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Sports & Activities in Tuscany

For those looking for an active holiday, Tuscany has everything you need. There’s also sorts of activities to get involved with, whether you enjoy sports, relaxation or walking, there’s something for everyone in Tuscany. You can still stay active whilst on holiday if you wish, or completely unwind and switch off.

Some of the popular sports in Tuscany include golf, tennis, bike riding and horse riding. If you prefer something a little more slow paced then head out hiking around the hills, see spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside from a hot air balloon or book a fishing trip. Tuscany also has many spas and hot springs to enjoy, relax in the thermal waters after a day of action packed fun.

We have put together a helpful list of some of the sports and activities on offer in Tuscany. Browse through the activity section below and book a trip of a lifetime to Tuscany.

Sports & Activities in Tuscany

Ballooning in Tuscany

Nothing is as breathtaking as a flight in a hot air balloon over the Tuscan countryside. From the silence of the skies you can admire just how beautiful Tuscany is. For more information about ballooning contact Ballooning in Tuscany www.ballooningintuscany.com

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Driving Experiences in Tuscany

Noleggio Chianti 500 is a rental shop of Vintage Fiat 500, Vespa and bikes. There is a wide range of Fiat 500 fully restored and serviced, ready to transport you in your discovery of the most suggestive places of the Tuscan region, it's good food and excellent wines which make it famous all over the world. For those who prefer two-wheels, there area Vespa 125 cc, ideal for moving around on hot summer days and, for the sporty there area Scott bicycles available. NOLEGGIO CHIANTI 500 Via IV Novembre, 35 53011 Castellina in Chianti (SI) Tel. 0577 1481001 - Fax 0577 1481002 info@noleggiochianti500.it www.noleggiochianti500.it

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Fishing in Tuscany

Fishing is a popular activity amongst the locals in Tuscany. In most towns there is a fishing and hunting shop where one is able to obtain information about the area and licenses.

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Golf in Tuscany

Rich in art, history, culture and traditions, Tuscany also has fabulous scenery, great food and superb wine - all the ingredients of a relaxing holiday destination. Add the fact that it has some of Italy's finest golf courses and it makes the region an excellent target for discovery. Until the arrival of Costantino Rocca, Italy hardly figured as a top golf nation but the emergence of 2009 Open Championship silver medallist Matteo Mannasero and World Cup-winning brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, has sparked many people's interest in the country's golfing future. Tuscany is widely known for its picturesque landscape of rolling hills and intriguing history and with golf stirring and added passion it seems the perfect place to be. I didn't know what to expect but I was very pleasantly surprised. Tuscany has some of Italy’s finest golf courses; below we have listed a few of them with some tips from Grant Leggate – Assistant Secretary at Royal St Georges, Sandwich.

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Horse riding

Tuscany is an area of great beauty, steeped in ancient history with medieval villages, castles, fantastic food and of course Chianti wines. What better way is there to explore this picturesque landscape with its rich wildlife than to hire a horse for a day or perhaps for a few hours if the rest of your party do not ride? There are a wide range of riding centres throughout the region all of whom can provide mounts and guides for excursions to suit all levels of ability. Please make sure you have a sturdy pair of shoes to wear and it is a good idea to bring your own hat and gloves if you are used to wearing them, as not all centres have these available for hire. Most of our villas in Tuscany are within easy reach of a horse riding stables.

