Walking And Eating

Walking And Eating

…in Tuscany and Umbria / Provence

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Chianti

General Comments

(03/2013) It is our pleasure to provide feedback to your readers, just as we have benefitted greatly from postings of updates on your website. We still enjoyed our walk despite not completing it, and discovered some fantastic wine at Castello Brolio, which we would not have done if we had not done the walk. We have returned to do some of the other walks a few times, our favorites being the Lamole, Radda ring walks, Badia in Passagnano, and Badia in Coltibuono.

Once again, thank you for all your work and insights in your book. It has changed our idea of travel and greatly enhanced our enjoyment of Tuscany.

—Adrian & Li Ann


(02/2013) Your book and advice were invaluable.  Quite apart from the detailed walk information, it gave us, in advance, a good sense of how everything worked and the range of possibilities.  This, in turn, gave us confidence to be adventurous and try out different things.

—Peter and Jacqui Robinson


(09/12) We have been using your guide on our annual Tuscan walks, and have enjoyed every single one of them, until we decided to try the Brolio Ring Walk. [See Brolio walk below.]

- Adrian & Li Ann Koh
Singapore


(07/2012)  We used your book for a hike from Buonconvento to Montepulciano from 15 to 22 June 2012, as well as the Lamole ring walk, which we took on 25 June 2012, while on a three day stay at an agriturismo near Greve. We were a group of three in our mid to late 60’s, two of us from Canada and a third from France. The whole trip was wonderful and your book was an essential source for this memorable excursion. Generally your directions were extremely easy to follow. The countryside was stunning and the towns outstanding, each in its own way. We booked all our accommodations in advance, using email to deal directly with the hotel\ agriturismo \ affittacamere. It was mostly very hot during the trip, particularly south of Siena, with beautiful sunny days and temperatures in the mid 30’s (Co). This made it imperative for us to begin walking as soon as we could in the mornings, with the hope of getting to our destination by 2:00 pm or earlier, although we did not always achieve this goal.  The heat surprised me since last time I was in this area in June some years ago it was cool and wet.
—Paul Cabilio
Nova Scotia, Canada


(05/2012) Thank you so much for this book! We just got back from a trip to Italy and greatly enjoyed our Tuscan ramble through Chianti. I wanted to pass along the following updates, as others’ comments were so helpful for us and there appear to be several new developments since the last comments.

Our compass was invaluable, as several new trails seem to have been created since the last updates. Perhaps most important and useful for the trip, however, was our hiking shoes. It rained quite a bit during our walks, and we were very grateful to have sturdy shoes that could handle mud as well as frequent stream-crossings. It was also very useful to layer our clothing, as it ranged from quite hot to quite cold. We didn’t see a single soul on our walks, although deer tracks (and other animal tracks that we couldn’t identify) were legion. Despite the rain (which was lamented as unseasonable by every inn-keeper and restaurant we came across), we found that this was a good time of year as it’s always more enjoyable to hike when there is running water, and when all the flowers are out in abundance.

—Grace and John Hill


(5/2012) A general point is we found many electric fences on the walks. These are to stop deer getting into the vines and it is easy to unclip them to pass using the rubber handles by the hooks.  Make sure that they are re-clipped.

I have never had a walk book that described the way so well that I did it without a proper map. Well done.

—Andy Dawson


(07/10) My girlfriend and I think we found an up-to-date bus schedule
(http://www.acvbus.it/orari/365.pdf); I believe you mentioned that a cross signifies a route that runs on Sundays, which is when we’re trying to get to Greve.  I just can’t tell if the bus runs to Lamole from there, since there’s no time listed for it but it appears to be on the way to the next few stops.
—Logan, Alberta Canada

[author note, 9/10] - The website (http://www.acvbus.it) has a good bus schedule. Go to that page, click on the left-hand side of the page “Elenco Linee - Orari” and you’ll come to a list of routes. Route #364, Firenze-Greve-Radda-Castellina-Gaiole has useful bus info for many of the walks in this section.

In the case Logan’s talking about, if you look at the schedule you’ll see a dot, rather than a time, in the Lamole space. That means that particular bus doesn’t stop in Lamole.


(07/10)- There is no longer a late afternoon bus from Radda to Florence, so if you’re using Florence as your base, you need to take one of the two late afternoon buses from Radda to Siena (Route 125), which leaves you at the Siena train station, then hop on one of the very frequent trains to Florence.
—Andy Cohn, Berkeley, CA


(02/08)—The Sita bus line website is now www.sitabus.it and not www.sita-on-line.
—Ralph Domino


(07/07)Hello! First a very sincere thank you for Walking and Eating! Without your book, we would not have ventured on the walks we did which were a wonderful way to see another side of Tuscany. A very beautiful side.
chianti

We are an American couple in our 50’s now living in Frankfurt, Germany. Our trip in May 2007 was our third trip to Italy in the past year, so in all we have enjoyed about a month in Tuscany in those three trips. From our prior Tuscany travel I was enthused to try the walks.

My wife and I together did the Chianti walk from Greve to Radda and I did the walk from Pienza to Montepulciano. Fortunately the weather was good to even somewhat hot during our week so no issues with rain or cold. The spring flowers were marvelous, especially the poppies.

Doing these walks, I was very impressed with the clarity and accuracy of your text descriptions of the paths. Your descriptions focused on the key landmarks and features we needed to keep on the right path. Not overly wordy but succinct and to the point. Not easy to do but you did it very well. Thanks for that!

Your advice on getting the 1:25000 scale maps is very on target. All the paths we took were ones clearly visible on the 1:25000 maps so the text descriptions and map views complement each other very well and make the paths overall easy to follow.
—David Dowell


(09/06)—We have just returned from our two-weeks in Tuscany and had the time of our lives! My husband and I walked the Chianti Excursion from Radda to Lamole in one day. Your directions were amazing [note the updates below] and we completed the 7 hour trek in the 12 hours allowed by the bus schedule.

Thank you for your work on the book. We would not have had this experience otherwise!
—Kristen Hart

[author note, 7/06] NOTE THAT SITA BUS ROUTE NUMBERS HAVE CHANGED. ROUTE 345, USED FOR MANY OF THESE WALKS (CHECK THE LOGISTICS SECTION OF THE WALK YOU’RE PLANNING TO DO) HAS BEEN CHANGED TO 365. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SEE THE CURRENT (7/2006) COMPLETE SCHEDULE FOR THIS ROUTE, GO TO www.acvbus.it


(10/05)—Thanks for producing such a great guide. We have just, today, retuned from a 5 day break in Chianti during which we very much enjoyed 3 of the walks in glorious sunshine; Lamole Ring, Badia a Passignano Ring and the Santa Maria Novella to Volpaia Ring - an adaptation from your instructions which we think most “3 hour walkers” would enjoy. The walk instructions were faultless and the scenery, villages and food suggestions were great, tho we mostly had bruschetta and drinks rather than full meals. The proprietress of the Bar Ucci in Volpaia was delighted to hear that she was recommended and gave us a sconto in return for a translation! In September the Chianti countryside is gorgeous; the grapes are ripe and heavy, there are still masses of wild flowers plus many butterflies, funghi such as chanterelles and lots of berries, some quite unusual. At Volpaia the vendemmia was in progress and we were able to watch the grapes being crushed.

