Walking And Eating

Walking And Eating

…in Tuscany and Umbria / Provence

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South Tuscany

General Comments

10/2015) I would like to give you some feedback on our walks we made in the Chianti area and south of Sienna during the end of September, beginning October in 2015.

Firstly, thank you for your book that induced us to walk in Tuscany. We had a great time with lovely walks and delicious food. I used the book to plan our holiday by selected hikes that would follow on from each other rather than having to take public transport after each day. We arranged for our suitcases to be transferred to the accommodation one night on and used day packs to carry one change of clothing and toileteries for the nights in between. We found that the hotel staff was very helpful in making these arrangements.

With respect to the route descriptions, it is clear that the book is getting somewhat outdated with certain paths having become overgrown to the extent that they have become unpassable. I found that the 1 : 25000 map for the Chianti area was useless with the smaller paths illegible and often not indicated at all. The 1 : 25000 map for the hikes south of Sienna is however generally very good. It is not possible to totally rely on the maps and your descriptions are still essential. Having the map will help in knowing the general direction one has to walk and for following progress.

- Kees Dekker


(09/2015) As your book suggests, Montepulciano offers a great base for walking in the area. Another good walk not mentioned in the book but well worth doing is Montepulciano to Montfollonico. Start the walk at S. Bagio church and follow gravel tracks where the route then joins waymarked route 3, up towards Montefollonico. The route is described pretty accurately in a post on TripAdvisor (search ‘Walking from Montepulciano to Montefollonico’) - we have done the walk twice over several years and used the route description from the TripAdvisor post (dated Oct 10, 2009) the first time, without any major problems (interestingly, the TripAdvisor thread on this walk also suggests this walk appears in your book - but it’s not in my 2005 edition - perhaps it was in the original?)

[author note] - We did have this walk in the original edition. We took it out because the restaurant we used for it was too much of a “flosseria,” and the walk was mostly on a dirt road, if I remember correctly (20 years ago now!) Thank you for posting about waymarked route 3; maybe it is a nicer walk!

We walked there and back - about two and a half hours each way, around 11 miles in all. A great place to have lunch in Montefollonico is La Botte Piena, and is good to aim for as the central stop on this walk (get a taxi back to Montepulciano - book in advance though - or walk back!). The restaurant has a great selection of local tuscan dishes, and extensive wine list. Sit outside if you can.

This area of Tuscany is so great for walking!

We hope these comments are helpful,

-Andrew & Jill Thraves, East Sussex, UK


(06/2015) I have just returned from doing the Buonconvento to Montepulciano trail for (I think) the fourth time. The first time was in 2000. Each time I have walked on my own and carried my pack on my back. Every trip has been wonderful, but the latest was quite magical and I would like to thank you for such a wonderful book. All the directions were clear and provided just the right amount of detail (but not too much) and I found the time estimates to be accurate. I had absolutely no problems and completed the trip over 4 days in quite warm weather ( over 80 F/ 26C). There’s something about this trip which (in my opinion) gets better and better: a complete antidote to the stresses and strains of everyday life. None of it would have been possible without your book. I have met several walkers along the way and recommended your book to them.

Like you, I had travelled extensively to the towns of Italy and gazed at the countryside from buses and trains, wondering if the countryside was accessible, and your book arrived at just the right time. So, thank you again. My only comment on the excellent directions and maps is to say that the path out of Bagno Vignoni is now completely overgrown and awaiting a couple of energetic locals armed with machetes to sort it out!

If you are contemplating a third edition, I would really welcome ideas for another continuous walk of a similar length. I did walk from Florence to Siena once, incorporating your Greve/ S. Michaele/ Radda walks but the beginning and end (improvised by me) were not nearly so good as the walks in your book and involved more time walking on tarmac.

Thanks again!

-Tim Pattinson

Hampshire, England


(05/2014) We used your original edition in Chianti in 2000, and again for the area around Florence in 2004, and then the revised edition in southern Tuscany (south of Siena) in 2009.  In September 2013, we used that edition again in the same region (this time with kids).

I can report that walks 22-24 are still spot on.  The Pienza ring walk was especially fun - just the right length for kids about 10 years in age.  As to restaurants, La Porta (Montechiello) is still excellent, though overrun with British tourists when we were there.  Unfortunately, Borgo Buio (Montepulciano) is now gone (that place was great), replaced by something unmemorable.  As to Cavolo Nero Trattoria (Florence), which had been excellent in 2004 and 2009, it has now moved to the other side of the Arno and is universally panned, including by the concierge at our hotel, who strongly urged us not to go there.

For your next edition, I suggest a walk starting or ending at the thermal springs in central Tuscany (the really warm ones, in the woods south of Bagno Vignoni), unless it’s in there already and I just missed it.

I’ve now taken your book on four trips to Tuscany over 13 years, and it has never failed me.  Thanks again.

-Andy Lelling and Dana Gershengorn


(05/2014) We ended up walking in and around and through Montalcino-Montepulciano. The bianca strade was so easy to follow most of the time, that we didn’t have the need for specific directions from your book.  We did however follow your directions from Montichello to Montipulciano and they were extremely helpful–perfect!

We also bought the 1/25,000 maps which were thrilling to use!

Our major recommendation is a hotel in San Quirico–Cassa Lemmi–wonderful and reasonably priced place. Many many hiking trails out of San Quirico.  We ended up staying there for 3 nights–a sleepy town–less touristy than Montalcino, Pienza and Montipulciano.

BTW, you can not  get on the grounds of the castle Ripa D’Orcia, unless you are lodging there.  We walked there from San Quirico and then onto Bagno Vignoni.

We had fabulous luck hitchhiking–there were 3 or4 times we really needed a ride to get back to our base–and twice got picked up within 30 seconds of sticking our thumbs out.

We were proud that at age 60, people still were happy to pick us up!  Our first hitching experience since we were in our 20’s!  Also thrilling!  And life affirming!

Our only real difficulties were in getting to San Antimo from Montalcino–the first 6 miles or so were fine–but the last 2-3 miles seemed endless–we followed the advice of a biker–and perhaps he led us the long way.  It was actually rather disconcerting too to hike in semi-wilderness (not exactly–but not seeing people for hours) and then to end up with crowds of tourists at San Antimo. ..

Anyway, thanks so much for getting us started on this kind of walking adventure.  We are very grateful and look forward to future trips to italy and france using your guidebooks!

- Ellen Bernstein


(07/12) We had so much fun on the walks, and it was definitely the highlight of our three weeks in Italy.  We did change one part, and added a walk from Bagno to San Quirico, which we ended up walking on the highway, but it was short, so not too terrible.  I really enjoyed San Quirico and had the best food of the trip there.  I thought you had included it in your first book, but maybe not.  Finally, we carried a very small day pack each, and walked for 8 days, 7 nights, and paid a lot less than if we had gone with a tour.  A LOT!  Since we are both teachers, the cost was a big factor on our walking tour.  So, we are so glad we stumbled upon your book when planning our trip.  We shared your book with everyone we met, by the way.
-Alicia Estrada


(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.

SIENA
We had a car so that we opted for accommodations outside the walls, specifically at the Hotel Il Giardino which is close to Porta Pispini and a pleasant walk to Il Campo. The hotel was quiet, clean, reasonably priced with a good view of Siena, but otherwise unremarkable. In Siena we ate at La Finestra on the Piazza del Mercato, which was as good as you described. The Rosticceria Monti on Via Calzoleria seems to have disappeared, but on the same street there is an excellent Pizzeria Calzoleria. We also tried a very unique and excellent restaurant, Boccon del Prete on Via San Pietro 17 (0577-280388).
—Paul Cabilio
Nova Scotia, Canada


(06/2012) We did walks 17 to 24 in the South Tuscany section over a week in the last week of May 2012 and had a wonderful holiday.  As said by so many others, the instructions are excellent and we didn’t really need our walking maps.  The only exception was on walk 22.  It was raining and mud forced us to abandon the field paths – our walking shoes stuck in the mud and accumulated huge clods, making progress incredibly slow.  So we used the map to cut out some of the paths and used a small section of the road, regaining the correct route with the help of the map a bit further on.

A very nice brown and white retriever dog which was on the entrance to Podere di Cocco adopted us and came with us the rest of the way to Sant’ Antimo and Castelnuovo dell’Abbate and visited every other dog on the way. She seemed to visit all the restaurants when we arrived and then disappeared. No dog in the morning.

It may be worth noting that some hotels and restaurants in Italy still don’t accept credit cards.  It was a particular problem when we stayed at Locanda Sant’Antimo which I had booked online but their website did not mention the cash only terms.  There is no ATM in the tiny village, but they did kindly accept a mixture of our last Euros and pounds sterling.  We also had occasional problems with ATMs, as in Bagno Vignoni.  There is only one ATM in Bagno Vignoni and all three of our credit/debit cards were declared invalid, although they were fine elsewhere.  Be prepared!  We also had similar problems in Pienza and Montepulciano, but there were more ATMs and bureaux de change around.

Many thanks to you for the book – this was our second excellent holiday, the first one being in the Chianti area.

— Sheila Puckett


(07/10) - We used your book for walks and restaurants in Tuscany in June.  We loved the book, and the walks we took following your instructions.

Even early in June it was really hot on those gravel roads - we learned to walk very early in the day.  And since we were doing day walks, many of the walks in the book were too long for us.

Thanks for your book -such a great guide.  We are recommending it to all our friends.
—Linda Schneider


(07/10) - I just finished the Pienza-Montepulciano walk with the detour through Monticchiello, which turned out to be my favorite Italian hilltown to date [been here a month and used your book to explore Assisi and environs, Gubbio, West of Siena, Chianti Excursion, and now Southern Tuscany].  Monticchiello is what Pienza or Montepulciano were 100 years ago.  For a real trip back in time to unspoiled, unaffected Italian hilltowns in all their loveliness, Monticchiello is an absolute must.

You two deserve a Pulitzer for your book.  It is a national treasure as far as I am concerned.
—David Dominguez, Orem UT


(05/2009)—My wife and I used your original edition to explore the Chianti region (we were based in Radda) in 2000, and just came back this month from using your revised edition to explore southern Tuscany (we were based in Pienza).  As of 5/25/09, the directions for walks 22-24 are still spot on.

We belatedly realized that your restaurant recommendations are also first rate.  La Cucina di Fiorella (Pienza), La Porta (Montechiello), Borgo Buio (Montepulciano), and Cavolo Nero Trattoria (Florence) are all still excellent.  Borgo Buio was an especially nice find, being both a bit quirky and sufficiently off the beaten path in Montepulciano that it was not overrun with tourists.  Cavolo Nero may have gone a bit more upscale since your revised edition (prices still reasonable, food outstanding - our hotel was very curious as to how we knew about it).

Your book vastly improved our trips to Tuscany.  Nothing compares with being able to “access” all that beautiful scenery, instead of just staring at it from a hilltop town or the autostrada.
—Andy Lelling and Dana Gershengorn


(11/08)—Many thanks for your fantastic book. The detailed itineraries enabled my wife and me to take our dream vacation this October. We had such a great time that I sat down immediately upon our return, and wrote up all our notes in the hope that they will inspire others to take these walks. Over the course of six days we did walks 17 – 24, Monte Oliveto Maggiore through Montepulciano. Your directions were perfect, and the weather cooperated the whole way, with no rain and temperatures in the 70’s. Without exception, the walks were all wonderful, and at the end of our week, we could happily have kept walking another week. We had never been to Italy before, and we now look forward to retuning again and again.

What follows [see individual walk listings below] are some notes on logistics, and some lodging recommendations. Since my wife eats like a bird and I’m more gourmand than gourmet, I offer no dining suggestions. I loved everything we ate.

I hope these notes will be helpful to others, and encourage people to take the plunge, strap on a knapsack, and head out into the Italian countryside. Speaking no Italian at all, it was still the best vacation we ever had.

Lodging: Except in Buonconvento (and Siena and Florence before we started walking), we stayed entirely in agriturismos or affitacamere. These latter are equivalent to bed and breakfasts, or in-law apartments in the States, and without exception, the worst of the places we stayed in were equal to or better than the nicest hotels. At their smallest, they contained a large bedroom and attached bathroom, but more often, they were either studio or one-bedroom apartments. Generally, we paid a total of 60 – 70 euros per night for the two of us. At the local tourist offices, be sure to ask for the listings for affitacamere and agriturismos. Otherwise, they may only give you listings for hotels.

