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Scansano and Magliano in Toscana, the lands of the Morellino

A bicycle-touring loop in search of authentic tastes and landscapes

We leave from piazza Garibaldi in Scansano riding along a short uphill stretch, which climbs near the Cantina Cooperativa Vignaioli del Morellino di Scansano winery, and then begins a long descent that continues even after leaving Provincial Road 159 for Provincial Road 9 Aione. Amidst expanses of vines we move to a lower altitude, passing Mandorlaie, and then head for Magliano from the Capitana privately-owned road. Between Magliano in Toscana and Scansano, the wheels of our bikes proceed on a long climb where we can ride, immersed in a landscape dominated by olive trees and vineyards. Our pedal strokes will let us enter the land of a great wine, the Morellino di Scansano.

There are two main routes encountered in Scansano, Provincial Road 159 Scansanese, which joins the coast with the hinterland from Grosseto, and Provincial Road 160 Amiatina (formerly State Road 323), which climbs the hills from the Costa d’Argento and then continues further inland until it reaches the Val d'Orcia, joining the consular roads Aurelia and Cassia from Orbetello to Castiglione d'Orcia. The Amiatina is a stretegic road, so much so that as early as 1300 the Republic of Siena had endowed it with two important military outposts perched on as many rocky spurs; Pereta, which looks out to the sea with its soaring 29-meter tower and still stands in the center of the village and, 100 kilometers inland Castiglione d'Orcia, with the massive Rocca del Tentennano (Tentennano Fortress) placed to guard the Amiatina crossing at its confluence with the Via Cassia and the Via Francigena. The Aione provincial road (Provincial Road 9) and the privately-owned Capitana road, a fascinating and ancient customs which seems to unwind under our wheels, close the polygon drawn on the ground by this route.

Roads with roots in the past, and evocative place names such as Impostino, Fontana Lucchese and even Poggio Bestiale, bring back memories of caravans of men and women who came here every autumn from the Tuscan mountains, following flocks and transhumant armies. Roads, which today cross landscapes that have become the cradle of the intense Ori di Maremma, the green of the EVO oil and the red of the Morellino di Scansano, giving us horizons that span the Tyrrhenian coast between Mount Argentario and the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. Southern Maremma is a fascinating land, crossed by roads with reduced vehicle traffic that are ideal for bicycle touring in a succession of fast stretches, where you can let your wheels run, and challenging stretches, where it is important to manage physical exertion to the best of your ability so as not to arrive exhausted at the next drop-off. The total elevation gain is 670 meters, with the highest point that can be reached in Scansano is at 557 meters above sea level.




Definitely visit the villages of Pereta, Magliano in Toscana and Scansano. Places where it is easy to be seduced by the stores offering samplings and tastings from their signs overlooking the ancient alleys. In Scansano, a walk through the "dentro," the old part of the village, and a visit to the Museo Archeologico (Archeological Museum) and the Museo della Vite e del Vino (Museum of the Grapevine and of the Wine). In Magliano, it is unthinkable to leave the hamlet without having walked along the patrol path of the medieval walls and admired the landscape of the hills overlooking the Porta San Martino. Not far from Magliano, do not miss a visit to the ruins of the mysterious Abbey of San Bruzio: the building was erected by Camaldolese monks in the year 1,000; all that remains is the apse that comes out of the walls of the eastern transept, some arches from which a massive octagonal dome, and beautiful capitels rich in symbolism.


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