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L’Eroica vintage bike event Gaiole Tuscany

L'Eroica is a vintage bike race which takes place at the beginning of October in Gaiole in Chianti in Tuscany, normally the first Sunday. It started in 1997 and aims to reenact historical cycling. It is open to everyone as long as a vintage bicycle is used. The bicycle is considered vintage if it is from before the 1980s and has a metal frame, gears on the frame and cage pedals. There are various routes that can be done, from 38km to 205km, over both paved and the famous Tuscan 'white roads' (unpaved). The event is not competitive. During the weekend there is a fantastic historical bicycle market and along the route there are various 'aid' stations which have local products ranging from bread and honey or salami to the traditional Tuscan bread soup (Ribolita). Many participates and volunteers are dressed in historical costumes making the event very colourful. The route is completely permanently signed and is ideal for avid cyclists to follow throughout the year. For information about this visit: http://www.eroicagaiole.com/ For more information visit the L'Eroica website click here: http://www.eroicagaiole.com/ including vintage bike hire: http://www.eroicagaiole.com/la-bottega-de-l-eroica Our blog: blog.to-tuscany.com/2014/10/leroica.html Have a look at our villas within 10km of the start of the L'Eroica. Please note that some of the villas have unpaved access roads, check carefully the approach road description if you are planning on biking to the start. 

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Photography course in Tuscany

Photography workshop - written by our UK agent Dympna Docherty The question “would you like to do a photography course next time we are in Tuscany?” really didn’t need any thought before answering, “Absolutely!!”.  Tuscany needs no introduction to many people and I am lucky enough to be able to visit the region at least twice a year but not normally with any free time to indulge in my love of photography. My tutor for the day would be Martino Balestreri from the PhotoArt Studio in Radda in Chianti.  His shop is full of the most wonderful photos and prints that he has taken throughout Tuscany – some of which are on my walls at home too! I have loved photography from the moment that I received a Kodak Instamatic camera at the age of 7, I only got my own because my Dad was fed up with me always trying to use his camera and messing up his light meter.  Thousands of photos later and I finally in 2010 ‘upgraded’ my precious Canon SLR to a Canon DSLR. The only requirement needed from Martino was to bring my own camera and to get up early - our day started at 6.30!  This was so that we could make the most of the sunrise and morning light and still have plenty of time to be shown how to make the most of the digital enhancement packages on his computer in the shop. Martino will tell you that he doesn’t speak English very well, but he manages absolutely fine - he learnt most of his conversational English when he spent a year in the UK at a top London hotel in his other ‘guise’ as a pastry chef. We spent the morning admiring and photographing the landscapes in the Crete Senese region, just South of Siena.  Martino has an amazing ‘Eye’ for what will make a good photograph and what would make an average photograph.  I was lucky enough that by having a Canon camera, it meant that I was able to use Martino’s vast array of different lenses.  A tripod is an essential bit of kit for photographing landscapes, luckily for me, Martino was able to provide one to save me having to bring mine on the flight. We experimented with the various settings on my camera and the different photographic formats – JPEG and RAW.  This was fascinating for me as I have never used the RAW setting but found it very easy and it was particularly good for post-photography editing. After a few hours literally on the roadside, we moved on for a welcome Coffee and to relocate to a picturesque town for some more photography tips; who would have known that photographing buildings and people is more complicated than capturing the different colours of a landscape! Asciano is a typical Tuscan town with houses bunched together around tiny streets, washing drying above the pavements and the ubiquitous colourful pot plants on display year round. Walking around the town with a professional pointing out the different angles and showing me things that I would otherwise have missed, was fantastic.  Martino is a great teacher and doesn’t insist on you staying with him, he was happy for me to wander off by myself to explore and find different angles and shots by myself, returning to him if when I needed to ask about composing a particular photograph. All too soon, it was time to return to Radda but this was also, for me, one of the times I was most looking forward to – Photoshop! When I bought my camera it came with software for my computer that enables me to change, enhance and improve my photos but I have never used it in the time that I have owned the camera; a bit of ignorance, laziness and a lot of ‘not-having-time’ is my excuse for that. Obviously as a professional photographer, the equipment and the software that Martino uses is fabulous but you can achieve similar results from a general software programme.  Our main goal from this session was to make the landscapes come alive as it was winter-time and the normally verdant rolling hillsides had recently been ploughed and green shoots were only just returning.  The town photos also needed brightening up as the day was overcast. An hour or so later and I was confident about being able to use my own camera software in the future and keen to use the tips that Martino has given me. If you or someone you know is a keen amateur photographer looking to get better, then spending a day with Martino will ‘lift’ your skills and confidence.  If there is a particular type of photograph that you want to concentrate on, such as photographing churches or people, he is able to tailor-make your day too. The cost for the day was 80 Euros (in 2012) and that can be for 8-10 people.  Obviously the more people there are, the less individual time you will get with Martino, but what a great way for a group of friends to spend a day.  Time back in Martinos shop, using his fantastic equipment and the Adobe Lightroom package, processing photos and even printing is also available for an extra cost of 100 Euros I stayed in the heart of the Chianti region at La Stalla apartment in the Montebuoni hamlet – www.to-tuscany.com/montebuoni/lastalla/ - which offers accommodation from 2-6 people in a variety of apartments and cottages.  Montebuoni is 10 minutes drive from Martinos shop and has a swimming pool, tennis court and internet access.  The setting of the hamlet is in itself full of photographic opportunities in its own right as it is surrounded by woodland, vineyards and the hilltop opposite even has its own Tuscan Castle!  Wildlife abounds in the area and if you are lucky you will see wild boar, deer and porcupines. Martino Balestreri from the PhotoArt Studio in Radda in Chianti runs the photography workshops. LM Photo Art - Via Roma 44 - 53017 Radda in Chianti (SI) - Tel.: +39 0577 738914 http://www.martinobalestreri.com/autore/ Click here to see our yearly client photocompetitions

