Among villas and abbeys on the Mugello hills
This itinerary, too, is of great natural worth, and covers 54.4 kilometres. The distance is not exceedingly great but it requires a certain amount of training and therefore doesn’t suit poorly trained cyclists.
Vicchio. Everything in this town, the schools, squares, theatres and roads, reminds us of its illustrious sons: Giotto and Beato Angelico. Yet, as we cross the Sieve River in the locality of Ponte a Vicchio, nature and the landscape dominate our thoughts.This tour, which will give us a glimpse of some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Mugello, departs from
We pedal along the bottom of the Sieve valley towards the town of Borgo San Lorenzo. Cultivated fields, farm houses, and farmers working the land attract our attention and hold it on these plains. Once past the town of Sagginale (8.4 km), near the town of Borgo San Lorenzo, we turn left towards Salaiole leaving the bottom of the valley behind us and cycling towards the hills that lead to Florence.
This 5 kilometre stretch is one of the most breathtaking in Mugello. The road becomes narrow but the condition is tolerable and it rises gently. The traffic, virtually non-existent, allows us to move back in time to an era prior to industrialization. We pass three manors in succession – Votandi, Vitarete, La Bartolina – three outstanding architectural structures that bear witness to the historical agricultural wealth of the land and that seem to continue to carry out their age-old vocation. It is easy to imagine rural life before the introduction of cars and industrialization, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a carriage drawn by oxen coming round the bend.
Once we pass the hamlet of Il Poggiolo though (fountain at 13.2 km), the road leaves the small Torrente Fistona valley and we snap back into the present. We start to ascend what is a renowned climb for every amateur cyclist in Mugello: the Le Salaiole climb.
Though less than 2 kilometres long, the climb presents an average 10% gradient that touches 20% in some spots. The ascent requires all the arm and leg strength we can muster, as well as the lowest gears, to avoid the greatest humiliation for any self-loving cyclist – that of having to get off ones bike and walk the way. After 15.3 km, fortunately the climb comes to an end and, continuing through the woods, we can “catch our breath” as we ride down to state road 302, Brisighellese-Ravennate.
Again, we enter the woods, thick woods, and after a quick descent followed by a steep yet brief climb, we cycle gently uphill for a couple of kilometres through a pine wood. At 23 km from the start of the course, we reach the crossroad that leads to Monte Senario (3,7 km alternative route with an average 7% gradient, which suits more powerful cyclists! description from Vaglia) – on the top of which a convent bearing the same name stands overlooking the entire, incredibly breathtaking, Sieve valley.
We cycle towards Bivigliano, reaching this quaint locality, which stands at 600 metres above sea level (the highest point of today’s excursion), and at 26.4 km from the start of the tour. The town’s exceptional location, set among chestnut woods that dominate the Carza River valley, and its short distance from Florence make it an ideal place for anyone who wants to abandon the city smog and to commune with nature.
Once outside Bivigliano and past the Poggio Uccellini Campsite (28.3 km) we turn right towards Polcanto. We find ourselves riding through a road lined with chestnut woods; it is gently rolling with a few steep but brief climbs. A couple of kilometres later, on the left of the road, we can admire the Buonsollazzo Abbey. This structure, presently private property, is extraordinary for its location in this dense forest and for its remarkable size.
THINGS TO SEE !
Vicchio City Hall
The Convent and park are in the town of Vaglia