The volcano ring
The cone of the ancient volcano looks down on us from above as we travel the twenty-eight kilometer of the ring around it, along trails that divide between chestnut groves and Europe's largest beech forest.
On this route we touch on some of the most spectacular environments of Mount Amiata, skirting the villages at its base and experiencing nature in its fullness, through the silence of the woods, the gushing of water and the infinity of the views we can admire.
We start from the parking lot near the little green lake, near the mining area of Abbadia San Salvatore. We begin by going into the woods, passing from beech forest to chestnut grove and back again, until we reach the southernmost point of the trail, and then turn west arriving, after a few kilometers, at Fonte delle Monache.
Here we find a perfect area to rest, with a water spring and a very impressive and restored hut. It is not uncommon for a fox to peep out here, which is said to have its den in this area and quietly approach those who pass by and stop.
The ring continues by touching the evocative "Gola dell'Inferno" (Hell’s Gorge) and then climbs up to Poggio la Bella and the area of Aia dei Venti (Hague of the Winds), with its explanatory name, from which we begin to climb toward Pozza di Catana, an excellent place to drink fresh mountain water before reaching Madonna di Camicione.
Having reached the beautiful equipped area of the same name, an ideal place for a rest, we skirt the provincial road that climbs from Castel del Piano on the right for a few meters, then cross it and take a dirt road on its left, following the signs. Pedaling on the path we comfortably arrive at Sasso dei Falchi (Rock of the Hawks), a place with an evocative name from which we can enjoy a beautiful landscape over the Alta Maremma, Montalcino and the Val d'Orcia.
From there, thanks to a not-too-demanding path, one arrives at the Capo Vetra refuge. Here the old forest structure, recently restored, guards the spring from which pure and very fresh water gushes out even in summer.
The ring continues in an area on the border between the two provinces and then on the border between the municipalities of Castiglione d'Orcia and Abbadia until we come out on a paved section that takes us under the "Sasso di Dante", a trachytic boulder that in profile recalls the Supreme Poet, and near the Archer Cave, the most important example of prehistoric art in Amiata.
Continuing south we come to the little church of Ermeta, just above the mining area of Abbadia San Salvatore and finally to the little green lake, the place where we close our ring around the ancient volcano.