Italian Delight: Tour de France Kicks Off in Italy for Inaugural Start!

Italy is gearing up to host the start of the Tour de France for the first time. The first stage will highlight the contribution to the sport by legendary Italian cyclists such as Gino Bartali and Marco Pantani. The Tuscan capital of Florence, usually known for its art and history, is set to attract an estimated 800,000 cycling fans for the Grand Départ of the Tour de France. This is the first time in the 121-year history of the race that Italy has hosted the start. Local authorities in Tuscany and Emilia Romagna see this as an opportunity to showcase the region, which has produced some of Italy's most legendary cyclists. From Marco Pantani, the maverick climber, to Gastone Nencini, the chain-smoking Lion of Mugello, and Alfonsina Strada, the only woman to have participated in the men’s Giro d’Italia in 1924.



For Gioia Bartali, the first stage brings poignancy. Her grandfather, Gino Bartali, a two-time Tour de France winner, was born in Florence and was discovered posthumously to have saved the lives of hundreds of Italian Jews during the Second World War. The Tour peloton will pass in front of the Gino Bartali museum in Ponte a Ema, where the champion was born.


In addition, an ice-cream maker named Cinzia Otri has created a special flavour dedicated to the Tour de France winner of 1938, which is being served at her Gelateria della Passera in the Santo Spirito area of Florence. This year’s race officially departs at midday on Saturday from Viola Park, Fiorentina FC’s sports hub inaugurated last year, with the first stage taking the peloton eastwards to the coastal resort town of Rimini. 

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