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Itineraries bike

The reclamation route from Grosseto and Castiglione della Pescaia

By bike between the Ciclopista Tirrenica and the Nature Riserve of the Diaccia Botrona

Initiated by the Hapsburg-Lorraine, continued throughout the 9th century and finally finished in the mid-20th century, the great hydraulic and sanitary reclamation of the Maremma subtracted thousands of hectares from the swamp and transformed them into fertile and productive land. Covering part of the farm roads that enter the reclaimed marshland, this itinerary makes a ring that connects Grosseto to Castiglione della Pescaia, closing through a long stretch of the Ciclopista Tirrenica

From the Guido Montanelli Velodrome near the Sandro Pertini Park in Grosseto, using the exit that leads onto Via Cimabue, we reach the Grosseto - Marina bicycle and pedestrian path at Via Arcidosso. Sufficiently wide and paved to accommodate cyclists, pedestrians and skaters, the path runs parallel to the Collacchie provincial road (Provincial Road 158). We follow the bike path until it intersects the Municipal Road delle Strillaie, subsequently entering the network of largely paved reclamation farm roads until we cross the Pollino provincial road (Provincial Road 80) at Casotto dei Pescatori (Bar, Restaurant, church). Having carefully crossing Provincial Road 80, we enter the vast agricultural area of Squadre Basse. 

We find ourselves now in the center of the large area reclaimed for filling in by the floods of the Ombrone river, which reached this area through a diversion channel, of which a few sections of the banks are still visible. 

We continue on the Vicinale Squadre road, a long straight stretch that seems to get lost on the horizon in the vast sunny plain. On our right, the wooded mountains of the Tirli hills slope down toward the sea, where the village of Castiglione della Pescaia is visible. As we advance across the plain, we witness a singular change in the route, the roadbed changes from paved to dirt; the name of the road also changes, becoming the road of the Padule (Open Marsh Road). We find ourselves in the center of the area that Etruscans and Romans called lago Prile. The Grand Duke of Tuscany Peter Leopold of Lorraine entrusted the reclamation works of the Maremma to the Jesuit, astronomer and engineer Leonardo Ximenes (1716-86). Beginning in 1815, the engineers Vittorio Fossombroni and Alessandro Manetti joined the work and continued the reclamation by using sludge, carried in suspension by the Ombrone and Bruna rivers, to raise the land and fill the marsh. 

The vestiges of the Abbey of San Pancrazio al Fango, erected in early medieval times on top of a small island in the ancient lake, alert us that we are about to arrive at another crucial point of our itinerary, the Bruna river at Ponti di Badia, where we cross Provincial Road 3 Padule. Heading inland, we cross Provincial Road 3 following the provincial road of Strette (Provincial Road 23) for the next thousand meters, until we cross trail No. 119 Montoto of the Sentieri Castiglionesi hiking network. The few hundred meters of easy dirt track allow us to gain altitude again, giving us a scenic view of the Nature Reserve of Diaccia Botrona. A few more kilometers of comfortable and smooth paved municipal road lead us to Castiglione della Pescaia. At the restart we ride, heading south, along a shady and long stretch of Ciclopista Tirrenica that runs between the Gran Ducal pinewood and Provincial Road 158 to the Leopold Canal. A few dozen meters and we turn right onto Via delle Colonie following the signs for Marina di Grosseto, which we cross by riding on the waterfront promenade that ends at the marina area. Before rejoining the bike path that returns to Grosseto, a stop at the ancient forte di San Rocco cannot be missed, the fortified complex built by the Lorraine family in the second half of the 18th century on the site of a pre-existing structure with sighting functions. 


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