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Itineraries bike

Civitella Paganico and the Strada Leopoldina

A bike route between history and archaeology going up the ancient Leopoldina road

Upstream of a narrow bend in the Ombrone River, in a strategic position to control the customs that crossed the Maremma lands during the centuries of transhumance, stands the fortified village of Paganico. Built at the end of the 13th century by the Municipality of Siena, it represented a true free port: on the one hand, fulfilled customs functions by encouraging free trade, on the other hand it was equipped for the defense of the valley of the Ombrone River. The river, which flows just beyond the ancient walls, is clearly visible from the promenade that can be accessed from Piazza della Vittoria.

The bicycle touring route starts from this beautiful medieval square, continues on Corso Fagarè, and exits the city walls from Porta Senese. Riding our bicycles we cross the Gretano stream on a laminated wooden footbridge, entering a bicycle path that will lead us to the sports facilities. Here, for a short distance, we ride along the State Road Cipressino (State Road 64). Crossing the underpass of a railway bridge on the Grosseto-Siena line, we follow the signs for Monte Antico, beginning to ride our bikes on the first ups and downs of the State Road 140 Leopoldina, until we reach the railway station at the foot of the castle with the same name. For those arriving by train from Siena, the Monte Antico station can also be an excellent starting point for this itinerary. On the station premises, which is located on the long-distance route Bicitalia 18, a tourist information point was inaugurated in June 2022 with a bike station next to it, which will also become an e-bike rental point.

Once we rode past the station, the road begins to climb along hairpin bends dotted with cypress trees on which towers the Castello di Monte Antico. We continue riding along shadowy stretches overlooking the Ombrone valley coming around every bend, following the signs for Casal di Pari to the locality of Fercole. Among the many viewpoints along the Via Leopoldina, we find the passage from the Castello di Casenovole, where an archaeological area from the Hellenistic period is also worth visiting.

Once in Fercole, ancient post station on the customs road, we reach the nearby village of Casal di Pari, a village with ancient origins that became known as the birthplace of the famous cartoonist Aurelio Galleppini (Galep), author of the popular popular character Tex Willer. Here, getting organized for a longer stop, we will have the chance to taste the excellent home cooking of the local restaurant.

Starting again downhill from Casal di Pari, we pass the junction with State Road 140 Leopoldina, tackling a short uphill climb to climb the hillock of Fercole, before letting the bike freewheel following the signs Civitella Marittima. The road now descends steeply to the Lanzo valley and the picturesque Badia Ardenghesca. Beyond the river begins the last climb of the route, which, with an average gradient of 7%, will take us to Civitella Marittima passing the E78 Grosseto-Fano trunk road. Just before the overpass, one cannot fail to notice the ancient medieval sources.

Towering over the plants below, halfway between Siena and Grosseto, the village of Civitella Marittima, which still today che keeps intact the medieval layout with the village, accessed from the two gates oriented from east to west of the ancient city wall, and a majestic panorama that opens to the Maremma and Monte Amiata. From Civitella we continue downhill in the direction of Roccastrada on the provincial road of the Terzo (State Road 21), and then follow the signs for Aratrice. We proceed, slightly downhill, on the beautiful country road (via del Quadrone) until we cross, near a level crossing of the Grosseto - Siena railroad, the State Road 48 Tollero that accompanies us on a slight flat stretch until the entrance to the village of Paganico.


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