I fell in love with cycling in Italy many years ago and my wife Margarita and I have been coming back every year since. Willie’s World Cycling grew from my desire to share the quiet beauty and athletic challenge of Italy’s less traveled roads. In 2016 we had our first tour in Catalunya, Spain in collaboration with Bikecat of Girona.
After spending half a lifetime on a bike and much of it in Italy, I can distill my passion for the experience down to the love of: cycling, fine regional wine and cuisine, and the people I encounter. Our private, tailor-made tours take you through the Italian and Catalan countryside, gorgeous vineyards, coastal areas, and the epic climbs of the alps to unveil all those hidden gems along the routes.
Want an experience of a lifetime? Join us on an upcoming tour! We look forward to becoming friends and sharing our favorite routes, foods, wines, and people with you.
Arrival Thru Departure
You can join an already-planned tour or let us design one for your own group. Either way, our tours showcase the art of cycling and the pleasures and treasures of Italy and Catalunya. Our tours are small (6-15 guests) for an intimate and personalized experience.
Non-cyclists are always welcome and they can enjoy hiking, wine tasting, cooking classes, museums, spas and shopping while we are out on the road.
I promise you’ll want to come back again and again. 80% of our guests return for another tour. So if you’re having a hard time completing your group it’s no problem. Let us know and we can contact one of our returning guests and see if they want to hop on a tour with you.
Planning an Enjoyable Experience.
We will create an experience that will challenge you while exploring the most beautiful, quiet roads. We offer no relaxed pace tour but, we do grade each tour on a scale from A (steady) to B (spirited) to C (challenging) to give you an idea of the skill, endurance and sensibility required to enjoy the tour. I truly believe the most beautiful places you can find when adventuring take effort to reach. That’s Italy, that's Catalunya.
Starting Our Journey.
Depending on where your tour takes place, we will meet your small group at a specified location such as Milano, Torino, Pisa or Barcelona and then take you to your accommodations.
A day on the road.
We meet our guests each day with a smile - ready for a new adventure on the bike! Smiles, embraces, and attention from guides Marco, Daniele, Giorgio, Massimo, and I are included in every Willie’s World Cycling tour.
Post-ride plansAfter cycling, it’s time to relax, go to the spa, have a massage, have a beer, or take a nap. We want you to be free to do what you will enjoy most. Our tours are all about balance.
Food & Wine
The food and wine of every region we visit is as diverse as the roads we cycle on. There is always something new to taste, smell, and hear.
Each morning, you will be sent off on your journey after a hearty and healthy breakfast consisting of an assortment of breads, cereals, fruits, yogurt, sliced cheese, and meats. In Italy, coffee is enjoyed during any part of the day. We might stop for an espresso break on the road and chat with a young, professional cyclist we encounter along the way. It’s not just about getting the ride in; it’s also about whom you meet along the way.
When cycling, many lunches are eaten at roadside restaurants for a light Panini, pasta, or pizza. We occasionally have picnic lunches. These often consist of baguettes, cheeses, and meats. Every day is different. Maybe we’ll be cycling in the Alta Langhe of Piemonte when we encounter a Porcini mushroom hunter. They might ask: “Giorgio, have you and your group had lunch?” And then an hour later we’re eating fresh Porcini at their trattoria.
Every evening meal will be treated as a special occasion with feasts that highlight the uniqueness of the country or region we are in. The chefs I choose infuse their delectable regional dishes with intimate knowledge of recipes that have been handed down through generations. They will tell us why they made what they made and how it represents the best in the region. There is not a restaurant that we visit that I haven’t enjoyed before sharing it with you.
Regional winemakers will dine with us too, pairing the food with hand-harvested, earth-friendly wines while telling us about the wine they produce and how their families came to make it. At a dinner at La Bandita in the Northern Maremma of Tuscany winemaker Ezio Puggelli unexpectedly brought along Amarone-award winner Giuseppe Lonardi as a surprise guest! We love these unexpected treats that are not part of the plan.
I personally choose beautiful, understated, elegant, comfortable, and tastefully designed accommodations wherever we stay so you can rest and relax after putting your bike away for the day. Sometimes we rest our heads in a villa, other times we sleep in a castle or a hotel.
It is important to me that I visit each place before I choose it. The people who operate the accommodations we stay in are just as important as the beauty, elegance, and modern amenities they offer. I spend time with the owners or management to get a preview of what our guests will experience so that everywhere we go we are treated like family.
We welcome our guests’ non-cycling partners and ensure that they also experience the joyful immersion into the life and culture of where we are. When you book our tour, I will assist non-cycling guests in formulating an itinerary that appeals to them.
