The dirt road that unfolds in the green heart of the Etruscan coast from Livorno to Maremma Grosseto forms the track of an important trail, in symbiosis with the sunny character of the terrain. Moving along the Horse Trail is an experience that involves the senses: the Etruscan Coast, where there are no paved roads or cars is a privileged world, where speeding and rushing are both dead words.
In the Mediterranean terrain, scrubs are dampened by salty winds and leaves exude fragrant oils and resins that compose the balsamic air. Leisurely walks are the best way to appreciate the surrounding environment with its superb views along the Horseback Trail. Much of the route it is on ridges overlooking the blue water directly on the coast, on the profiles of islands and bordering the waves of that characterize the land. Aerial views are interspersed with moments of total immersion in the vegetation.
Lights and shadows accompany horses and their riders down their path throughout large landscape in the countryside, with a shiny, cool, preserved and ancient spirit. White roads and trails cross rivers and lead to nature reserves and historic sites. The Horseback Trail synthesizes many aspects of the Etruscan Coast, at times it seems to ride away from the world of men; in realty, the human tissue of this part of Tuscany is always steps away, with deviations between the stones of noble medieval villages with plenty of shade from olive groves. The journey also appeals to the palate, with variations of a simple snack of pecorino cheese and wine to real culinary stops.
It is therefore a very varied route that reveals aspects of a harmonic area well depicted in the paintings of Macchiaio with vineyards, olive groves, large expanses of grain and stone walls. It begins with the nineteenth-century neo-classical aqueduct Leopoldino that became fascinating when found in the dense forest of Colognole. It is an important work of hydraulic engineering because the aqueduct is integrated with the environment. The nature of the hills in Livorno is at its most authentic in the fields of Ippovia Gabbro, Nibbiaia, Castelnuovo Misericordia, which seem to ignore distant Livorno, preferring isolation in mountain villages and breaths of fresh sea air.
The medieval castle of Rosignano Marittimo is a point of reference that accompanies horses and riders to the land, up to the green lung of the Macchia Magona, a protected oasis where you can experience all aspects of a healthy and wild environment. The vineyards of Montescudaio doc produce some of the world's most renowned wine; in fact, the terroir of Bolgheri produces Sassicaia, Ornellaia and other noble labels of wine.
At Castagneto Carducci the terrain returns to its mountainous atmosphere. For a while, you can not breathe the sea but it is just for short moment, until you follow the gentle slopes of the wide Val di Cornia where the Middle Ages remained among the stones of Suvereto and Campiglia Marittima and where you have the opportunity to dine in pleasant company with glasses of Val di Cornia DOC.
The Horseback Trail returns to its coast views, back in the tranquility of nature at the Montioni park that borders Maremma.
The trail extends for about 170 km north-south axis. Being an extensive route requires some attention in the planning stage. The course is ideally divided into 6 sections, under which, according to individual ability and degree of autonomy, we can generally organize the stages of the path with the following guide:
A Livorno (loc. Cisterino) - Valle Benedetta
B Valle Benedetta - Località le Serre
C Località Le Serre - Valle del Cecina
D Valle del Cecina - Bolgheri (loc. Campo di Sasso)
E Bolgheri - Poderi Cancellini
F Poderi Cancellini - Parco di Montioni