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Spa & hot springs in Tuscany

Tuscany is the ideal place to travel (and often decide to stay) for those  who love to indulge in hot and therapeutic waters. It’s volcanic territory has several spas where you can stay for a day treatment or for several days holiday. .Montecatini and Chianciano are probably the most famous and celebrated ones thanks to the host of celebrities that used to visit them during the sixties. No wonder Federico Fellini chose to shoot his masterpiece “8 e mezzo” in Chianciano Terme. Hot water springs from under the ground but its benefits and chemical composition are very different from one area to another. Spas in the north of Tuscany area, as well as in Montecatini and Chianciano, are recommended for their depurative and curative properties for liver, stomach and kidneys. Hot springs in the Sienese area, such as Rapolano Terme, San Casciano Bagni, Bagni San Filippo and Bagni di Petriolo, are rich in sulphur and calcium carbonate are indicated for respiratory disease and joint pains. The Etruscan and Roman people already knew about and were keen in indulging in hot springs. The Etruscans had built a temple dedicated to the god of Good Health, close to the Silene springs where the newer quarter of Chianciano stands today. News of the curative power of this water became well known during Roman times, as Horace visited this area in the south of Siena on the advice of his physician during the 1st century BC. Luxurious Roman villas were built in the area near the thermal baths and wealthy Romans had it as an honor point to spend a day at the spa at least once a week. Ruins of the ancient ones are often visible still nowadays next to the modern spas. It’s still possible nowadays to relax open air in hot water, free of charge, 24 hours a day. Here are three tips if you want to behave like an ancient Etruscan! There are many spas in Tuscany, north to south. For further information about type of water and treatments available, please visit this website and find a link to each of them. www.termeintoscana.com

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Tennis in Tuscany

While on holiday you might want to continue to partake in your favorite sport especially if you have some extra time for yourself. The following are the tennis courts in Tuscany, Orvieto and Perugia where you can go and play even if you are not a club member. Please note that you should book in advance since they allow club members first and they have tennis lessons all year.

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Tuscany by Vespa

Iconic and very Italian, the Vespa scooter is the fun and authentic way to explore Tuscany. Riding through the region’s hilly countryside and villages, with the mild sun caressing your head and the wind in your hair will make you feel totally free. Stylish, easy to drive and carefree, the colourful vehicle of fun is really worth a try, so check out these Vespa rental companies in Tuscany.