We made no reservations in advance. This worked out fine in the larger towns like Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano, and also Buonconvento, which is not heavily touristed, but caused problems in the smaller towns (as detailed below). Because of the difficulties we sometimes experienced, I would suggest booking a room at least a day in advance. This is especially true on a Saturday night or anytime in high season. At the very least, booking in advance will save an hour or two of scrambling each time you arrive in a new town. (On the other hand, finding ourselves without a roof over our heads led to the most memorable adventures).

One minor drawback of the agriturismos / affitacemere is that they have no reception desks like a hotel, so the proprietor may not be around if you just arrive unannounced. However, they always leave a phone number where you can reach them.

Maps: We found the directions in the book so good that we could rely on them entirely. Nevertheless, it was extremely helpful to have the 1:25,000 maps recommended in the book, both as a “check” on the book directions and in order to plot possible alternatives or detours. We bought our copies at Feltrinelli’s in Siena, but if they are out of stock, you may not find them again until you get to Montalcino, so I recommend buying them in advance. Having them in advance would have made it infinitely easier to plot our itinerary and to understand the descriptions of the routes in the book. Also, if you have them in advance, you can make color photocopies of each day’s walk, so you don’t have to keep folding and unfolding a four foot square map.

An American, English-language source for the Val D’Orcia map, which covers all but the first walk, is www.omnimap.com. It’s map #515, found specifically at http://www.omnimap.com/catalog/hiking/ed-multi.htm#p4. I couldn’t find the map for the first leg on the web site, but they were very helpful over the phone and can probably get it for you. That map is the Crete Senesi map, covering Asciano and Buonconvento, map #518, found in the same series as the Val D’Orcia map. Omni Map’s phone number in the States is 800-742-2677. We found larger scale maps, covering all of Tuscany, at Barnes & Noble.
—Andy Cohn, Berkeley, CA


(06/08)—My husband found an old copy of your book (1997) in a second-hand bookshop. On reading it, we decided that this was the holiday we wanted to try before we were too old! We then bought the 2004 edition and have since thoroughly enjoyed our walking and eating holiday in Tuscany and could not have done it without your excellent reference guide. We decided to do the whole itinerary of South Tuscany (p226 - 297) from Siena to Montepulciano on foot over 10 days but, being a little worn out, we bussed the last two stops to Pienza and Montepulciano. My husband and I are in our mid-50’s and have never really done any hiking before, so this was a big adventure for us as we set off with our fully laden backpacks!

Our trip started in early Spring, on the Easter Weekend, late March 2008. We bought CAI hiking maps, and between them and your book, as well as the CAI sign posts en route, we never got lost, although our walking times were a bit slower than your guidelines.

All our friends are so envious of our trip and it was certainly a holiday we’ll remember for a long time. Being so early in the year, the weather was perfect - cool enough for hiking, and only once did we encounter a rain storm. Also, being out of season, we never had to make any bookings, we could just stay or go as the mood took us.

A very helpful aspect of your book was the accuracy of information about restaurant times and closures - we always seemed to arrive on the wrong days, but being forewarned, we took picnic suppers with us.

In Siena we stayed at Tre Donzelle (p232) where we found a friendly manager who let us leave our bags there for the 2 weeks we were walking. We found Osteria Numero Uno (p231) to have changed substantially from your description. Possibly under new ownership, it now has an extensive menu, full of tourists, no Italians, and the Osso-Buco was so tough we sent it back! The most disappointing meal in our Tuscan stay!!

[author note] - Siena logistics are in the “Monte Oliveto Maggiore to Buonconvento” walk’s logistics section.

A useful tip, especially in the rainy season: Before leaving home, we photocopied the maps and directions for each day’s walk on a separate single sheet of paper, back-to-back (with a bit of creative cutting and pasting) and then we laminated them. Each morning we set out we then needed to carry only one page of easy to follow, waterproof directions.

We’d like to share with your readers some changes from your book that we encountered along the way. [See individual walk listings below.] Thank you for inspiring us, and for your detailed and accurate descriptions and directions. Everything was spot on! We’d like to do it again later this year perhaps during the grape harvest where we can get involved on an Agriturismo farm.
—Dennis and Renée Gordge, Summerveld, South Africa


(2008) 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.
southtuscany

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.

A great reference resource I used on this trip and others is: The Food and Wine Lover’s Companion to Tuscany by Carla Capalbo. I think you mention this in Walking and Eating. Very good resource!

Thank you again very much! Your work enabled us to enjoy wonderful experiences which we otherwise would not have had!

For more on our trip, see the website I did: www.homepage.mac.com You can either follow the storyboard or click on a photo to see the photos in larger view.
—David Dowell


(07/07)—Hello and thanks for guiding us through two magical weeks of walking, eating and drinking. The first, two years ago, was from Certaldo to Sienna, with a memorable and delightful stay at Agriturismo La Gavina. Then this May we walked from Buonconvento to Montepulciano through the Val d’Orcia, a blissful experience. Kingfishers, otters, and discreet skinny-dipping in the Orcia river.
—Julian Soar


(09/06)—Thank you for your wonderful contribution to our Italian holidays. I foolishly left THE BOOK behind this year BUT (silver lining) found the latest edition in Sienna. We have now followed five of your walks and the detailed instructions are fantastic taking much of the irritation of getting lost out of the equation completely. The 1:50 000 maps are often really not good enough but when there are 1:25 000 available they are helpful. We walked from Bagno Vignoni to Pienza and from Pienza to Montepulciano in unseasonably very hot September weather and found that by leaving at about 6 30 in the morning we enjoyed both the cool of the morning and a wonderful sunrise light on the hill towns.
—William and Alison Woods


(08/06)—Our walking trip through Tuscany was terrific and your help was most appreciated. The trails and roads are very well marked and there is little chance of getting lost. Your descriptions and suggestion for trails and food were right on and added immensely to our walk.
—Bary C. Sherman, USA


(07/06)—Thank you for your book Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria.
We spent the whole of May in Italy – most of it in Tuscany. Having decided to do without a car we did everything either on foot of by bus – and found your book the most practical and useful of all the guides we had with us.
—Stephen Coan and Antoaneta Slavova, South Africa


(07/06)—First let me congratulate you on your terrific walking guide. My wife and I bought the first edition a few years ago and fantasized about all of the great times we could have following some of your walks. Two years ago we did that and just before we left Siena found a copy of the 2005 edition which we bought. We then spent the next 10 days doing walks 17 through 22 as a continuous walk, stopping for a couple of days here and there. Your book led us through the whole thing flawlessly. We each had a couple of day packs and washed clothes out in hotel bathrooms. It suited our slow travel policy perfectly.
—Bob Muens, Key West, FL


(05/06)—After 5 days of hiking in the Garfagnana, my husband and I planned 5 nights in Montepulciano, reserving a room at the Bella Vista. Based on the book’s statement that Montepulciano was a good place to base excursions into southern Tuscany, we had been hoping to do day hikes along your Southern Tuscany route by taking buses to different start points. Unfortunately, reaching many of the start points from Montepulciano was either not possible or so convoluted as to be time prohibitive. We started out from Montepulciano early the first morning hoping to get to Sant Antimo and were told at bus station it would involve multiple connections. So we settled on starting from Montalcino and were sold a ticket inside the station. As we got on the bus, the driver said his bus wasn’t going there and then the driver and person who sold us the ticket hashed it out and discovered that by leaving at 9:00 we couldn’t get to Montalcino til noon with an hour plus wait along the way, so we decided to just jump off at Pienza and did the ring walk after enjoying a big flower market going on that day. We later checked in with tourist info folks in both Montepulciano and Pienza who confirmed that it was very time consuming to link the different pieces together from Montepulciano. Having spent three days walking in the Cinque Terre and a 5 day continuous hike around the Barga area, we didn’t want to deal with all the fussiness with buses so we decided to bag it and head to Bologna for a different Italian experience. It probably would have been better to stay somewhere in the middle of the route. We had hiked in Turkey last year and found their public transport to small towns much more accommodating, so I think we made some unrealistic assumptions based on that.

Anyway, the Pienza Ring Walk was lovely and very clearly explained in the book. It took us a bit longer than 2 hours which was a surprise as we are always within hiking times of guide books that we have used from several different sources.
—Carley Claghorn, Montpelier, VT

[author note] —Just to clarify this point, Montepulciano does make a great base for excursions into South Tuscany (see page 288), but bus-wise it’s part of a different “region” than the other walks in our “South Tuscany” chapter (excepting Pienza, to and from which there are many buses every day). See the “Logistics” section (pp. 291-292) for more details on the Montepulciano bus situation. I thank her for pointing this out, and am sorry for inadvertently being unclear about this in the book.


(11/05)—I wanted to give you an update on the walks we did in Italy in Sept - Oct. We took 10 days (only because we wanted to spend 2 nights each in Montalcino, Pienza & Montepulciano) to do the southern Tuscany walk, carrying everything on our backs, had no trouble taking the Castelmuzio bus from Siena to Chiusure, & began walking after spending the night at the abbey at Monte Oliveto. The walks were fabulous, your directions were very easy to follow & we only had two problems along the way. [See #20 "SANT'ANTIMO TO RIPA D'ORCIA," and #24 "PIENZA TO MONTEPULCIANO" below.]
—Robin Willis



17. MONTE OLIVETO MAGGIORE TO BUONCONVENTO

[author note] — (08/09) We received an email from the Podere Salicotto, 2 km from Buonconvento on the Pieve a Salti road. Coming from Buonconvento, they are before Pieve a Salti on the righthand side. We haven’t stayed there, but would appreciate an update from anyone who does.
Podere Salicotto
www.poderesalicotto.com
tel: + 39 0577 80 90 87    fax: + 39 0577 80 95 35


(07/2012) In Siena, we had a car so that we opted for accommodations outside the walls, specifically at the Hotel Il Giardino which is close to Porta Pispini and a pleasant walk to Il Campo. The hotel was quiet, clean, reasonably priced with a good view of Siena, but otherwise unremarkable. In Siena we ate at La Finestra on the Piazza del Mercato, which was as good as you described. The Rosticceria Monti on Via Calzoleria seems to have disappeared, but on the same street there is an excellent Pizzeria Calzoleria. We also tried a very unique and excellent restaurant, Boccon del Prete on Via San Pietro 17 (0577-280388).

MONTE OLIVETO MAGGIORE
We drove from Siena through the Crete to spend a few hours at Monte Oliveto. It is certainly worth a visit. The interiors of the convent are open in the morning, then closed for (an extended) lunch, and reopen later in the afternoon. The abbey’s wines and olive oils can be tasted in their wine cellar, which is worth a visit by itself. We ate at La Torre, and it lived up to your description.
—Paul Cabilio
Nova Scotia, Canada


(11/08)—The #109 / Castelmuzio bus from Siena to Chiusure, the nearest town to Monte Oliveto Maggiore, does not stop at the main Siena bus station. You can pick it up at the train station, which is north of, and outside of town, but more easily at the Porta Pispini, which is the southeastern gate of Siena and only a 10 minute walk from the Campo, Siena’s main square. The bus stop at Porta Pispini is impossible to miss. Just walk out the gate and you’ll see it, a typical American-style shelter, about 75 yards beyond the gate on the right side of the road. In summer, the one daily bus leaves at 2:14 PM. The rest of the year, it leaves at 1:59. Our bus in October arrived at 2:07, leaving us still wondering whether it was 8 minutes late or 7 minutes early. We bought tickets on the bus.

Here’s the link to the bus schedule: http://www.trainspa.it/EXTRAURBANO/109A.pdf

The only tricky thing about catching the bus is that a lot of buses arrive right around 2 (it’s right after school gets out) and it won’t necessarily stop unless someone is waiting on the curb and actually signals it to do so. Also, it doesn’t say 109 on the bus itself; instead, the revolving L.E.D. sign flashes the names of the towns it’s headed to, so you need to be alert to all the towns on its route (they’re posted at the bus stop) and wave when you see a bus approaching flashing the name of one of the towns. If in doubt, wave them all down (as we did) and ask. At worst, the driver will think you’re just another addle-brained American (or English, or Australian) tourist, which he’ll think anyway.

If you miss your bus, there’s a bunch of buses going to Buonconvento, only 9 road kilometers from Chiusure, and it’s easy to hitch a ride from one place to another, or find a cab.

We never could reach the monastery by phone in order to make a reservation for the night, so we took the #109 bus into Chiusure (the nearest town to the monastery) figuring we’d find a place to stay in town, or call the monastery again from there. But when we reached Chiusure, we found there were no hotels or affitacamere in town, and were also told that the monastery was closed – at least for overnight guests. We never could verify this, since we never got through to anyone on the phone, and the outgoing message on the monastery’s answering machine was in Italian only.

