, monuments and perhaps continuing towards the Aghinolfi Castle, the Montignoso fortress overlooking the valley and the sea.
In the Montignoso area, not only history and tradition, but also nature: the Lake of Porta, a protected green area, rich in vegetation, is the ideal place to spend an afternoon cycling with the whole family. Entering from the Torre Medicea, the ancient customs house, or from the Casina Mattioli, you are completely immersed in the greenery, accompanied by the sound of the streams that flow here, and you can let yourself be enchanted by the flora and fauna found among the reeds and the clear, patches of water appearing in the grass. The lake is a perfect place to relax, explore nature, learn about new plant and animal species and for bird watching.
At the foot of the first Montignoso hills, the Pasquilio is a popular destination not only for mountain bike enthusiasts and experts, given the challenging climbs, but also for those who want to go for a ride along the historic path of the Tuscan resistance: the Gothic Line passes right here and from the small church of the Partisans, begun in 1943 and completed after the war. To get there, you can start either from Montignoso, with circular routes that touch the Fortress and descend along the villages, or from Massa, passing through the panoramic Tombara, at Belvedere, or from the wooded area of Ca 'de Cecco.
There are many places that can be reached by bicycle through routes of easy and medium difficulty, where there is no shortage of water sources where you can refuel. “La Via delle Fonti”, recently inaugurated, is one of these routes, a circular cycle-pedestrian path connecting ancient springs located between Massa and Montignoso. Another route that connects the historic center of Massa with the villages towards the mountains is "La via dei Colli", whose first stop is San Carlo, where a recently renovated panoramic terrace overlooks the city and the sea.
With a little more training, you can continue towards the historic villages of Pariana, Altagnana and Antona, ancient villages where popular traditions still exist, and you will arrive at Pian della Fioba and the Botanical Garden of the Apuan Alps, where you can have an educational experience enjoying a breathtaking view of the sea and the mountains. Going even further, you arrive at Passo del Vestito, from which the paths begin to reach some of the most beautiful peaks of the Apuan Alps. Always starting from the city, following the course of the Frigido river, you can visit the villages of Canevara, Forno, Casette, Resceto, and always from here reach the mountains or the quarries. On the west side, passing through Lavacchio and Bergiola, Monte Brugiana is the perfect place to practice enduro MTB, with dedicated tracks and trails built specifically for those who love this sport. And for those who want to combine sport and food, what could be better than riding through the vineyards of the Candia Hills? Here it is possible to enjoy wine tastings and stop at the farm accomodations and restaurants where you can taste the typical dishes of the Tuscan tradition and the area of the Apuan Riviera Terra Scolpita. Here too there is no lack of views!
Moving to Carrara, there are many paths that can be traveled by bicycle and that lead to the discovery of the quarries and the typical Carrara villages: a must stop is the town of Colonnata! Entering the white streets of the village, where marble rules, it is impossible not to stop to taste the renowned lard, a typical local specialty produced in the characteristic white marble basins, and, as per secular tradition, flavored with spices. Continuing towards the quarries, a unique spectacle opens up in the world!
Let's not forget the Via Francigena, the ancient road that connects Rome to Canterbury and which crosses the entire area of the Apuan Riviera Terra Scolpita. Two wheels are ideal for making this long pilgrimage, even if you choose to make it for short stretches. Passing through the Candia, you arrive from Massa to Carrara, and from Carrara you can continue towards the Lunense area. And again, why not enjoy a city bike tour? The cities themselves and their historic, artistic, cultural and urban centers lend themselves to being explored by riding from one point of interest to another, discovering particular architectures, curiosities, historical places, murals, streets and squares decorated with monuments, ancient friezes and contemporary art. Finally, not to be missed, a short distance from the center of Carrara, the Padula Park, with its nine hectares of greenery and its nineteenth-century villa housing the CARMI Museum, is ideal for an artistic and cultural stop.