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Riding through the Granary of Siena

Leaving Siena behind, we ride through the open countryside among poignant landscapes

We turn our gaze in the direction of the Val d’Arbia and then even further beyond, toward the Val d’Orcia, the granary of Siena. It is toward these views that our itinerary leads us, in a loop that begins and ends at the monumental Porta Romana.

From Porta Romana we leave the city behind us. Following the directions for “Francigena sud” we already begin to ride through open countryside.

Along the Strada di Certosa we will cross the Certosa di Maggiano, an ancient monastery used nowadays as a hotel. The road is now unpaved which, after a short stretch, becomes a bike/pedestrian path for a few hundred meters as far as the industrial area of Isola d’Arbia. A short stretch of Cassia as far as the village: here we make a right-end turn then we turn right once again, following the directions of the Francigena.

The track we are riding along will take us near the built-up area of Ponte a Tressa, and then we will continue as far as the Grancia di Cuna. The Grancia di Cuna is an ancient spedale (hospital) built in the 12th century to welcome the pilgrims of the Via Francigena. It then passed to the powerful institution of the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, was enlarged several times and finally "fortified" in the 14th century to safeguard grain and cereal reserves, in the strong political instability of that time.

Once past Grancia, the railway underpass awaits us, after which we turn left. Here we follow a dirt road to More di Cuna where, after the public garden, we turn right to cross the town and take the State Road Cassia. We now turn right, heading for Siena.

We can't help but notice, as we ride along the bike/pedestrian path adjacent to State Road 2 Cassia, the former Idit of Isola d’Arbia. It is an unusual tower which, in the 1960s, served as an industrial factory, now decommissioned.

Once we are in Ponte a Tressa, we will continue along the Cassia as far as kilometer 219: at this point we turn right, still along the Strada Comunale di Fonte Murata, to the Renaccio area. Here, at the roundabout, we follow the directions for Florence - Siena - Grosseto, and begin a climb just over two kilometers long. You can say that this is the only adversity of the day, and with a gradient that is never particularly challenging. We find ourselves back at altitude, on the state road that will lead us again to Porta Romana

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