Walking in Tuscany

£10.00

Landscapes of TUSCANY: walks and car tours

by Elizabeth Mizon

Like all Sunflower guides, this one is worth its weight in gold. Although we have been to Tuscany before this guide enabled us to add another dimension to our holiday as it guided us on many fascinating walks adjacent to places we know but of which we were unaware. (pepperonata, Amazon)

Take to the hills, and whether you are driving, walking or going by bus, this latest offering from Sunflower will help you get there… This ‘Landscape’ volume fills a gap in the market, giving detailed itineraries for a number of short outings. You’ll be happy to have this book for company. (Sunday Times)

Such a good read, I feel I can revisit the area and enjoy its atmosphere at a moment’s notice, just by opening the book, thanks to E Mizon’s brilliant perceptively detailed writing. (VH, email)

Click below to read walker’s reviews and use the ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon.co.uk (RRP £12.99)

amazon-badge

Or, purchase the complete book as a downloadable PDF using the Add to Basket button below (£10).

SKU: LANDSCAPES-TUSCAN Categories: , , , , , ,
You might also like...

Description

TuscanyThis guide book is designed for visitors walking in Tuscany and touring Tuscany by car. While the region’s historic towns and archtectural highlights are often the focal points for these excursions, the role of the Tuscan peasant in creating this glorious landscape is stressed throughout — especially in the wealth of background information about Tuscany’s customs and cuisine, flora, fauna and history — all of them illustrated. The book should be particularly suitable for those who wish to combine a visit to Florence with seeing the Italian countryside (you’ll need a good city guide for Florence, while this ‘Landscapes’ guide will show you the best of the rural scene.)

Area covered: from the Carrera marble quarries in the northwest down to southern Tuscany, with a particular emphasis on the area round Florence and in the Chianti.

The best months for walking in Tuscany are from September to June.

Where to stay

If you’re relying on public transport to reach the walks, you will need to stay in either Florence or Siena. With a car, you have much more scope — from renting a countryside villa to staying on a farm.

Edition/contents etc

8 car tours, 40 Long and short walks, 15 picnic suggestions

144 pages +2 touring maps (north and south Tuscany), 1:50,000 topo maps
2nd ed, 2006; ISBN 978-1-85691-298-3 UK retail price £12.99 / USA retail price $17.99

Table of contents:

Preface 5
Acknowledgements; Books; Glossary 6
Getting about 7
Picnicking 8

TOURING
1 The foothills of the Apennines – the Mugello 14
2 Hilltop villages and gentle hills of the Chianti 17
3 Marble mountains of the Alpi Apuane, and the Garfagnana 20
4 The cool hills and forests of the Pratomagno, and the valley of the Casentino 24
5 Hilltop fortress towns west of Siena 28
6 The dramatic landscape of the Sienese Crete 31
7 Around Monte Amiata – volcanic landscape, hot springs and skiing 34
8 Southern Tuscany, forgotten since the Etruscans 37

WALKING
Maps and waymarks 40
Right of way 40
A word of caution 40
Timings and distances 41
The walking notes 41

WALKS NORTH OF FLORENCE
Around Florence
1 From Bivigliano to Fiesole 42
2 Circuit from Fiesole via Settignano and Vincigliata 46
3 Circuit from Cercina via Monte Morello 51

The Mugello
4 Circuits around San Piero a Sieve and Trebbio 55
5 Circuit from Sant’Agata via the Apennine ridge 60

In the Alpi Apuane
6 Along Michelangelo’s road, from Seravezza towards Monte Altissimo 63
7 Circuit below Monte Procinto via the Alta Matanna refuge 66
8 Circuit from Fociomboli via Favilla and the Foce di Mosceta 69

In the Garfagnana
9 Bagni di Lucca circuit  73

The Alpe di San Benedetto
10 Monte Falco, Monte Falterona and the source of the Arno 77

WALKS BETWEEN FLORENCE AND SIENA
In the Pratomagno
11 Circuit from the abbey at Vallombrosa via Monte Secchieta 80
12 Circuit from Caspri via Monte Cocollo and Poggio Montrago   83

The Chianti
13 Circuit from the Badia a Passignano 87
14 Circuit round Mugnana, La Panca and Sezzate 90
15 Circuit from Gaiole via the Castello di Meleto and Barbischio 94
16 Circuit from Monte San Michele via Volpaia 98
17 Circuit from Radda via Volpaia 101

Around Volterra
18 Circuit from San Donato (near San Gimignano) 104
19 Circuit from the walls of Volterra 107

WALKS SOUTH OF SIENA
In the Crete
20 Circuit from Monte Oliveto via San Giovanni d’Asso 110

The Val d’Orcia
21 From Montalcino to the abbey of Sant’Antimo 114
22 Circuit round Bagno Vignoni 118
23 Circuit of three castles, from Castiglione d’Orcia 122
24 Circuit from Vivo d’Orcia on the slopes of Monte Amiata 126

WALKS IN SOUTHERN TUSCANY
25 From Pitigliano to Sovana 130
26 Circuit from Saturnia 134