Non-cycling activities include:
- Cooking classes
- Wine tasting
- Etruscan hot springs and spas
- Hikes through the scenic countryside
- Tours of medieval villages
- Relaxing in charming town piazzas
Spend the afternoon with Franco learning how to prepare our evening dinner. Learn to make pasta from scratch, prepare meat, fish, chicken or wild game, pick vegetables from the garden and complete the culinary adventure by creating a dessert to remember. Fun and delicious!
Etruscan Hot Springs & Spas
Italy has long been known for its natural hot springs and spas. Enjoying a leisurely experience at an Etruscan hot spring in Tuscany followed by spa a treatment will refresh the mind and soul. Your day will be complete and totally satisfying.
Hikes Through the Scenic Countryside
Nothing quite compares to an invigorating hike in the Dolomites with vistas that will forever be with you. Cap it off with a lunch in a mountain top refugio eating the natural products of that particular area and paired with a refreshing house wine. This is the essence of place.
Tours of Medieval Villages
Walking the streets of 1,000 year old villages, taking in the beautiful views, savoring the ever present sounds and scents of a meal being cooked, touching history, catching your breath and sitting in a piazza pondering the enormity of the time that has passed, right here, right now.
The shopping in Italy is fabulous whether it be for wearing apparel, footwear, accessories, food, wine and the list goes on. Many manufacturers continue to make their products in Italy and proudly advertise the Made in Italy label.
Almost every region of Italy and Spain produces grapes and wines of unique character. And the wine producers are equally unique in personality and character. Willie’s World Cycling believes in the tradition of small, family owned and operated wineries because the wines reflect the commitment to producing the highest quality in limited quantities.
Tour dates are set by Willie’s World Cycling to ensure availability of accommodations, guides, winery visits and winemaker dinners. If alternative dates work better for you please let us know and we will do our very best to accommodate your request.
Our prices are in U.S. Dollars, unless otherwise indicated, and are based on exchange rates in effect at the time of publication. While we make every effort to avoid adding surcharges, Willie’s World Cycling reserves the right to do so should the U.S. Dollar lose substantial value against the Euro.
After your deposit is received, you will be sent more information regarding the sizing for your bicycle, liability waiver, and general information that will be helpful for your visit to Italy.
Willie’s World Cycling reserves the right to cancel any tour prior to departure for any reason. We will refund any payment received by Willie’s World Cycling, which will constitute full settlement. Although we make every effort to contract the very best in outside services, we do not guarantee services provided by third parties. Please make sure you have a valid passport.
Our tours are rated by Activity Levels based on average miles per day, type of terrain and elevation gain. This information is intended to aid you to properly prepare for the tour. Please contact us with any questions you may have.
35-65 Miles per Day
Rolling and Hilly Terrain
35-65 Miles per Day
Rolling and Hilly terrain with some steep climbs
35-80 Miles per Day
Mountainous terrain with long passes and some steep climbs
Our expert guides are all former professional cyclists from Italy and are intimately acquainted with the terrain. We share our love of cycling, camaraderie, and warmth every day we are together with you.
Founder & President
I combine nearly 30 years of experience in international logistics planning with a quarter-century of cycling experience in Italy. My expertise allows Willie’s World Cycling to offer some of the finest cycling tour experiences in Italy. From the choice of simple elegance and intimacy in accommodations, to the delectable regional cuisine of carefully chosen local chefs, (we) my wife Margarita and I impart international style and pay careful attention to detail.
I accompany every Willie’s World Cycling tour, sharing the extensive knowledge I have gleaned from 25 years of cycling in Italy. This storehouse of information includes: Italy’s premier cycling regions, scenic wine-growing regions and small wineries, unique and private accommodations, and fine regional cuisine.
Prior to establishing Willie’s World Cycling, I spent 29 years in cross-border logistics services along the U.S.-Mexico border. Throughout my business career, I have focused on providing my clients with the very best in professional and personalized service. I have instilled this commitment to the client into the values of Willie’s World Cycling.
I have been an avid cyclist for more than 35 years and regularly start my day cycling up and down Mount Lemmon, a 6,800-foot climb from my home in Tucson, Arizona. Fluent in English, Spanish, and Italian, I have a great passion for the cycling, food, and wine unique to Italy, and take great pleasure in sharing that passion. I am a believer in the health benefits that flow from regular exercise such as cycling, fresh and wholesome local food, and fine wine. A consummate host, I make certain that each of my cycling tours inspires treasured memories.Close
Former Professional Cyclist
Marco has an impressive resume including stage victories in the 1992, 1993, and 1994 Giro d’Italia and overall winner of the 1993 Tour de Suisse. He has also been Directeur Sportif of Team Landbouwkrediet-Colnago and Team Crelan-Euphony from 2002 to 2013. Marco has been race commentator of the Giro d’Italia for Gazzetta Dello Sport Radio, Eurosport Television, and has his own show, The Coach, on the Bike Channel. In addition to all of his accomplishments in the world of professional cycling, Marco is a great guy with a beautiful family. We are honored to collaborate with Marco. He brings a slice of cycling history to share with our guests.Close
Pier Giorgio Rivella
Pier Giorgio Rivella
Cycling Guide for Piedmont
Giorgio was born in the small, but famous hill town of Barbaresco, which is situated in the heart of the Langhe region of Piedmont. The Barbaresco wines produced in this region are among the best-known wines in Italy. As a young man Giorgio developed a passion for cycling and was a racer for 25 years. Francesco Moser, the Italian professional cycling legend is among the many friends he has. At age 39, he transformed his love for cycling into his bicycle shop, La Bicicletta D’Alba, where he sells and repairs bicycles with great passion. This little jewel of a bike shop is located in the town of Alba.
