Cycling Event Guides

The Ultimate Spectators Guide to The Strade Bianche

A Tuscan Cycling Adventure

Nestled in the heart of Italy’s picturesque Tuscany, the Strade Bianche is not just a race; it’s a celebration of cycling, history, and natural beauty. As the sun rises over the rolling hills, painting the ancient vineyards and olive groves in golden hues, anticipation fills the air. The Strade Bianche, named after the iconic ‘white roads’ of gravel, offers a unique spectacle that transcends the sport of cycling. It’s where the energy of a world-class race meets the tranquillity of Tuscan landscapes, creating an unforgettable mosaic of exhilarating sportsmanship and serene beauty.



The Strade Bianche is a captivating road bicycle race that takes place in the heart of Tuscany, Central Italy. The race commences and concludes in the picturesque city of Siena. First held in 2007, it has become an annual tradition, occurring on the first or second Saturday of March1. The name “Strade Bianche” translates to “White Roads” in Italian, which aptly reflects the historic gravel roads in the Crete Senesi region—these distinctive white paths constitute one-third of the total race distance, spanning approximately 63 kilometers (39 miles) across 11 sectors.

The Gravel Roads of Crete Senesi

Why Visit

Why should one venture to this extraordinary event? The Strade Bianche is more than a challenging race; it’s a journey through time, where each pedal stroke echoes the history of these ancient paths. Spectators from around the globe gather not only to witness the sheer grit and determination of the cyclists but to immerse themselves in an experience that captivates the soul. The air is filled with the crowd’s cheers, the aroma of traditional Tuscan cuisine, and the spirit of an event that epitomises the joy of cycling.

Reasons To Visit The Strade Bianche

From the first-time visitor to the seasoned cycling enthusiast, the Strade Bianche beckons with its unique blend of competitive sports and cultural immersion. Every moment is a memory in the making, a story waiting to be told. Whether you’re basking in the charm of local villages, savouring the flavours of renowned Italian gastronomy, or feeling the rush of cyclists speeding by, the Strade Bianche promises an adventure like no other. So come and be a part of this mesmerising event, where every turn along the white gravel roads reveals a new vista, a new emotion, and a new reason to fall in love with Tuscany.

Strade Bianche-20 (51964930610)

1 Day Event

As it is just a single day event you may wonder is it worth visiting the Strade Bianche.

Yes it is worth the visit, there are several related activities and events that you can experience if you’re planning a trip around the Strade Bianche:

  • Strade Bianche Donne: The women’s race takes place on the same day as the men’s race, offering another exciting day of cycling competition.
  • Gran Fondo Strade Bianche: This amateur cycling event allows participants to ride parts of the same course as the pros on the Sunday following the professional race.
  • Pre-race activities: In the days leading up to the race, there are often presentations, sponsor booths, and other events related to cycling and the Strade Bianche.
  • Exploration of Tuscany: The beautiful region of Tuscany has plenty to offer beyond the race itself. You can spend days exploring charming towns, enjoying the scenery, and indulging in the local food and wine.

Therefore, although the Strade Bianche event itself is just one day, you can easily make it a longer trip by combining it with these other activities and experiences. The duration of your trip ultimately depends on your interests and how much time you have available.

Who Would Enjoy this Event:

  • Cycling Enthusiasts: If you’re passionate about cycling, the Strade Bianche offers a unique chance to witness the pros in action and experience the excitement of this prestigious race.
  • Adventure Seekers: The combination of the challenging race, beautiful scenery, and historic setting makes it ideal for those who enjoy a bit of adventure and exploration.
  • Foodies and Wine Lovers: Indulge in delicious Tuscan cuisine and renowned wines, making it a perfect option for those who appreciate culinary experiences.
  • Culture Buffs: Immerse yourself in the Italian culture, from cheering on the riders with passionate locals to exploring historical towns and soaking up the laid-back atmosphere.

Getting There

The nearest airport to Siena is Florence (FLR) Airport, which is approximately 34.2 miles (55 kilometers)away. However, there are better options for getting to Siena:

  1. Florence (FLR) Airport: The closest major airport to Siena, located in Florence, Italy, is a convenient choice. It’s just a short distance from Siena.
  2. Pisa (PSA) Airport: Pisa airport is another popular option for flights to Siena within Europe. It’s approximately 53.9 miles (87 kilometers) away. You can reach Siena from Pisa by taking a train via Pisa Centrale and Empoli, which takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes21.
  3. Bologna (BLQ) Airport: Located about 84.2 miles (135 kilometres) from Siena, Bologna is another viable airport option1.
  4. Ancona (AOI) Airport: Ancona airport is approximately 104.1 miles (167 kilometres) away from Siena1.
  5. Rome (FCO) Airport: Although it’s the farthest, Rome airport (Fiumicino) is 115.9 miles (186 kilometers)from Siena. If you choose this option, you can take a FlixBus from Fiumicino Aeroporto T3 to Siena, which operates twice daily and takes around 3 hours and 49 minutes21.

