For some people, paradise is the promised land flowing with milk and honey. For eMTB riders, its where flowing trails, bathed in sunlight, snake their way down the hills, rides end with beer on the beach and you’re surrounded by like-minded people. A place like Massa Vecchia.

Paradise, Noun
A place or condition of great happiness where everything is exactly as you would like it to be

The bike resort of Massa Vecchia is 1.5 hours south of Florence in the heart of Tuscany, Italy, right in the middle of a region with a storied history, fascinating architecture, lovely landscapes and lots of good food! The sea is within sight, there’s an excellent gelateria wherever you turn and the incredible variety of trails will make any biker happy. But how did it come to be that the small town of Massa Marittima with its 8000 inhabitants now plays host to this bike paradise?

Instead of sterile luxury, at Massa Vecchia, you’ll find heartiness and geniality Ernesto Hutmacher

It all started with a vision

More than 30 years ago, the Swiss Ernesto Hutmacher had a vision. After a family tragedy, he came to the realisation that there had to be more to life than working until retirement and only then being able to enjoy the time that remained. Instead, he concluded that his ultimate goal should be to live life as fully as possible every day. A daydream eventually brought the answer into focus: he would move to Tuscany, despite not speaking a word of Italian. He stumbled across a run down estate just outside the small town of Massa Marittima – Massa Vecchia. Ernesto, who had had a stint working in the Lola Formula 1 team with driver Joakim Bonnier, already rode bikes, but now began to discover what mountain biking could offer. The foundations of the place we now know and love had been placed.

Massa Vecchia isn’t a hotel, it’s an El Dorado for kindred spirits

Ernesto was clear on one thing quite quickly. Hotel rooms and a decent breakfast wouldn’t be enough to persuade bikers to visit. That’s why he, his team and others began building trails bit by bit in the nearby hills. In the meantime, the Trail Brothers group was founded, which now plays a significant role in building and maintaining trails in the area. In addition, Ernesto is also active in other regions to help them learn how to profit from bike tourism – but that’s a story for another time.

The team recognised the potential of eMTBs years ago and has since created several uphill trails. For example, the “Spaghetti” trail winds its way up the Monte Arsenti with just as many twists and turns as its namesake.

On your way, you’ll ride past the Trail Brothers hut, where you’ll be able to refill your water bottle for a small donation before the few remaining metres climbing gives way to a wide range of trails back down. If you want it fast and flowing, then ride “Scobine” or “Benedetto”, or if you like your riding a little more challenging you can turn on to “Freeride” or “Rock ‘n’ Roll”.

Guided rides are offered every day for all different ability levels. From the relaxed cappuccino group who take things easy, to more ambitious riders, who might ride the complete mountain range almost exclusively on singletrack right down to the sea, there’s something for everyone here. A new route even takes you from Massa Vecchia into the historic centre of Siena. On top of that, we have to praise the excellent organisation and planning. On longer rides, you’re even offered the option of a battery swap so that you don’t run out of juice. We’d also recommend a visit to the nearby trails of Piombino or a ride to Elba – both options are offered directly from the hotel.

But it’s not just the trails, the region or the hotel, that make Massa Vecchia something special. Above all, it’s the atmosphere that is so unique. It’s the people there, that fill the place with life and without exception share the same passion for riding bikes. Things are relaxed in Massa Vecchia. You’re looking in the wrong place if you want the pomp of a five-star hotel, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to forgo excellent meals. Wine from the Massa Vecchia estate, tender steaks and fresh pasta – what more could a biker’s heart desire? Instead of luxury, here you’ll find heartiness and geniality, whether it’s when you first arrive or during the high-five when you get back from your ride. As a guest at Massa Vecchia you’re not a number in a hotel room. Instead, you’re a real person. At the very latest you’ll realise what it’s really all about whilst you’re standing with your glass of red at the campfire: having a good time and enjoying and appreciating life. You’ll be able to do that in Massa Vecchia with no problems at all. It’s a true paradise on earth!

  • Location: Massa Vecchia lies just outside the small town of Massa Marittima, around 85 km south of Florence and 45 km west of Siena, Italy.
  • Accommodation: Rooms and holiday apartments are available in various sizes. There are also a limited number of camping spots.
  • Best time to travel: From March to July and September to mid-November. During the winter it gets quite cold and in August it’s almost too hot.
  • What’s on offer: Several guided rides per day, bike hire, charging, workshop and mechanic, pump track, pool, massages and lots more.
  • More Info:

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