The village of Bolgheri is one of the most attractive in Tuscany. Although it has extremely ancient origins, its current development is linked to the history of the Gherardesca Counts who gave a great boost to the village from the XVIII century. In the shade of the alleyways, we can go in search of the house where the poet Carducci lived, and by bike we can explore the fertile countryside below, riding along the famous avenue of Cypress trees and through the wonderful background of the vineyards that are the pride and joy of Italian wine production. The cycle route we are suggesting is easy and will take you through the famous vineyards and olive groves.
We are going to discover this wonderful area, starting from the castle of the Gherardesca Counts of Bolgheri, near Piazza Santa Teresa and the church of Saints Giacomo and Cristoforo, the oldest in the area. In front of us there is the descent down one of the most famous avenues in the whole of Italy, that avenue of Cypress trees that the poet Carducci immortalised in Rime Nuove. At that time, the newly-planted Cypress trees were still small, but now form a majestic row that accompanies the visitor for more than four kilometres as far as the gates of Bolgheri and from there to provincial highway no. 39. During this route we will find some turn-offs along the road, for Bibbona first of all and then Castagneto. We go straight on through the vineyards. We are in one of the most prestigious wine-growing areas of Tuscany, with its unique climatic and soil characteristics, that foster the production of very complex wines.
This is why the Bolgheri area has been called the Eldorado of Italian wine. When we arrive at the end of the avenue, at San Guido, where we find, on one side, the Consortium “Strade del Vino Costa degli Etruschi” and on the other the Sassicaia estate, we arrive at a halt sign. We proceed towards the north, passing the new Aurelia road and running parallel with the railway, without turning off, until we enter the municipality of Bibbona. Here we find a junction on the right, among cypress and pine trees, where we follow the signs for the village, riding through the Bibbona countryside. This countryside is also fertile and rich in products, especially after the reclamation works during the Leopoldian period of the eighteenth century. We pedal on, literarily surrounded by the olive groves that cover every hillside, while the excellence of the local wine production is confirmed by the DOC “Terratico di Bibbona”.
We continue through this beautiful environment until we reach the junction for Bibbona which deserves a visit to see its characteristic little streets in the centre and the parish church of San Ilario that dates back to the XI century. We continue along our route that goes up and down the hillsides. This is the most attractive part of the route that heads south, passing through many farms. On our left we see the gentle hills of the hinterland while to the west we can see the coast and the sea. Once again it is the tops of the Cypress trees along the avenue we took on our way out that indicate the direction we must take. After seeing Bolgheri appear among the hills we soon arrive at a turn-off, among holm-oaks and pines, which we saw on our outward journey. We turn left and after a slight climb we enter the village through the gate we took as we left.
(Image by Nicola Pilli)