9) Monte Senario
The route that goes “via Pratolino” is 11.8 km long, climbs 540 metres , at an average gradient of 4,6%. The climb is fairly heterogeneous in type, quality of the road, and gradients. The road is almost flat and heavy in traffic until we reach Fontebuona, while the climb up the Miglio, and later from the Casa del Vento leads to Monte Senario, are gruelling and test our stamina. We suggest the use of low gears (39/25). Average times go from 40-50 minutes for expert cyclists to 1 hour 10 minutes for amateur cyclists. The Bivigliano side of the route is shorter (8.5 km), but has a higher average gradient (6.5). Between the crossroad for Tassaia and the fork In the road that leads to Caselline there are a series of climbs and descents. Two particular sections (3 and 4 km, respectively) present an average gradient of 8% that sometimes reaches a maximum of 10%. We suggest 39/25. The traffic here Is practically non existent except in the part that goes from Bivigliano to Monte Senario on Sundays In summer.
Monte Senario Convent is the only climb that is not a pass. It could not be excluded from the list of the " 10 magnificent climbs" because it represents one of most beautiful and difficult climbs in Mugello. Two tours will be described: one leaving from Pratolino, the more familiar and used route, and one from Bivigliano, shorter, less popular, but much more picturesque and certainly more difficult. Since both routes leave from Vaglia, it allows the rider to make a round trip (going up one and down the other).The tour to
As we leave Vaglia and move towards Florence along Via Bolognese (state road 65). The ride is comfortable - although the traffic can be intense - and we travel 4 km to the town of Fontebuona. As we leave this locality, the road bends to the left and we start what is called the Miglio (about 1.5 km long, a gradient of 8.5% that touches 12% in certain points), which takes us to Pratolino. This part of the route can be divided into three sections, separated by slight bends of which the second is the hardest. Once in Pratolino we leave state road 65 and turn left onto the road for Bivigliano/Monte Senario. The road climbs slightly (6% gradient) and then dips down over a small crest that opens up to the north-west overlooking Mugello, and to the south-east over the Mugnone valley. The road starts to climb again slightly until it reaches a crossroad called Casa del Vento. At this point we climb the remaining 4 km.
From the town of Vaglia, at the Carabinieri station, we turn towards the railway station and move along the road towards Bivigliano/Monte Senario (SP 103). Once we pass under the bridge the road narrows and the climb becomes incredibly stiff. We first meet a series of bends and, then, a slightly straighter section of road, but the climb remains difficult (3 km at 8% gradient). Next we come to 100 metres of level road before passing the road to Tassaia, which we leave on our left as we move on to Bivigliano/Monte Senario.
A series of climbs and descents lead us to an intersection for Caselline where, by taking a sharp bend to the left we move on towards Bivigliano. This is the hardest part of the tour (700 metres at 10% gradient). Once in Bivigliano we take another sharp left turn towards Monte Senario and the remaining 3 km of our tour. The first half of this climb moves through a residential area of the town of Bivigliano along a narrow uneven road (7% gradient).
The second half, which leads directly to the convent, is just as tough and is the same last part of the route described above.