HINTS FOR WALKERS
When to walk in Tuscany 137
Where to stay 137
What to wear 137
What to carry 138
What you need to know 138
How to ask for help 139
Buses 140
Refreshments 141
The country code and safety guidelines 141
Emergency telephone numbers 142
Index 143
Fold-out touring maps inside back cover

Guidebook index

Acquapendente 37
Alpe di San Benedetto 77
Alpi Apuane 20, 23, 63-71
Alto Matanna (rifugio) 66
Antona 20
Arni 20
Asciano 31
Azzano 63, 64
Badiaccia 98, 99
Badia a Passignano 87, 88-89
Bagni di Lucca 73, 72, 75
Bagni San Filippo 34
Bagnicaldi 73, 75
Bagno Vignoni 34, 36, 118, 119, 120, 122
Barbischio 94, 96
Barga 20
Bibbiena 24
Bivigliano 14, 42-43
Borgo San Lorenzo 14, 42-43
Buonconvento 31
Camaggiore 9, 10
Campomigliano 55, 56-57
Capo d’Arno 78-79
Carrara 23, 65
Casentino 24
Casole d’Elsa 28
Caspri 83, 84-85
Castagnoli 94, 96
Castel San Niccolò 24, 26, cover
Castelfranco di Sopra 24, 83, 84, 84-85, 86
Castell’Azzara 37
Castellina in Chianti 17, 18
Castelmuzio 31, 32
Castelnuovo dell’Abate 34, 114, 115
Castelnuovo di Garfagnana 20
Castiglione d’Orcia 34, 119, 122
Cercina 51, 52, 53, 54
Ceppeto 51, 53
Chianti 17, 87-103, 95
Chiusure 11, 111, 113
Cintoia 91
Ciuciano 104, 106
Colle di Val d’Elsa 28
Contea di Vivo 35, 127
Crete (Sienese) 31, 110, 111
Dudda 17
Ermicciolo 126, 127
Favilla 69, 70, 72
Fiesole 14, 15, 42-43, 46, 47, 48, 50
Firenzuola 14
Florence (Firenze) 8, 14, 17, 48, 140
Foce di Mosceta 69, 70, 72
Fociomboli 69, 70
Fortezza San Martino 15, 56-57, 59
Gaiole 94, 96
Galligiano 83, 84-85
Garfagnana 20, 73
Giogo di Scarperia 9, 14, 60-61
Grassina 17
Greve in Chianti 17, 82
Grosseto 140
Guzzano 72, 75
Impruneta 17, 18
Incisa 24
Isola Santa 10, 20, 69, 70, 72
La Panca 9, 90, 91
Longoio 75, 76
Loro Ciuffena 24, 26
Lucca 20, 140
Maiano 48, 49
Manciano 37
Massa 20
Meleto 94, 96
Mobbiano 75, 76
Montalcino 34, 114, 115
Montauto 11, 104, 106
Monte
Altissimo 63, 64, 65
Amiata 31, 34, 35, 126
Ceceri 47, 48
Cocollo 83, 84-85
Corchia 72, 70
Falco 10, 77, 78-79
Falterona 77, 78-79
Morello 51, 53
Pratone 8, 42-43
Procinto 66, 67
San Michele 98, 99
Secchieta 80-81
Senario 9, 10, 42-43, 44-45

Monte Amiata (village) 34
Monte Oliveto Maggiore 31, 110, 113
Montefioralle 17
Montemerano 37
Montemignaio 24
Montepoli 60-61, 62
Monteriggioni 28, 29, 113
Monterongriffoli 110
Mugello 14, 55-62
Mugnana 90, 91
Odina 10, 84-85
Olmo 15, 16, 42-43
Onano 37
Palazzuolo 14
Panzano 17
Parco di San Michele 9, 17
Pasquilio Pass 10
Passo
Croce 69, 70
della Calla 78-79
dell’Osteria Bruciata 60-61, 62
Sambuca 14

Pescina 34
Piancancelli 77, 78-79
Piazza L da Vinci 51, 53
Pienza 31
Pietrasanta 140
Pieve di Controne 74, 75
Pitigliano 12-13, 37, 39, 130, 132, 133
Poggio
di Vaiano 11
Montrago 83, 84-85
Piancencelli 77, 78-79

Poppi 24
Pratomagno 24, 80-86, 84-85
Prato d’Era 107, 108
Pulicciano 83, 84-85
Puntato 69, 70
Radda in Chianti 17, 98, 99, 101, 103
Ranza 104, 106
Reggello 24
Rignana 87, 88-89
Ripa d’Orcia 119
River
Albegna 134, 136
Arno cover
Asso 113
Carza 55, 56-57, 58
Cornocchio 60-61
Era 107, 108
Fiora 11
Lente 130, 132
Lima 73, 75
Orcia 118, 119, 123
Pesa 88-89, 98, 99, 103
Serra 64, 65
Sezzate 90, 91
Terzolle 53