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Chianti by bicycle

Tuscany Bicycle is a rental bike shop located in Gaiole in Chianti. We rent high quality Bianchi road bikes, Olympia MTB/ Hybrids, Ebikes and Vintage Bikes.  We carry bike related merchandise and accessories. Tuscany Bicycle has two locations: Gaiole in Chianti and Valdarno. We offer door to door delivery service to your hotel, B & B or rental property for a small additional charge, from either location. The company is run by Elizabeth and Filippo. Elizabeth is an ex champion road bike racer.  She has been living and working here as manager for leading bike tour companies for over 20 years. Filippo is from Tuscany, and an avid MTB rider. Elizabeth and Filippo are happy to give you great recommendations about rides in the area. Bike rental is for 1 day minimum and prices are available upon request.

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Chianti Bike Tours

My name is Gian Marco, together with my friends we offer guided bike tours of the Chianti hills, where I have lived all my life. We can offer you range of itineraries with a variety of difficulty, so there is something for all levels of riders. I was born in Siena, and live in Radda in Chianti. And I am familiar with all the quiet roads with little traffic, and also off-road trails through woods and open countryside - I can show you all the back roads that are not easy to find. My aim is to share with you the changing scenery of the Chianti as each season has its own charm. I am a qualified Mountain Bike Instructor and can accompany a single cyclist or small groups for various types of tours; personalized itineraries can be organized by special arrangement - just ask!.

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Self Guide Walk - Via Francigena walk

The Via Francigena is not a single road but a collection of roads which make up the pilgrim route through central Europe, in particular from France to Rome. There was no precise route however the most well known is the route taken by Sigerico, the archbishop of Canterbury in 990. He kept a precise diary about the roads he took, the villages  and the rest points along the way. This diary has enabled the route from Canterbury to Rome to be easily mapped out and has now become the official Via Francigena with the EU and Italy investing considerably into its rediscovery and maintenance into a beautiful walking route. The Canterbury-Rome route passes through Dover, Calais, Reims, Lausanne, over the alps at the Gran Saint Bernard pass, through the Val d'Aosta and Susa Valley, Turin, Pavia over the Apennine mountains to Lucca, then San Gimignano, Siena, Viterbo and finally Rome. The route followed the roads of the time and several sections have been paved over with roads and other infrastructure. The present official route has some slight changes from the original to avoid main roads and other difficulties. In Tuscany the route is completely signed and provides some wonderful walking opportunities. Being a pilgrim walk it has no real difficulties along the route and is adequate for all to enjoy. As the route is completely signed a guide isn't needed although we do recommend one if you're looking to learn more about the area. To Tuscany staff walked part of the route (from Castello della Chiocchiola just outside of Siena to Abbadia d'Isola near Monteriggioni). We we hosted by two local guides, one of whom walked the route with us and provided us with lots of interesting information about the Via Francigena and area. Our tour was organised by Andrea Rossi (biketourandrea@gmail.com) who provided us with our guide Ingo who spoke excellent English. Read about our experience on our blog here For more information about the Via Francigena have a look at the official website where there are also maps of the route  http://www.viefrancigene.org/en/

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Guided - Walking and biking

An ideal way to come into contact with the locals and discover the surrounding countryside is to do a walking, cycling or bike tour. There are many walks and cycle rides in Tuscany that you can do on your own, but having a professional guide take you off the beaten track to see sights you would not normally discover and explain about the history and traditions of the area that you are visiting is extremely worthwhile. Also many of the walks in Tuscany are badly signed so it can be useful to have a guide with you that knows where to go. Most of our villas in Tuscany have walks to suit all abilities nearby.

