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Walking And Eating » A Tuscan Walk
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Walking And Eating

Walking And Eating

…in Tuscany and Umbria / Provence

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A Tuscan Walk

 

LAMOLE RING WALK

This is one of the best walks in the region, taking you up into the high ridges of east Chianti, with fine panoramic views in both directions, then down blackberry-bordered footpaths and ancient stone roads through a classically picturesque and unspoiled piece of the Tuscan landscape. As an added incentive, the tiny hamlet of Lamole has one of the most pleasant restaurants in Chianti.
(NOTE: There are updates for this walk. Check them out before you go, in the “Lamole Ring Walk” listing in the “Chianti” section of this website.)

 

FOOD

Ristoro di Lamole was one of our favorite restaurants nine years ago, and it still is, having gone from strength to strength, while keeping its friendly atmosphere and moderate pricing. The setting, with its westward view over mountains (and fabulous sunsets) is spectacular, and the beautifully prepared food is rare in that it manages to be far more imaginative than the usual rather circumscribed fare, without seeming in the least bit contrived or fussy. Unlike most places that venture away from the basics, the originality here is clearly motivated by a genuine love of cooking, rather than an attempt to justify inordinate prices. Among the appetizers we particularly enjoyed the buffalo mozzarella with rosettes of marinated artichoke. The pasta dishes were easily the best we ate in Chianti - a mouth-watering one with shaved truffles, and an inspired ravioli stuffed with pecorino, ricotta and pear. Meat dishes include an excellent casserole of pork with pickled onions, and if you feel your day’s exertions have earned you one of the massive steak fiorentinas that the region specializes in, then the tender, superbly flavored chunk of Chiannina beef they serve here is as good as it gets. The vegetables and salads (often the weak point in otherwise good restaurants) meet the high standards of the other dishes. There’s a good wine list, and of the delicious desserts we still recommend the amazingly light, creamy, thin-crusted cheesecake, though this is now rivaled by a possibly even more sensational panna cotta with white chocolate and coffee beans.

For diners with children, there’s a little playground just below the dining terrace, on the other side of the quiet road.

 

And to preserve (or anticipate) the memory of your delicious meal, attached to the restaurant is a small store where they sell all the makings of a superb picnic.

 

LOGISTICS

Lamole Ring Walk
Length: about 3 hours (1 ½ up, 1 ½ down)

 

 

Tourist office

a. Address: Viale G. Da Verrazzano, 59
b. Phone number/website: 055/ 854.6287 — fax: 055/ 854.4149
email: info@chiantiechianti.it
c. Misc: Opening hours: M-F 10:00-1:00 and 2:30-7:00; Sat 10:00-1:00 and 2:30- 7:00. Closed Sunday.
The tourist office is a wealth of information, and carries the IGM maps (1:25,000) “Chianti Progetto Integrato Escursionismo.” If they are out of these, they also usually stock other 1:25,000 scale maps. (Also available at the newsstand-type shops in Piazza Matteotti.)
Their agency “Chianti Slow Travel” books Wine Educationals in Chianti and professional cooking classes either in famous restaurants of the region or farmhouses.
Tel: 055/8546299 — Fax: 055/8544240 — email: info@chiantiechianti.it

Transportation

a. bus company: SITA
b. phone number / website: 055/47821 (or toll-free from inside Italy: 800/373.760) www.sitabus.it
c. to/from: Florence
d. route number: 345 (Firenze-Greve-Radda-Castellina-Gaiole)
e. frequency of buses: Buses between Florence and Greve are fairly frequent, but there are only about 3 buses a day from Greve to Lamole. On through connections from Florence there’s a 10 minute layover in Greve; from Greve to Lamole is another 20 minutes.
f. length of journey: Florence-Greve about an hour. Greve to Lamole about 20 minutes.
Note: the village of Casole lies between Greve and Lamole, and is given in the walk directions as a shorter version on the return portion, if you’re headed back to Greve or Florence by bus and need a shortcut. Remember to check the bus times before you leave
taxis: Sirabella: 055/8546309 — Mobile: 347.694.9496
Gemini: 055/852.025

Maps

Maps are widely available in the newsstand-type shops in Piazza Matteotti. Do yourself a favor and get one that has a scale of 1:25,000. Multigraphic is one company that puts these out (”Carta Turistica e dei Sentieri”). Also available for free from the tourist office is the “Chianti Progetto Integrato Escursionismo” map, also 1:25,000. There are four of these, covering the various areas of Chianti. You’ll need the one called “Tavola 2#3.”

