calice di vino

Horseback riding in the Val di Cecina

Nature, villages and wine cellars

From the Cecina River ford, you pass Casa Poggiali and shortly after a fountain, enter the wooded area of Poggio Scornabecchi. The trail goes over the hill and then goes down the other side to cross the Via del Poggetto, an asphalt road connecting Cecina and Guardistallo.

You continue through the woods, entering the Poggio Gagliardo property. Here the landscape suddenly changes and offers a spectacular view of the vineyards of the Poggio Gagliardo di Montescudaio. Leaving the vineyards, the path continues along the Linaglia stream and passes a pretty artificial lake, recommended as a picnic spot. Shortly after, you go through the wood and reach the asphalt road from Cecina to Casale Marittimo. The trail curves to the right, and after about 20m of asphalt, turns left onto a white road as far as a group of houses.

From here, you follow the road through a wood of holm oaks, ash and roverella. You ride alongside the Fosso delle Tane stream for a stretch and after crossing a little bridge, go up a white road to the Il Poggio holiday farm on the Via della Camminata, a refreshment point for horses and riders. You go along the asphalt for about 500 metres in a southerly direction (towards Bibbona), and take the first turn-off on the left.

The dirt road goes up towards the hills, crossing the Campigallo estate, the property of Oliviero Toscani, a famous photographer and breeder of quarter horses. From here you continue to climb, entering the “Macchia della Magona” Biogenetic Nature Reserve, an area of 1,650 hectares with more than 30 km of roads closed to motor traffic, and follow the white road as far as the Passo del Terminino, crossroads which are a reference point for many itineraries inside the Nature Reserve.

In about an hour from here you reach the Podere Santa Maria, an important rest or stop-over point for horses and riders which also offers a blacksmith service. The Horseback Trail carries on along a white road through the protected area of the Macchia della Magona, following the orographic left of the Botro Grande stream through dense vegetation in a southerly direction towards Podere Campo di Sasso. From here, we recommend you go on towards Bolgheri, passing through Campo al Bastaio. The village is well-worth a visit and offers the chance to stop and have something to eat.

Second option (which can only be done in the winter)

From the Santa Maria Estate you take the cart track which leads to the Macchia della Magona, crossing the Passo del Terminino and continuing down on route No.5 which runs alongside the Botro Grande stream as far as the barrier. Here you take track No. 9 which more or less marks the border between the wooded area to the east and the cultivated hills to the west.

Go past a picnic area at Campo di Sasso and on to the barrier at Aione where you leave the scrub. In gentle, continuous descent, you cross the asphalt Via Bolgherese (which connects Bolgheri and Bibbona) at right angles at Ceppatello. After a while, you cross the bridge over the Fosso dei Cancellini and head towards the coast. In quick succession you cross the main roads S.S.1 Aurelia and Old Aurelia (S.P. 439) and the railway line near the La California Stables and Riding Centre. Going on through flat countryside, you cross the Fosso a Trogoli stream to reach the residential area and camping sites at Marina di Bibbona, where the beach is reached through the pine woods.

The return journey begins from the seaside and for the first part runs alongside the Fosso a Trogoli as far as the Casone. You cross the tracks of the railway line, the Old Aurelia and the S.S. 1 Aurelia, and along a beaten dirt track, continue on towards Bibbona until you reach the Sports grounds near the Peccianti oil mill. You ride for a short distance along the asphalt of the Via Bolgherese (in the direction of Bolgheri) as far as a sharp bend to the right where, on the left you take the dirt road which at first goes through the thick vegetation leading to the Macchia della Magona. The route continues on the dirt road which goes from the cemetery to the junction of tracks 5 and 9 which run through the Nature Reserve. Following track 5, you climb up to the Passo del Terminino where the descent begins towards the Sterza Valley and the Podere Santa Maria, the point of departure.

Villages and wine cellars

From the Santa Maria Estate you cross the Sterza Valley, fording the stream, and taking the road which climbs through lovely countryside up to the hamlet of Querceto, an ancient medieval castle today transformed into a wine growing and producing enterprise, where you can make the first stop with visits to the cellars and wine tasting.

From Querceto you take the road which starts near the cemetery and descends gently down to the River Cecina, which you cross on the bridge at Casino di Terra. Going along a white road, you reach the Fattoria del Mocaio, an old farmhouse now turned into a holiday farm. The trail continues on to Casaglia, an ancient medieval village in a magnificent position overlooking the Cecina Valley. The trail turns back towards the Cecina River, which has to be forded before reaching the high ground at Montescudaio, where you can stop for an excellent glass of wine at the La Giuncaia farm, where meals are also served.

The wine route comes into its element in the land of Montescudaio DOC wines, and continues towards the village of Guardistallo, to the Fattoria Santa Maria where you can visit the ancient “vinsanto” (sweet wine) cellar with more wine and extra-virgin olive oil tasting. Last but not least, in the heart of Guardistallo you can taste the wines and visit the cellars of Leonida Landi. The excursion ends by returning “soberly” to the Santa Maria Estate.
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Val di Cecina
The Val di Cecina runs along the river Cecina in the southern part of the Pisa province and into the central portion of the Livorno province. ...
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