Rocca d’Orcia 105, 119, 120
Saltino 24, 80-81
Sambuca 87, 88-89
San Cassiano 73, 75
San Domenico 48, 50
San Donato 104
San Gemignano 73, 75
San Gimignano 28, 104
San Giovanni d’Asso 31, 110, 111, 113
San Giovanni in Petrojo 56-57, 58
San Martino sul Fiora 37
San Piero a Sieve 14, 55, 56-57, 59
San Quirico d’Orcia 31, 37
Sant’Agata 15, 60-61
Sant’Anna 11
Sant’Antimo 11, 34, 115, 116
Saturnia 37, 39, 134
Scarperia 14
Seggiano 34
Seravezza 63, 64
Settignano 46, 48, 101
Sezzate 90, 91
Siena 31, 140
Sorano 37
Sovana 37, 130, 132
Stazzema 66
Strada in Chianti 18
Strove 28
Tagliaferro 55, 56-57
Talla 24
Trebbio 55, 56-57
Vaglia 14
Val d’Orcia 114-128
Vallombrosa 24, 80-81
Vetteglia 74, 75
Vetta le Croci 8, 42-43
Vignoni 119
Villa a Tolli 115, 117
Vincigliata 46, 48, 49
Vitozza 10, 11, 39
Vivo d’Orcia 11, 34, 126, 127, 128
Volpaia 98, 99, 99, 101
Volterra 28, 107, 108

Current update

Tuscany, 2nd edition (published 2 January 2006); updated 1/6/2016

Updates for walks and car tours (drives) in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast given below supplement those provided in the guidebook. It is vital that this Update is read in conjunction with the text of the book, but note that the Update applies only to the edition stated and not to any earlier editions. (If you have an older edition of this book you can “upgrade” to the latest edition at half price.)

Information has been forwarded to us by users of the book, and Sunflower Books offers the data in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any misleading or inaccurate content in the Update. Unless indicated otherwise, what appears here has not been verified by the author or publisher, so please allow due caution when new or amended routes are suggested. Each piece of information is dated; bear in mind that some of the older observations may have since been overtaken by events or further changes. If, during your holiday, you are using the current edition of the guide and are able to provide any additional updating to add to this page, we will be pleased to hear from you. Please send information, preferably by e-mail, to info@sunflowerbooks.co.uk.

General: It’s twenty or so years since the first edition of the book came out. We were a lot friskier then. Do adjust the grading of the walks as necessary – we now find ‘moderate’ walks to be fairly tough! (Author, 5/11)

Buses: Italy, as here, has financial problems and is suffering cuts to bus services. Please check that bus services indicated in the book still exist! (Author, 5/11)

Walk 1: It now takes two buses to get to Bivigliano with a change at Pratolino. The bus driver will help telling you when to change, and the connection is usually fairly prompt and from the same bus-stop. As the bus now goes through the village of Bivigliano first, you can get off there instead of the terminus in the wide piazza. The bar for a morning coffee mentioned in the book has closed but there is one across the road… There is a new way mark at Via Poggio Chiarese for route 65. You follow CAI 18 still though the way marks are now less good. It is a right turn at the start of the route up, as in the book, followed by another right at a junction; then at 20mins the path turns left. (Ignore the route going straight up. You can get through that way but it a much less good path.) You arrive fairly comfortably and somewhat more quickly on this route to the ridge path. Stay with this clear ridge path; the meadow seems to have disappeared. Interestingly the bar at the monastery now closes for lunch! The sign for Via della Preghiera del Silenzio seems to have disappeared too. The route from the monastery is the wide gravel “road” passing under the ramparts of the buildings. It is the way of the Stations of the Cross, so count them as you descend… At 1hr45min the metal cross is now difficult to see but there is a new CAI signpost marking the way… The time from Mt Pratone to the receiving station is 5min, to the road it is 25min… From Monte Senario to Fiesole there are a new set of way marks for the walk called the Anello del Rinascimento, the Renaissance Ring. These are a helpful set of markings especially for the last lap. To avoid a long walk along the busy road follow these markings from when you leave the track from M. Pratone and join the metalled road. (3h50min in the book) 2mins along the road turn off left, following the lower path that runs along a terrace. The marked path passes through the woods and joins the dirt road to several summer homes. At Via Rio Toro go right down the hill on the road towards the main road for Fiesole, the route in the book. The back route for avoiding the main road is now marked by the Anello signage, starting at the junction for the “camping”. (Author, 5/11) + Currently there’s a direct bus to Bivigliano on Sundays only (bus 306 from Florence at 09.30). Times at: http://www.amvbus.it/orari/306.pdf

Return by bus 7; this is frequent but is a city bus so you must buy tickets from a tobacco kiosk before boarding; it does not return to Florence bus station but drops you in Piazza San Marco which is 10 mins walk from the centre. Times at: http://www.ataf.net/en/timetables-and-routes/timetables-and-routes/

Note also that the bar at L’Olmo is off-route. 1h05min: The imposing gates have gone but the gateposts remain. 3h30min: As the previous update says, it’s a lot more than 5 mins down the gravel track from the receiving station to the road. 3h35min: The route suggested by the author in the update is good though her original route along the road isn’t very busy. When the gravel track from the receiving station reaches the metalled road you need to turn right and walk down it for maybe 5 mins before reaching the path to the left running along the terrace. Note that the Anello del Rinascimento waymarks are intermittent. Eventually rejoin the road (the original route) before turning left for the campsite. (User, 5/14)

