An easy pedal around the old village of Castagneto Carducci, visiting an area that is rich in vineyards and olive groves. An opportunity to discover the places where one of the most highly esteemed DOC wines in Italy is produced - Bolgheri DOC.
We start from the end of Viale Umberto I, just outside the historic centre, and head east. We go down the SP 329 that leads to Sassetto for a few meters and after two bends, near the cemetery, we turn left down a steep hill, following the signs for an oil mill.
We pass a group of houses where we can clearly see alongside us the hill on which Castagneto is built. We ride along a flat section for a short while, followed by a series of steep sections with a view of the sea. When we reach some pines, we climb up again and the road becomes steeper. We can now see all the hills on the inner slope and continue along this enjoyable section going up and down in rapid succession.
As soon as we pass a restaurant, a bend on the left brings us near a turn-off, near a second restaurant; here we continue down the steep asphalted hill which has a slightly rough surface in sections. We come out onto a little road which we follow, not towards the indicated olive grove, but in the other direction, until we come to a turn-off. If we go straight on we pass some farms, but we turn and take the long avenue between thick olive trees. Thus we arrive at the Bolgheri provincial road between Castagneto and Bolgheri.
This countryside is not only beautiful but it also plays a very important role in Italian wine production. The Bolgheri DOC (appellation controlée) accounts for almost all the vines we pass in this area and the name of the vineyards we meet along our route are some of the most famous in the world; in fact the signs along the Strada del Vino Costa degli Etruschi remind us of this very fact.
We continue through the wine producers and olive groves keeping the village of Bolgheri as our reference, and take a bend on the left proceeding in the shade of the vegetation that is becoming thicker. Riding on through the farms we come to a short series of humps which we interrupt to take the municipal road of Ferruggini that leads to the old Aurelia. We ride under two enormous pines and continue through the crops. The farms and vineyards continue at both sides of our route that goes straight on meeting only two small bends.
Here we see paths that lead into the vineyards and we come out onto the SP 39, where we must go left in the direction of Donoratico. There are no turn-offs, except for some cart tracks that lead into the fields, and after four kilometres we arrive at the junction that we take to pedal along the SP 329. We continue going straight on until we arrive just under the village of Castagneto. We have to ride up a three-kilometre hill to reach it, which we find after passing the signs for Via Bolgherese that we took on our way out.