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Colline delle crete senesi

Discover downtown Siena on two wheels

A route for cyclists of all levels

The route starts from piazza della Repubblica in San Rocco a Pilli, the biggest town in the Merse Valley as well as the nearest to Siena. Head towards Siena on the Grosseto road for 3.3km towards Sant'Andrea a Montecchio. Here, you should turn right towards Ginestreto. Shortly after the road crossing the road goes downhill for a few hundred meters and then goes up a ridge: a short but steep climb. At the top of the hill keep to the left and, shortly after, take the SP 46 “ Ville di Corsano” road, still keeping left.

Continue for 1km until you reach road signs, one which indicates 16km from the SP and the other which indicates Siena. Here you should turn right onto the Sant' Apollinare road (km 6), which opens out onto a spectacular view of Siena. A quick ride downhill will take you to the western shopping area of Siena (Via Massetana). Follow signs for Porta Tufi (10km, with a hill of 2km). You will get to an elegant fortified entrance to the city, which takes to piazza del Campo, the heart of the city and the square where the famous Palio takes place. One Palio every year is dedicated to the Madonna di Provenzano on July 2, and the other to the Madonna Assunta on August 16. You should bear in mind that you are not allowed to ride your bicycle in piazza del Campo and in the streets which make up the outer ring, and therefore you will have to push your bike in some area.

To leave the city you should take via del Porrione out of piazza del Campo. Then take via di San Martino, via di San Girolamo and via delle Cantine before finally arriving at Porta Romana. Leaving the walls of the city behind you head downhill for around 2km until the Coronicina traffic lights. After the lights take the SS 2 “Cassia” road towards Rome (watch out for the cars) and after 3.4km turn right towards Radi on the SP 34/b “Murlo” road, a lovely gravel track which is also part of the Eroica cycling trail.

We have now come to the northern part of the Crete Senesi. After 7.6km of dirt track (the last 900m are uphill) you will get to Radi, an eighteenth-century village, after which the road is asphalt and goes downhill until a junction where you should turn right and take the SP 23/b “Grotti” road which goes down steeply before climbing up hills with beautiful views. Just before you get to Ville di Corsano watch out for the church of San Giovanni Battista a Corsano, one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in the Siena area.

Once in the town, take the SP 46 “Ville di Corsano” road to the left towards Casciano di Murlo. The road goes uphill for around 900m, a steep slope that could be challenging for less experienced cyclists. You will eventually get to a plateau with the imposing Grotti castle, which today has been converted into a villa. The view from here is fabulous, taking in Montagnola, Siena and the Crete Senese.

Right in front of the castle, at the top of the hill, turn right onto the SP 23/c “Grotti” road, following signs for Grotti-Bagnaia. After passing through the town after which the road is named, the asphalt will become gravel once more. The remaining 3.5km are downhill, ending up at a T-junction in the town of Bagnaia. From here turn right towards San Rocco a Pilli, near Brucciano where the asphalt begins again, and after passing Castello on the left you will meet via Grossetana. The entrance to San Rocco a Pilli is on the right.


Departure and arrival: 
Castiglione d'Orcia 
Level of difficulty: medium
Distance: 39.6 Km
Difference in altitude: 500 m 
Type of road: mixed
Type of bike: all terrain, mountain bike
For who: amateur cyclists and tourists

Note: this is a bike tour of the centre of Siena, which you can get to by road from the Merse Valley. Extreme caution is recommended when cycling on the roads just outside the city, especially the SS 2 “Cassia” road.