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Discovering Rosignano on horseback

Perfect itineraries for an incredible experience along the Etruscan coast

Three itineraries to discover the natural beauty of the area around Rosignano:

C1 - Rosignano

Departure point: Valle Benedetta
Arrival point: the Greenhouse
Type of road: path and cart-track
Travelling time: 5-6 hours
Distance: 30 km approx.
Note: most of the route is through shady areas

You begin by travelling along the spectacular ridge that runs between Castiglioncello and Castelnuovo Misericordia and affords a 360° view from the slopes of the Apennine Mountains at Abetone, to the sharp outlines of the Apuane Alps and on to the islands of the Tuscan archipelago. The trail continues through the scrub descending into the old Solvay quarries, now a green area covered mainly with local pines. The area of the old quarries is like a welcoming green amphitheatre with picnic areas, a drinking trough (the fountain is connected to the aqueduct) and the anti-air raid shelters used in the Second World War. The quarries were used to extract calcium carbonate for producing bicarbonate.

From the quarries you climb back up to the Poggetti ridge with its centuries-old cypresses and a view of the coast with the medieval castle of Rosignano Marittimo in the foreground. You descend towards the river, skirting a German redoubt for the defence of the Gothic line and control of traffic on the Cecina - Pisa road, which is now Provincial Road 206.  The trail passes by the Le Fabbriche and San Marco holiday farms, both good places to plan a stop-over for horses and riders. At this point, the trail leaves the Livorno province and enters Pisa territory, gaining height in a harmonious hilly landscape where cultivated land and Mediterranean scrub alternate. Having reached the asphalt road which connects Riparbella and Castellina, after about a hundred meters on the left is the Agrifoglio Fountain, ideal for slaking your thirst and freshening up; (nearby there is also the Agrifoglio restaurant.) From here you climb up towards Monte di Nocole along a shady path, through an area of Gabbro, a crumbly white stone common to this area and used to stabilize the road surface of the cart-tracks.

You go around the hill at about the 400 meters line to begin the descent to Riparbella, passing near the La Fattoria restaurant at Nocolino. After crossing the asphalt road, you descend along a gravel scenic road towards Riparbella. On this stretch of the route, there are various places to stop and eat, among these we recommend the La Quiete farm, not far from the Giardino Regional Park, which  - with its botanic walks and charcoal burners' huts - is an ideal place to see fallow deer, roe deer and wild boar.  The trail continues towards the Poggettini Riding Centre, and soon reaches the Cecina valley. After crossing the Cecina - Saline di Volterra railway line, you can either ford the river in dry weather or cross on the nearby bridge in the event of heavy rain and high water.

C2 -  Santa Luce circular route

Point of departure and return: Rosignano Marittimo (agriturismo San Marco)
Type of road: dirt roads
Travelling time: 6-7 hours
Distance: 35 km
Note: this is an itinerary of great scenic and environmental beauty, ideal for travelling in spring, summer and autumn

From Rosignano Marittimo you follow the trail as far as Badione, where you descend towards the Pesciera stream, which is dry in summer, and continue on along the Marmolaio stream, which has to be forded even in the hottest months, and is always a good place to water the horses.  From here, you climb back up the hill where the Pomaia Buddhist Centre is situated. At Val di Lupa you can see a stone commemorating the crash of an Italian Navy dirigible in 1915. Shortly after, you take the asphalt road (for about 1.5 km) and then turn left onto Via della Lespa, which is a dirt road. The wide, straight road, rising slightly for about 2km is an invitation for a gallop.

The trail continues on towards Pastina, through undulating countryside cultivated mostly with cereals. After crossing the asphalt, climb up towards Pian del Querciolo where there is a picnic area with water, tables and grills for barbecues. There is also a botanical path and a charcoal burners' hut.

The ride continues towards Poggio al Pruno, another picnic area, where the descent to Santa Luce begins. This stretch of the route is entirely through the woods and so is cool and shady. You go through the Villa Magra farm, which specializes in rearing Cinta Senese pigs. After a short while, you arrive at Santa Luce and after passing through the village, ride through lovely countryside to the lake of the same name, a protected oasis which is a perfect place for birdwatchers. After passing the lake, you cross the River Fine, the railway and the motorway, and Provincial Road 206 near the Consorzio Agrario. At this point, you begin to climb to the ridge where the Horseback trail passes just outside the town of Rosignano Marittimo.

C3 - Detour to the sea

Point of departure and return: Rosignano Marittimo (agriturismo San Marco)
Type of road: dirt roads
Travelling time: 2 hours
Distance: 9 km approx.
Note: a ride there and back to the coast at Rosignano. The excursion can be taken in the winter: the period between April and October is to be avoided when the coastal area is full of tourists.

You leave from the San Marco holiday farm, not far from the junction with the Aurelia road, and head towards the Vecchia Fortezza (agriturismo) at Le Fabbriche. From here, follow the River Fine to Polveroni where you take the asphalt road for approx. 1km to reach the coast with its spectacular white sand beaches. Take the same road for the return journey.