Follow the Chianti wine route trough Tuscany

In this article we follow the Chianti Wine Route or Chiantigiana (SR 222) throughout one of Italy's most beautiful and charming regions. The road swings through the Tuscan hills of the Chianti Classico wine region along thousands of hectares of vineyards, all of which produce the Chianti Classico DOCG (the highest classification for Chianti). We leave in Florence and drive along the many picturesque villages to Siena.

chianti wine route

Climbing Alpe d'Huez by bike

The climb to Alpe d'Huez is also called the Dutch mountain because of the number of Dutch stage victors in the Tour de France. This climb is famous and infamous. The Alp has been the scene of different tour stage finals. The climb is heavy, ascending ten kilometers with an average of 8,4%. But as it is often with infamous climbs, it's not as bad as many cyclists will make you believe. While ascending to alpe d'Huez it's possible to find a nice rhythm.

The campsite of la Cascade in the valley is seen by many as the start of the climb. Five hundred meters (0,3mi) after this popular campsite, the fireworks begins. The first three kilometers (2mi) are the heaviest of the whole climb. With percentages well over 10 percent you have to make sure you don't burn yourself completely. After this popping start it gets better, or let's say a little less steep.

Alpe d'Huez
Climbing Alpe d'Huez

Climbing Col du Galibier by bike

With over 1900 altimeters (6270ft) this monster climb is of the highest and also longest (31km or 19mi) cols in France. Like many cols, the Galibier can be climbed from both sides. But actually there's only one Galibier and that's the side from the Maurienne Valley, via the north side. In this route, you first have to defeat the Col du Télégraphe before continuing to the top of Galibier.

The Galibier is located on the border between northern Savoy and Southern Hautes Alpes (regions in France). Even the views are different on each side. On the Valloire side in Savoie there is a lot of greenery, with many pine trees and it is often cool and wet. The southern side is warmer, the grass is often dry and are larchs are filling the forests. The view from the top towards Oisans is stunningly beautiful. But also towards the north the view is never to forget with the giant Mont Blanc in the background.

Col du Galibier

La Marmotte Granfondo cycling tour

La Marmotte is seen internationally by many cyclists as the tour of tours. With about 5000 altimeters (16500 ft), this event is a big challenge and the sprawling climbs give the Marmotte a hero status. The route sequentially climbs the Glandon, Télégraphe, Galibier and ends at the summit of the infamous Alpe d'Huez. Due to its enormous popularity, enrolling on time is really a must as it is fully booked every year.

Marmotte height profile
La Marmotte height profile

Climbing Col du Glandon by bike

The Col du Glandon is one of the most famous climbs in the Alps. Any somewhat fanatic cyclist will have passed the Col du Glandon in his life at least a few times. Often this will be from Bourg d'Oisans and not from the heavier north side via La Chambre. This is the most popular side of the Glandon and is actually the climb of the Croix de la Fer starting from Barrage du Verney (the dam). The Tour de France regularly passes the Glandon and often the famous climbers reach the top first. Due to the limited space and the unfavorable location, there was never a stage finish on the Glandon.

Col du Glandon

Climbing the Stelvio by bike

If there is a climb that every cyclist must have done once then it's the Stelvio. The Stelvio is 'the special one' (no, it does not resemble José Mourinho). Everyone who has seen the hairpin bends leading to the top has never forgotten this sight again. Enormously impressive. For some it's a dream, for the others a nightmare. But everybody is very happy once they reach the top. Usually after a long fight, because it doesn't matter how you ride it, fast or slow, you will be in pain! But isn't that a bit of what we are looking for as cyclists?

The hairpin turns of the Stelvio

Climbing Mont Ventoux by bike

The Ventoux is probably one of the most mythical bike climbs around. Logical, because the climb is tall, steep and full of history. If the climb is not heavy enough on it's own, then there still is the wind, who can be strong and unpredictable. And if it does not blow, the cold or the sizzling heat will cause difficult conditions. In short, this 'bald mountain' rarely gets a gift. The climb of the Ventoux is a challenge for many men and women to ever be done. Therefore, you never drive alone on the mountain's steep slopes. Everybody is a hero here.

The Ventoux honors its name, the word vent means wind in French, and wind there is. The locals have even a name for the strong winds in the Provence region, it is called the "Mistral" here. The mountain is closed regularly because it blows too fast. Wind speeds up to 300 kilometers per hour have been measured. If that wind was the only thing that made the climb tough, then it would not be that hard. But the Mont Ventoux is also terribly steep and that for it's total length of about 13 miles (21 kilometers), maybe not continuous but more than enough to make it hard for every cyclist. And just when you think the hardest part is behind you, that wind will catch up again!

Mont Ventoux
Mont Ventoux towering over the Provence

Oasis - Wonderwall

Written by Noel Gallagher in 1995, the meaning of "Wonderwall" became one big misunderstanding. When the press assumed it was written for Gallagher's then-girlfriend, Meg Mathews, he could only admit this. However, after Gallagher divorced Mathews, he told a very different story: "The true story of "Wonderwall" was taken away from me by the media, and how do you tell your future wife it's not about her once she's read it is? In fact it's a song about an imaginary friend who's gonna come and save you from yourself"

Best live performance
Oasis live in Manchester in front of a huge crowd