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Self Guide Walk - Gaiole, Meleto

Distance/time: 12km/7.5mi; 3h15min Grade: easy, with an ascent of 200m/650ft; on good tracks and trails and suitable in any season Equipment: if walking in sun, sunhat, sunglasses and high-factor sun cream. Trainers or strong shoes with good grip make suitable footwear (not sandals); wear long trousers rather than shorts, also walking boots if there has been rain, as there is a ford to cross. A bottle of drinking water is essential in summer and some high-energy food like sweets or dried fruit may be useful. It is not a bad idea to carry a small first aid kit and a knife. How to get there: TRA-IN bus service 127 from Siena to/from Gaiole (not Sundays). Or by car: drive to Gaiole and park on the road behind the church. Refreshments: bar/restaurants in Gaiole, Barbischio and Castagnoli (the latter called www.ilcelliere.it Note: Meleto Castle can be visited on a guided tour (groups only); ph: 0039 0577 749217 to enquire about the fee and opening times. www.castellomeleto.it This walk is set in the heart of Chianti and the Chianti Classico wine-growing area. The route has all the ingredients for a typical Chianti walk. It starts in a stone-paved piazza, passes a 10th-century church, a castle involved in the wars between Siena and Florence, and a medieval tower house. It is, of course, set among a myriad of vineyards patterning the hillsides not covered with trees. In autumn, with all the wild fruits around - blackberries, figs and grapes - the walk is a feast both metaphorically and literally. Start the walk in the centre of Gaiole, by the sculpture. This street, Via Casablanca, is the main road to Siena (SS408). Follow this road towards Siena until you arrive at a junction (5min). Stay on the right-hand side of the road, cross Via Galilei, and look straight ahead for your next route - a track that starts at this junction and winds uphill. It passes a renovated farmhouse and leads into the piazza of the 10th-century parish church of Spaltenna (15min). The surrounding buildings are now a hotel, so are very well kept. Take the track at the right of the piazza, skirting the hotel complex, with the hotel grounds and gardens on the left and a vineyard on the right. Veer to the left at the pond and continue to where the main track turns left: go straight ahead here on an old grassy track into the trees, leaving the CAI 16 behind. Soon you join a second track, where yellow markers indicate the line of an underground pipe. Emerging from the trees, you will see a large derelict farm on your left. Head towards it, skirting the edge of vineyards (25min). The farm is San Pierone and, if it is still uninhabited, do look around the outside. You will see the outdoor oven, the wells, and a chapel. It looks as if the people left only recently. Head left downhill from the farm, towards a strange, isolated villa with a tabernacle at the crossroads. (The last time we did this walk, land was being cleared for new vineyards, and the stone tabernacle had been moved - temporarily I hope!) Continue with the villa’s garden wall on your left, the cantina for ’Geografico’ wine on your right, and the castle of Meleto on the hillside ahead. What could be more Chianti? The track leads you into the valley, skirting to the right of a farmhouse halfway down (40min). Meeting the Siena road once more, go left and immediately right over the bridge (signposted for Meleto). Five minutes up this minor road, you pass a derelict building on the right: it was the limekiln for plaster for the walls inside Meleto castle. Plans are now afoot for it to be turned into a restaurant. Turn right up the straight, cypress-lined drive leading into the courtyard of the Castello di Meleto (55min). After a tour and perhaps a wine tasting, follow the CAI 56 along the chapel wall. This track has wonderful views over the undulating Chianti country with its woodlands and vineyards. The track leads past a farm and up to another, large rectangular farm on the ridge. The track dips and then rises to the road again, by a bus stop (1h15min). Cross the road and follow a track towards another farm. The track divides below the farm: keep left and continue, veering right, back to the road. Turn left on the road and stroll up to Castagnoli (1h45min), with its huge castle-like building by the roadside. Below the wall you can see some of the stainless steel winemaking equipment. Walk straight on, past the church and restaurant. Just before the next house on the left (where there is a wooden cross on the opposite side of the road; 1h50min), turn left down a track, the CAI 54A. Cross the stream by the ford, then walk up to a pretty holiday home (2h05min). Beyond the next house, the track becomes a sandy trail through chestnut woods and scrub. Follow this marked route, ignoring two trails off to the right, until you meet a wide track. Turn left here; then, at a wide junction with a tabernacle (2h35min), take the right-hand track (CAI 54). Coming into the medieval hamlet of Barbischio, you meet a Y-junction (2h45min). The road to the right goes up to the 10th-century tower house; take the road to the left, descending past the Papavero Restaurant. The road ends by ’Pietro’, a house covered with old farming artefacts. But a lovely soft woodland trail continues to the right and takes you down to the stream. Turn left, walk parallel with the stream, and you will come to a farmyard, which was once the old village mill (3h). Continue down to the road and turn right over the bridge. At the T-junction, keep left for Gaiole (3h15min).