Flight Costs

In March flights to the region are around £200 – £350 and most UK airports do fly directly to  Florence (FLR) Airport.

Airport To Siena

There are several ways to get from Florence Airport to Siena, depending on your budget, time, and preference. Here are some options:

  • Bus: This is the cheapest and most direct option. You can take a bus from Florence Airport (FLR) to San Domenico, which is near the center of Siena. The journey takes about 1 hour and 33 minutes and costs €4 – €7. The bus operates once daily and you can check the schedule and book your ticket online1.
  • Train: This is a more scenic and comfortable option, but it requires a change at Florence Santa Maria Novella station. You can take a shuttle bus from the airport to the station, which takes about 20 minutes and costs €6. Then you can take a train from Firenze S.M.N. to Siena, which takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes and costs €7 – €14. The train operates hourly and you can check the timetable and buy your ticket online2.
  • Taxi: This is the fastest and most convenient option, but also the most expensive. You can take a taxi from the airport to Siena, which takes about 1 hour and costs €95 – €120. You can book a taxi online or find one at the airport3.

Car Hire

Car hire is another option to get from Florence Airport to Siena or to explore the Tuscan countryside at your own pace. However, you should know some of the challenges and costs of driving in Italy.

First, you need a valid driver’s license and an international driving permit to drive in Italy. You must also have insurance and a credit card to pay for the car rental and any tolls or fines. You can find car rental companies at the airport or the city, but you should book in advance to get the best deals and availability.

You Will Need a International Driving Permit to Drive in Italy


Second, driving in Italy can be stressful and confusing, especially in the city centre. The roads are narrow, crowded, and often restricted to residents only. You need to pay attention to the signs and the traffic rules and avoid the zones marked as ZTL (limited traffic zone), or you will be fined. Parking is also scarce and expensive, and you may need to leave your car in a garage or a parking lot outside the city.

Car Hire From £30 to £40 a Day

Need To Know About Siena

Siena is largely car-free. But if you plan to drive, you can gain a permit from your Siena hotel to enter the city walls with your vehicle or park on the outer fringes of the city. Buses operate outside the historic center to most neighborhoods and it takes approximately 25 minutes to walk from one side of Siena to the other.

Another great way to see Siena is by bicycle or e-bike. There are over 200 cycle routes near the UNESCO World Heritage city, making bike rides easy and pleasant. Several stores offer daily bicycle rentals so you can take your time exploring the spectacular Tuscan countryside

Where To Stay

  • Hotel Athena: This is a 4-star hotel located inside Siena’s historic walls, with free parking, an elegant Italian restaurant, and a furnished terrace with views of the town and the surrounding valley. It has free high-speed WiFi, air-conditioned rooms, and a 24-hour reception. The price per night ranges from £64 to £100.
  • Grand Hotel Continental Siena – Starhotels Collezione: This is a 5-star hotel located in a medieval palace in the heart of Siena, near the Piazza del Campo. It has a refined atmosphere, a gourmet restaurant, and a wine bar. It offers spacious and elegant rooms, with original frescoes, antique furniture, and marble bathrooms. The price per night ranges from £131 to £200.
  • Hotel Palazzo Ravizza: This is a 3-star hotel located in a historic residence in central Siena, with a country-house atmosphere. It has a delightful formal garden overlooking the hills, where you can relax with a book or a drink. It offers comfortable and classic rooms, with wooden floors, antique furniture, and modern amenities. The price per night ranges from £88 to £120.

Hotel Guides & Reviews of Siena

Telegraph: Here

Tripadviser: Here

Booking . Com: Here

Reddit Review: Here

What To Do

You can immerse yourself Tuscan culture by booking a wine tasting tour, walking tour or a authentic Italian cooking course here.

Food Of Tuscany

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

This is a grilled steak that is made from the Chianina breed of cattle.

Pappa al Pomodoro

This is a tomato and bread soup that has garlic, basil, and olive oil


These are almond cookies that are often served with dessert wine.

Traditional Italian Food

When did the Strade Bianche Start

The first time the Strade Bianche race took place was in 2007

Event Details

Official Website


March (First or second week of March each year)

Number Of Days

1 days




Euro: 1 = £0.86 (Check)

Visa Requirements


Schengen Area Advice

Hotel Cost

Range: ££ – £££££

Food Cost

££ – £££££


  • Average Temp (Feb): -1 to 3C
  • Hours of Sunlight: 8 to 10 hours
  • Average Rain: 20 to 50mm (Chances Of Snow)


  • Daily
  • Cost: £ – £££

Travel Advice

UK Gov

Useful Info

More Cycling Events