But a wonderful lady who owns the pizza restaurant right as you come into Chiusure came to our rescue. Somehow figuring out from my sign language that we needed a place to stay, she got on the phone and found us an open apartment at an agriturismo three kilometers outside of town on the road back to Siena. Her husband then volunteered to drive us there, which was terrific, as my wife had become car – sick on the curvy bus ride from Siena.

That adventure should have taught us to make reservations in advance. Predictably, it didn’t, but all was well that ended well. The apartment at the agriturismo was pleasant and spacious, and was only 60 euros for the two of us. The owner even drove us back into Chiusure to get some provisions for a picnic dinner, which we enjoyed back at the agriturismo on a picnic table with a beautiful view over the surrounding fields and orchards. Beyond having no hotels, Chiusure only boasts a bar, the pizza restaurant and a tobacco shop, so provisions are limited to cold cuts, cheese and bread, and some canned goods that were brought to Chiusure by the liberating allied armies during World War II. If you stay at the agriturismo, stock up on dinner fixings before leaving Siena.

Contact information: Agriturismo Saltafabbro, www.saltafabbro.com. E-mail: saltafabbro@libero.it. Phone / fax: 0577 707077; cell: 348 5619977. No English spoken, but sign language works great and the owner’s daughter is taking English in high school. They have 4 apartments, and the bus driver on the 109 will drop you at the front gate if you can figure out how to communicate that in Italian.

The walk the next morning to Buonconvento was a wonderful start to our trip. We followed an earlier traveller’s recommendation to purchase picnic fixings at the Paridiso Bar Locanda in “downtown” Chiusure, where we also ate breakfast.

In Buonconvento we stayed at the Albergo Roma, within the old city walls (mentioned in the book). It was plain but adequate, and the price was right – 60 euros

Buonconvento is a surpisingly cute little town, not very touristed, with some interesting-looking restaurants. The hot action for the evening was a pick-up soccer game taking place on a lighted, half-sized pitch invisible from the street and tucked away behind the Bar Moderno.
—Andy Cohn, Berkeley, CA


(6/08)—In Siena we stayed at Tre Donzelle (p232) where we found a friendly manager who let us leave our bags there for the 2 weeks we were walking. We found Osteria Numero Uno (p231) to have changed substantially from your description. Possibly under new ownership, it now has an extensive menu, full of tourists, no Italians, and the Osso-Buco was so tough we sent it back! The most disappointing meal in our Tuscan stay!!

We arrived at the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto on a Tuesday, bringing with us a delicious supper of proscuitto, pecorino, bread, artichokes and wine, and dined in style on the terrace of the (closed) restaurant La Torre at sunset!

In Buonconvento, the Osteria da Duccio (p 237) now closes on a Wednesday, not a Thursday, so we ate at Osteria La via di Mezzo which was good but slightly pricier. The Albergo Ristorante Roma was excellent for both food and accommodation.

Being early Spring, after a very wet winter, the fields outside Buonconvento were very muddy with rivulets of water to wade through but this probably would not be a problem in Summer.
—Dennis and Renée Gordge, Summerveld, South Africa.


(2/07)—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.

The bus, 109 Castelmuzio, arrived Chiusure at schedule. After a visit in the Monastery, a good dinner at La Torre and a peaceful, calm night at The Foresteria, we walked off full of energy early in the morning. I will just add that “Bar-alimentari-locando Paradiso” had everything! A pleasant woman serving us, good breakfast and what we needed of supplies on our walk to Buonconvento.
— Grete Holan and Torgeir Johansen, Hesseng, Norway


(7/05)—Our only difficulties were with local transport from Siena again. No bus available to Monte Oliveto. Instead we took the 7am bus to Buonconvento and after discussions at Bar Moderno we found a taxi. This was the owner of the Shell petrol station on the corner of Via Gramsci and the highway [s.s.222]. Great to see abbey early in morning, beautiful illumination and quiet. Hot walk to Pieve a Salti, pool delicious, accomodations good, dining experience ordinary.
— Sue Robertson, Melbourne Australia

[author note] — The bus for Monte Oliveto is the bus for Castelmuzio, #109. See bus note in logistics section for the walk.



18. BUONCONVENTO TO MONTALCINO

(10/2015) I have attached corrections for some of route descriptions. The text in italics is of comments from other hikers submitted on your website after the release of the book. My text is indicated by the underlined text. I hope that you and your readers will find it helpful. This walk took us 4:30.

From the front of the train station (A) cross the main street and follow the street straight ahead of the station, Via Vittoria Venero.

Take the first right, then the first left, Via di Bibbiano (note that to your right here there is the wonderful Bar Moderno).  This is the road to Bibbiano and in about ½ km it crosses the Ombrone river near some distinct pini maritime (maritime pines).

About ½ km past the bridge take the first left (B), a dirt road leading to a farmhouse, Pian delle Noci.

Just before reaching the house and before the stacks of wood and the small brick animal pen, take a right along a farm track heading towards the trees.  Where you reach the trees, a cement platform bridge crosses the Stile River.

Continue past the castle tower (just visible up on the right through the trees) and where the track forks (C), take the right fork, which brings you in about 3 minutes to a junction (D), where you turn left.  (Note that CAI takes you up a little track 50m before the road forks at C, but this looks in danger of becoming overgrown.  If you do want to take it simply go up to the road on the CAI path, go on the gravel road and in 100m you’ll come to junction D where you go straight ahead).

Pass an abandoned house and when the road forks by a small pond, take the right branch.  About 50m past the fork, at the end of the hedge, the path meets a fork with a much smaller and somewhat overgrown track (Note: make sure to take the track, which is about 5m in front of you will face a large pine tree.   as you turn and effectively between two hedges, rather than the entrance to a field that is directly in front of the tree). .  Go left here (E) between two hedges.

The hedge on the left is marked with a sign: “Attenzione Tubazione Acquedotto”. Follow this track the hedge on the left following signposts with similar signs now facing away over fields that can be plowed.  When coming to the last signpost go straight to a hedge coming from the right.   Follow this hedge until a fence that will take you to a gravel road. crossing between two fields with the tower of La Torre ahead of you to the left.  Keep on straight, following the path into a second field, which it also crosses (if the track is not there, just go straight forward and you’ll pick it up on your right as you converge with another hedge).

Follow the path out onto the gravel road that runs along the edge of cypress trees and go right on it (F).  Follow this road directly into Segalari, which is visible ahead of you on the right.

Bear right forward and uphill when the asphalt begins, through the little hamlet of Segalari, passing the pizzeria/pub/spaghetteria L’Europeo (or TNT) on your left.  At the intersectionnear a building with a small bell tower, go left on the asphalt road (signed toward Montalcino) (G).

After passing Via Ombrone on the left, the road soon bends around to the right, and you’ll see a smaller dirt track on the left side (but actually leading straight ahead).   Take this (H).  ATW signed “Casa di Bibbiano” (this is about 300m past G).

When this path comes directly in front of the farmhouse of Podere Casalone (in a short of T-junction, as if it ends there), bear right at the driveway entrance.  Follow the gravel path, passing below the house; near the bottom of the hill, about 100m before you come to a T-junction with the main gravel  an asphalt road (you’ll see a small building ahead of you at the junction).   Turn left on this road a small farm track (I).  When you reach the bottom (about 400m) rather than beginning to climb the track straight ahead, take the dirt track on your right instead ) ATW Siena Province itinerary trail 514). In another After some time minute or two you will cross reaching a railroad track.  At the railroad track, turn right and walk along the track (be aware that there are – infrequent – trains along here) until you come out at the dirt road (J). Turn left.

Stay on this road, passing the agriturismo Pian Pietrucci on your left in another ½ km or so.

Another 400m along thid road you’ll cross the Ombrone again (here it is a real river as opposed to the tiny stream it was when we first met it just outside Buonconvento).  About ½ km beyond the Ombrone crossing, you’ll cross another little bridge and in another 200m or so come to a fork; bear left (K).

About 450m beyond K you reach a big stone house Podere Casanova on your right.  About ½ km past Casanova, watch out for a slightly smaller gravel road, just before another avenue of cypresses begins on the main road. Turn left here (M).

After about 300m you cross the golf course at the tee off for hole 3.  After another 300m on this gravel road, you’ll come to a fork at a triangle of cypresses with a shrine in them (and the house Casa S. Ana 100m to your left); bear right here.  In another km or so you’ll pass the abandoned house of Podere Guaggiole on your left.

About 1 km past Guaggiole, you’ll pass Podere Oddi (note that the CAI trail shown on the Val D’Orcia map is wrong at this point.  The path they have marked on the map is no longer in existence).  About 1km past Oddi the road bends right (N), at the entrance (straight ahead) to Badia Ardenga.  Unless you’re visiting the Badia, stay on the main gravel road.

In another km you’ll pass the stone houses of Podere Pian delle Querce on your right.  About ½ km past Pian delle Querce the road forks (O), passing Casato Prime Donne (cantine) on your right. ATW on the left there’s a “private road” sign.  This road actually goes to the agriturismo Colsereno and its restaurant, Locanda Pane e Vino (the main entrance to Colsereno comes in from the north; this is the secret southern access route).

Unless you are stopping off at Colsereno, bear right at O.  In another 600m bear left, where the right is signed to “Podere La Magia”.  Another km past that, you’ll come to a T-junction (P); turn right.

Stay on this road, ignoring a turnoff to Gode in 350m-400m.  In another 400m the road changes to asphalt, which ends in another 300m or so at a fork (Q), go right here.

In about 300m bear left at a fork (ATW signed for “Le Fonti”, among numerous other destinations), cross a little bridge and fork right just after the bridge.

Pass the old house Pievecchia on your right in another km.  The road turns left here, then bends right (ignore a left fork up to an old house).

In another 5 minutes or so, passing an arched drinking fountain recessed into the stone wall, follow the main path as it bends sharply to the right, ignoring a fork off to the left.

After another 5-8 minutes of steep climbing, you’ll come out at another gravel road (R), which you take uphill to the left, passing in 2 minutes a little stone chapel (ignoring a fork back to the right, just before the chapel, and another fork down to the left 100m after it).

Soon after this you’ll see the stone arch of Porta Berelli, through which you enter the town of Montalcino.  For the centre of town, turn right at the Hotel Capitani (about 100m past Porta Burelli), then left past the little park.

Kees Dekker


(07/2012) In BUONCONVENTO we stayed at a newish hotel, Il Ghibellino. The place was very relaxed, the young all-female staff pleasant and helpful, and the room large, modern and nicely laid out. Before arriving we arranged with the Hotel to allow us to park our car there during the walk, so that we also booked a room for the day of our return from Montepulciano. The Osteria da Duccio was closed, perhaps permanently. We ate at the Osteria la via di Mezzo, on Via Soccini in the old town, which was reasonably good. On our return after our trek we ate at the Ristorante Roma, which was not very good at all. As a secondo I had grilled lamb chops which turned out to be thin overcooked burnt offerings!

BUONCONVENTO to AGRITURISMO PODERE COLSERENO
When we booked Colsereno we were told that unfortunately their restaurant was closed for the season. When we got to Buonconvento the day previous to our planned stay at Colsereno, we called and arranged to drive that evening to bring our next day’s supper supplies we purchased at the Coop in Buonconvento. The person who met us at Colsereno was a very pleasant young man, the son of the farm owner, who showed us the apartment we were renting. We returned to Buonconvento after stowing our supplies, and next day we set out for Colsereno, this time by foot. Your directions were very clear, except, as pointed out by others, there is no longer a possibility of taking the alternate route described on page 250 of your guide. The whole area of “Castiglione Del Bosco” which includes the area within the points J to N on your map are owned (except for the public roads) by the luxury goods manufacturer, the Ferragamo family. Where your alternative route is indicated is now occupied by a golf course, with perfectly kept greens, sand traps and all.
We arrived at Colsereno late in the afternoon, and were glad that we had not set out all the way to Montalcino. Perhaps it was because it was the first day of our walk, or because we were not yet accustomed to the heat, we arrived exhausted and somewhat dehydrated. I would advise carrying at least 1.5 litres of water per person as a minimum.
At Colsereno we met the father and another of his sons who owned an adjacent farm. We were treated to a very nice bottle of wine for supper, as well as an interesting tour of a successful working farm. (Not all agriturismi are primarily farms.) There was no one else lodging there.
AGRITURISMO PODERE COLSERENO to MONTALCINO
The walk was straightforward and we arrived before noon so that we had some time to visit Montalcino. We stayed at the Hotel Dei Capitani which is located immediately after entering the town at Porta Burelli. We had a very nice two level room on the town side, at a reasonable price of € 109.00 including breakfast. The “infinity” pool, with its incredible vistas, was very much appreciated, and the breakfast the next morning was one of the better ones we had on the trip. We ate at the Re di Macchia on Via Soccorso Saloni 21, a small unpretentious place with an imaginative menu. This is run by a couple, the wife cooks and the husband handles the service and the extensive wine list.