Walk 2: page 48 2nd para: ‘Turn left on this unsealed road for one minute. At a Y-junction,fork right and continue—–‘ I attempted this walk on 12th May 2008. Please note that as you fork right you are confronted with a new looking, 8 foot locked green double gates announcing that the route is private with no way through. I continued up the unsealed road for a few minutes to check for another right fork without success. I could see the intended route around the bowl of the valley so am sure I was at the correct location. We had to walk back to Maiano and then by roads to Settignano. (User, 6/08) [ The author replies: To be able to continue the walk in spite of the gates across the path (page 48, 2nd para): The next part of the walk is to Vincigliata. Continue down the unsealed road to the hamlet of Maiano. Just past the restaurant on the left a track joins the road at a very sharp angle. Turn left down towards the stream ( this is in fact part of the return route), cross the stream, pass a farm on the right and go on up to the paved road. Go left here and on up to Vinciliata. Just before the castle a track leads off right: take this under the walls (this track is marked in black on the map in the book); It then joins CAI 1 around the restored farm and chapel (bottom of page 48). Author, 6/08]. + This walk is taking a hammering – with path closures as the farms get more and more valuable and landowners want to keep walkers away. But it is still worth doing. At 1hr 10min turn right to walk down the unsealed road towards the Cave di Maiano hamlet with its quarry wall and open green space. Pass the restaurants and ice cream shop, take the next left unmade road downhill, cross the stream and keep on up, turning right on the road towards Vincigliata. Just under the castle walls is an unmade road off on the right, take that as it joins the original walk at the 2hr mark. For the return walk follow the instructions to the 2h 35min mark, follow the main path; the turn-off up the “steeply uphill” has disappeared. At 2h48min cross the stream. In fact the stream may well be dried up. Cross it anyway, turning right then immediately left up a steep bank following a tiny tributary. In a few minutes the land flattens out; tempting though it is to go left on the wide path continues straight ahead to meet a clear path. There go left and you will come out on the road to Vinciliata again. Retrace your steps as in the book. At the Fattorie di Miano junction (3h15min) take the right hand road and cross it to the tiny chapel ahead. Turn off the road here and follow the track ahead then downhill past many large villas. The track meets the road running alongside a stream. Either take the road (3h40min) which crosses the stream and joins the main road uphill all the way to Fiesole, or continue downhill to the T junction by the entrance to the Youth Hostel drive. The 17 bus for the city stops here, of turn right here, walk to Piazza Edison to get the 7 bus up to Fiesole or the city. (Author, 5/11) +

After the 10min point: once in the Parco di Monte Céceri, rather than counting wooden seats: when the track starts descending, keep left along the marked path leading up to the top of Monte Céceri… Re the Author’s comments of 5/11: “turning right on the road towards Vincigliata” read: turning left. “Just under the castle walls is an unmade road off on the right, take that”: Alternatively one can continue on the main road, past the castle; 50m before the church (at a small iron pole), take the path to the right, on a ledge, with olive trees on the right. In the olive orchard, keep right; the path broadens and becomes grassy. At the edge of the wood, keep right to reach the dirt road mentioned just before the 2h point in the book: On p48 : “…onto a dirt track. Turn left and wend your way between a renovated farm and its chapel, to a smart villa (POGGIO AL VENTO). Beyond this house, at a JUNCTION (2h) …”: keep left before the house to take up the path through the cypress trees… Re Author (5/11), return walk: “At the Fattorie di Miano junction (3h15min) take the right hand road and cross it to the tiny chapel ahead. Turn off the road here and follow the track ahead then downhill past many large villas.” I assume one should keep left quite soon after leaving the road at the chapel (I did not; the track I continued on turned into a neglected path after some time, and I ended up climbing in and out of overgrown ditches). Here are some extra notes for the author: 1) At the 1hr10min point there were signs to the left (north) suggesting that it is possible to follow a route more resembling the one originally described in the book; I didn’t try it out however. 2) On the slopes of Monte Céceri there were placards protesting against a planned road; don’t know the current status of the plans. See also this clipping from July 2011: http://altracitta.org/2011/07/29/fiesole-riparte-la-devastante-strada-del-parco-di-monte-ceceri/ and from January 2007: http://ricerca.repubblica.it/repubblica/archivio/repubblica/2007/01/26/montececeri-proteste-per-una-strada-nel-parco.html (User, 10/11)

Walk 3: The signage to Cercina from the Via Bolognese is not too good. Coming from Florence pass the huge cemetery at Pian di S. Bartolo on the Via Bolognese, then it is the first road on the left. Follow it as it contours round the Terzole Valley. After the road crosses the stream turn right to Cercina… Via Fontaccia is now not rosemary lined, sadly. (Author, 3/11)

