D – Fiesole: the heart of Tuscany
..the road soon becomes unpaved again, amid the pure and silent countryside just on the outskirts of Florence…while you pass over another stream, then a farm house, with the road winding through hills and olive trees…
Visualizza Fiesole: nature just behind the door in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori
START Fiesole STOP Fiesole
Head north for approximately 3km following the road toward Olmo, until you reach the locality of Baccano. Turn right toward Compiobbi. Keep following this direction until the village of Montebeni, and take the road on your left to Ontignano. With the sight of Florence behind you, the landscape starts changing, with few buildings leaving place to woods and olive groves until you get to the romanic parrish of S.Maria a Ontignano, with a bunch of houses on one side.
Proceed for a few meters and you’ll see a gate: turn right, and after a couple of narrow bends the road goes down passing over a bridge which anticipates the presence of a stream, the Sambre. Here a little waterfall and the clear waters of a pond invite you for a short break.
Change the gear ratio of your bike: from now on some short but steep uphill legs alternate with longer flat stretches. The road becomes unpaved, and you’ll be surrounded by woods. The city is not far away; still it seems forgotten in this place. Biking between cypresses, white dry walls and the ruins of a dilapidated farm house (Noce Superiore) you will have to face the last ascent, after which you can take a breath and begin the easier way down on the other side, immersed in a wonderful countryside (ignore the trails on your left).
The shadow accompanies you while you pass over another stream, then a farm house, with the road winding through hills and olive trees toward Fattoria Paiatici. Leave it behind passing under an arch and once back on paved path proceed along the narrow road, then turn left by the third bend, following the directions to a graveyard.
Once you have reached the church downstream and the small village of San Donato a Torri, in proximity of a tabernacle, take the road on the left toward Via Valle, carry on for about 3 km in the open countryside, then through a shadowy wood, along Borro delle Falle all the way to the village of Citerno.
By the crossroad take the road on the left, which becomes steeper when passing through a cypress wood. It will be worth the effort however, since a wide and luminous plateau welcomes you after passing a farm house on the left. Depending on the season, the rows of cypresses and olive trees alternate with the red of poppies or the yellow fields of wheat.
The road soon becomes unpaved again, amid the pure and silent countryside just on the outskirts of Florence. Proceed along a rural building and after a couple of kilometers, in proximity of a fork with a gate and a holly hedge, turn left on a short but steep uphill path. On the right you can see the hillock of Monteloro (it is well worth reaching it!). Surrounded by inviting vineyards, after a few kilometers on untarred road you will cross a paved one. Turn left to reach the San Clemente valley: a unique, harmonious example of Florentine countryside, lost among rural houses, ancient farms and Renaissance villas, tower houses, vineyards and cypresses. Here a young Dante Alighieri spent his summer days with Beatrice Portinari, and here the German writer Hermann Hesse fell in love with Italy. After a few meters turn right on the unpaved road Casale San Vincenzo, again surrounded by vines. The road leads to the splendid Villa il Poggiolo all the way to the main street. Turn on the left on a uphill road. On the left side the church of Pagnolle shortly comes in sight, while on the opposite side, after a string of stone arches, the Renaissance Villa Le Fonti stands out half hidden by the olive trees.
By the following crossroad go straight on the road uphill, in opposed direction to Fiesole. Proceed for 5 km on this secluded path away from traffic, and you reach again the main road which shortly takes you back to Fiesole.