—Paul Cabilio
Nova Scotia, Canada


(06/12) We would like to recommend ‘Il Moro’ on Via Mazzini for eating, as mentioned in a previous comment.  It looks dead looking in from the street,  but there are further rooms inside, and when we were encouraged in by the very nice waitress,  we found ourselves in a large room with a view over the side of the hill with a balcony, full of Italian families eating very good typically Tuscan food.  Large portions and very reasonable prices.

— Sheila Puckett


(06/2011) We just did this walk in the other direction, as we are staying near Montalcino. A couple of points that probably simply further what was said by the person who sent a note on 11/08.

First, the alternate route on a farm track that was obliterated and dug up as of the 11/09 note, has been turned into a golf course! A fairly blah middle to the trip as a result. A lot of the wineries/estates have changed hands through here as well, but it was still easy to follow your directions and all the roads and turning points are the same and similarly marked.

Second, I would strongly agree with the point the previous writer made about your time and distance estimate being off. Though we only walked between Bibbiano and the base of the steep climb to Montalcino, we took about four hours, and that was without breaks. It would have been at least another hour on top of that even without breaks, and I can’t image most readers doing five hours nonstop (I felt silly that we did but we’d started late in the day and didn’t want to be walking in the dark).

Finally, the TNT Pub has cut back their hours to evening only (no lunchtime hours). I would recommend it for a stop as it is a nice laid back cafe with a short and tasty menu. But for beer-o-philes, it’s worth noting that they serve no Italian beers. They specialize in Belgian beers of which they have a long and pretty interesting list of bottles; they also serve Tennant’s and Guiness on tap.

We tried to get a taxi back from Bibbiano to Montalcino, but had not researched a phone number for a local taxi service along. The helpful waitress at TNT Pub called the Siena taxi service number listed in your book, but it would have cost us quite a bit to use that service. We were lucky that a couple at a nearby table with passable English offered to take us back once they had finished their dinner. As a result we made some new friends, so it was a delightful end to a truly overlong walk, next time we’ll be more careful about acquiring a local taxi service number or other means of evening transportation if we need it!

-Sara Cormeny and Pete Miller from Washington, DC=


(11/08)— On the way out of Buonconvento, you can pick up lunch provisions either at the Bar Moderno, or better yet, at the Coop Supermarket which is on the walk route heading out of Buonconvento.

The one serious flaw in the directions is that the estimated walk time of 4 – 5 hours seems underestimated for most.  Maintaining a modest 4 km. / hr. pace, we always beat even the minimum estimated walk time on all the other walks.  But this one took us over 5 ½ hours, not counting our lunch break.  This walk is 13 miles, almost twice the distance of the walk to Buonconvento, with a steep 1400 foot climb at the end.  I would estimate that the average walking time, not counting breaks, is 6 – 7 hours.  But it’s a great walk nevertheless.

The directions to the starting point are roundabout, especially if you entered into Buonconvento without going by the railroad station.  Instead of trying to find the train station, just head out the main street in town, Via Soccini, in the opposite direction from where you entered the town.  At the corner where the Bar Moderno is on your left, turn right onto Via di Bibbiano.  Keep on trucking.

At point E, when you make the left turn, you’ll be facing a tall, scraggly hedge directly in front of you.  As you walk, keep that hedge on your immediate right to stay on the faint track.  Otherwise, you’ll wind up crossing the first field over plowed-up and very rough ground.

The TNT pub in Segalari seems to be open in general, but was closed for vacation when we passed in mid-October.

I wouldn’t recommend the alternate route just beyond K.   The fields over which it passes have now been dug up by heavy equipment, and the farm tracks have either been obliterated, re-routed, or interrupted by new drainage ditches.  (We saw a sign later along the route indicating that the Ferragamo family is building a resort / golf course in the area, and this may very well have been the spot).  If you do try it nevertheless (as we foolishly did), just keep heading east however feasible, and you’ll eventually hit a one-lane gravel road.  Turn right, and you’ll run into the main gravel road, and the intersection with the regular route, at Podere Guaggiole, which is no longer abandoned.

At point N, the abbey at Badia Ardenga makes a great spot for a picnic lunch.  Stay straight, instead of turning right, to reach it.  It’s about a 1 km. detour each way.

Although this walk may seem long, all but the end is pretty flat, and the

final climb into Montalcino is shaded and nicely breezy.

And Montalcino is a very lively burg. The tourist office at Montalcino, off Piazza Garibaldi in City Hall, was the best we encountered.   You can view pictures of all their hotel, affitacamere, and agriturismo listings on the computer in their office, and they’ll make reservations for you at the place of your choice (and you can pay them directly).

In Montalcino, we stayed at Il Letto in Cantina, a charming, converted wine cellar near the sourthern city wall, which had a kitchen attached. (Note that there was a slight bit of traffic noise early in the morning, because it was near a busy crossroads).  The price was 62 euros.  Phone: 0577-849208.


(6/08)—Being early Spring, after a very wet winter, the fields outside Buonconvento were very muddy with rivulets of water to wade through but this probably would not be a problem in Summer.

We stayed at Agriturismo Colsereno (p243) with its lovely restaurant Pane e Vino where we found welcoming, friendly people. Despite arriving mid-afternoon (because the mud had been hard going) they gladly provided a wonderful lunch of bread, a big platter of antipasto and lots of wine to counter the wet weather.

In Montalcino (p. 244) we took note of your comments about ‘flossy, overpriced, restaurants’ and looked for alternatives. Trattoria Bar Sciame has changed name (forgotten the new name, but in the same place), is now fairly pricey, not tourist-friendly although the food was good. We can recommend ‘Il Moro’ on Via Mazzini for good food, friendly family atmosphere and reasonably priced. Disappointingly, the Hotel Residence has now closed down.
—Dennis and Renée Gordge, Summerveld, South Africa


(7/07)— We stayed in Montalcino at the Hotel Giglio, www.gigliohotel.com. We stayed in their second building which was €75 / night and quite nice. Enoteca Osteria Osticcio is a great enoteca with good food for light lunches and a beautiful view across the landscape. www.osticcio.com The Bruno Dalmazio Enoteca in Montalcino is fantastic! www.dalmazio.com Restaurant La Giardinaria where we had dinner is very good!
—David Dowell


(2/07)— We had difficulties in finding the track at E, possibly because of our

halting English. (Reading the directions now, we find the information very accurate.) So we walked into the field to the right, and found a number of small tracks, but not the right one. The searching along the field, however, led us to the right track, as it passed through the hedge into the second field. Note that this second field has been plowed, and most of the track as well. There was no doubt about the direction, but the walking was strenuous.

Then, L’Europeo/TNT is closed down, which led to a shortage of water when we were climbing up to Montalcino in the evening. Luckily we had enough food in the sacks. A phone call to the tourist office gave us information that the Hotel Residence Montalcino was closed down. We got a room at Albergo Giardino, just inside the northern entrance in the town wall. Large, cool rooms (simple and inexpensive, too), nice host/hostess, and a bar, a restaurant and a grocery as closest neighbours. And when we add that the hotel has a nice garden in front, and that the bus stop for Siena and San Antimo is just a few paces away- what more can you expect!
—Grete Holan and Torgeir Johansen, Hesseng, Norway



19. MONTALCINO TO SANT’ANTIMO

(07/2012) Again the directions were very clear. A few updates follow. P. Poggiolo between D and E has been totally renovated. The access to the path at F is somewhat obscured by the fact that the area by the asphalt road has been widened and various pieces of equipment were parked there.  The hamlet of Villa a Tolli between H and I has been totally renovated and is owned by a company which rents facilities for weddings, conventions, etc. Google it for further information. Incidentally the walk between H and I although devoid of any shade was one of the most beautiful on our trip. A nice breeze helped. At Sant’Antimo we stayed at Locanda Sant’ Antimo. The rooms were filled with bric-a-brac but otherwise OK. The breakfast was not great.

—Paul Cabilio
Nova Scotia, Canada


(06/12) It may be worth noting that some hotels and restaurants in Italy still don’t accept credit cards.  It was a particular problem when we stayed at Locanda Sant’Antimo which I had booked online but their website did not mention the cash only terms.  There is no ATM in the tiny village, but they did kindly accept a mixture of our last Euros and pounds sterling.  We also had occasional problems with ATMs, as in Bagno Vignoni.  Many thanks to you for the book – this was our second excellent holiday, the first one being in the Chianti area.

— Sheila Puckett


(10/10) - We Had a great hike in mid-October following your book – mostly! The proprietor in our B&B said we’d be lost for 2 hours if we started out on the non-paved path recommended, so to minimize our frustration he guided us to walk along some roadways to start. It was good advice, and the whole hike still took us 2 ½ hours.  (We are in our 50s and 60s) Ate lunch at Bassomundo, and while it was not the best food in Italy, it was wonderful following the big hike and while waiting for the bus back to Montalcino. Be sure to read the posted bus times when you arrive in Castelnuovo dell’Abate: If we had not checked we might have missed our bus as it was about 10 minutes earlier than expected!

We stayed at Palazzina Cesira, http://www.montalcinoitaly.com/home_cesira.htm. This is a FABULOUS place. Very elegant, but affordable. They are terrific hosts!

Robert gave us the directions from the traffic circle and past the police station (Carabinieri), instead of turning at the cemetery. (I am going from memory because somewhere along the way I lost the hike pages, having torn them out of my book. Yikes!) There was one “highway” (I use the term loosely) that was a little busy. We turned off at Ragnaie, I believe, onto the gravel road and into the more peaceful segment. But the route Robert gave us was foolproof and direct. Never felt in danger, and it could not have been for more than ½ an hour of the hike.

I can’t remember if I told you: I think that American hikers need to know that Italian trails are not as groomed as we are used to here. I would have gone on the hike anyway, but parts of the trail were pretty rugged. I’d hate to see someone try to take it in sandals!

Can’t wait to go back and try more hikes! We are not hike-every-day people, but we are big walkers. This was a treat we would not have discovered without your book. Thanks!
—Laurel Barton


(11/08)— If you’re heading to Saint’Antimo, the tourist office in Montalcino can also book you into the only two places to stay there (those are discussed below).  This is really important, because if you don’t have a place to stay near Saint’Antimo, you may as well turn around and walk back to Montalcino.

Don’t miss the nifty cemetery as you walk out of Montalcino, between points A and B.

Just past H, on the left, is an Etruscan dig being carried out by some archeology students.  It’s very laid back, with hand-lettered signs, and quite

interesting.

Don’t miss the Gregorian chanting at the abbey.

This is less than a 3 hour walk, mostly downhill, which will help you recover from the previous day’s trek.  We slept in before leaving Montalcino, then spent an hour or so combing through the town before heading out.

There is nothing at Saint’Antimo except the abbey, but it is on the outskirts of the tiny hill town of Castelnuovo dell’Abate.  There are only two places to stay in the vicinity, both mentioned in the book: Locanda Saint’Antimo and La Palazzeta.  As noted above, you should book one of these in advance because there are no other choices in the immediate vicinity.

The book is wrong about the location of La Palazzeta (or perhaps it moved).  La Palazzeta is right across the road from Locanda Saint’Antimo, then up a driveway of about 150 yards.  There are plenty of signs everywhere. The Montalcino tourist office booked us into La Palazzeta, and we found it preferable to Locanda Saint’Antimo, since it’s set back from the road.  For 70 euros, we had a one-bedroom apartment, which had a lovely view across the surrounding countryside (and the swimming pool).  We had dinner at Locanda Saint’Antimo, but you can also dine at the Osteria Bassamondo across the street (at the base of the driveway leading up to La Palazzeta), or buy provisions at the one and only grocery store in Castelnuovo, and then cook up dinner for yourself if you’re staying at La Palazzeta.