Walk 4: Short walk from Trebbio: access this walk by car from Tagliaferro as it is a better road surface. Tagliaferro is on the main road from San Piero to Firenze. The dirt road up to Trebbio is sign-posted and is the walking route for the long walk. At Trebbio, park in the field car park; no ponies sadly. The walk from Trebbio is much as it was except, after the water trough, (3h20min), the summit and the derelict farm, round the bend leave the track at a now, clear path descending steeply on the right. (Author, 5/11) + Recommended but a long walk (we ended up doing short walk 3). The train now goes from the main Santa Maria Novella station to San Piero a Sieve. It is hourly and runs late into the evening; the bus is less frequent. Train times at: http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=4ddd1a035296f310VgnVCM1000005817f90aRCRD

25min: Yellow waymarks have completely vanished but keep to the top of the ridge which seems to go on forever. Eventually you will turn right and pick up red & white waymarks. 1h: The boundary stone has vanished. 2h05min: We went seriously wrong here. The main track (which is well signed with red & white waymarks) continues downhill before bending right and brings you out in the next village (Campomigliano) which involves walking along the new bypass to regain your route. To avoid this costly mistake, take the track to the left opposite the gates of the house (that may once have bred dogs). This is your dirt track between the meadows. 2h20min: Cross the new road mentioned in the description. Note however that the bypass is not shown on the Sunflower map. 3h: The ponies have re-appeared. Hooray!

Walk 7: Here is an alternative return route for this walk – more gentle, longer, but missing out the circuit of Monte Procinto (which you could do on the way up). From the Refugio Alto Matanna retrace your steps to just above the fencing of the Refugio grounds. Leave the original path to go right onto path 109, CAI-marked but not numbered immediately, around the back of Monte Nona. This path climbs and contours, soon through woodlands. After about half an hour from the Refuge there is a boundary fence across the path (2h15min), but there is access for walkers. At 2h50min you meet a junction of paths: yours is the first left, CAI route 8: it takes you over the ridge, to begin your zigzagging descent down a stone mule track. When you CAI route 6 (3h05min), follow it to the left ­ it is your path back to your car, though there are several junctions on the way. At the junction with CAI 8 (3h10min), go left; at the junction with CAI 121 (3h13min) go right; at the junction with CAI 5bis (3h15min) go right. This is where you meet the path for the original descent, CAI 6, signposted for Stazzema. All these routes are shown on the map, but not highlights in colour. (Author)

Walk 9: We are experienced walkers and have used your guides in 5 or 6 places. We struggled and gave up after Vetteglia. We found the crucifx easily and the start of a rough cobbled track. However that track quickly became overgrown, we did not find a stone building and we came to a number of tracks but not the 3 way junction described. It being a wood we couldn’t see an objective to aim for and thought the risks involved in guessing were quite high. Shame because the walk had started really well. (User, 6/09) [This walk is wonderful but that bit in the woods was so difficult to describe. The secret is to follow the sound of the water, but it does not work in summer as the water is too low. I am surprised experienced walkers could not find the way. The route came from the commune, and was originally waymarked. A helpful hint may be: from the path below Vetteglia the river crossing is due north, though the paths do deviate to the left (west) before swinging back north. I have written to the Mayor to see if he can get the path remarked. Author, 6/09] + Beautiful walk! General remark: at several points the blue waymarks deviate from the route as described in the book… After the 1h50min point in Vetteglia: there are quite a few winding and crossing paths in this spot; the intensity of use seems to change quite rapidly and hence also what looks like an obvious route. In Oct ’11, it turned out to be possible to arrive at a crossing point in the stream as follows. “Pass a CRUCIFIX and continue down into the woods on a roughly-cobbled track”, ignoring the blue marks leading up to the left. After 3min (remnants of a wooden shed on the left), descend to the right; soon you should be able to spot the stone-built chestnut-drying hut in the woods on your right (as mentioned in the book). Continue along the path; after 2min keep right at a Y-junction, then immediately left, heading NNE at first. The track crosses a small stream bed, and leads to a “CROSSING PLACE (2h05min) at the confluence of two rivers.” (Thus, ignore “Then head diagonally right across a wide flat area [which you pass after a left bend], to find an overgrown, still partly-cobbled path”. Trying this brought me on slopes and in bramble bushes not easy to negotiate; I found a way around – only to discover, once at the other side of the stream, that a proper track was leading to a crossing place.)… After the 3h05min point in San Gemignano: “Take the track across the road from the post box”: this is a surfaced road now (with lime rather than acacia trees?)… After the 3h40min point, chapel of Madonna della Serra: after 2min, fork left (ignoring blue marks)… After the 4h point: there are new tracks; at 4h02min, fork right on the old path, then left on a new track (4h05min), continue past a huge water building. (User, 10/11) + Recommended but timing is over-optimistic and waymarking is intermittent. Some buses involve changing at Bagni di Lucca station; this is in Fornoli and well before Bagni di Lucca town. Bus times for service LP538 (Q10) are at: http://www.vaibus.com/pdf/orari/EXTRAURB_001.pdf

It is also possible to get the train from Florence or Lucca to Bagni di Lucca station and then a connecting bus to the town; these trains are slow (1 3/4 hours) but are approximately hourly and return late into the evening. Train times at: http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=4ddd1a035296f310VgnVCM1000005817f90aRCRD