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Self Guide Walk - Radda to Volpaia

Radda in Chianti – Volpaia- Santa Maria Novella-  a 21km circular walk. Leaving Radda in direction Gaiole you turn right at the bottom of the hill. After approximately 1,5 km you reach an intersection with several signs, the main one (large, blue) indicating Volpaia. Take this right – hand turn, at first going downhill a bit, then going up again, always keeping to your right. The panorama you enjoy ascending the hill towards the little gem Volpaia (about 4,5 km) is one of the most beautiful the Chianti has to offer. The castle in Volpaia was surrounded by a wall in the form of an ellipse, with the defence towers rising up in a quadrangular arrangement. Today good parts of the wall are still visible, as well as one of the smaller towers (now the enoteca). The Chiesa di Sant’ Eufrosino, the church known as La Commenda, shows magnificent architecture of brunellesque order. From Volpaia you continue on through the village, taking the gravel road ascending up towards the mountains. Although the road is as of this point only a dirt road you will find it worth the effort. You continue on through the woods until you come to a crossroads with a sign indicating Castelvecchi. The route takes you through woods full of oak, chestnut, fir and broom. Along the way you come across lovely farms whose names will help you maintain the right direction: Villalmonte, Montanino, Casa del Pievano, Croce di Bracciano, Casa Balza and finally Castelvecchi, a larger estate of which very little historical information exists. Certain is only that in the 11th century it was ruled by the Rinaldi and that its name does not derive from vecchio Castello, but from the presence of the family Vecchi who owned it. Just below it you find the beautiful parish of Santa Maria Novella. The church is mentioned for the first time in a parchment of the year 1010. The church underwent complete reconstruction during the first decades of the 19th century, altering it to the extent that in fact only the arches separating the three naves remain resting on the original supporting walls. The most outstanding element of the parish church is certainly the sculptural decoration on the capitals, unusual for the Florentine. The itinerary ends with the visit of Santa Maria Novella. Continuing on downhill you once again reach the main road taking you back to Radda.

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Self Guide Walk - Radda to Badiaccia a Montemuro

