The Maremma Park by bike
The itinerary begins at the Alberese Visitor Center from where, once we have purchased the entrance ticket, we set out to discover the Maremma Park by riding along the first section of the bike trail that leads to Marina di Alberese. After a few hundred meters, we leave the bike trail to turn onto the Strada degli Ulivi, which we follow to the Vergheria gate, the entrance gate to the fenced area of the park. Past the gate we enter the heart of the protected area. From now on, "peculiar" encounters will be the norm: Nature is at home here. If we are lucky, there will be no shortage of sightings, even close encounters, of the park's resident ungulates: fallow deer, roe deer and wild boar can make their appearance at any time among the olive groves' stones.
Sloping and paved, the road climbs gently as it enters Mediterranean scrub to the Pratini rest area. Continuing on, the scrub thins out and the horizon opens to the coast, with views of the enchanting Cala di Forno. Further on, a wooden gate with a side manhole opens the way through a centuries-old olive grove to the foot of the 16th-century Collelungo Tower. Continuing to the backdune following the route markers, we leave our bikes at the wooden racks to walk toward the beach, one of the most picturesque on the Tyrrhenian coast.
From the backdune where we parked the bikes, it is possible to climb a steep path that leads to the Collelungo Tower (at the ticket office communicate, at the time of purchase, the intention to walk to the tower). Suitable shoes are needed, but the effort will be rewarded by the splendid view of the coast and the lush pine forest of Serrata dei Cavalleggeri.
Picking up the bikes after the scenic stop, we ride the natural-bottomed track that winds through the Pinastrellaia tombolo, until we exit the regulated area near the Marina di Alberese Service Center. Here the shuttle buses that connect Alberese to its Marina arrive, and the bike path back to the Visitor Center begins. We postpone our appointment with the bike path a little longer, to cross the road and enter the second route that makes up this itinerary: the A7-Foce Ombrone. We ride our bikes with the wind in our faces, on the towpath of the great embankment built to defend the coast, immersed in an unspoiled landscape. Near the mouth of the river we encounter the large St. Paul's water-scooping machine, the vincian gates that regulate the outflow of brackish water, we pause in silence inside the bird-watching hut. Back on the bike path in the direction of Alberese, there will be no shortage of other evocative encounters; keeping us company will be the horses and Maremma cows of the Tenuta di Alberese selection breeding farm, the farm of the Terre Regionali Toscane entity, which has its center at the ancient Lorraine granary of Spergolaia. Precisely at Spergolaia, our route intersects with the one coming from Grosseto. The bike path between Spergolaia and Alberese joins the two itineraries, and is an integral part of the long-distance bicycle route Ciclopista Tirrenica (Bicitalia 19) that runs from Ventimiglia to Rome. The Maremma Park was established in 1975 and is the second regional park in Italy. In 1992, it was awarded the European Diploma, a special recognition from the conservation point of view given by the Council of Europe, which is renewed every year and only covers 6 other Italian protected areas. Within the park there are other itineraries for cycling, especially mountain-biking, for varying degrees of training and ability; all information is on the official portal of the Maremma Regional Park Authority.