We based ourselves for the 5 nights in Greve which was an ideal centre for your walks. We rented an apartment which was 50 metres from Greve’s beautiful Piazza with its arcaded restaurants and shops–delis, bakers, greengrocers and Falorni, a renowned butcher and salumeria. The apartment is perfect for a short holiday, especially outside the high summer season, as the days are shorter and it is too cool to sit out or eat out in the evening and the advantages of being in an interesting little town and having central heating outweigh the need for a pool —tho there is also a delightful garden with olive trees and garden furniture for when it is fine—we just never sat still long enough to make much use of it. The owner is a very pleasant young man; Simone Cecchatelli. Contact him on cecca.simo@tin.it. You can see the house, called “La Casina,” www.greve-in-chianti.com. (Go to “Chianti rural rentals.”)

Thanks again for adding immensely to our enjoyment of Chianti. We hope to do another area next year with help from you (and Ryanair).
—Margare and Bob McGregor, Aberdeen, Scotland



1. CHIANTI EXCURSION
—Greve (or Lamole) to Parco San Michele
—Parco San Michele to Radda, via Badia Montemuro and Volpaia
—Radda to Vagliagli or San Sano

General Comments

[author note, 11/11] -If your route will include Lamole, make sure to see the updates under the Lamole Ring Walk, #4.

(07/13) Just back to work today after a lovely two weeks in Chianti, based near Greve in two different agriturism places (Borge di Sugame and Poggio Asciutto)…both really good.  I got a map in the newsagents in the square, but didn’t use it at all (your directions were perfect!).  We only managed to do one walk (Lamole ring walk which was really enjoyable) but hope to go back and do some more in the future.  We ate (twice..lunch and dinner) in Ristorante di Lamole we loved it so much!  Also La Cantina in Greve is really good.  Thanks for all the useful information in your great book!

—Thomasina


(02/13) Your book and advice were invaluable.  Quite apart from the detailed walk information, it gave us, in advance, a good sense of how everything worked and the range of possibilities.  This, in turn, gave us confidence to be adventurous and try out different things.

Specifically, we spent 4 nights in Greve.  We’d targeted Patrizia Falcini, but they were already booked (maybe next time).  However, we struck gold with Montechiari B&B in Greve.  Its situated at the edge of town (10 mins walk to the centre) and at the start of a lovely walk to San Cresci and Monte Fioralli; then back to Greve, or on a longer loop to Panzano. We did the Monte Fioralli – San Cresci walk one day; and on another day took the main road for a while then branched off to Panzano (to be there on the last day of their wine festival); but came back on the long, pretty route, passing Monte Fioralli,     Montechiari B&B offers good value at E70 for a spacious double room and breakfast on a picturesque patio.  Book early as there are only a couple of rooms.  www.montechiarinchianti.it We endorse your recommendations of  local restaurants: La Cantina and Enoteca Fuoripiazza.

We wanted to take the Lamole Ring Walk, but there was only one bus a day  between Greve & Lamole - around the middle of the day.  So instead, we did the walk to Parco San Michele, but not having grasped, either from the book, or the B&B walk notes, that it was 3-4 hours each way!  Having got to the Villa, we enjoyed a quick beer and sandwich and, thanks to the info in your book, we were able to take the S. Michele - Lamole Ring Walk leg down to Casole in 1hour, just in time to catch the only bus of the day back to Greve.

From Greve, we went to a classic agriturismo called Porcelina situated at the edge of the tiny village of Monti, some 11kms from Gaiole-in-Chianti.  A couple of times a week, owner Georgio invites guests to dinner in his kitchen, along with his family and their friends.  Its a Tuscan feast of note, replete with his own wine and truffles found by his dogs.  It has 4 double self-catering rooms @ E 70/night in September. www.agriturismoporcellina.it

—Peter and Jacqui Robinson


(05/2012) Thank you so much for this book! We just got back from a trip to Italy and greatly enjoyed our Tuscan ramble through Chianti. I wanted to pass along the following updates, as others’ comments were so helpful for us and there appear to be several new developments since the last comments.

Our compass was invaluable, as several new trails seem to have been created since the last updates. Perhaps most important and useful for the trip, however, was our hiking shoes. It rained quite a bit during our walks, and we were very grateful to have sturdy shoes that could handle mud as well as frequent stream-crossings. It was also very useful to layer our clothing, as it ranged from quite hot to quite cold. We didn’t see a single soul on our walks, although deer tracks (and other animal tracks that we couldn’t identify) were legion. Despite the rain (which was lamented as unseasonable by every inn-keeper and restaurant we came across), we found that this was a good time of year as it’s always more enjoyable to hike when there is running water, and when all the flowers are out in abundance.

—Grace and John Hill


(05/2012)—Greve to Parco San Michele

We really enjoyed this walk. The wildflowers were unbelievable. We took the bus from Florence to Greve (lovely views) during a rainy week, and it rained almost the entire walk except for two lucky respites while we were at the top of Monte Domini and during lunch on the patio at Parco San Michele; however, this didn’t ruin the walk in the slightest. Just be prepared with lightweight umbrellas and water-repellant clothing. The directions for this portion are still quite accurate, except that we never saw a sign for Canonica (page 57), but perhaps we weren’t paying enough attention. Be careful climbing up to the cross on Monte Domini, as the tower is crumbling. Parco San Michele was lovely, and the ravioli you recommended was excellent. No tiramisu, but the chestnut pudding was really marvelous.

—Grace and John Hill


(05/2012)—Parco San Michele to Volpaia


1) Good news is that the Osteria at Badia Montemuro is not permanently shuttered, just closed on the day we were going through (Tuesday, I think).
2) There is now a major fork in the road about 30 minutes out of Badia Montemuro. Do not take this fork; wait until you pass Dogole. We made the mistake of thinking that we had simply missed Dogole, and kept persevering after having taken this fork. We eventually reached Volpaia, but it was not as enjoyable being lost here as the going was rougher (lots of ups and downs) than the trail described in the book and as there was a serious thunderstorm on the way.
3) We stayed at La Locanda, which was a jewel. Absolutely lovely place.
—Grace and John Hill


(11/11)—Radda - Vagliagli or San Sano

My husband and I have recently returned from a week’s stay in Radda. We know the area very well having stayed there regularly since the late 1990s. We noted your reference to the above “restaurant” on pg 78 of your guide - walk from Radda to San Sano. It does not appear to be a restaurant at all but a private house with some umbrellas on the side. The name Il Poggio is displayed outside. We have visited San Polo on a number of occasions over the years and Il Poggio certainly does not appear to be a restaurant. There is no menu displayed outside. Last week we saw a number of walking couples and while they may not have been using your guide we wondered whether it should be updated - walkers expecting to find a restaurant will not find one !