Eating

LAMOLE
a. Name: Ristoro di Lamole
b. Address: Lamole
c. Phone/fax/web: 055/ 854-7050 tel/fax 055/ 854-7034 www.ristorodilamole.it
d. Price: Moderate
e. Closing day: Wednesday
f. Misc: The Ristoro di Lamole also has a small store attached to it, open from about 9:00 am, which sells everything you would need for a delicious picnic. Also serves as a small café, their terrace being a splendid place to have a coffee before you set off.

SAN MICHELE
a. Name: Villa San Michele
b. Address: Parco Naturale di San Michele
c. Phone/fax/web: 055/ 851.034
d. Price: Inexpensive
e. Closing day: April 1—November 3, open every day. Dec 23- Jan 3 open every day. March open Sats and Suns only.

Sleeping

LAMOLE
a. Name: Marcello Bernini (affittacamere)
b. Address: Lamole, loc. Il Poggio
c. Phone/fax/web: cell: 338-908-9252 fax: 055/856-1956
d. email: www.fattoriadilamole.it
d. Price: 130 euros for double room, includes breakfast. Discounts for stays of more than 3 days.
e. Misc: They have a pool and a beautiful view. Walking distance to the Ristoro di Lamole.

SAN MICHELE
a. Name: Villa San Michele
b. Address: Parco Naturale di San Michele
c. Phone/fax/web: 055/851.034
d. Price: Double rooms w/breakfast: 52 - 68 euros, with extra bed 11 euros
Apartments: 2 people: 78 euros (or 516 euros per week)
Apartments: 4 people: 103 euros (or 670 euros per week)
Room in the hostel, w/breakfast: 15 euros
Meals can be added, at 16 euros for your first one, and 10 euros each additional.
e. Misc: This is really a very lovely, relaxed spot. In addition to the front building with the hotel rooms, which are themselves quite simple (one exceptionally nice room in the front - slightly more expensive - has its own terrace with table and chairs, others have access to communal terrace) there is a large building in the back which serves as a hostel. It too is perfectly nice, and a great option if you’re on a tight budget.

AGRITURISMO
a. Name: Fattoria Poggiarelli
b. Address: Via di Petriolo 55-56
c. Phone/fax/web: 055/853.414; — fax: 055/289.356 — www.poggiarelli.it
d. Price: Double room: 76 euros, includes breakfast. No minimum stay. They also have apartments, which have a 3-night minimum stay. Apartments from 85 euros (for 2 people) up to 110 euros (sleeps 6 people).
e. Misc: This agriturismo is on the way up to Lamole; you would need a car.

 

Directions

From the bus stop, with your back to the church A and facing the Ristoro di Lamole restaurant, take the left uphill track passing on your right the brick steps leading up to the restaurant. ATW [note: this abbreviation used in the book stands for "at the time of writing the book] asphalt gives way within view (about 40 meters) to a dirt track.

Soon this comes out on a small asphalt road; turn left along it.

After about 100 meters (and ignoring a smaller track off to the left just before it), a dirt track leads directly uphill to the left, opposite the gateway of a house with a terracotta tiled patio. Take this track B .

In another 100 meters this comes to a T-junction C with another dirt road in front of a stone wall and vineyard. Turn left.

After two or three minutes you’ll pass a shed housing a water pump (or some similar thing) on the right, and the path climbs into the woods. After about a minute’s climb you’ll pass a boulder on your right with CAI marks (CAI 30).

Very soon after this the path skirts to the left of a vineyard, then passes the tail-end of a stone wall. Ignore a small path to the right here (parallel to the wall) and instead continue straight on.

