The tour, of great geographical beauty, is 37.4 km long and suits cyclists with a minimum of training.
The tarmac road makes the use of any type of bicycle possible and is therefore well suited for a training session with the “specialissima” (vintage lightweight bike)
This hilly tour is of medium difficulty and the climbs do not exceed 500 metres in length nor a gradient of 3% - 7/8%. Nonetheless, because of two steep climbs that well exceed a gradient of 10%, the use of low gears (26-28 in.) is suggested. Consequently a good gear ratio is: 53/39 and 14/26-28.
Madonna di Piazza Oratory (Scarperia)We depart from Borgo San Lorenzo again, and cycle along the state road that leads to San Piero a Sieve. The road is flat and tree lined but busy with cars and lorries.
At 5.8 kilometres from the start of the tour, in the town of San Piero a Sieve, the road intersects with state road 503, which goes to the Giogo Pass. We turn right and several hundred metres later turn left onto the road for Barberino di Mugello. At about one kilometre from the intersection a road on the right (road sign: Bosco ai Frati Convent) leads into the open countryside.
The strip of paved road is narrow but in good condition and the traffic is scarce except on Sundays and holidays in summer.
The road climbs and dips gently as it coasts the Ronchi Forest, which it later crosses to reach, after a soft climb (10 km), Bosco ai Frati Convent, an important religious site in Mugello.
Once out of the woods we reach, at 11.4 km, a fork in the road. By taking the right we move towards the town of Galliano. The road is wide and sunny, but the traffic remains scarce. Before us, we see the long, continuous chain of Apennine crests and the numerous mountain passes, (Futa, Raticosa, Giogo di Scarperia, Colla di Casaglia and the Muraglione), which are the trial and delight of every amateur cyclist in Tuscany and Romagna.
Frescoes in the Vicari Palace (Scarperia)We race by the Galliano airfield for light aircraft where, if we happen to be courageous enough, we can discover the thrill of flying. After a brief upward climb, at 15 km, we find Galliano. From here, moving towards Sant’Agata, the route changes. The roads are still smooth, but these particular foothills are characterized by a winding tangle of hairpin bends that rise and fall, at times rather steeply.
We reach Sant’Agata (19.6 km), with its splendid Romanesque church, after a rolling 4 kilometre stretch through the countryside among farm houses and barns that have been transformed into charming villas. Once past Sant’Agata the “going gets easier” for a kilometre or so on the road to the Mugello Motor Circuit until we reach the rock face that leads us inside the walls of Scarperia (23.3 km), with its tradition of cutting blades, and the breathtaking Vicari Palace.
We move through the town of Scarperia to Luco di Mugello on a new stretch of hilly road that coasts the Mugello International Motor Circuit, (24.8km). The track, property of the Ferrari Team, is not only used to test race cars and to host the Motorcycle Grand Prix - which is not only one of the world’s most outstanding races, but also one that motorcycle enthusiasts across the world await with eagerness - it also has a long cycling tradition. Like in the 2007 Giro, the finish line of the 1977 Giro d’Italia – won with a sprint by Marino Basso – was set precisely in this circuit.
The Donatello wooden crucifix in Bosco ai Frati Convent (San Piero a Sieve)The road moves through an open area with limited traffic until it reaches Luco di Mugello. We have no doubt that we’re in the home of the tortello di patate (potato filled ravioli) because from March to October the walls of the towns are covered with posters advertising the various food fairs that offer this delicacy.
Once past Luco (26 km) the road narrows, but the tarmac continues to be in good condition. We turn onto the road that goes to Ronta (28.1 km), and, once past the Torrente Bosso, we begin the most difficult part of the course.
The climb into the woods, one hundred or so metres, is muscle-straining and it’s necessary to adopt the lowest gears possible. After this rough patch a number of bends lead down into a delightful valley in which it is not difficult to encounter grazing roe deer. The landscape is enchanting but unless we decide to stop, it’s difficult to enjoy because several hundred metres later the road begins a second climb. This time every ounce of energy – and the lowest gear - we can muster is necessary to keep us on our saddles. This climb, no more than 300-400 metres long, has a gradient of more than 15% (we go from 292 to 371 metres above sea level). It leads to the hamlet of Selva (30.1 km) from which, following a stretch of climbs and descents, we meet state road 302 and the intersection for Brisighellese-Ravennate (31.4 km). To the left we find the town of Ronta and the road that leads to the Colla di Casaglia Pass, but we move right and start our descent, which lasts 6 km and leads us back to Borgo San Lorenzo.
THINGS TO SEE!
SAN PIERO A SIEVE
This hamlet, which once belonged to the Ubaldini family, expanded and grew in importance with the presence of the Medici family. In the town centre, which has maintained its original plan, we find ADAMI PALACE; VILLA SCHIFANOIA (which once belonged to the Medici), the 11th century SAN PIETRO PARISH CHURCH (in which we find a baptismal font by Luca della Robbia, and a crucifix that is attributed to Raffaello da Montelupo). Nearby we find VILLA DELLE MOZZETTE with its vast Romantic park.
Some of the principal Medici estates can be found in the surrounding area:
- TREBBIO CASTLE was constructed on the ruins of a feudal tower built by Michelozzo Michelozzi by order of Cosimo de' Medici
- BOSCO AI FRATI CONVENT holds the precious wooden crucifix attributed to Donatello
- The 16th century SAN MARTINO FORTRESS was built at the request of Grand Duke Cosimo I to defend the Mugello valley
San Piero a Sieve City Hall
Tel. 055 848751
Fax 055 848432
This 14th century “new land” founded by the Florentines is renowned for its blade industry. Here we can admire the 14th century VICARI PALACE, which houses the MUSEUM OF CUTTING BLADES, portions of the ancient city walls, the RECTORY OF S. JACOPO and S. FILIPPO - once an Augustinian convent, which holds the 15th century MARBLE TONDO by Benedetto da Maiano, a wooden crucifix by Sansovino, a tabernacle by Mino da Fiesole - and the Renaissance MADONNA DI PIAZZA ORATORY with its late Gothic temple.
A visit to the ancient Bottega del Coltellinaio (Cutler’s Shop) in Via Solferino is a must.
Just outside the city walls we find l’ORATORIO della MADONNA dei TERREMOTI which preserves a fresco by Filippo Lippi.
- The town of Sant’Agata, which developed around the Parish Church – the most extraordinary sacred structure in Mugello (reconstructed in the 12th century, it holds a remarkable baptismal railing dating 1608) where we can find an interesting COLLECTION OF SACRED ART.
- SAN MARIA DI FAGNA Parish Church constructed in late Baroque style
Scarperia City Hall
Tel. 055 843161
Fax 055 846509