—Jane and Ian Pocock, UK

[author note, 11/11] - Thank you for this information. I did double-check, and sadly, it’s true, the restaurant has closed.


(09/10)—Parco San Michele to Radda, via Badia Montemuro and Volpaia

We found the hike from Parco San Michele to Volpaia a little disappointing in that it didn’t feel like we were hiking in Canada. The trails themselves were easy enough to follow (except for 2 points on the way to Volpaia where there were trails that weren’t mentioned in the book), but it didn’t offer those ideal Tuscan views were were expecting. Nice hiking, no doubt, but not what we had in mind.

[author note, 9/10] - No, it isn’t like hiking in Canada. The landscape is much gentler than what I would imagine you’re used to in Canadian hiking. The part of the walk from San Michele to Volpaia is through gently sloped woods, and that’s why it doesn’t have the sweeping views that many of the other walks have.

radda ring walkThe hike from Volpaia to Radda, however, was GREAT!  We felt recharged after stopping at La Bottega for a cheap and tasty lunch (Bar Ucci was closed the day we were there), and the views on the way to Radda were spectacular.  That was also a long hike with tough uphill sections towards the end, but it was very enjoyable.  We took the advice of one of your emailed suggestions and took the road in front of Santa Maria Novella all the way down to the larger intersection where you start your ascent to Radda, and it was lovely: the road was lightly trafficked and well-shaded.  We even stopped for a swimming break at a small lake just short of the intersection; we figured if the locals swam there it was good enough for us!  We had a little trouble skirting the vineyard you mentioned, as there is a fence there now (we squeezed through), and your directions seemed to take us in a U-shape when really it would’ve been faster to cut right across the top of the vineyard.
—Logan, Alberta Canada


(7/10)–Chianti Excursion
Phenomenal!!  At Greve I stayed at Villa San Michele then in Radda at Pensione Giovannini and was overjoyed with the hospitality as well as the immediate access to A+ trails in every direction.  What fun!  You are absolutely right about Ristoro Lamole and Tratoria Badia de Montemuro, as well as the eateries in Volpaia and Vagliaglia.
—David Dominguez, Orem UT


(07/10)–Greve to Radda
There is no longer a late afternoon bus from Radda to Florence, so if you’re using Florence as your base, you need to take one of the two late afternoon buses from Radda to Siena (Route 125), which leaves you at the Siena train station, then hop on one of the very frequent trains to Florence.

The Greve - Radda walk was refreshingly bucolic and free of tourists (especially after three terrible days fighting the throngs on the trails at Cinque Terre).  Per your suggestion, I stayed and ate at Parco San Michelle, which was free of foreign tourists and charming in all respects, with park-like lawns and a little swimming pool. (And only 40 euros for a single room with private bath).

On the updates, the only thing I thought was significant was the now-permanent electric fence blocking the trail on the way from Volpaia to Radda, which I suspect is one of the most popular walks in the book. Just sticking to the road coming down from Santa Maria Novella avoids the problem, and preserves the walk, which is otherwise lovely. (Anticipating the problem, I printed out William Stephens’ notes from the web site, but on the ground, I couldn’t figure out what he had done, and wished he had been more precise.)

Here’s the simple way to avoid this obstruction:   When you get to Santa Maria Novella, don’t cut around the church.  Instead, just stay on the road that runs by the church.  After a kilometer or so, you’ll come to an intersection with a road heading back to Volpaia.  Bear right (really staying on the same road), and you will immediately intersect with the book’s dirt road coming in from the right just beyond point E.  (You are on the “small asphalt road” at which, had you followed the book’s trail, you would turn right immediately after point E.  See text of book, p. 71.  This road down from Santa Maria Novella is clearly shown on the maps on p.67 and p.97).  As the book indicates, you will then stay on this road an additional 600 meters until you hit the T-junction with the main road.  This “detour” is not really a big deal, since the road is tranquil and very lightly trafficked.
—Andy Cohn, Berkeley, CA


(06/2009)—Parco San Michele to Radda, via Badia Montemuro and Volpaia

Great day walk - San Michele a bit overstretched when we arrived as there was a party of 40 German cyclists and 15 French walkers but we were allocated the room with the balcony! Still no tiramisu….

The path down to Volpaia was very straightforward but when you get to the bit where you turn left after the tabernacle following Santa Maria Novella [ D p. 70-71] where you bear left past Casa Selvale, things have changed. There is now an electric fence running the whole way down the field so you cannot turn left after the Casa. We got out at the bottom where they are building a  large edifice as they haven’t put the gates on the field yet. It may not be possible to come this way at all in the future.

We emerged onto the tar road just after a bridge with a stone parapet - couldn’t find a brick one - which was immediately to the left of the smaller asphalt road T-junction. After we wandered around indecisively, the French caught up with us and set off through an orchard towards the river. We followed, forded the river, and struck up towards Radda on a small path, intersecting with some farm tracks and then meeting the road just by a makeshift car park. There was another small path from there going directly up the hill that eventually emerged on the road into Radda. I could send you a GPS track if that would be useful.

Overall, it was a very good walk with loads of butterflies at the top end and great views further down. Let’s hope it is not cut off by the electric fence!
—William Stephens


(3/08)—Parco San Michele to Radda:
My name is Charlie, I am 8 years old.
My mum and dad bought your book 10 years ago when they came to tuscany before I was born. they loved it so much that they desided to bring me and my little brother Will to live in Florece for a while. I love reading your book planing outings wich we go on each month (by the way we bougt the new edition).

Last week we went to Badia Montemuro and happy to find that the osteria has re opend and is being run by the brother of the previous owner who died. He is a very nice man. There was no menu but he told us what there was, we are even vegeterians, but there was no problem for him!!!
That day the waiter wasnt there so he was the chef the waiter and the barrista!!
After we had lunch the adults had a taste of limoncella with cream, they said it was much nicer than the normal one !!! The tasting was free and my brother got a free pastry!
The shop had only been open for a month! This man is from Sicillia.
He said “he knew the tastes of woman”.

I hope you are happy about this update and that you might visit again!
—Regards from the Rogers family.


(7/07)—Greve to Parco San Michele:
Prior to departure, I kept track of the day’s weather in Greve with this webcam site: http://grevecam.ateliermedia.com/ Good for those looking forward or looking back nostalgically! Focus is Piazza Mercatale.

