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San Marcello Pistoiese and its enchanted forest

A ring in the Teso Forest, to be rediscovered by bicycle

Leaving from San Marcello Pistoiese, a few steps below the square, we go to the old F.A.P. road, the Ferrovia Alto Pistoiese (Railway of the Upper Territory around Pistoia), a "narrow gauge" railroad, that is, with reduced rail spacing compared to the norm. The term also took hold in dialect usage, often indicating listless ways of doing things. The F.A.P. remained in operation until 1965, and the train arrived at the very starting point of our route.

Returning to the bike route, the road is not difficult: wide and well graveled, it will take us, crossing only a few points of pavement, to the village of Maresca.

It was precisely in Maresca in 1950 that a conference was held between CAI (Club Alpino Italiano – Italian Alpine Club) representatives from various Italian sections, and it was decided to adopt at the national level the red and white markers that, still today, mark the paths throughout Italy.

From Maresca we climb to Casetta Pulledrari, a former ski resort and home of great cross-country skiers: the asphalt climb has no pitfalls, but with it we make the biggest elevation gain of the day.

For the past few years in the summer, the resort has upgraded itself by also offering a Mountain Bike rental service, which provides assistance, and refreshments.

We continue on a dirt road to the Maceglia - Rifugio del Montanaro (Refuge of the Mountaineer), surrounded by fir and beech trees. The Refuge, although not on the trail, is a worth a stop to enjoy the view from its terrace from where, on days with little mist, you can even see the "dome" of Florence. Be careful getting to Montanaro, however; the climb from Maceglia, though short, is real climbing!

After the stop at Maceglia, where there is a monument dedicated to the slaughter carried out during World War II, we continue the dirt road that leads toward the "Mandromini," an almost completely untouched beech forest. We then merge onto the road that goes to Pratorsi, climbing only about a hundred meters in height. 

Once again on pavement, we descend toward the Astronomical Observatory of the Mountains around Pistoia, a center of international renown and the pride of the entire territory.

From here, in a continuous change of vegetation from chestnut trees to oaks, to locust trees, we descend to return to San Marcello, paying attention, especially in summer, to small patches of grass, not always well mowed.

Our tour ends in the piazza di San Marcello, where it is possible to eat an excellent ice cream or have a good aperitif, in the places of the town center.


Itinerary curated by Leonardo Corsini


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