If arriving by bus in Bagni di Lucca get off where it terminates in the town. It’s pointless to climb up to Bagnicaldi only to descend so instead continue straight ahead along the main road through the town. This becomes a trail above the river and picks up the described walk before meeting a road across a bridge at the 15min point. 3h40min: After this point the directions and previous updates are confusing. Basically follow the path downhill along the left-hand side of the valley. Eventually at about 4h you turn right downhill along a track eventually  passing a water building shortly before reaching the road to Bagnicaldi. 4h25min: You can cut straight downhill from the church to reach the main road and bus stop in the main valley below. (User, 5/14)

Walk 11: We found this walk little changed, just more strenuous than we remembered. The area is well way-marked. At 15mins, after crossing the road, there are in fact two paths ahead. Do take care NOT to take the path that follows the stream, tempting though it seems. Take the other path, heading steeply upwards. It is a good hour’s climb to the summit, with many false dawns. We returned from the summit via Walk 2 which was very pleasant and easy to follow. (Author, 5/11)

Walk 12: Park in Caspri itself. As you enter the village there is a little paved car park on the right, next to a public green space, with shade and good views ­ a good place to eat a picnic. Otherwise not much has changed, except for:
1) At 35min the green gate posts is now a green bar-gate across the road. Before this, look for the grassy trail on the right, initially unmarked. Ignore the marked park slightly on up the road, signing for Mt. Cocollo.
2) At 45min. along the concrete road. As climbing this unshaded piece of road is a bit of an ordeal, it is easy to get your head down and march past the path off to the right. Keep your eyes skinned for the derelict house on the hill side. Once you see that the start of the steep shaley path is not far away.
3) At 2hr. follow the instructions in the book until the scrambling up the hill bit. If you want to reach the high point of the walk then scramble by all means, but we found it better to keep on the path as it veered left after the saddle. This path follows the contour, is narrow but with great views, until it reaches the road. When you finally arrive at the communal rubbish bins turn left for an extra minute or two to the car park in the village.

Walk 13: We did walk today 20/6/2011 found it easy to follow but note: the interior of portico of church is sadly neglected, The yellow triangles are no more (we did find one but it had been split in two by the growth of the tree and was less obvious than the adjacent yellow lichen! The path along bank of Pisa has been resurfaced (still not sealed). (User, 6/11) + Recommended but if using the bus, timings may be a bit tight. However the track back along the River Pesa allows good progress at the end. If arriving by bus note that buses continuing beyond Sambuca don’t always go into the village but stop just before a modern bridge on the edge of Sambuca. To reach the walk, cross over the modern bridge and turn left to follow the river into the centre of the village. Cross the Roman bridge and turn right along Via Rosselli for 10 mins which becomes a track. Join the main walk just before the track crosses a stream (note that the brick gateposts mentioned are out-of-sight up a hill by the house called Gazzolina). If you reach a chapel you’ve gone too far and need to retrace along the track to the path going off by the stream up to Gazzolina. To return by bus to Florence, go to the same stop where you got off (or one over the modern bridge and just round the corner on the road leading into Sambuca). This may be a minibus and it may involve changing at the bus stop in the central square of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa. Currently there’s a direct Mon-Fri bus to Sambuca (bus 368/370 from Florence at 08.00; destination Poggibonsi). The return bus at 13.45 involves changing at Tavarnelle Val di Pesa. There may also be a later bus at 17.46 from the Campo Sportivo on the edge of Sambuca. Times at: http://www.acvbus.it/orari/368-370.pdf

The bars at Badia and Rignana are unlikely to be open. Badia church is open daily but the adjoining monastery is only open on Sundays. 45min: The fresco in the tabernacle has been replaced by another painting. (User, 5/14)

Walk 17: IMPORTANT: See the latest update of 6/2016 before deciding if you wish to undertake this walk. Recommended but timings are a bit over-optimistic unless you can keep up a steady 3 mph. If coming by bus, note that most buses depart from Siena train station (in the valley below the town) rather than the bus station. There are connecting city buses (eg nos 3, 8, 9, 10) but they take a roundabout route and you need to get tickets in advance from the bus station ticket office or a machine in the train station. It may be easier (and quicker) to walk down to the station via Porta Ovile or there may be an escalator from the main road just beyond Porta Camollia (the northern gate) down to the shopping centre opposite the train station. Currently there’s a direct Mon-Sat bus to Radda (bus 125 from Siena train station at 12.40). However you will give yourself much more time if you get the 07.30 bus. Return buses depart Mon-Sat 13.45 and 15.45. There is also a later return bus Mon-Fri at 18.45. Times at: http://www.trainspa.it/train04/extraurbano.pdf
or use the search engine at: http://www.busfox.com/timetable/accessible_timetable.php