Length: a 22km circular walk At the bottom of the slope leaving Radda in direction Gaiole you arrive in front of a small chapel, The Cappella di Mercatale, built 1720 in honour of Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi. Here you turn off to your left following the signs indicating Badiaccia Montemuro – Parco di Cavriglia. First the road takes you on down through the woods until after a few minutes you begin to ascend amidst vineyards. On the way you encounter numerous signs of nearby fattorie where you may stop to taste the Chianti Classico. Montevertine is a very old hamlet that in ancient times provided a tower serving as look out for defence. Presently it’s a winegrower’s farm accommodating a small Chianti Museum showing agricultural tools and implements used for decades for daily work in the fields. Across the road from the way leading to Montevertine you may take a small detour arriving at the small village of Selvole, whose name derives from the Latin meaning selve or boschi, woods or forest. Inferred by the remains of pavement still visible winding off the Chiantigiana, the public road, for about 2 km up into the Castello di Selvole, this must have been a Roman way- station. The castle was of strategic importance during the Etruscan – Roman age. From the 11th century on it was transformed into a small rural village with its houses grouped around the church. Continuing on uphill on the main road you come by Poggerino, “little hill” which at one time also served a logistical as well as an agricultural purpose. Shortly thereafter, turning off to the right onto a narrow gravel road you find the church San Pietro Apostolo a Bugialla, a single nave with a vaulted ceiling at the back covering up the original truss – beamed ceiling. Another place with a long story to tell is Capaccia. The sign indicating the way is just across the road from the access to Bugialla. Capaccia had once been chosen as an observation point and outlook linking and informing the other castles in the vicinity by means of other signals, for example nightly fires. The ancient castle complex consisted of seven houses of which one was a tower. At this point your attention will be attracted by a beautiful house with typical Tuscan features lying on a hill on the main road. This is Le Marangole. Continuing on uphill you reach the large estate and winery Pian D’Albola. Across from the fattoria you see the imposingly beautiful Castello d’Albola (602 m). Some think that the names comes from the Latin for piccola alba, little dawn, but more probably it derives from the Etruscan Albula, the personal name of the Lucumone (Etruscan ruling class) from the area. Here the road becomes a strada bianca (term for gravel road) that you follow for about 2 km until you reach the main road, turning left to arrive at Badiaccia Montemuro where our itinerary ends. The town took its name from the Monte Muro (720 m). It was called Badia because of the monastery that was founded there, in the middle of the plateau amongst the houses and church, by the Camaldolesi monks in the 11th century. In the 1794, removed of the monastery, it became the parish church of San Pietro as it is today. Over the entrance there is still the coat of arms of the Camaldolesi monks: two doves drinking from the same goblet. After 1616 it was called, by the pejorative, “Badiaccia” because of the state of abandonment it was in until 1658.

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Self Guide Walk - Milky way in Val d’Orcia

B.Vignoni - Poggio Bacoca - Pieve di Corsignano - Terrapille - Acqua Puzzola - B.Vignoni Time: 4 hours Length: 18 km This itinerary is a wide circle just below Pienza among the clay of Alta Val d’Orcia. The hiking route winds along the ancient way of the Romea. For centuries, travellers of the "Grand Tour" have walked on the Romea and have later documented their experiences in travel books and diaries. That’s why the title of this itinerary reminds us of the movie by Bunuel about the Spanish Romea of Santiago. Start in Bagno Vignoni and follow the Orcia, then take the road of the Commenda, leaving the farm Casellona to your left. Now you find yourself on the ancient layout of the Francigena (Romea). Shortly after you have reached the paved road, take the unpaved road, which will lead you to the farms of Casabianca, Poggio Bacocda and Costi Lati, all built in clay. From there the path leads downhill to the left and then, after the farm Poderi Novi, uphill to the fascinating Romanesque parish church of Corsignano (XII century). From the parish church of Corsignano, walking down to the valley, you will come to the pretty farm of Terra pille. The farm is situated in an elevated position and offers a gorgeous, panoramic view of Pienza. From Costi Lati, continuing your walk for about one kilometre downhill, you have to look for the municipal road that will take you in the direction of Bagno Vignoni. If you are not too tired, pay a visit to the castle Castello di Spedaletto. It isn’t far, once you are on the paved road.

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Self Guide bike - The Senese Valdelsa Chianti