Staying always to the main path (which is easy to follow), another 20-30 minutes’ climb will bring you to the entrance of a pine wood. Ignoring a minor fork to the right, continue on the main path, which bends left into the pine wood. There’s a CAI sign on a tree to your right as you enter.

In a few minutes this path reaches a T-junction D with another dirt track; turn left. (It may comfort you to know at this point that all the serious climbing is finished now, and it’s basically all downhill on the way back.)

Very soon the track comes to an intersection in a more open area E . Take the left-most path, uphill, towards the pine trees.

There are really nice views up here. In the morning the whole valley to the east can be filled with a level plain of white clouds below you. To the west, there is a wide view of the Chianti countryside.

Follow the main path, which bends to the left as you reach the pine trees, and skirts to the left of them. In a few minutes you come to a T-junction F. Go right, downhill.

Ahead on the hilltop beyond, and also off to the left, are two beautiful views of Italy’s ubiquitous mountaintop cell phone towers, one of the ravages of human development. After a few minutes the path makes a steep descent, joining another path that comes in from the right G. Keep straight on.

The next intersection, soon reached, presents four major paths ahead of you. Take the one straight ahead (second from the left) and level. This is CAI 00.

Arriving at the next T-junction H, bear left, and so in to Villa San Michele, about 1 ½ hours after leaving Lamole.

Leaving San Michele

Standing in front of the pagoda-style gate I, with your back to it, immediately turn sharply left on the path which drops below the gate. Follow this path down the hill, ignoring lesser deviations. There is a tremendous view of Chianti below you. In a few minutes you’ll reach an intersection J ; the main path goes straight on, but we turn right. (Immediately after you make this right turn, if you look closely you can see CAI paint marks on the two trees to your right.)

The path begins to descend, bending around to the left (where a smaller fork goes off to the right) and continuing downhill.

The path descends steeply here, leveling out alongside a stream at the bottom. (Ignore a smaller track off to the right here K.)

Continue following the path along the left side of the stream (dry much of the year).

A little further on, the path can get fairly overgrown (don’t hesitate to do some clearing as you pass through), but the way remains obvious, and you continue to descend.

After no more than five minutes of this, the path levels out, crosses the stream, and bends to the left.
As you begin a gradual climb (on the right side of the stream now), notice the fine old stonework along the left side of the path.

The path is very easy to follow now (ignore a deviation coming in sharply from uphill on the right), and after 15 minutes or so comes out on a T-junction with a gravel path L. Turn left. (This is about 40 minutes after leaving San Michele.)

Follow this path downhill, passing three houses, and with very wide views over the valley to Lamole. Just stick to the main path as it winds downhill, ignoring deviations (including one big one, downhill to the right with a big wooden cross, ATW signed “Ceppeto”).

After about 15 minutes this gravel road starts bending sharply to the left around a house. Just before this bend and this house, there’s a hairpin left-hand turn M. This smaller road has ATW a little sign “Il Terrato.” Take this.

(Note: alternatively, you can continue along the main path, down to Casole, about ½ km away, where you can get a bus back to Greve, if you’ve timed your walk to so coincide.)

This path passes between two old stone houses (Casa Terrato) and carries straight on, through vineyards and a stone wall on the left, and soon reaching another old house on the right.

Don’t follow the path here (which turns right and passes in front of the house), instead keep on straight, dropping down on a tiny path to a stream. (Try to bear slightly right just before you get to the stream, as it makes it easier to find the path on the other side.) Cross the stream and turn right, towards Lamole. There is a small but well-worn footpath through the woods here.

Ignoring any smaller deviations, keep to this path through the woods, in five minutes crossing another brook (these could be dry streambeds at some times of year). The path then climbs for another 10-15 minutes before coming out at a T-junction N. (Here you’ll face a vineyard and see up the path to your left the alleged water pump shed.) Turn right.

In a minute or two the road forks C; bear right.

Drop down about 100 meters here to the asphalt road B. Turn right.

Watch in a minute for the gravel hairpin turn to the right, off the asphalt road, and take it, back to Lamole.

 

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