Whenever he has free time, particularly on Sundays, Giorgio and his friends take “magical” rides in the nearby hills. The panoramic vistas encompass the many vineyards, medieval castles, and the distant alps. Giorgio will guide us on the most beautiful, traffic-free roads in Piedmont. These are the roads he loves to cycle on and share with Willie’s World Cycling guests.Close
Daniele started bicycle racing at 8 years old and turned professional at age 24. He competed in the Junior category for various teams and secured several victories. His professional cycling career started with Alexia and after 3 years he participated in his first Giro d’Italia where his teammate Paolo Savoldelli won the tour. For the next 10 years, he rode with Lampre and was part of the team that participated in Michele Scarponi’s victory of the 2011 Giro d’Italia.
He has always played a support role for Lampre and participated in five Giro d’Italia, five Tour de France, four La Vuelta a Espana, Tour of Flanders, Amstel Gold, Coppi e Bartali, and the Tour of Poland. In the 2004 Giro d’Italia, he won the Piaggio Trophy for the most miles cycled by any participant that year. Literally, he has cycled almost all over the world in most of the races of the World Tour. In 2013, he retired from Lampre as a rider and has been a Director Sportive with Lampre-Merida.Close
Winemaker and Part Owner of Small Vineyards Wine Imports
Antonio contributes his keen and comprehensive knowledge of winemaking to our guests at a number of our wine dinners throughout your tour. He also provides tasting notes and descriptions of the wines we are drinking. Part of the Sanguineti family of winemakers, Antonio is also Small Vineyards’ liaison with a myriad of small winemakers across Italy. Because of his superb winemaking talents, Antonio’s colleagues dubbed him ‘Il Maestro’, and the first time you try one of Sanguineti’s wines, you realize why. Antonio has a passion for wines with character and honesty, wines that have aged in a slow traditional method. His signature wines include smooth, bold, intelligent reds and whites with the terroire of the region.
Antonio’s exceptional insight into wines and winemaking adds depth and appreciation for the wines you will enjoy on our tour.Close
Non-cycling Tour Guide
A resident of Siena, Antonio’s sister, Chiara Sanguineti worked for many years in her family’s winery, running their agriturismo in the Chianti Classico hills between Siena and Florence. Speaking five languages, this gifted sommelier is among the founders of the national association “Donne del Vino” (women of wine). This background allows Chiara to understand wine in a very special way, one that is of great benefit to her lucky clients.
Intensely interested in art and history, Chiara loves the hills of Tuscany and enlightens her guests with all of the different aspects of the region, starting of course with the wine and the food. Chiara maintains that they are the best introduction to a country.Close
Massimo had a short career as a professional cyclist then joined his father, Mario, at the Cicli Boglia bike shop near Milano. He also appears regularly on the Bike Channel. Massimo brings with him great experience as a cyclist along with his perpetual smile.Close
Gerardo Carpentieri and Daniela Ulissi
Gerardo Carpentieri and Daniela Ulissi
We thank Gerardo Carpentieri and Daniela Ulissi for all of their support from 2008 to 2015. Without Gerardo and Daniela, Willie’s World Cycling would not have reached the level of growth we have and continue to achieve. Your friendship and guidance will always be most appreciated. Grazie mille!Close
Jo Lunn lives in Banff, Alberta, Canada in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. He promotes Willie’s World Cycling tours in Canada and has guided on some of our past tours. Jo has ridden many of the epic roads and climbs of Italy, Spain and France. His friendly demeanor, love of cycling and people makes it a pleasure to have him on our team.Close
Premium Equipment Included.
Don’t worry about the high cost and hassle of transporting or sourcing equipment for your Willie’s World tour. We provide Colnago road bikes as part of the tour. These lightweight, iconic road bikes are customized to your fit. We also provide a Willie’s World Cycling jersey and shorts kit for you to use and keep as a memento. Just bring your pedals, helmet, and shoes and we’ll take care of the rest!