Without doubt, this is a long uphill haul! From 260 meters altitude in Greve to 850 at Parco San Michele or about 2000 feet altitude gain over ~ 8 km. It was ~ 22 C the day we hiked with few clouds. The little used gravel road also has little shade, so it was quite warm and sweaty. My wife and I are both big walkers (I average almost an hour a day year round) but my wife especially found the hike up uncomfortable with the heat and lack of shade.

That said, the views were magnificent. As you climb the views open and take in more and more terrain. Classic Tuscan mixed landscape of olives, vines, and woods. The last part of the climb is steep enough but quickly changes to level ground for the last few minutes through the cool woods to Parco San Michele. Which was indeed very cool, peaceful, and restful.

Parco San Michele to Radda:
A definite contrast to day one! This was downhill hiking though the woods so cool and easy walking.

A distinct disappointment is that L’Osteria in Badia Montemuro looked permanently closed! It was empty, the doors were locked at noon, and the refrigerators and counters of attached small store were empty. I had most looked forward to lunch there based on your description. Yes, things change.

Big excitement for us on the stretch from Badia to Volpaia was seeing first a couple of wild boars, then a family group with two adults and a little one. These we saw fairly close up, say 15 meters. They headed off at high speed when they saw us. As we passed the second group in the woods, we could not see them, but could hear them going “humpf, humpf” at us. Later we saw boar spas in the dirt road - pools of muddy water in the road with boar tracks leading in them.

The abandoned farmstead of Dogole was fascinating. Looked that it must have been home to several perhaps related families considering the numerous buildings.

After Dogole, the dirt road was deeply rutted in places. No problem for walkers, but impassable by vehicles.

Volpaia we loved! We stayed there two nights at an apartment of Castello di Volpaia. I tried to contact the Carusi affittacamere but could not get a response prior to our departure. They are certainly still there because we saw their sign in Volpaia. In any case, I found on the internet that Castello di Volpaia had apartments so we stayed there. Although at €125 / night these are above your usual price level we thought they were a great deal considering the size, beautiful garden areas, and wonderful pool with a fantastic view and only us using it! www.volpaia.com/sito/inglese/index.php. A young Finnish couple work for the Castello and manage the apartment rental and enoteca. Very easy to talk to and enjoyable. The vinegar made by the Castello is very good!

As to eating in Volpaia, we much agree with your conclusions. Bar Ucci is best for food. Very good quality and very good prices. A pecorino plate I had there was the best we had on our trip at the best price. And I had a lot of pecorino and at multiple stops! Also very good grigliata verdure. Paola who runs Bar Ucci also appears to run much else in Volpaia! Though Bar Ucci is tops for food, La Bottega was tops for the view which drops away in the foreground then rises up to Radda on the hill across the valley. Really beautiful at night with all the lights sparkling out against the dark. Not to say that we were at all unhappy with the food at La Bottega, we just enjoyed Bar Ucci better. The Castello di Volpaia restaurant lacks the view and has higher prices. Stick with the apartments, the vinegar, the wine, and the olive oil.

The hike from Volpaia to Radda was down then up, and steeply up at the last. In the wooded path between Volpaia and Pieve S.M. Novella we were lucky enough to find quite a few porcupine quills at one point. Looked that the porcupine had shot quills at something.

Specific update on the last part of the walk from Volpaia to Radda which has indeed changed as others have updated. On p. 71, following this “… embankment F. Climb to the top of this embankment. Here you’ll see two fields in front of you, a terraced one to the left, [changed language next] and a vineyard to your right. Take the path up 20 or 30m between the two field until it flattens a bit and you can easily cross the small gully between the path and the vineyard. Cross the small gully into the vineyard. Turn left and walk up to the top of the vineyard, then turn right. Walk perhaps 150 to 200 m across the top of the vineyard until you can easily turn left onto the gravel road. [returning to your text, second paragraph, p. 72] (with a new house about 100m to the left). Turn right on the gravel road.”
—David Dowell


(2/07)—Greve to Parco San Michele:
We started from Greve May 14th. As for the rest of the walks: the tourist office was very helpful and offered really good service. We stayed at Casale La Masse, Belvedere’s neighbour. Recommendable! The hosts, Elizabeth and Carlo,was really nice and they served a fantastic breakfast. They offered a fresh local ecological wine as well. The detour to Canonica was well worth the efforts. As we reached the place on the backside of the overgrown church, several pheasants flew off. Walking around the church gave us a feeling of being in quite another time!

And then we just want to add that the service, food and wine at Villa San Michele was execellent.

Parco San Michele to Radda via Badia Montemuro and Volpaia:
A pleasant walk! As we hadn’t read the “directions” thoroughly enough, we missed turning left at the fork 10 minutes after E. That brought us uphill a bit, but after adjusting the direction, we joined the path (from Dogole) again at G. This wasn’t a big problem, as it seems like every path in this hillside at last will lead to Volpaia!

Radda to San Sano:
A wonderful walk in wonderful weather. We chose the San Sano Variant, and we don’t regret that!

A comment about the bus: the bus (127) (northbound?) arrived on schedule and brought us down to the main road, where the southbound bus (127?) arrived after 10 minutes. As you understand, we don’t remember which number the bus to Siena had.

Altogether we did five of your walks in May 2006 and had some wonderful days in Toscana. It was a pleasure using your book as a guide.
—Grete Holan and Torgeir Johansen, Hesseng, Norway


(9/06)—We have just returned from our two-weeks in Tuscany and had the time of our lives! My husband and I walked the Chianti Excursion from Radda to Lamole in one day. Your directions were amazing [note the updates below] and we completed the 7 hour trek in the 12 hours allowed by the bus schedule.

Our hotel was in Greve and we caught the morning bus which dropped us off in Radda at 8:30am. We got off the bus too early and had to walk up the hill into town. Stay on the bus until is stops in town (it may look like it is circling and leaving again). We took the Radda to Volpaia walk [pg 94-99] and your description of lunch in Volpaia was right on. Lunch was fantastic at Bar Ucci and we walked around a little before leaving. Update: page 95 - The field “which could conceivably be planted”….is. Follow the road almost all the way to the new house, take the small set of stairs at the end of the new field on the left and drop straight down, through the vegetation and onto the asphalt road. We missed the whole two stone houses 50m above, and lost 40min or so trekking up and down the fields to regain our bearings. No biggie though. We did take the short-cut [p. 98] and walked around SM Novella.

From Volpaia to S. Michele [pp. 85-86] we have an update for page 85: There is another house you will reach before Casa Lusignano. Pass this first house, which also has a trail to the left just beyond it (we lost a little more than an hour up and back the wrong trail), and continue to the second house where the bearing left is a little more substantial.

Also, when you reach Badia Montemuro [p. 86], make the U turn up to the left, and arrive immediately at the Osteria. (We weren’t sure which way and stumbled on it.) We arrived while the osteria was closed, but the sweet gentleman invited us to sit and rest at the tables.

