The Tour de France in Florence

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 8 May 2024

For the first time in 2024 the prestigious Tour de France cycle race will start in Italy. The "Grand Départ" as it is known will happen in Florence on Saturday 29th June, from the historic centre of town. The first two stages will take place in the Apennines between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna and the third in Piedmont.  These are all areas where we hike on our tours and will be very familiar to guests who have walked with us in these regions. This year marks the anniversary of 100 years since Italian cyclist Ottavio Bottecchia won the race in 1924, the very first Italian to do so.

Stage 1

Florence to Rimini: 206 km described as hilly terrain.  As the peloton leaves Florence, the riders will pass the birthplace of celebrated Italian cyclist Gino Bartali, who was born in Tuscany in 1914.  He was the Tour de France winner in 1938 and again in 1948, and still holds the record for the longest gap between victories. There is today a cycling museum dedicated to Gino Bartali in Via Chiantigiana, near Ponte a Ema, on the outskirts of Florence.


Stage 2

Cesenatico to Bologna: 200 km of hilly terrain.  This leg starts on the Adriatic Coast in Cesenatico which was the hometown of Italian cycling star Marco Pantani. In fact it is also his burial place as he died young at the age of only 34 from drug poisoning.  He was a great climbing specialist and was the winner of both the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia in 1998. This leg also passes through Ravenna and Brisighella, which we explore on our Northern Tuscany and Ravenna tour.  The area of the Mugello was the birthplace of another Italian cycling superstar Gastone Nencini - winner of the Tour de France in 1960. He died just shy of his 50th birthday, and there is a bronze plaque dedicated to his memory on the Futa pass where we start our walk on the first day.

Stage 3

Piacenza to Turin: 229 km of relatively flat terrain.  This stage passes through Tortona, the hometown of Fausto Coppi.  Coppi was twice the winner of the Tour de France in 1949 and 1952, as well as five times winner of the Giro d'Italia.  The route on this day crosses the UNESCO world heritage landscape of the Langhe region in Piedmont, and includes Alba, home to the famous white truffles which we hunt for on our Jewels of Piedmont tour.


Also of interest to us are the 19th and 20th stages, which pass through the Maritime Alps at Isola 2000 and Saint-Martin-Vesubie.  We visit both places on our France and the Maritime Alps tour. The race finishes this year in Nice for the first time, on 21st July. It has always previously finished in Paris, but the city this year is preparing for the Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games only a few days later.

If you would like to know more about this year's race, you can visit the official Tour de France website.