We thought it would be interesting for you to get to know some of our dedicated trip concierges. Bruno and Susanna, our Tuscany tour guides, have been working with us for nearly a decade. Read this fun Q&A with Bruno Baldini and see why he’s so in love with his home, Tuscany.
Ciao Bruno, thanks for taking some time to chat! Where do you and Susanna live?
We live in Sesto Fiorentino, a town located in the northwestern outskirts of Firenze, right at the foot of Monte Morello. It’s the highest of the hills surrounding Firenze.
What is your background with cycling?
I’ve been cycling since 1990, when I bought my first mountain bike, thus discovering this wonderful way of exercising and traveling. I enjoyed bicycle riding so much that I began traveling with it in total self-support, equipping my mountain bike with bags and panniers. From 1991 to 2000 I did many self-supported bicycle trips around the world, some of which lasted several months. During that period of time I rode my bicycle across Nepal, Greece, Turkey, Pakistan, China, California, Nevada, Iceland, Tuscany, the Dolomites, New Zealand and Australia.
In 2003 I decided to turn my endless passion for cycling into a business as a bike tour guide. I took a class at the Italian Mountain Bike Academy and became a certified guide, thus creating Biking Tuscany. Then I found the love of my life, Susanna, and we got married in 2008.
How did you connect with Outfitter Tours?
It was about 10 years ago, when I was contacted through my website by Dick Powell, the Outfitter Tours founder. He hired me for guiding one of his first bike tours in Tuscany. A few years later he put me in touch with Jamie, the new owner of the company and since then Susanna and I have been working for Outfitter Tours providing our guiding, luggage transfers and assistance during the ride.
Can you describe what makes cycling in Tuscany so fabulous?
The list of good reasons is actually very long. I would start with incomparable scenery, a thick network of quiet roads, lots of riding options, history and art and architecture, a great weather, and last but not least, our great food and wine.
Which is your favorite town in Tuscany to explore and why?
It’s difficult to select only one, but in the end my choice would be Florence. And not only because I’m Florentine! Because it’s the cradle of Renaissance and it has an incredible concentration of monuments, works of arts and history. Firenze is a sort of open air museum with a large number of indoor museums.
Being a local expert on Tuscany, what are some unique and special things you always recommend to tour guests?
– Take your time for some sightseeing. During each stage the suggested itinerary passes through some interesting medieval hilltop village or castle or evocative romanesque parish church that is always worth a stop for a visit.
– Enjoy our typical food and wine (wine preferably after the ride), stopping in a local restaurant for a light lunch.
– Enjoy a full – well-deserved – typical Tuscan dinner in a local restaurant.
– Visit a local winery with wine tasting and guided visit of the cellars with an explanation of the wine making process.
After a good day of cycling and sightseeing, what is your favorite meal?
Well, considering the huge number of calories burned during the ride, I usually opt for a big plate of pasta…
Can you tell us your favorite story from guiding cycle tour guests this year?
Yes, it happened in early June, during a ride in Val d’Orcia, a stunningly beautiful valley south of Siena. It was towards the end of the stage, I was leading an Australian couple to the hilltop town of Pienza. Suddenly dark clouds began to gather just above the town, creating a spectacular and – at the same time intimidating – scenery in front of us. Thunder and lightning soon began to strike as we stopped, still under the sun, to admire the show.
Since the wind was blowing from behind us towards the storm, we felt safe and lucky enough to take some pictures of the storm, confident that the wind was blowing the storm away from us. And in fact it did so for a few minutes, allowing us to take some great pics, before completely changing direction and blowing the storm exactly towards us. It was the strongest hailing storm that I’ve ever experienced from a bicycle!
Do you ever take a vacation or do you already live in the perfect place?
Even if we love Tuscany and we consider ourselves lucky to live here, we also love traveling. So yes, we do take vacations when we have time.
What do you do when not working with Outfitter Tours?
From 8 pm to Midnight – all year-round, 5 days a week – I’m working as driver at the airport of Firenze. During the cycling season – from March to October – I’m working on my own as freelance biking guide, running private 1-day bike guided tours in Tuscany.
Thanks so much Bruno! Check out our Tuscany tour options, and let Bruno and Susanna give you the best local experience!