Tour de France Starts in Florence: Top Events in the City

Whether you’re a sports enthusiast or not, the allure of cycling and a world-class event will captivate you. Here are the must-see activities in the city to celebrate the Grand Départ


By Rosa Smith. Cover image source: Anders.

The Tour de France 2024 is kicking off from Florence. The world-renowned cycling event – the second most-watched in the world after the Olympics – has chosen the Renaissance city as the starting point for the most prestigious race. This marks the first time in the Tour’s over-century-long history that it is starting in Italy. After Tuscany, the race will continue through Emilia-Romagna and Piemonte. This historic moment will shine a new light on Florence, with numerous initiatives celebrating cycling and its rich cultural heritage, beloved even by non-sport enthusiasts.
What will be happening in Florence during the Tour de France 2024 edition? Before jumping into the list of the top events to dive into the culture of cycling and be enchanted by its glorious history, let’s unveil the final line-up of athletes of this edition.

The First Stage: Florence to Rimini

The first stage, scheduled for June 29, will go from Florence to Rimini. This stage is dedicated to Gino Bartali, an iconic champion in Italian cycling history. The competitors will pedal through the scenic Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and along the Adriatic coast to reach the city of Federico Fellini. Before the Grand Départ, there will be a team presentation at Palazzo Vecchio on June 27. This will be the starting point where teams, cheered on by fans lining the streets, will head to Piazzale Michelangelo for a globally broadcast show.

When Tour de France 2024 commences

The official start of the Tour is set for June 29. Around noon, the squad of elite cyclists will depart non-competitively from Villaggio delle Cascine and arrive at Piazza della Signoria. From there, the formal race begins, passing landmarks such as Ponte Vecchio, Piazzale Galileo, and Piazzale Michelangelo – pure exhilaration! For more details about the route, visit the site.

A documentary on cycling legend Ottavio Bottecchia

He was the first Italian to win the Tour de France in Paris on July 20, 1924. To commemorate the Tour’s start from Florence, we can delve into the history of Ottavio Bottecchia, the champion from San Martino di Colle Umberto (Tv). On June 25, at 9 pm, the documentary Ottavio Bottecchia, el furlan de fero, written and directed by journalist Franco Bortuzzo, will be screened at Teatro della Pergola. This captivating film narrates the story of this cycling legend through accounts from about thirty figures – journalists, cyclists, and writers. One of the testimonies comes from Ottavio Bernardi, the champion’s grandson, who is speaking publicly about his grandfather for the first time. On June 27, again at Teatro della Pergola, there will be a reading of Orlando non fa suonare il corno: mito e leggenda di Ottavio Bottecchia.

Before Tour The France 2024 begins visit the exhibition of Vintage Bicycles

For enthusiasts and connoisseurs, including those less inclined towards sports, there’s an exhibition that’s bound to be quite special: “Le biciclette da corsa delle botteghe storiche fiorentine” at the Galleria delle Carrozze in Palazzo Medici Riccardi until June 30. You’ll have the chance to see cult models of historic racing bicycles crafted by artisans from Florence’s old workshops. For more information, you can visit Palazzo’s website.

Tour the France 2024 pays an homage to an italian hero with special opening of the Bartali Museum

To celebrate this momentous occasion, the Civic Museums of Florence have organised a lineup of extraordinary events and activities. As part of this, they are offering free admission (until June 30) to the Gino Bartali Museum, dedicated to the great champion, winner of three Giro d’Italia titles (1936, 1937, and 1946) and two Tour de France titles (1938, 1948). The museum is located in Ema, where the cycling legend was born and began his brilliant career. In addition to containing historical memorabilia from Bartali’s career, the museum also houses historic bicycles, both racing and non-racing ones. Special cycling workshops will also be arranged for the event.

Special Bicycle Routes (Even for Non-Sporty Little Pandas!)

Cycling is a lifestyle, a passion, and a point of a pride, but also an opportunity to explore nature in otherwise inaccessible spots. To celebrate the Tour de France, the Municipality of Florence is organising special, completely free bicycle routes of varying lengths and difficulty levels. One of these routes is a two-hour relaxed ride that starts from Torre della Zecca, explores the city’s wall route, and ends at Torre del Serpe.

Guided Tours at the Museum of Deportation

Many may not know that Gino Bartali was awarded the title “Righteous Among the Nations” for his efforts in saving Jews between 1944 and 1945. Guided tours to the Museum of Deportation will be available, but booking is required. To book, please contact, 0552768224.

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