We arrived at the San Michele gate at about 5pm and enjoyed the benches, the view and visiting with other hikers for about a half hour.

San Michele to Lamole [pp. 104-108]. Update: p. 105 - The sign “Ceppeto”, at the cross to the right, is broken and doubtful how long the remaining pieces may last.

Update, p. 108, first paragraph: At the house [after Casa Terrato] where the book says to drop down “on a tiny path to a stream,” this path is now protected by a fence. You will need to unhook the fence, crawl through and hook it back. There were electric parts, but at the point where the trail crosses, didn’t give us any trouble. The house is under renovation.

We arrived in Lamole about 7pm, finding the Ristoro di Lamole at the end of the short asphalt road. We sat on the porch and enjoyed a bottle of wine, plate of cheese and the setting sun. The bus stop (to return to Greve) is immediately in front of the restaurant and the bus arrived right on time at 8:30pm. The driver has a tendency to be early and not wait very long.

Thank you for your work on the book. We would not have had this experience otherwise!
—Kristen Hart

[author note, 5/05] - CHIANTI EXCURSION, RADDA to VAGLIAGLI or SAN SANO: p. 76, “Shortcut to Il Poggio Restaurant.” The third line of this shortcut note refers to map point X, but this map point is not marked on the map. Penguin should be correcting this in reprints, but if your copy doesn’t have it, you can draw it on the map (p. 78). It’s where our walk route reaches the gravel road, just above S. Polo in Rosso.

You can add it to the text directions too, on p.80, fifth line from the bottom, which should read:
“… coming out at a wide gravel road X, which is the car road from Poggio San Polo.”

We found this shortcut in an Italian walking guide after we had come back from Italy, so we couldn’t test it ourselves. Please let us know if you try it.



2. SAN MICHELE AND VOLPAIA RING WALK, via Badia Montemuro

(9/08)—Really enjoy the book although we haven’t been able to test the walks too much as I’m recovering slowly from a knee operation. However, we have found info on the area and places to eat very useful during visits in May last year and September this year. We love Volpaia and your recommendation of the Bar Ucci was excellent – we visited again this year and had another enjoyable lunch there.

Look forward to trying more of your walking and eating recommendations in the future.
Thanks and regards
—Ellen & Steve Froggatt


(9/06)—From Volpaia to S.Michele, we have an update on page 85: There is another house you will reach before Casa Lusignano. Pass this first house, which also has a trail to the left just beyond it (we lost a little more than an hour up and back the wrong trail), and continue to the second house where the bearing left is a little more substantial.

Also, when you reach Badia Montemuro [p. 86], make the U turn up to the left, and arrive immediately at the Osteria. (We weren’t sure which way and stumbled on it.) We arrived while the osteria was closed, but the sweet gentleman invited us to sit and rest at the tables.
—Kristen Hart



3. RADDA RING WALK, via Volpaia

(5/2012)—We only did the portion from La Locanda to Volpaia, but there is a new development here: There is now another “sharp turn to the right” (page 98) that looks like it could be the main track, before you reach the real “sharp turn to the right.” Don’t take this first sharp turn. Wait until you reach the second one, where there is indeed a large flat boulder with signs on it.

—Grace and John Hill


(05/2010) -  I write this from Radda, having the ring walk fresh in my mind from this morning. We found in general the instructions to be excellent. However, we would like to update the following:

1) After “La Fraschette” we dropped down as instructed to the “new house”, but there ran into problems. Let me re-write what we actually did, starting off the paragraph with your words [bottom of page 94]:

In about 60m there is a track off to the left, dropping to an immediate “T” in front of vines. Go right, and keeping to the left and below the house, go beyond the end of the vineyard, pass through an opening (most important, as if you turn too early, you will end up fenced in), and drop down a short way to a wood, and find a narrow footpath which will drop you down to an asphalt road near a bridge.

This is of course your point F (and I have no idea how we missed out the two paragraphs of your instructions!).

2) Just before the junction signed right to Volpaia left to Castelvecchi [middle of page 95, between points F and E], we found the correct turn off the road, but I think a new vineyard complex has been built, and everything has changed. I think the directions now should read as follows [again, starting with the book's words]:

Just before you reach this major fork, watch on the left for a dirt road. Take this road.
Ignore a main track right uphill after about 10 meters (where a lefthand track goes down to a wine sales area), continuing along the dirt road for about 200 meters. At the end of the woods to the right, and just before the new wine complex on the left, take the steep path up to the right alongside the vineyards, keeping the woods to your right.

3) Just after the beautiful panorama to both sides [last paragraph on p. 95], we ran into the next problem. The opening in the fence is now shut, with an electric wired gate, which can however be opened (and shut) with care. The vineyard today did not exist, and had been replaced with crops.

We also had a great lunch in La Bottega, in Volpaia, and would recommend it.

For Radda, Pizzeria Michele appears to be closed. Maybe for refitting?

Finally, neither of the tourist offices in Radda or Greve had maps to hand out or for sale. In Radda they had a couple of poor quality photocopied sheets, but your book won hands down!!

Our week has started well, and we thank you for writing this book!
—Jeff Temple


[author note, 6/2009] - Please see the update by William Stephens on 06/2009 in the “Chianti Excursion” chapter above. Between E and D [p. 95-96] there are changes being made by the property owners. Note that the directions in the “Chianti Excursion” walk are given in reverse to the directions for the “Radda Ring Walk.” Any updates on this section would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


(9/08)—Really enjoy the book. We have found info on the area and places to eat very useful during visits in May last year and September this year. We love Volpaia and your recommendation of the Bar Ucci was excellent – we visited again this year and had another enjoyable lunch there.

Look forward to trying more of your walking and eating recommendations in the future.
Thanks and regards
—Ellen & Steve Froggatt


(9/06)—Our hotel was in Greve and we caught the morning bus which dropped us off in Radda at 8:30am. We got off the bus too early and had to walk up the hill into town. Stay on the bus until is stops in town (it may look like it is circling and leaving again). We took the Radda to Volpaia walk [pg 94-99] and your description of lunch in Volpaia was right on. Lunch was fantastic at Bar Ucci and we walked around a little before leaving. Update: page 95 - The field “which could conceivably be planted”….is. Follow the road almost all the way to the new house, take the small set of stairs at the end of the new field on the left and drop straight down, through the vegetation and onto the asphalt road. We missed the whole two stone houses 50m above, and lost 40min or so trekking up and down the fields to regain our bearings. No biggie though. We did take the short-cut [p.98] and walked around SM Novella.
—Kristen Hart



4. LAMOLE RING WALK

(03/2014) We’re just back at our Gaiole base after an enjoyable day completing the Lamole Ring Walk, not least due to a lovely lunch in Lamole!  Unfortunately we didn’t check your updates before leaving, hence this quick note to say that the ‘issues’ regarding crossing the two streams still exist.  The approach to the second stream is the main problem as the (now) main track takes a distinct ‘right’ before dropping down to the river (with the last few metres through brambles).  Whilst crossing the stream at that point is not itself a problem, there is no sign of a path opposite.