Castelnuovo is well worth the short walk up the hill from the crossroad.  It’s a cute little town, with no tourists in sight, and can be thoroughly explored in 10 minutes.
—Andy Cohn, Berkeley, CA


(6/08)— At San’Antimo, we arrived on Saturday and stayed for the weekend in a self-catering Agriturismo apartment just behind Bassomondo. We loved the tranquillity of the place, enjoyed a chanted Sunday Mass in the Abbey and ate all our meals with the family at Bassomondo. The Nonna in the kitchen made us a special dish of artichokes for Sunday lunch despite also catering for a busload of 100 tourists. Even the grandchildren made us special chocolate pancakes for dessert. This spot was one of the highlights of our trip! The food was great, although we wholeheartedly agree that the rabbit and boar stew dishes were awful! Stick to the pastas and other dishes and you’ll be fine! The young waitress was also initially a bit surly, but once we got chatting to the Nonna (in broken, but understandable Italian) they were all very friendly.
—Dennis and Renée Gordge, Summerveld, South Africa



20. SANT’ANTIMO TO RIPA D’ORCIA

(10/2015) I have attached corrections for some of route descriptions. The text in italics is of comments from other hikers submitted on your website after the release of the book. My text is indicated by the underlined text. I hope that you and your readers will find it helpful. From Sant’Antimo to Bagno Vignoni took us 4:30.

Coming from the abbey, take the steep road almost 1 km, up to main intersection (A).  Take the second most left, passing the Osteria Bassomonde on your right and carrying on along that road, which turns to gravel just beyond there.

This is a small road, very untraveled, with a wonderful view to the valley on the left, the abbey set amid patchwork fields punctuated by cypresses.  Don’t forget to look back!

After about 20 minutes from A, you’ll pass Podere La Fornace on the right.  Wide views on the right out to Monte Amiata.

In 15 minutes or so, you’ll pass the two farmhouses of Podere Loreto-S. Pio on the right.  The road begins to descend and you’ll see the glitter of the river Orcia.

About 15-20 minutes past Loreto-S. Pio you’ll pass Podere Casalta on the left (a relatively new stone farmhouse and ATW home to three noisy but harmless dogs).  Bear to the left after passing the house.

After a continuous descent from Casalta you’ll reach the River Orcia marked by a railway bridge on your right.  There is signage pointing the way to Bagno Vignoni  Follow this until you reach a small stream which you normally should be able to cross.  If not follow the path to the left upstream until you reach another railway bridge which you can use to cross the stream. an open plateau near the bottom of the hill.  Here, the railway tunnels under the hill far below you.  From here you can either continue straight down to the river, but instead turn left, angling toward the railway track.  The marked path emerges at one end of the railway bridge; continue across the bridge to the left.  (The bridge is not long, and there is plenty of room to stand clear of the tracks should a train come, but stay off the tracks themselves until you get to the far end, at which point you should cross only after looking both ways.)  At the far end of the bridge, the marked trail drops down the embankment right at the point where the last bridge abutment stands.  The trail goes across a small open area and up again where it rejoins an old tractor path.  Turn right here and continue downhill.  The path eventually levels out and begins to ascend slightly after which it joins a large open field.  Continue uphill.

You approach the house S. Barbara (not shown on the IGM map).  Here you can follow the CAI route, which continues up the road to the next farmhouse Caggiollo, or you can take the chance with our shady variant as follows: Reaching the compound of S. Barbara and standing in the driveway of the various buildings with the house to your right, turn left away from the house (ATW CAI mark on the tree here), bending back downhill in almost the same direction as you have come.  In about 25m there’s a slightly smaller fork bending uphill to the right; take this path.  Stay on this path for about 5 minutes until you reach an intersection of paths (C): there are two to the right and two to the left.  Take the first right, which dips briefly, then begins to climb gently.

In another couple of minutes you reach a T-junction with another dirt track (D); go right.

In about 5 minutes more, the path forks, bear left.  Follow this path uphill and in another 2 minutes it bends left and reached Caggiolo, intersecting another gravel road that wraps around Caggiolo (the CIA route).  Turn left, passing the house on your right.  Where the road forks just beyond it, take the right fork.  In another couple of minutes the path forks again; go right again (E).

In about 5 minutes you’ll come to an open space that looks as if it might have been mined or quarried.  The main path goes straight ahead and a smaller path branches off to the right of that.  Take this smaller fork, downhill (F).  (ATW there are two blue and yellow marks in the first few minutes of this branch in case you are in any doubt).  This is a very nice wooded path.  The castles of Ripa d’Orcia and Rocca d’Orcia behind it appear on the right and of course Monte Amiata.

Stay on the main path, passing Podere S. Pietro in 20 minutes or so.  In another 5-10 minutes the path leads up to a T-junction with a chapel on your left.  Turn right here and so into Ripa.  ATW the castle was not open to the public and no refreshments can be taken there.  The hosts will make you as a day visitor feel very unwelcome.

Kees Dekker


(05/2014) BTW, you can not  get on the grounds of the castle Ripa D’Orcia, unless you are lodging there.  We walked there from San Quirico and then onto Bagno Vignoni.

- Ellen Bernstein


(07/12)  The walk began well with the path affording great views. There was some confusion on reaching B. Although your description is exact with the railway to one’s right, the drawing shows the railway to the left. (No doubt this has already been pointed out). The water level in the river was low, making for an easy crossing. We tried the shortcut from S. Barbara but unfortunately the trail became less and less visible, so that we were forced to turn back and continue along the road to Caggiolo. Your directions from there were reasonably easy to follow. Incidentally, the stretch from Sant’Antimo to the turnoff E to San Quirico, was the only one in the whole trip in which we met other hikers; a pair of Germans, a lone Brit, and a guided group of Americans. (Quite a change from the French Chemin de Campostelle!)

We stayed at Castello di Ripa d’Orcia for one night. It was one of the best lodging experiences of our trip. The rooms were large and beautifully restored. The whole complex was peacefully serene with few other guests (I believe they were in the apartments rather than the guest house.)  The views from the swimming pool were outstanding. We had a very good supper there, with a bottle of an excellent wine of their own production, “Terredisotto”. We were the only ones in the dining room, and were treated very well by the person acting as waiter who, at dessert time, offered us complimentary glasses of their excellent house Vinsanto. The next morning we were treated to a very good breakfast before setting out to Bagno Vignoni. The only minor negative aspect of Ripa d’Orcia are rules which are compulsively posted around. (For example “Please do not wash laundry in the bathroom sink” and others in the same vein.)

—Paul Cabilio
Nova Scotia, Canada


(3/11)—By the way, you have an author’s note further down the page about some unfavorable reviews on the TripAdvisor website regarding the Castello di Ripa d’Orcia, noting that it’s not for everyone.  This is true, but not for the reasons that might be assumed.  The Castello is a once-in-a-lifetime destination, stunning in its location and with breathtaking views from the ramparts.  It is one of the most serene and peaceful locations I have ever stayed in.  It has been owned by the same family since the 1400s and they have guest accommodations.  The accommodations are quite good, as good

or better than any B&B you can stay in, and very private with their own bathrooms.  The food (breakfast and dinner) is excellent, as are the Castello’s own wines.  There is even a swimming pool and the owners make you feel very welcome.  However, it is not a hotel and there is no staff at your beck and call.  If you are accustomed to room service, dining whenever you want and checking in at 11:00 at night, then do not stay here.  On the other hand if you want to stay at someplace that is utterly tranquil with no phones, no newspapers, and the noisiest thing being the wind (and I am not kidding) then you will rate this place 6 stars out of 5.

Please put that on your website!

Kind regards,
—Art Braunschweiger


(2/11)—Enjoyed your book immensely on our trip to Italy last May.  It gave us a chance to see Tuscany in a way that we never would have experienced otherwise.

I have a correction for your walk #20 – Sant’ Antimo to Ripa D’Orcia:

Paragraph 6 reads

After a continuous descent from Casalta, you’ll reach the bottom, having crossed the railway track (probably without noticing it; it tunnels under you, far below) and you’ll come to an open space with several paths leading off to B, and the railroad track above you to the right.  The selection of paths is as follows:  to your right going under the railroad tracks; straight ahead downhill to the river; 900 to the left, and hairpin left.  Take the 90-degree to the left path, which you’ll see borders the river.
In another minute the path crosses the stream on a funny sort of bridge made of big rocks.  Beyond the bridge, continue on the main path, which bears left.
After following the path up and down across open fields . . . (continues)
This is wrong.  We stayed at the Castello di Ripa D’Orcia and took this walk in reverse, from the castello to Castelnuovo dell’ Abate.  After passing through the open fields referenced in the last paragraph, we reached the “bridge made of big rocks” only to find that the side stream leading into the main river was so swollen with spring rains that it was running swift and fast.  It was much too dangerous to cross.  We turned around and started looking for an alternate route, only  to discover that yours was not the marked route.   The marked route does not cross this stream directly, but
rather on the railway bridge nearby, which permits the walker to take this route regardless of the condition of the stream.  We discovered this only by chance after backtracking and trying to find an alternate route.

Your directions should read:
After a continuous descent from Casalta, you’ll reach an open plateau near the bottom of the hill.  Here, the railway tunnels under the hill far below you.  From here you can either continue straight down to the river, but instead turn left, angling toward the railway track.  The marked path emerges at one end of the railway bridge; continue across the bridge to the left.  (The bridge is not long, and there is plenty of room to stand clear of the tracks should a train come, but stay off the tracks themselves until you get to the far end, at which point you should cross only after looking both ways.)  At the far end of the bridge, the marked trail drops down the embankment right at the point where the last bridge abutment stands.  The trail goes across a small open area and up again where it rejoins an old tractor path.  Turn right here and continue downhill.  The path eventually levels out and begins to ascend slightly after which it joins a large open field.  Continue uphill.  (continue with remaining text)

Below are the “open fields” referenced at the end of the passage from your book I’ve quoted above.
The track leading downhill past the tree comes up from the river crossing you describe.  In the foreground to the right, just past where my wife is standing you’ll see a tractor path leading off to the right.  This is the marked trail.


And here [right] is the trail mark on

the Sant’ Antimo side of the railway bridge where the path angles up toward the plateau below Podere Casalta – proof positive that this is the intended route!

I hope this proves helpful and you can incorporate the revision into future editions.

My apologies for the delay in sending this to you.
—Art Braunschweiger


(11/08)—The walk to Ripa D’Orcia, and then on to Bagno Vignoni was gorgeous but frustrating because the two destinations en route were disappointing. We had anticipated a mid-day picnic on the castle grounds at Ripa D’Orcia, but when we got there, we found that the grounds were completely sealed off to everyone but hotel guests.  The only place to picnic was on the side of the road.  Bummer.

(On the bright side, the “three noisy but harmless dogs” on the way to Ripa were still there, barking away and even baying at us, Jack Russells pretending to be beagles).
—Andy Cohn, Berkeley, CA


(6/08)—On the way to Ripa d’Orcia we found the “stream” (p265) with the “funny bridge of rocks,’” a raging torrent! We made our way back to the railway line and with the help of the maps were able to navigate to higher ground and took the railway bridge across the river. We decided not to stay at Ripa d’Orcia as the restaurant was closed on that day, so we kept going to Bagno Vignoni - about 7 hours walk including a rest for lunch.
—Dennis and Renée Gordge, Summerveld, South Africa


(11/05)— This was not really a problem, but at Point B on the walk from Sant’Antimo to Ripa d’Orcia we had to follow the CAI signs, which took us over the river on the railroad tracks, because the river was too swollen from the rains to cross. At the far end of the railroad tracks, we took a sharp right & descended back down to the trail, all well marked with CAI signs.

—Robin Willis


(7/05)—We took a taxi from Montalcino to Sant’Antimo, followed by afternoon walk to Ripa d’Orcia. We enjoyed the accommodations and food, only 2 others staying, felt a bit weird.
—Sue Robertson, Melbourne, Australia

[author note 5/05] —We received an email from a reader who had a bad time when he stayed at Castello Ripa d’Orcia. He referred us to the “trip advisor” web site, and I’m posting the link here. Although we found the people very nice, I can see from reading these reviews that this is not a place for everyone. If you’re thinking of staying here, check out the reviews first and see if it sounds like the place for you or not. Luckily in terms of our book, most people don’t stop at Castello Ripa d’Orcia anyway; instead going on to Bagno Vignoni (a short, beautiful walk from Ripa), where there are options for everyone.
www.tripadvisor.com



21. RIPA D’ORCIA TO BAGNO VIGNONI
—(and Bagno Vignoni to Ripa d’Orcia)

(10/2015) I would just like to say I have completed this walk in October, and the directions are still good.