Castellina in Chianti (578m) – Castagnoli (427 m) – Bivio Talciona (150m) – Parish Church of Sant’ Agnese (410m) – Castellina in Chianti Length: 41 km Time required: four hours Road surface: unpaved for about half, asphalt with reduced traffic flows Difficulty: none in the first part, except for several points of steep ascent; of medium intensity in the re-ascent to Castellina, which develops progressively, that is good for cycling. Requires average athletic preparation. Route: Castellina is situated on the Chiantigiana State Road. It can also be reached with State Road 429 from the Valdelsa, and from the Florence- Siena dual lane carriageway, exiting at San Donato in Poggio for those coming from Florence, and at Monteriggioni for those coming from Siena. The mountain bike itinerary leaves from the built up area along a segment of the State Road for Poggibonsi, which we come to again at the end of the excursion. In fact, the trend of the slopes makes it advisable to detour after about 2 kilometers at Castagnoli, an ancient castle that seems to remind us of the embankment on which different buildings are located. When the asphalt ends, the wide dirt road continues to descent in very lovely countryside, facing towards the valleys of Staggia and the Elsa, on which there are wide-open panoramas. Upon arriving at several hairpin bends, be very careful because of the very steep slope and the gravel roadbed, which could cause loss of balance when braking. In the vicinity of Villa Rosa and Gretole, the route on seemingly flat ground stretches out over a panoramic ridge, beyond which sowable fields tend to dominate. We continue on asphalt, with very pleasant and relaxing route, until reaching crossroads where – on the right- we find a signpost for Talciona. After visiting it, the route returns over the same road already taken until the Talciona cross – roads uphill, where we admire the precious little presbytery of Santa Maria, with an architrave that was sculpted in the Middle Ages (1234) and that bears a rough but charming Adoration of the Magi. We continue uphill along the little asphalt road that soon takes on a natural road surface, in the direction of the settlement of Villore, from which, on a bend, the unpaved road meets with the state road coming from Poggibonsi. Here take direction to Castellina.

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Self Guide bike - The source of the Pesa

Fattoria S.Michele (847 m) – Volpaia (617 m)- Dogole (625 m) – Badiaccia a Montemuro (706 m) – Fattoria S.Michele Lenght: 14 km Time required: four and a half hours Roadbed: prevalently tracks with a natural road surface Difficulties: none with respect to the physical challenge; be very careful in the Volpaia – Dogole stretch: it is unmarked and tends to be complicated near the latter locality. Excursion with average physical challenge Recommendations and notes: the signposts are old, and several segments of road are not marked. Take a map, preferably to 1: 25.000 scale, and follow the itinerary on it. Ideal season: all, except very rainy periods during which muddy spots are abound How to reach Monte San Michele: from Greve in Chianti we go up the slopes of Monte San Michele on the smooth dirt road that first reaches the villa – estates of Melazzano and Caprolo, in a rural context that becomes always more panoramic. The first stop is interesting for visiting the characteristic medieval nucleus of the Presbytery, gathered around the church of Santa Maria. The major peak in Chianti, Monte San Michele (892 m) is very close- by, and is covered with dense conifers. We then continue until we cross the road that ascends from Lucolena, always ascending on the right we arrive at the nature park of San Michele and at the entrance to the estate of the same name. After leaving the estate of San Michele, we continue in a southern direction along the hillside road that follows fenced fields. At the first crossroads, we have to turn off the track and bear left, continuing straight in a slight descent. We are now on the CAI path marked with numbers 30 and 32. Around Poggio Sereno there is a tract of luxuriant and impressive pinewood, thereafter the vegetation alternates between bush-covered and open terrains. A crossroad indicates the direction for Lamole, followed by signpost 30, which we ignore and continue – southwards- on the same level as far as Poggio Querciabella. Here, a steep shortcut on the left makes it possible to descend to the dirt road that leads from Panzano to Volpaia, which can be seen shortly afterwards among the crops. After the visit to the castle and a timely request for information on the old mule track for the Badiaccia, we begin to travel it, constantly descending. The route keeps to the left of the valley until it crosses a secondary ditch. Once past it, it starts to climb a spur of the hillock of La Vecchia, amid dense coppice woods, and reaches the abandoned houses of Dogole that are compressed by the vegetation. The ancient path is covered with leafy branches as far as the ditch below the Lungagna house, from where it travels smoothly to the nearby Badacchia above. The route is closed within a ring by travelling a few hundred metres of asphalt of the almost always-silent provincial road leading to Lucolena, until the beginning of path No. 9 appears on the right. Exactly opposite, an initial uphill track, roams the southern spur of Monte San Michele, amid reforestations and wooded maquis, and then leads back to the first crossroads encountered after leaving the estate.

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