Much better to follow ‘update advice’  and turn right in front of the last ‘old house’ before the first stream  -  this is a very comfortable walk down to main road below Lamole.
- Phil & Ann Crow

(07/13) Just back to work today after a lovely two weeks in Chianti, based near Greve in two different agriturism places (Borge di Sugame and Poggio Asciutto)…both really good.  I got a map in the newsagents in the square, but didn’t use it at all (your directions were perfect!).  We only managed to do one walk (Lamole ring walk which was really enjoyable) but hope to go back and do some more in the future.  We ate (twice..lunch and dinner) in Ristorante di Lamole we loved it so much!  Also La Cantina in Greve is really good.  Thanks for all the useful information in your great book!

—Thomasina


(07/12) The walk from Lamole to San Michele was easy to follow and the walk down from San Michele was also fairly easy, especially since the growth at the first portion of the path had recently been cleared. The main problem as pointed out by others, was at the point where you say “Cross the stream and turn right, toward Lamole” [page 108]. As reported, there is now an electric fence at the stream, and the area beyond has been widened and flattened by heavy equipment. On crossing the stream we did try to find the path you described but after two false starts we gave up,  re-crossed the stream and followed the path in front of the house down to the paved road and then up to Lamole. We did not have much time because at the beginning of our walk we had made reservations at Ristoro di Lamole for 2 pm, and it was getting close to that. We arrived hot and tired and a little late, and were immediately welcomed. As many others have pointed out the restaurant is excellent. We sat outside under the pergola enjoying the view, while feasting. The servers were friendly, engaged and attentive. They were gracious and obliging even though the kitchen was scheduled to close for the afternoon. We enjoyed a bottle of Lamole di Lamole with the meal. An unforgettable day.

—Paul Cabilio
Nova Scotia, Canada


(5/2012)—Towards the end of the walk, from “Cross the stream and turn right, toward Lamole” [page 108], the path has significantly changed. Instead, substitute:
“Cross the stream and turn right down a track through the woods. As it curves left there is a vine grove on the right. Continue in the same direction, ignoring the uphill path on the left and the gravel track that goes downhill right. The path descends steeply down to a stream. Crossing and bearing half-right the path has become hidden by fallen trees which have to be climbed or ducked under. In about 80 yards however it becomes obvious as it ascends the hill for another 10-15 minutes before coming out at the T-junction N.”

A general point is we found many electric fences on the walks. These are to stop deer getting into the vines and it is easy to unclip them to pass using the rubber handles by the hooks.  Make sure that they are re-clipped.

I have never had a walk book that described the way so well that I did it without a proper map. Well done.

—Andy Dawson


(05/2012)— We did this loop starting from Parco San Michele, rather than from Lamole. A few notes on the directions:

1) The “Ceppeto” sign is back (page 105) and in good form.
2) On page 108, we found it somewhat confusing that there were two sets of “two old stone houses.” Ignore this first set of houses you come across, until you pass another set of two old stone houses (with the left one saying “Il Terrato” on it) and come to a T-intersection at which you can only go right or down to the stream.
3) The electric fence we were warned about was not a problem, as there are now rubber handles by which you can unhook the fence at the place where you cross the stream, and then carry on. Very easy to do, and should not be a deterrent to anyone.
4) As Mark Kozinn noted, the “small but well-worn footpath” (page 108) on the other side of the stream has become somewhat larger, and has now grown into two branches that look equally broad. Keep to the right at the first fork. At the second major fork, take the left-hand fork (the right fork, which goes steeply downhill, leads to a dead end). We saw logging activity here.
5) The fallen tree obstacle that Marsha McEuen noted has not been cleared away. However, as we reached that portion when it was still light, we could easily see that the path continued on to the right at this point. I was able to crawl underneath the brambles on the path, but my husband went around it instead (probably easier that way).
6) Ristoro di Lamole was easily the best food we ate on our vacation. We enjoyed everything, particularly the truffle pasta and the ravioli. Panna cotta was also amazing.
7) On the way back from Lamole to Parco San Michele, there is now a major fork in the road before the pine wood (bottom of page 103). Take the right-hand side. The pine wood is now mostly cut down, but you can still tell that it used to be a pine wood.

—Grace and John Hill


(5/2012) — Lamole was brilliant! One problem in that they have erected electric fences in front of the wood that leads into the back of Lamole to keep the deer out of the vineyards. Divert down the track to the right of the house which takes you back to the asphalt road to Lamole. Worth warning other walkers.
Wooden signs have been erected at regular intervals along the path directing walkers to San Michele and then to Casole.

Dined at the restaurant which was heaven. We arrived at 7.15pm and had to wait for 15 minutes but well worth it. We ate some of the best food (rabbit and lamb cooked in aniseed flavour sauce) and drank some of the best wine (local lamole chianti classico) that we have ever enjoyed. The staff were brilliant - even though the maitre’d apologised for the lack of attention as they were full that night. We just sat there in wonder at the most stunning view of the sun setting on the Tuscan painting that was real life. The bill came to over 100 euros but was worth every cent and we added another 20! as a tip.
Advisable to book - even in late May - as the Americans seem to know how good this place is as well!
The book was worth buying for this walk on its own.
Last day tomorrow and we are heading for the coast - had planned to go to south of sienna to montalcino but will have to wait for another year.
— Barry and Kaye


(3/11)— My husband and I recently did your loop hike from Lamole to Monte San Michele in the Chianti Hills. The directions were great and it was quite lovely except for one difficult experience near the end, which I believe you would like to know about.

Past the vineyard as you enter the woods and cross the two streams (they were streams when we were there) the path goes over a slight rise and down. Here a tree has fallen, taking quite a bit of other dead wood with it. The trail is entirely washed away and the deadfall is thickly overgrown with brambles. It is pretty much an impenetrable mess and would be worse once all the vegetation is fully leafed out. We were, of course, totally confused and a bit worried since we had dawdled along and it was late in the afternoon. We are experienced hikers in the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado and have hiked a fair amount in Europe, so we are not easily daunted.

My husband managed to climb through and find the path going uphill on the other side of the bramble. I couldn’t even see him and had to fight my way through to the sound of his voice. The whole thing took about half an hour and left us well scratched up by thorns.  After that, all was perfect.

No big deal for us, just another adventure to laugh about. But for less experienced hikers, or a family it could be a real difficulty.

I hope you know someone in the area who will clear the trail, as it is a delightful hike.