- Kees Dekker


(06/12) There is only one ATM in Bagno Vignoni and all three of our credit/debit cards were declared invalid, although they were fine elsewhere.  Be prepared!  We also had similar problems in Pienza and Montepulciano, but there were more ATMs and bureaux de change around.

- Sheila Puckett


(07/10) - We did the walk from Ripa D’Orchia (where we stayed at the Castello) to Bagno Vignoni and returned via dirt roads - lovely ring walk.
—Linda Schneider


(6/08)—Continuing on to Bagno Vignoni, we found that it was completely overrun by busloads of Italian tourists, and there was no room at the two hotels and one affitacamere in town.

With divine providence (or dumb good luck) favoring naïve tourists like us, the young lady working in the Bagno Vignoni tourist office took pity on us and called a family friend in nearby San Quirico, who had an available one bedroom apartment.  And then she drove us up to San Quirico herself when she got off work at 4:30!

If we had to do this walk again, we definitely would have booked a room in Bagno Vignoni in advance, and happily have “taken the waters,” Italian tourists notwithstanding.  Alternatively, one might avoid the touristy Bagno Vignoni altogether, and head for Rocca D’Orcia, the castle on the other side of the Orcia from Ripa D’Orcia, which is right next to the town of Castiglione D’Orica.  We met people who had stayed in Castiglione and reported favorably on it.  The IGM map indicates that you can pick up the CAI trail to Rocca if you cross the Orcia at the railroad bridge (point B on the walk from Saint’Antimo to Ripa), or at the ruins of the suspension bridge (just beyond point C on the route from Ripa to Bagno Vignoni).

Another alternative is simply continuing on to San Quirico, another 5 kilometers beyond Bagno Vignoni along well-marked CAI trails.  This is what we did, although we covered these 5 kilometers in a car.

San Quirico turned out to be our favorite town of the trip. It’s another walled, medieval hilltop town, but on the balmy Saturday night we arrived, we saw no tourists at all.  Seemingly the whole town had turned out in the main square:  all the moms sat and gossiped on the church steps, while the dads all gossiped over beer at the café a few steps away, and kids ran all over the place and teenagers flirted in the corners.  And there seemed to be plenty of places to spend the night.  Overall, it felt more “authentic” than heavily-touristed Montalcino or Bagno Vignoni.

As noted above, we didn’t stay in Bagno Vignoni, but in San Quirico instead.  Since we didn’t want to backtrack to Bagno Vignoni, we set out the next morning from San Quirico in search of the C.A.I. trail to Pienza indicated on our map.  Unfortunately, from downtown San Quirico, the starting point was not obvious.  Providentially, just as we were getting discouraged, another couple came along armed with directions who were also headed to Pienza.  These were the first people we saw walking in five days, and they appeared out of nowhere just when we needed them.  Again, fortune favored the foolish.

For those who might also choose to stay in San Quirico, here’s directions that will get you out of town to the junction at Il Rigo / Casabianca, where you meet the book’s trail from Bagno Vignoni to Pienza:

  • Facing the church in the main piazza in “downtown” San Quirico, turn right down the main street.  At the end of the street, as you leave the city walls, turn left and cross the street, passing through a small parking lot and then diagonally bearing right onto a residential street called Via della Liberazione.
  • Go approximately 100 meters.  Turn right onto Via della Pace.
  • At the end of the row of houses on your left is an unprepossessing path which takes you down to the main highway.
  • Cross the main highway diagonally to your right and proceed onto the street which is going downhill between the warehouses.
  • Go 300 – 400 meters. At the end of the street, just before a restored, gated farmhouse, the road continues to the right downhill.
  • Turn left where the asphalt road turns to gravel.
  • Keep straight on through a T intersection.  At the bottom of the hill, the track lets out into a larger dirt road.  Keep straight, ignoring minor tracks.
  • Eventually, you’ll meet the book’s path at point I, Il Rigo / Casabianca.

—Andy Cohn, Berkeley, CA


(6/08)—Bagno Vignoni was delightful, although we imagine it would be swamped with tourists in high season - we seemed to be the only tourists in town at this time of year. We stayed at La Locanda del Loggiato which was charming and straight out of an Italian film set. We ate at the owner’s restaurant where we had some delicious and unusual meals! We spent 2 days here, recovering in the hot springs, and walking up the hill to Vignoni where we found a poignantly interesting cemetery with the graves of some WW2 teenage Resistance fighters who had been tragically executed.
—Dennis and Renée Gordge, Summerveld, South Africa


(7/05)—Easy walk from Ripa d’Orcia into Bagno Vignoni, too long in the town as a bit dull, so did side walk to Rocca d’Orcia. Great meal at Il Loggiato, seemed to be open every day in June except Mon. Lunch time and dinner times only.
—Sue Robertson, Melbourne Australia



22. BAGNO VIGNONI TO PIENZA

(10/2015) I have attached corrections for some of route descriptions. The text in italics is of comments from other hikers submitted on your website after the release of the book. My text is indicated by the underlined text. I hope that you and your readers will find it helpful. This walk took us 4 hours.

Standing in front of the Albergo Le Terme, facing the central piazza (the old pool), turn right.  Walk to the end of the street (the corner of the pool), turn right heading east (A).

Walking along a dirt track with a stone wall on your left, you’ll come very shortly to an intersection where you meet with six paths (two of which are gated).  Considering them in a counterclockwise direction, ignore the rightmost (which leads to asphalt) and the one straight ahead (which passes between stone pillars into a driveway); take the next one, which leads uphill along the stone wall bordering a property on your right.  The path climbs a hill toward the north, following along the left side of the wall, past the house.

Soon the path becomes a single track and a little bit overgrown, but still recognizable as a path.  Just keep climbing up straight ahead; the path soon levels off and reaches a T-junction with a dirt road (B).  Go left here.  This is about 5 minutes after leaving Albergo Le Terme. The description above is outdated and the path totally overgrown.  The gravel road should be joined from somewhere further downhill from Albergo Le Terme.

Follow this road uphill for a few minutes until you come to the first (an old) house on the right, Tassinaie, with a stone wall in front of it.  Just at the end of the stone wall apst it, beginning in front of their driveway gate (and following a very short distance along a stone wall connecting to the front gate), is a path on the right (C).  Take this path, bearing left where the stone wall turns a corner to the right.  In about 5 minutes the path bends right (D) and above you you’ll see an old abandoned farmhouse Cerrolungo with a big electric power pylon next to it and some olive trees on the hill between you and the house.  Leave the path here and turn left climbing up the hill toward the house with the hedge to your left, olive grove to your right.  At the top of the field you’ll come to a T-junction with another farm track; turn right toward the house in front of you.

Follow the track past the house and beyond as it curves around to the left and downhill, passing under the electric line, then bending around to the right and continuing downhill.  The path has clearly not been used much lately and is at times severely overgrown.  Using the adjacent fields is however no problem.

Follow this straight down to the asphalt road (E), the entrance to San Buona Venturea B&B; Podere Buonaventura on the IGM maps.  Cross over and almost directly across the road find a farm track that leads into the field.  The path goes left, the immediately right, crossing down toward trees.  Follow it into the trees, where it bends around to the right crossing a little stream, and then climbs across a field to the farmhouse of Casellona.  After crossing the stream and beginning to climb up the path through the field, if you look up to the left, you’ll see cypresses and an electric line: that’s where the road is and you’re going to be heading toward it.

The track bends around Casellona and comes out on a gravel path (ATW house is being renovated; it looks like this gravel path will be part of their driveway).  Cross this gravel path and directly opposite follow an old farm track there, downhill (ATW toward some large shrubs) and at the bottom of the hill (about 100m) you’ll come out at a dirt track (F).  This is about an hour from Bagno Vignoni.  A little further along on this track, as in many places along here, you can see the vestiges of the old Roman road, the squarish stones laid in straight lines.

In about 5-10 minutes, when this path comes out on a T-junction (G) with another dirt road, go right, uphill, toward a file of cypresses on the hillside just ahead.  Continue on this road, after 5 minutes or so passing a newish house on the right.

In another 10 minutes or so, pass to the right of Marciana, an old stone and brick farmstead, going to the right of its two main, old buildings, and bear right on the smaller farm track just beyond.  The town of San Quirico d’Orcia is visible to the left in the distance.  Ahead on a distant hillside is the silhouette of the Pienza tower.

Near the top of the first hill you climb (about another 5 minutes), the main track turns left, but there is a slightly more minor track bending to the right, toward some trees.  Take that track (H).

This track heads downhill through trees to arrive at Podere Ginestreto, an abandoned house of red brick with an external staircase to the upper level, which is a feature found in many of the old farmhouses of the region, the upper level housing the people of the farm, the ground level the animals.  Pass to the left of the house, bearing left on the farm track here.

The track drops down, then climbs over a wild hillside.  Cresting the hill, in the distance ahead, San Quirico is again visible and, more immediately, the agriturism farmstead of Casabianca.  Note: Casabianca is the name of the house as it appears on the IGM map; however, they have named their agriturism operation Il Rigo.

When you reach the gravel road (I), Casabianca is on the left here, turn right.  In another 5-10 minutes you’ll pass the simply styled red brick house of Poggio Bacoca.

About km (5-10 minutes) past Bacoca, ATW there’s a small marble cross on the right.  A bit more than 100m later there’s a path on the right (J); it is the first right after the driveway of Poggio Bacoca.  Another marker is a low stone wall beginning on the left side of the road, about 25m beyond where this path goes of to the right.  Take this path.

After about 10 minutes the path forks, about 75m before a small old stone house (Podere Piani) straight ahead.  Take the left hand fork.

This path leads downhill toward a streambed, which it crosses in another 3 minutes or so, then begins to climb again.

Stay on this path (ignoring a path (K) coming from the left in about 5 minutes from the streambed).  As you walk along this path, the house ahead of you on a hill slightly to the right with a line of cypresses leading to it is Terrapille.  Pienza is to your left.

The path ends at a T-junction (L) with the driveway for Terrapille.  Turn left for Pienza.

Follow the driveway for a little more than 1 km until it comes out on a road on which you turn right, passing in front of the chapel La Pieve (Pieve di Corsignano).  About 100m past La Pieve, turn left uphill on a single lane asphalt road.  Climb up this, reaching Il Prato restaurant on the right in about 5 minutes.

- Kees Dekker


(06/2015) My only comment on the excellent directions and maps is to say that the path out of Bagno Vignoni is now completely overgrown and awaiting a couple of energetic locals armed with machetes to sort it out!

Thanks again!

-Tim Pattinson

Hampshire, England


(05/2014) We used your original edition in Chianti in 2000, and again for the area around Florence in 2004, and then the revised edition in southern Tuscany (south of Siena) in 2009.  In September 2013, we used that edition again in the same region (this time with kids).

I can report that walks 22-24 are still spot on.  The Pienza ring walk was especially fun - just the right length for kids about 10 years in age.  As to restaurants, La Porta (Montechiello) is still excellent, though overrun with British tourists when we were there.  Unfortunately, Borgo Buio (Montepulciano) is now gone (that place was great), replaced by something unmemorable.

-Andy Lelling and Dana Gershengorn


(07/12) After a short stop in Bagno Vignoni we set out for the Agriturismo Il Grillo (Casabianca). We had some trouble finding the way out of town. We found the path to B, but after a short time we could not make out the way, since it was badly overgrown. Had we some idea as to how close we might have been to the road we could have tried bushwhacking, but decided against it. We backtracked and got on the paved street which leads out of town.

After passing a modern building in a park like setting to our left, housing the tourist information office and an ATM, we reached the first road heading uphill to our left, (just before a small store to the left after the intersection) in the direction of the town of Vignoni (without the ‘Bagno’), and proceeded up this unshaded dirt road until Tassinaie and point C, from which we turned according to your directions. Later, once we crossed the road at E and came within sight of Casselona we decided to cross the field as indicated, rather than go all the way around Casselona. The track was very overgrown, and when we reached the end we had to spend some time removing all the burrs and seeds which were sticking tenaciously to our hi-tec hiking socks. High rise hiking shoes would have fared better than our low rise ones!
After some time, we finally arrived at Il Rigo. This turned out to be a very hot and tiring day, as tiring as our first day from Buonconvento.
Il Rigo was full of people (mainly Germans), and we had a nice supper there. Unfortunately there was no swimming pool, which would have been very welcome after our trek.
AGRITURISMO IL RIGO to PIENZA
The walk to Pienza was easy and picturesque. In Pienza we stayed at Affittacamere Mauro and Chiara which is located a few blocks from the old town, but an easy level walk after the climb up to the town. The accomodations were modern and clean, and very reasonably priced (€ 68 for three.) We soon discovered a promenade walk with good views, which one can take between the Affittacamere and the old town. In Pienza we ate at Trattoria Latte di Luna, Via San Carlo 2/4. An extremely busy, excellent restaurant. Try their Anitra con Olive (duck with olives).