Note that TRA-IN is the name of the bus company and does not refer to trains!
We got badly lost on this walk so take care!
10min: The pottery sign is missing but the rest of the directions are OK.
45min: There’s no sign of the rising woodland track on the left just before the road as shown on the map (unless it’s some way beforehand). However it’s possible to walk up the road, which is quiet, to reach the Santa Maria Novella chapel. 2h15min: There’s a discrepancy between what the Sunflower map shows and the description for the next mile. Ignore the bit about skirting the house on 3 sides. There may be a gate across the track. Don’t be put off but go through it and continue on the track with the house immediately on your right. The track turns right and goes downhill to cross the valley with a reservoir on your left. tuscany-electric-fencesThis is the purple track on the map (not the green path between the reservoirs). Continue following the track uphill to a junction and turn left along a path past the other reservoir to go between the 2 houses which are the holiday centre.
2h40min: Again be careful. After going between the 2 houses which are the holiday centre the obvious track turns right and goes downhill before petering out. Ignore this and continue straight ahead or due east (the same direction as you were going between the buildings) which gradually goes downhill to the river. 3h: The gentle climb of 2 miles is a long slog and quite busy. (User, 5/14) + The directions are now very out of date: it took 2 hours to find the start of the walk, and later on there are two virtually impossible electric fences. This walk is now dangerous. (Two users, 6/15) + Please note that at the 1hr mark the track though woodland to high villa has been closed off. You can proceed on path adjacent to vineyard however but later path very overgrown and blocked by vineyard enclosure fencing. At 2hr40min path after ford impassable due to electric fences set up to enclose woodland goat farm (incl protective dogs if signs are to be  believed). I understand many vineyard owners are being forced into fencing because of an explosion of the wild boar population (a new strain has been introduced from Hungary which is now breeding out of control and threatening the environment). On this walk the farmers had thoughtfully left gated inserts across the tracks which could easily be opened to allow walkers to pass through. Further prior to the ford, at the holiday buildings, a farm worker pointed out to us a line of telegraph poles through the woodland across the valley,  to the left of which is the track which then joins the road back to Radda. This skirts round the electric fenced area and follows the wet / high water diversion given in the guide. (User, 6/15)

Walk 19: Recommended. If coming by bus there’s no through ticket as it involves different bus companies. When you change buses in Colle Val d’Elsa, buy your ticket from the tobacco kiosk in the square. The onward bus to Volterra departs from the stop on the same side of the road as the square. Currently there’s a Mon-Fri bus from Siena to Colle Val d’Elsa at 08.40. This is bus 131O. The “O” stands for “Ordinario” which means it comes off the motorway to stop at Colle Val d’Elsa whereas the 131R or “Rapide” is non-stop to Florence. It connects with CPT bus 770 at 09.45 from Colle Val d’Elsa to Volterra. The return bus departs Volterra at 17.20 connecting at Colle Val d’Elsa with regular buses to Siena and Florence. Times at: http://www.volterratur.it/wp-content/uploads/Bus-Siena-Firenze2013.09.pdf

10min: Waymarks are intermittent but just follow the road. 1h: Look out for the awning of vines as the stone sink is partly obscured by undergrowth. 1h30min: After leaving the bar/restaurant and passing the start of the muletrack to follow the path by the stream, there is a recent landslide across the path. However it’s possible to clamber over a fallen tree and continue on a clear path to the mill. Note that it may have completely blocked the mule track above so this may now be the only route. Then follow the directions given to rejoin the mule track. 2h: The drinking trough is invisible. After the tabernacle the second mule track is just a path compared to the excellent previous mule track. (User, 5/14)

Walk 20: Beautiful walk! General remark: there are a quite a few more tracks leading up to houses etc… First stretch: there were not that many red and white CAI waymarks (and the gravel track is surfaced now). After Chiusure: at 1h10min, turn right (left leads to Caggiolo)… After the 1h20min point: “Turn left at a junction with WOODEN HANDRAILS”: if I identified this spot correctly: only the poles are left, the right-hand track is private… At 1h40min point: “Beyond the crest of the hill, you come to a THREE-WAY JUNCTION (1h40min). Descend the middle, broom-lined track”: easy to miss! as the situation has apparently changed (and the 1h40min point may be reached in less then 20min from the 1h20min point): just after the crest, when the main track starts a large bend to the right, go through a gate to the left of the road to take up the intended broom-lined track… Returning to Monte Oliveto Maggiore, 4h20min: “Then either keep retracing your steps (…), or continue along the road”: after leaving Chiusure along the road there is a pedestrian shortcut to the left (Sentiero Le Piaggiarelle). (User, 10/11)