We were unable to eat at the restaurant in Lamole as we arrived too early for lunch and they were not open for dinner in early March. The owner did make us wonderful sandwiches, however. It was recommended by the owners of the Villa le Barone, where we stayed in Panzano and they are very discriminating people. Incidentally, this is one of the most beautiful and gracious places to stay in all of Tuscany.
We only went on the one walk although I would love to do more. We saw the prettiest small red deer and also a llama (!), obviously lost and running wild. Next time in Italia!

Cordially,
- Marsha McEuen


(11/08)—I liked your book on Tuscany and Umbria very much - an accurate
guide to the trails, full of good advice, even fun to read at home.

We have one suggestion: in the Lamole Ring Walk, we went slightly astray near La Locanda (page 98). The text says to “Follow the path around the hotel,” which we took to mean around to the left, which takes one past the hotel entrance, with the hotel on one’s right. There’s a path going off to the left there, so the book’s instruction to “bear left” makes sense (but is the wrong path).

We suggest instead of “Follow the path around the hotel,” it would be clearer to say “Follow the path to the right, leading around the back of the hotel buildings.”

A great book, however.
—Bob Johnson


(06/08)—Don’t be put off by the electric gate/fence by the stream before the woods at the end of the walk; just unhook it and carry on as directed. We ate at Villa S. Michelle expecting snack type food but had a really nice meal; local food under a shady terrace.

Thanks for the directions, we had 2 lovely days.
—Chris and David Hepworth


(11/07)—I did this walk last week.  Thank you for your excellent, detailed guidance - impressive accuracy.  I didn’t have a 1:50,000 map, which, as an experienced walker, I normally consider essential - it wasn’t.  A few points:

  • Red and white markers are quite frequent on the ascent.
  • The overgrown path had been cleared - perhaps an annual chore.
  • The “Coppetta” sign had gone.
  • There is now a fence just before the stream/dry bed crossing.  It appears to be partly electrified (I didn’t test it!).  However, the non-electric part can be climbed over and obviously has been.  On crossing the stream, turn right on what is now a broad path and later keep right where the path divides.

I am surprised that you do not quote the distances for each walk, which with a record of the amount of ascent, enable one to make a better estimate of how long the walk will take.  I took only 1 hour for the ascent but rather more for the descent.

Afterwards, I enjoyed an excellent light lunch at Ristoro di Lamole.
—Elwyn Cox


(11/06)—We did the ring walk during the last week in October 2006. At the end, the path to the stream was no longer fenced off as was reported in others’ notes. Rather the fencing was taken down and the stream could be easily crossed. Once across the stream, bear right and follow the widest path. The path to Lamole, however, is no longer a narrow footpath, but now 3-4 meters wide with tractor ruts. Heavy machinery had been enlarging the path and farther on up the mountain the path was widened with trees taken down for a short section.
—Mark Kozinn


(9/06)—From San Michele to Lamole we have two updates. First, on page 105, the sign “Ceppeto”, at the cross to the right, is broken and doubtful how long the remaining pieces will last.

P. 108, first paragraph: At the house [after Casa Terrato] where the book says to drop down “on a tiny path to a stream,” this path is now protected by a fence. You will need to unhook the fence, crawl through and hook it back. There were electric parts, but at the point where the trail crosses, didn’t give us any trouble. The house is under renovation.

We arrived in Lamole about 7pm, finding the Ristoro di Lamole at the end of the short asphalt road. We sat on the porch and enjoyed a bottle of wine, plate of cheese and the setting sun. The bus stop (to return to Greve) is immediately in front of the restaurant and the bus arrived right on time at 8:30pm. The driver has a tendency to be early and not wait very long.

Thank you for your work on the book. We would not have had this experience otherwise!
—Kristen Hart

[author note, 11/06] —Note Mark Kozinn’s (more recent) note above, that the fence blocking access to the stream is gone now.


(8/06)—We (Dalia=mom, Roberto=dad, Maya 16, Adam 14, Tali 11) just returned from a trip to Tuscany where we did two of the walks on your book: the Pienza and the Lamole ring walks. We thoroughly enjoyed them both (and loved Tuscany)!

While doing Lamole, we encountered the following situation: near the end of the walk (page 108), where it says: “Don’t follow the path here (which turns right and passes in front of the house)…”, we had to do just that, since the path going straight in order to cross the stream has been closed shut with a fence. We were unable to find a way to cross the stream anywhere after that, and the path we had to follow instead took us back to the paved road, where we turned left (and then were able to cross the stream we couldn’t cross earlier) and walked back to Lamole using the paved road.It was still a wonderful walk, however!
Great book!
—Roberto Perelman

[author note, 11/06] —Note Mark Kozinn’s (more recent) note above, that the fence blocking access to the stream is gone now.

[author note, 8/06] —This is disappointing news, as the new “shortcut” we did for this edition was really nice. However, more recently (see Kristen Hart’s update above) a reader went through the fence. If you do this, PLEASE be respectful and latch the fence closed again after you pass through. If anyone finds a new shortcut, please let us know. Meanwhile, it is also quite easy to return to Lamole by the original route (which is what Roberto, above, ended up doing. The walk is still a great walk with a great restaurant at Lamole. Here are the directions from the original edition, beginning at the above-mentioned house:

Turn right here [in front of the house mentioned above], passing in front of this house and following the gravel road downhill.

When you reach the next house (which seems like it could be either one house or two houses) the path turns right between the two buildings.

When this road comes out on the small asphalt road (about 15 minutes after the hairpin turning to Il Terrato), turn left to Lamole, just under 1 km away. There is a SITA request stop (fermata richiesta) here, if you’ve timed your walk to coincide with a bus).


(5/05)—The third walk we did was the Lamole ring walk (21 April). We also did this in the suggested time of 3 hours and once again we were accompanied a by a large dog, this time for the entire walk. We returned him to his owner in Lamole on our return and learned that his name was Iago. We regretted we had not read the instructions more completely ahead of time and realized we could have had our lunch at Villa San Michele. As it turned out, we did enjoy a very welcome cappuccino there.

Thank you for your excellent book – it added a great deal to the enjoyment of our time in Tuscany.
—J.P.



5. BADIA A PASSIGNANO RING WALK

(5/2010)—We are so enjoying ourselves here, and more than anything thanks to your book.

Yesterday we did the walk number 5 around Badia a Passignano. The descriptions were pretty perfect, but we have a couple of comments on the route. The first part, really until we reached Casa Vignola, was pretty overgrown, and difficult in places to pass through from branches and brambles across the path. This may improve as the season progresses. Also, we could not see the path in the last section up to the town, but the road was OK. As a general comment, I would suggest that this walk may be difficult after heavy rain, as it was pretty boggy in places for us, but passable.
—Jeff Temple


(9/08)—Really enjoy the book although we haven’t been able to test the walks too much as I’m recovering slowly from a knee operation. However, we have found info on the area and places to eat very useful during visits in May last year and September this year. We love Volpaia and your recommendation of the Bar Ucci was excellent – we visited again this year and had another enjoyable lunch there.