—Paul Cabilio
Nova Scotia, Canada


(06/12) Getting out of Bagno Vignoni involved hacking through the undergrowth. You say on page 280 that the path is ‘a bit overgrown, but still recognisable as a path’.  Possibly we missed the way, but we found it completely overgrown and had to force our way through.  As it was raining again, this meant we got quite wet, but we did successfully find the dirt road.  Possibly we would have followed the road out of Bagno Vignoni if we had known how overgrown the path had become.  On the walk also, page 283, the small marble cross mentioned as being 5-10 minutes after passing Poggio Bacoca does not seem to be there anymore.  However, the other marker described – the low stone wall, plus the timings and distances meant we found our way without too much concern.

In Pienza, I would like to recommend staying at Il Giardino Segreto, Via Condotti 13.  It is right in the historic centre and has a lovely walled garden.  The rooms are very pleasant and look onto the garden, and the price was very reasonable at 60 euros a night for a double room with bathroom and breakfast in the room.  You can find all the information about it and other places to stay via  a small website, www.cretedisiena.com. ( You can also book the Bella Vista in Montepulcano from this site).   Furthermore it is right next door to the Cucina di Fiorella which was open!  We can report that the food was really excellent and the staff very friendly and helpful.  It was open for both the nights we stayed there, and was clearly very popular.

- Sheila Puckett


(05/2009)—My wife and I used your original edition to explore the Chianti region (we were based in Radda) in 2000, and just came back this month from using your revised edition to explore southern Tuscany (we were based in Pienza).  As of 5/25/09, the directions for walks 22-24 are still spot on.

We belatedly realized that your restaurant recommendations are also first rate.  La Cucina di Fiorella (Pienza), La Porta (Montechiello), Borgo Buio (Montepulciano), and Cavolo Nero Trattoria (Florence) are all still excellent.  Borgo Buio was an especially nice find, being both a bit quirky and sufficiently off the beaten path in Montepulciano that it was not overrun with tourists.  Cavolo Nero may have gone a bit more upscale since your revised edition (prices still reasonable, food outstanding - our hotel was very curious as to how we knew about it).

Your book vastly improved our trips to Tuscany.  Nothing compares with being able to “access” all that beautiful scenery, instead of just staring at it

from a hilltop town or the autostrada.
—Andy Lelling and Dana Gershengorn


(11/08)—In Pienza, lodgings are plentiful – lots of affitacamere along the main street. Instead of grabbing a place right away, we made the mistake of waiting until 3 PM, when the tourist office opened, figuring they could spare us the hassle of negotiating on our own. Bad choice. All they had was a list of lodgings, and they would neither make phone calls for us or even let us use their phone. Quickly enough, however, we found another lovely affitacamere, Antica Locanda, at 72 Corso il Rossellino (the main drag). 338 4942628 (cell). Their email is lanticalocanda@hotmail.com, and website is www.anticalocandapienza.com.

Barbara, the proprietor, speaks English and lives right across the street, so she’s easy to find. We dealt with her mother, whose high school French was the match for mine. Price for a double was 70 euros.

Dining spots can fill up, however. Il Luna, just next door to our lodgings, was recommended to us, but it was filled up when we arrived. Best to make a reservation.

Note that from mid-October on, the papal palace, well worth a visit, closes at 4:30. You can only see it by taking a tour, and the last one in English is around 3. (We arrived at 4, and took the tour in Italian. We saw much, learned nothing).
—Andy Cohn, Berkeley, CA


(6/08)—We stayed at Camere del Falco in Pienza and enjoyed a lovely meal in their restaurant although the rooms are tiny.
—Dennis and Renée Gordge, Summerveld, South Africa


(07/07)—We had lunch at Latte di Luna in Pienza. Good, but heavily touristed. Pienza was delightful and the Palazzo Piccolimini very elegant.
—David Dowell


(7/05)—Scenic walk from Bagno Vignoni to Pienza, we even recognized the location of famous scene from Gladiator. Stayed in Albergo Antica Locanda. Dinner at Trattoria La Buca Delle Fate [Corso Rossellino #38], friendly and lots of locals.

—Sue Robertson, Melbourne, Australia



23. PIENZA RING WALK

(05/2014) We used your original edition in Chianti in 2000, and again for the area around Florence in 2004, and then the revised edition in southern Tuscany (south of Siena) in 2009.  In September 2013, we used that edition again in the same region (this time with kids).

I can report that walks 22-24 are still spot on.  The Pienza ring walk was especially fun - just the right length for kids about 10 years in age.  As to restaurants, La Porta (Montechiello) is still excellent, though overrun with British tourists when we were there.  Unfortunately, Borgo Buio (Montepulciano) is now gone (that place was great), replaced by something unmemorable.

-Andy Lelling and Dana Gershengorn


(05/06)—The Pienza Ring Walk was lovely and very clearly explained in the book. It took us a bit longer than 2 hours which was a surprise as we are always within hiking times of guide books that we have used from several different sources.
—Carley Claghorn, Montpelier, VT



24. PIENZA TO MONTEPULCIANO

(09/2015) We have walked in Tuscany a number of times and today (10 September 2015) followed the walk in your book number 24 ‘Pienza to Montepulciano’. In fact, we walked it east to west (ie Montepulciano to Pienza). A number of observations/comments:

* It’s a fantastic walk, really getting you into the heart of the countryside. Walking it in September, you get to see a lot of farming activity too.

* There are no issues with routemarking. In fact this year we have noticed a significant number of new waymarks generally in the area, as a part of the RET programme (’Network of Footpaths in Tuscany’). Waymarks (wooden fingerposts with distances in kilometres and suggested timings) are placed at most major junctions on this route.

* If you are following the Kompass 1:50 000 walking map number 653 (’Pienza, Montalcino, Monte Amiata’) much of the route follows the route ‘6′ on the map. However, if walking from Montepulciano look out for the utlity pole mentioned in the book on p296: here the Kompass map suggests you would take the right hand fork if following route 6; however, you need to take the left (there is the traditional red and white waymark with ‘6′ marked on it low down on the ground here).

* A practical point: horseflies abound on this walk, so wear long trousers/long-sleeved top, or ensure you have administered insect repellent if in shorts and t-shirt.

* The bus from Pienza to Montepulciano is route 112A (112R if travelling Montepulciano to Pienza) and runs several times a day - check out the timetable beforehand though as there are quite long gaps in the schedule in the afternoon when you’d most likely be finishing the walk. At Pienza we bought tickets prior to boarding the 15.25 (bus stop just further down from the Piazza D.Alighieri) at the wine bar Il Caffe on the Piazza (€2.50 single fare).

* The walk is about 9.6miles and took us around four and a half hours. There is a lot of climbing involved but well worth it for the views (my Fitbit exercise tracker suggests the equivalent of 146 floors!).

Just a note about the restaurant in Montechiello on the Pienza - Montepulciano walk described above: it does now appear to be a magnet for tourist buses; we ate there last year but not this: the food last year was good, but it does appear now to be on (some of) the ‘must do’ tourist group itineraries, so has lost some of its ‘local’ feel (in our opinion, at any rate).

This area of Tuscany is so great for walking!

We hope these comments are helpful,

Andrew & Jill Thraves, East Sussex, UK


(05/2014) We used your original edition in Chianti in 2000, and again for the area around Florence in 2004, and then the revised edition in southern Tuscany (south of Siena) in 2009.  In September 2013, we used that edition again in the same region (this time with kids).

I can report that walks 22-24 are still spot on.  The Pienza ring walk was especially fun - just the right length for kids about 10 years in age.  As to restaurants, La Porta (Montechiello) is still excellent, though overrun with British tourists when we were there.  Unfortunately, Borgo Buio (Montepulciano) is now gone (that place was great), replaced by something unmemorable.

-Andy Lelling and Dana Gershengorn


(05/2014) We ended up walking in and around and through Montalcino-Montepulciano. The bianca strade was so easy to follow most of the time, that we didn’t have the need for specific directions from your book.  We did however follow your directions from Montichello to Montipulciano and they were extremely helpful–perfect!

- Ellen Bernstein

(07/2012) Again the walk was fairly straightforward. There were a number of comments on your website regarding the access at E near Monticchiello. There are in fact two posts from which a chain could be hung to bar the way. When we got to that point there was no chain to be seen, and we proceeded past the house which is along this road. A little further we gave way to a van which was proceeding from the direction of Montepulciano towards E, so that it appears that this is not a private driveway, but in fact a public road. Not much further along there is a gravel road which enters this road from uphill and to the right. We didn’t investigate where this road originates, but presumably a little further up from the road to Monticchiello.

In Montepulciano we stayed at the Albergo Il Marzocco on Piazza Savonarola, just inside the walls near Porta al Prato, and close to the main bus station. This is a hotel which has been there for a long time, but its atmosphere is very relaxed. Our room was large, and furnished eclectically with some antiques. The hallways and other public areas also display nice chests of drawers. The staff was all very nice and helpful. We ate supper at the Trattoria di Cagnano Via dell’Opio nel Corso 30.  It appeared to be a very popular spot for tourists and locals, and the food was very good. The restaurant Borgo Buio seemed to be closed permanently. Since we were taking the bus back to Buonconvento the next day, (there are a number of buses a day from Montepulciano to Buonconvento), we lingered in

Montepulciano until the afternoon, and had lunch at the Osteria dell’Acquacheta, Via del Teatro 22. The place is basically a long narrow room with interior seating at long tables running along the sides leaving the centre of the room for moving to and fro. The open kitchen, dominated by a large open wood fired oven, is at the back of the room and slightly raised from the dining area. The place was marvellous, and the food excellent and authentic. It fills up fast and reservations are strongly advised.

—Paul Cabilio
Nova Scotia, Canada


(07/10) - I walked from Montepulciano to Pienza, and then back again, and then around Pienza.  These walks were a highlight.  It is impossible to put into words what it feels like to leave either of those towns and catch sight of the other.  Both are Emerald Cities, reminding me of the excitement Dorothy and her 3 friends felt when they first spotted the Emerald City:  “What are we waiting for?  Let’s hurry!!  Yes, let’s run!!”

I took the detour through Monticchiello, which turned out to be my favorite Italian hilltown to date [been here a month and used your book to explore Assisi and environs, Gubbio, West of Siena, Chianti Excursion, and now Southern Tuscany].  Monticchiello is what Pienza or Montepulciano were 100 years ago.  For a real trip back in time to unspoiled, unaffected Italian hilltowns in all their loveliness, Monticchiello is an absolute must.

I would urge everyone to stop in Monticchiello.  I did so going both ways and I am so glad I did.  Monticchiello is the Italian hilltown of my imagination.
—David Dominguez, Orem UT


(05/2009)—My wife and I used your original edition to explore the Chianti region (we were based in Radda) in 2000, and just came back this month from using your revised edition to explore southern Tuscany (we were based in Pienza).  As of 5/25/09, the directions for walks 22-24 are still spot on.  Minor comment:  the Pienza - Montepulciano walk (24) is phenomenal, especially in the Spring when all the flowers are in bloom, but you might consider advising readers that it’s a bit tough in parts.  My wife and I are in our 30s and work out regularly, and there were one or two stretches of this walk that really wore us out.  (I should note that it was 88 degrees - perhaps a factor).  We took your advice on the Italian bus system in this region and used it to get back to Pienza.

We belatedly realized that your restaurant recommendations are also first

rate.  La Cucina di Fiorella (Pienza), La Porta (Montechiello), Borgo Buio (Montepulciano), and Cavolo Nero Trattoria (Florence) are all still excellent.  Borgo Buio was an especially nice find, being both a bit quirky and sufficiently off the beaten path in Montepulciano that it was not overrun with tourists.  Cavolo Nero may have gone a bit more upscale since your revised edition (prices still reasonable, food outstanding - our hotel was very curious as to how we knew about it).