Walk 21: The overall height change from highest to lowest points is over 900 feet (as shown on the book’s map). This means that anyone going in the reverse direction is going to have a rude surprise (as did we) and it is WRONG to say that if you walk one way, and there’s no bus, “it is no hardship to walk back”. (User, 11/08) + Recommended. If coming by bus from Siena, note that it usually starts from the train station not the bus station. However it also stops a few minutes later at Porta Ovile which is within walking distance of the town centre. The bus stop for Montalcino is just outside the gate on the right-hand side (next to the city wall). When you return from Castelnuovo dell’Abate to Montalcino, the bus will stop on the bend directly outside the Osteria Basso Mondo restaurant. There’s no bus shelter anymore and you will need to flag it down as there’s no stop. Note that it’s a minibus (route P1) and starts from another village so it doesn’t go into the centre of Castelnuovo. The bus back from Montalcino to Siena stops at Porta Ovile. If you walk back 5 mins along the road to the Hotel Moderno, there’s an escalator up to Piazza San Francesco which is near Siena town centre. Currently there’s a Mon-Fri bus at 10.53 (bus 114 from Siena Porta Ovile to Montalcino). The return minibus from the edge of Castelnuovo to Montalcino is at 16.56. There’s then a gap till 19.25 for the return bus to Siena but Montalcino is worth looking round. Allegedly there’s a later bus at 20.30 but we found no evidence of this. Times at: http://tiemmespa.it/index.php/Viaggia-con-noi/Orari-e-linee/Siena/Extraurbano and http://www.trainspa.it/train04/extraurbano.pdf or use the search engine at: http://www.busfox.com/timetable/accessible_timetable.php

Note that TRA-IN is the name of the bus company and does not refer to trains!
15min: Waymarking is intermittent. The chain barrier has gone but cypresses are clear. The horse paddock has gone. 1h15min: The traditional farm now has no animals wandering around. There’s more money in wine-tasting!

Walk 22: Start the walk….thermal springs. Facing the excavations, you can see steps leading down on the left side. These lead to a network of paths which descend the left hand side of the excavations. Follow a route down, coming out onto a wider track, parallel to the river, at the bottom. Go right along this track…… DERELICT QUARRY BUILDINGS [25 mins] , keep right on the main trail, heading up and over rocks , into the woods. This path ascends, meandering as it does so, for about ten minutes. There are several branches off the track: ignore these, following the main track up. Follow a path along the edge of a field. The muddy track winds past a farmhouse, where there is a junction off to the right: keep left here. Beyond more fields and woods….. (User, 6/08) + In paragraph 3, it is crucial that after passing the derelict buildings (last one is to your left), walkers do NOT, about 80 yards further on, head rightwards up the hill following the 4×4 track that has been bulldozed. Rather, they should carry on just gently leftwards, which takes them down a slope for a while, along a narrower path – not recently used as a vehicle track. Waymarking is not good around this point, but we began a small cairn at the junction. (User, 11/08)

Walk 23: Start the walk in Castiglione d’Orcia [there are a number of small carparks]. Walk on the main road [SS323] towards Siena, to the ERG petrol station. Turn left onto VIA DELLA ROCCA and walk through the village. Ascend the hill at the far end of the village up to a restaurant with a bakery. Turn right just before the restaurant/bakery, and follow the path, which leads round to the hamlet of Rocca d’Orcia…….. Now return to PODERE MULINA [Unsigned, but it is the last house you passed, with a swimming pool] and walk back about 200 yards past the farm. Ignore three tracks which rise up the hill between the vineyards, before taking the track by the tree with the Amiata Senese waymarking. The route undulates…… We followed this walk to the T junction at 1h 27mins and were greeted by 5 angry dogs coming out of a nearby house, forcing us to turn back. (User, 6/08) + On the same day this was received, we also had an update from the author: The path from Podere Mulina is now very overgrown but a better route is waymarked (see page 123, last paragraph) and substitute: “Now return to Podere Mulina ( the last farm you passed), and take the path on a ledge heading off to the right (with the Amiata Senese way markings), just above a track to farm buildings. The route undulates more or less parallel with the river, although not in sight of it. It is a wonderfully quiet, “away from it all” woodland route. At the time of writing it was well waymarked. At the end of the ledge the path turns uphill, but in a short distance the path turns right and enters the woods. There are short waymarking posts in the ground to show the way. Take this path for about 6 minutes until it meets a track running uphill. Turn right on the track (initially downhill). This is the track noted in text at the 1h40min-point; keep on this track for at least 30 minutes, until you meet the track on the bend (at 2h20min mark in the book).” This route is simpler and quicker, but you miss the hill with the picnic spot. The track at 1h40min is marked in black on the map. If you want a shorter walk, turn left uphill here to Roccia d’Orcia. There is a junction above the first farm is a junction, where you take the right-hand track to pass a second farm, then walk on to the hamlet. (Author, 6/08) + Re the author’s comments of 6/8: “Now return to PODERE MULINA (the last farm you passed), and take the path on a ledge heading off to the right … This route is simpler and quicker, but you miss the hill with the picnic spot”. I was tempted to try the route as originally described in the book but cannot recommend it. The path was completely overgrown; instead I followed the edge of the field, to find myself at the wrong side of high fences (I managed to leave the field in the SW corner though). So unless the path is cleared again, better stick to Author’s (6/8) directions, keeping slightly to the right soon after taking the ledge across from Podera Mulina… At the 2h20min point: Podere Montelaccio was being rebuilt, the oven had disappeared. “The track divides here: go left, curving uphill”: past olive trees. (User, 10/11) + At the 2hr 20min point, the Podere Montelaccio has now been renovated, complete with a 2m high security fence around the grounds and serious looking keep out signs. It is not possible to pass between the farm and the outbuilding. We skirted around the eastern side of the fence, hacking uphill through dense forest until we met a track, turning left and rejoining the original route. (User, 4/15)