However, in case no one else has told you, La Scuderia in Badia a Passignano has changed hands and we had a depressing and expensive lunch there last week. The Scuderia is no longer low key, simple or inexpensive; a one course lunch with glass of house wine cost 40 euros. The service was graceless and, although the meal was pleasant enough, it was definitely not good value for money. It’s obviously trying to emulate the Osteria di Passignano and aspire to that “dubious entity, a Tuscan haute cuisine”!!

Look forward to trying more of your walking and eating recommendations in the future.

Thanks and regards
—Ellen & Steve Froggatt


(6/08)—Excellent directions; thank you. The foot path at the end has now gone so we used the road; not a problem.
The Scuderia restaurant is now under new management and much more up-market, mid-range prices. We liked it: good food, friendly service, nice terrace.
—Chris and David Hepworth


(8/05)—This is a beautiful ring walk, partly shaded in spots. It’s great for the beginner as you walk in a big semi-circle around the abbey. The start of the path as descibed in the book is quite overgrown to begin, but persevere and you will be rewarded with some “off the beaten track” experiences. The abandoned villas en route are a nice surprise but…if anyone is interested in them and needs an experienced renovator…don’t email me. (:

The abbey in Badia is closed and has been for sometime…but apparently, if you knock loudly on the door you may get a caretaker on a good day who will show you around.

The two restaurants in the village won’t let you use the washrooms unless you are a customer…one of the most untypical moments we had in Italy. However, the trail as I said is very secluded once you leave the village.

The one confusing part of the trip is in C. Poggio a Verro (small hamlet). A logging company has been quite active in the area and altered the approach to it. You must take the 1st left, before you come to the hamlet, but this is now in the middle of a lumber storage area. There’s a left road in the hamlet between the two outlying houses. Do not take this as it ends in a big pile of brush. (It seems as if someone just ran a bulldozer down the hill to clear off some scrub vegetation).

By all means spend time looking around C. Poggio…it’s worth the look…but backtrack to the outskirts and you will see the road somewhat obscured now with all the lumbering activity. (You’ll see the large field they cleared for a new olive grove further down the road.)

When you return to Badia, the restaurant Scuderia gave us an opportunity to learn more about the Italian culture. After this somewhat strenuous hike, we stopped in for a late afternoon ice cold beer for myself and a cool white wine for Ina. We got rather untypical, somewhat brusque service. The owners served us, collected the money even before we finished (totally unheard of here), locked their doors and the whole family piled into the car and drove off. Why? It became clear later that this was a lesson in Italian etiquette; don’t arrive at a lunch restaurant around 3:30, when the restaurant closes at 4:00. We were left to finish our drinks and leave the glasses sitting unattended on the table. Another in the many Italian magical moments you can expect in this unique country.
—David and Ina


(5/05)—The second walk we did was the Badia a Passignano ring walk (20 April). We completed this walk in the 2.5 hours mentioned and thoroughly enjoyed it. The instructions were excellent. One interesting thing was that around point D we were joined by a large German Shepherd dog who seemed to know the route and guided us right back to Badia.
—J.P.



6. GAIOLE RING WALK, via Badia Coltibuono

(6/2010)—Firstly well done - good clear instructions and we had no problems at all. Some updates:

C-D: we didn’t see 2nd fork - may be grown over now? And so ended up at the stone cottage as you describe!

E: the sketch map shows it as a T junction - it’s not (anymore at least) -the left turn does take you onto very steep wide stony path - but it’s a left turn off of our previous path which continued onwards and not a T-junction.

Montegrossi -there is a small pizzeria/bar in this town now.

Last point: they’re currently resurfacing the path back between Riecine and Gaiole. We got past all the diggers etc with a cheery nod and cheeky smile but is a potential risk!

Thanks again!



7. BROLIO RING WALK

(09/2013) In late May of 2013 we did the Brolio Ring Walk, the Badia a Passignano Ring Walk, and part of the Monteriggioni to Santa Colomba walk. (Sorry for the delay in submitting feedback.) We enjoyed them all, but especially the Brolio walk. It was very scenic and the right length for us.

We were able to complete the Brolio walk without problems, by following your instructions very carefully – especially right after the stream. The tricky parts, of course, were down near the stream. It is true that occasionally the trail seemed to end in some underbrush, but each time we were able to look around beyond the blockage and quickly find where the trail resumed. We did have to remove our boots to cross the stream. With normal stops for photos and not much resting, I think we took slightly longer than the time in the book. The only tedious section of the trail was the stretch between J and K, after the stream, walking up the dual track through the woods.

We had a very nice lunch at the restaurant below the castle, then did the self-guided tour of the castle grounds. The ticket included a free wine tasting at the building down by the main road. All very pleasant!

- Ward and Karen Walker

Ottawa, Canada

(02/2013) One day we walked to Brolio Castle (about 3.5 kms) and from there tried to take the Brolio Ring Walk.  Somewhere between points B and C we lost track (some other hikers veered to the left and climbed over a fence which was not mentioned).  We continued down the valley, but were finally surrounded by fences and so had to retrace our path to la Grotta; and then west to point L (by which time it was raining heavily) and the road back to S.Regolo and la Madonna.

—Peter and Jacqui Robinson


(09/12) We have been using your guide on our annual Tuscan walks, and have enjoyed every single one of them, until we decided to try the Brolio Ring Walk. We set out on a beautiful sunny but windy day. Directions from points A to E were spot on, and easy to follow. The only updates on this stretch are:

a) “… the perimeter of the field becomes a path veering left out of the corner of the field” : a fence has now been erected, but there is a small wooden step ladder on the right side that allows easy access to this path.

b) After E, there is another metal fence at the path through the woods, this time latched by some metal twine, which can be easily unhooked to move the fence aside.

From point E onwards, we ran into several difficulties:

1. the path is overgrown and many trees and shrubs have fallen over sections of the path, making it very difficult to make out the path beyond them.

2. After crossing the stream, we followed instructions, taking the right fork. About 5 minutes along this ascending path, it gets overgrown again and obstructed by fallen trunks and branches. Again, we had difficulty making out where the path was.

3. We could not see or find the drop down to the vineyard and ended up backtracking to where we crossed the stream in an attempt to see where we had missed the trail, but to no avail.

We therefore decided to abandon the attempt on the second half the walk, and retraced our steps to E. Because the path was not clearly marked, we had difficulty retracing our tracks, if not for our very handy hand held Garmin GPS tracker, without which we would be lost wandering in the dense undergrowth and going round in circles.

All in all, we were disappointed that we could not complete the walk, but grateful that we got out safely.

I would not recommend this walk at the present time.

- Adrian & Li Ann Koh
Singapore



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