Your book vastly improved our trips to Tuscany.  Nothing compares with being able to “access” all that beautiful scenery, instead of just staring at it from a hilltop town or the autostrada.
—Andy Lelling and Dana Gershengorn


(11/08)—At top of p. 296: The “private” sign, noted by previous walkers [see updates below] is gone. However, the farmer has strung a chain across the road, which we ignored. The farmer himself was clearing brush along the road as we passed, and he gave us a dour look as we hailed him with our cheeriest “Buon Giorno.”

If you detour into Montechiello, which we highly recommend, you can actually avoid this turn-off altogether. As you come back down from Montichiello, about 150 meters before this turn-off, there is an earlier turn-off, which is just opposite another stone farmhouse with an open archway – this one facing away from the road, however. Since you’re now coming from the opposite direction, you’ll turn right onto the dirt road at this turn-off, which will intersect with the road leading away from the original turn-off in a few hundred meters.

There are two tourist offices in Montepulciano. The official one is to the left as you enter the city walls, near the bus station. We didn’t realize this when we came into town, so we headed for the “unofficial” tourist office, which is on the main square, to the right as you come into town. The unofficial office is run by its participating members, so their lodging listings are not complete. Nevertheless, they got us a quite adequate room at the affitacamere attached to the Osteria del Borgo, right off the main square at 5 Via Ricci. www.osteriadelborgo.it. 0578 716799. 80 euros for a double. One advantage of this place is that the proprietors, a young and gracious couple, are always around, since the restaurant is open all day. We had a drink and light dinner there, which were a perfect end to our hike. The bathroom in our room even had a washing machine, so we continued onto Rome with totally clean, if still damp, underwear.

The unofficial tourist office steered us to the official tourist office for bus schedules to Chiusi Scalo, a main train station on the route from Florence to Rome, our final destination. We also bought our bus tickets there. Sadly –

because after such a great week, we dreaded our return to “civilization.”

But, as we found out the next day, what’s to dislike about Rome?
—Andy Cohn, Berkeley, CA


(6/08)—In Montepulciano the Tourist Office recommended an Agriturismo nearby. The owners of ‘Podere Fontecastello’ http://www.fontecastello.it collected us from the Tourist office and drove us down the hill, just below the main bus terminus and market place, where they have 4 apartments and a self-catering cottage. We thoroughly enjoyed 2 days here with a friendly family who make their own wine and olive oil. This venue was so convenient, as it is within walking distance of town (less than 2 kms), yet we felt as though we were still in the countryside. We had a delicious Osso-buco at the Osteria Acquacheta, via del Teatro 22 and bought wonderful fresh artichokes and pasta at the market to cook in our apartment.

We’d like to thank you for inspiring us, and for your detailed and accurate descriptions and directions. Everything was spot on! We’d like to do it again later this year perhaps during the grape harvest where we can get involved on an Agriturismo farm.
—Dennis and Renée Gordge, Summerveld, South Africa


(07/07)—This was a very beautiful hike, especially from Pienza to Montichiello (which I tacked on). The views in this section are simply wonderful. Classic Tuscany.

The update comment I have on this section is: top of p. 296 “… across from an old stone house with an open archway facing the road. Turn left here.” As others have noted, yes there is a new house in front of you as you turn left. That said, the path is otherwise exactly as you describe and I followed it exactly. The sign which said private had been uprooted and was lying face down just where you turn left. No gate barring the way. So, I had no issues, no problems, just followed your description. Which only needs change to note the new house as a landmark.

We stayed in Montepulciano at Camere Bellavista. Great views from our window. We had dinner at Ristorante Cittino, a very local and very good value, low price small restaurant looking to be run by a mother and daughter. Mother Marcella makes the pici pasta by hand says a Montepulciano resident in her posting on egullet.
—David Dowell


(08/06)—What prompted my emails with you before our trip was the “No Trespassing“ issue posted on your website by other walkers before us. Your guidance was most appreciated and we thought we should share our experiences and give some information to others who follow. This is what we discovered:
The map recommended to you by the tourist office in Pienza was in German and unfortunately had no English included. Additionally, the young lady who was in the tourist office when I was there, although very nice, had no knowledge of walking.

What we did is take an alternate route using the Strada Bianca roads on this part of our journey to avoid the No Trespassing issues. Our walk was great and there we no “No Trespassing” issues.

My wife and I thank you for your great book and support of our walking across Tuscany.
—Bary C. Sherman, USA


(07/06)— Re the new house on the Pienza-Montepulciano walk [point "E" see comments below] – I just continued on by the house. The actual path is not affected in any way.
—Stephen Coan


(07/06)—Thank you for your book Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria.

We spent the whole of May in Italy – most of it in Tuscany. Having decided to do without a car we did everything either on foot of by bus – and found your book the most practical and useful of all the guides we had with us. We stayed at farmhouses – one just outside the village of Radicondoli near Colle val d’elsa and another just outside Montepulciano. From the latter I (being the one who did the walk) caught the bus to Pienza and then did your walk number 24 back to Montepulciano.

The walk was as you describe – the only changes from your time of writing is that at point E (p.295) there appears to be a new house opposite the old stone house and there is no signage indicating the Costarelle’s property (p. 296).

A couple of other comments: we found the tourist information offices rather hit and miss – at Siena the staff member we dealt with was rude and unhelpful, even to the extent of giving us incorrect information. At Cortona

the staff (there was only one) was singularly uninterested and we had to extract information bit by bit. However these experiences did not detract from our enjoyment of this wonderful part of the world – enjoyment further enhanced by your book.
—Stephen Coan and Antoaneta Slavova, South Africa


(05/06)—Just a note about the Bella Vista. It is a wonderful location with an incredible view and very nice room. We had told Gabriella we planned on 5 nights and when we told her we wished to change our plans (to 2 nights) she got very angry and said it was not possible. I was very apologetic and polite but she just kept saying we were obligated to pay for 5 nights and implied she had turned other people away, even though we were the only guests in the place (in early May). It was very unpleasant. We finally did get through it and were able to pay her, get a receipt and leave the next morning.
—Carley Claghorn, Montpelier, VT

[author note] —See the rest of C. Claghorn’s update in the “General Comments” section above.


(11/05)—This problem has already been been discussed by others, & that is at point E on the trail from Pienza to Montepulciano, when we turned left on the small dirt road across from an old stone house with an open archway, we went approx 100 m when we encountered a man working on a house, his pickup was parked in the road. When we asked him if this was the path to Montepulciano, he said emphatically, “NO”, so we turned around & went back down to point D because we thought the road to Telle might work, but after reading your directions again realized that wouldn’t work, so we headed up the hill to Monticchiello, where we found the Tourist Information office & they gave us directions to Montepulciano from there. We were never able to figure out how to reconnect with your trail. It was a wonderful walk, despite all of the delays & still took us only 4 1/2 hrs.
—Robin Willis

[author note] —According to the Pienza Tourist Office, the map showing this alternative route from Montecchiello is the Kompass map #653, “Pienza Montalcino Montepulciano,” for sale in Pienza near the tourist office for 6.95 euros. You can also contact the tourist office directly at:
Ufficio Informazioni Turistiche di Pienza corso Rossellino n. 30, 53026 Pienza (SI)
telefax: 0578 749905 / e-mail: pienza@sistemamuseo.it


7/05)—Pienza to Montepulciano, lots of note checking, went along recommended road with private gate and new house still being built. No problem. Another magnificent walk. Ristorante Borgo Buio very closed down. Our host at Meuble il Riccio recommended Osteria Dell’Acquacheta… excellent with attitude.

It was a memorable trip to Italy, which we haven’t visited for 30 years. Thank you for the detailed and beautifully written track notes. The maps were hardly needed.
—Sue Robertson, Melbourne, Australia


(6/05)—I enjoyed the hike very much but had some question as to the status of the trail at Point E “across from the an old stone house with an open archway facing the road” at which point your book indicated to turn left. There was a sign saying “private road” even though there was the Siena Province Path sign. I took the dirt road despite the private sign and in about 200 yards met a gate with a lowered bar across the road. I walked around the lowered gate and entered another road which had me on track. Did I take the wrong trail at this point or is there some effort being made to close this short connecting road?

[author note] Often a “private property” sign will apply to cars but not to walkers, especially if the property is owned by Italians and not foreigners (there’s a note on this subject on p. 21 of the book), which sounds to me to be the case here. I will try to get information from the tourist office about it. Meanwhile, unless another reader reports a complaint, I would think it is fine to go this way, especially as the Siena Province Path sign is still there. Alternatively, you could follow the directions given by J.P. below.


(5/05)—We did three of the walks from your book Walking and Eating in Tuscany and found them all very enjoyable. The first walk we did (15 April 2005) was from Pienza to Montepulciano. The book says this can be done in 3 to 4 hours, but it took us almost six hours. We weren’t quite prepared for the amount of climbing involved. We found one small problem at point E. We did not find the path sign marking the turn, the road was blocked by a gate, and a new house had been built on the property. We climbed another 200 m on the road to Monticchiello and turned left. The path connected with the original one on the other side of the new house. Also when we came to the “streambed” mentioned as being 1 km from E, we found the streambed filled with water. Thankfully we found a small stone bridge hidden in the undergrowth about 20 meters farther on.

Despite these minor difficulties we enjoyed the walk enormously and decided to do as many more as time permitted.
—J.P.

[author note] Other walks reviewed by J.P. are Badia a Passignano Ring Walk and Lamole Ring walk, both in the Chianti chapter.


(5/05)—We were in Southern Tuscany this April (2005) and were looking forward to trying Borgo Buio after reading your book. When we got there we found it closed with no indication that the restaurant will reopen. Their website also seems to no longer exist.
—Holli Payne



25. MURLO RING WALK, via La Befa (Stazione Murlo), and Addenda

(07/10) - We used your book for walks and restaurants in Tuscany in June.  We loved the book, and the walks we took following your instructions.

We did encounter one problem we’d like to tell you about.  We tried to do the Addendum - La Befa to Murlo, via San Guisto.  Instructions were great, it was beautiful, but we were chased by about 6 sheep dogs guarding their lovely belled flock.  Escaping the dogs we found the farmer who regarded us suspiciously and warned that there were really dangerous dogs up ahead.  In effect he said ”what are you doing on the old trail, you belong on the new one,” the new one being the newly-signed portion of the walk between La Befa and Murlo (your new “revised” version of the walk).  We were on the old “unrevised” path, the one you called “less managed” (and it was.) So we turned back.

Thanks for your book -such a great guide.  We are recommending it to all our friends.
—Linda Schneider


(10/06)—My wife and I spent a wonderful two weeks walking between Buonconvento and Montepulciano using your walks as a guide. We loved it — two weeks without setting foot in a motorized vehicle and in beautiful countryside! We left our luggage in Montepulciano September 30, took the bus to Buonconvento, and with backpacks walked back. We left Montepulciano October 15. The weather was beautiful. It only rained one evening while we listened to Gregorian Chants at Sant’Antimo.

We found one apparent error in your directions from La Befa to Murlo. That is at “N” on page 304 which states: “Coming to a log gate across the path and immediately before a T-junction with a wider stone path, turn left uphill; then immediately reaching another junction with a stone road making a curve, turn right N.”

This was off the detailed map we had of Val D’Orcia, so although the directions did not seem to make sense we followed them. We proceeded to climb a steep gravelly path until we came to a stone road making a curve which we followed. This took us right back the T-junction without adding quality to the walk. If one were going to Agriturismo Olivello, following this path might make sense, but our suggestion for proceeding to Murlo is that after arriving at the log gate go around it and proceed straight ahead to the gravel road, ignoring side trails. At the gravel road bear right on it towards Miniere di Murlo.

We hope this helps.

[author note 10/06] The directions in the book, as amended should read like this {starting with paragraph 3 on p. 304]:
“Coming to a log gate across the path, go around the gate and proceed straight ahead to the gravel road

N, ignoring side trails and bearing right on this gravel road, towards Minere di Murlo.

Follow the road, which is wide here, passing in another 10 minutes or so the station complex…” etc.

Follow the road, which is wide here, passing in another 10 minutes or so the station complex…” etc.


Murlo is a gem!
We hope to be able do some of your other walks in the future. Thanks for a wonderful book!
—David and Carolee Chamberlin


A useful tip, especially in the rainy season: Before leaving home, we photocopied the maps and directions for each day’s walk on a separate single sheet of paper, back-to-back (with a bit of creative cutting and pasting) and then we laminated them. Each morning we set out we then needed to carry only one page of easy to follow, waterproof directions.
—Regards,
Dennis and Renée Gordge
Summerveld, South Africa
27-82-440-4111
dvgordge@gmail.com


(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.

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