Amiata: On your mountain bike to the mouth of the volcano
Trails through breathtaking landscapes
The slopes of the Amiata and upper Val d’Orcia lie at “Tuscany’s end”. A natural bridge between the Sienese countryside and the Maremma, the ancient volcano is the perfect landscape for a cycling park. Cyclists of all kinds will find an authentic part of Tuscany that is at its best when the hot summer sun heats up the asphalt and scalds the ground. The Amiata should not be attempted by beginning cyclists, as it requires a specific type of basic training. Altitude-wise, the area lies at a hilly, mid-mountain range. The Amiata offers amazing possibilities for cyclists, especially mountain-bikers. For street-cyclists it is a gym with great technical paths of the highest quality.
Bikers will find a land ready to explore, a type of full immersion in the intimate and wild forest—beech and chestnut groves give the area a unique atmosphere. So you’ll need strong legs and a pioneering spirit to handle the capricious roads alongside this green lung. Breathtaking panoramas alternate with long stretches of green where the only sound you’ll hear is the mountain air coursing through the trees. Beginning cyclists will enjoy the Amiata’s foothills, which offer easier but still suggestive itineraries. From spring to autumn, the woods are the perfect spot for bike tourists who find the perfect conditions to flirt with the forces of gravity, especially in the summer. During springtime, the brilliant green of the beech trees is an unforgettable sight. The fall sees reds and yellows exploding in time for the prime chestnut picking season.
Those interested in exploring the mountain trails on bike should consider hiring a local guide whose knowledge of the area well ensures a safe and secure biking experience.
Contact the Consorzio Terre di Toscana who, in collaboration with the guides from Trekking and Bike di Abbadia San Salvatore, offer related services such as mountain bike rentals, helmets and GPS for your bike. There are three basic trails offered (La via dei ruderi, La via dell’acqua and La faggeta), but there are numerous excursion programs that can be personalized on the basis of training and wishes of the biker.
The three programs are as follows:
Incredible trip towards Radicofani
Departure and arrival point: Abbadia San Salvatore Length: 59.5 km Height difference: 1,230 m Type of road: asphalt Type of bike: city bike, hybrid Difficulty: Difficult
Exceptionally beautiful trail characterized by three uphill portions: Radicofani, Celle sul Rigo and Piancastagnaio. The slopes are never too steep and allow for a nice, relatively easy ride (though the minimum training is mandatory). Don’t miss the view at the Rocca di Radicofani which offers a 360 degree panorama of the Amiata, Val d’Orcia, Siena, and on clear days the Gran Sasso and Lakes Bolsena and Trasimeno.
Towards the Bagni San Filippo thermal springs
Departure and arrival point: Abbadia San Salvatore Length: 28.5 km Height difference: 570 m Type of road: asphalt Type of bike: city, hybrid Difficulty: medium
Suggestive itinerary with great view of the Val d’Orcia and a stop the Bagni di San Filippo where riders can enjoy a spa day complete with thermal baths and pool. Riders have the option of starting the ride at San Filippo and spending the rest of the day at the spa.
Towards the peak
Departure and arrival point: Abbadia San Salvatore Length: 35.5 km Height difference: 870 m Type of road: asphalt Type of bike: city, hybrid Difficulty: Difficult
Itinerary characterized by the trek up the mountain. The most difficult portion of the trail is the long climb up the slopes of the Amiata, which requires a certain amount of training and a healthy dose of energy. Restaurants are found at Prato delle Macinaie and Prato della Contessa.