Distance: 28 miles
Foot Time: 4/5 hours
You can download the gpx file of this itinerary HERE (right click and choose "Save as" to download.
This is a very panoramic, fun ride that is challenging for MTB riders. It starts from Florence and returns to Florence after a loop on the hills to the east of the city.
The starting point is in front of the municipal swimming pool Costoli, which sits near Florence's soccer stadium and next to the Mandela Forum. Following the GPS track, take city roads towards Fattoria di Maiano. After passing the fattoria, on the right, you'll find an easy dirt trail which goes down and then up to meet an asphalt road. Take a left and when you come across another dirt trail shortly after, turn right now. Enjoy the super pretty view on Florence, this is a great spot for pictures!
Follow the GPS track and climb along the olive orchard on your right. Several single tracks bring you to the top of the climb and from now on, its just a downhill on an easy dirt to reach large, open countryside with farms and views on the valley.
Once arrived at a very little village called Ontignano, admire the little church in the quiet square. Then continue down and across the small bridge. Admire the small waterfall on your left and be ready for a long climb on gravel.
Take a breath and get ready for the fun, steep (but not dangerous) downhill on gravel. After that, you've got a nice rolling going.
Watch out for the path on your left when you are descending to a big villa. It's a beautiful country road with grass, easy and pictoresque especially when it goes through an old farmhouse with rock threshing floor. Two hundred meters and turn left.
After an old house that looks vacant, turn right in onto a single-track reaching a dark wood... you are going to reach the big stone tower ahead! Very particular and curious. Now fun tunnels under the trees take you down to another tower and then down to the Arno River valley. The small village of '' Le Falle'' has a nice, small wooden bridge that crosses the brook. Follow the quiet tarmac road and turn right on the first crossing. One more short uphill and then you can find a water fountain on your left.
Going along the river on an open road with cars, you'll pass the town of Sieci where you'll also find a bike path with the Arno river on your right. Follow the main road to get to Rosano, which will be on the other bank of the Arno as you head toward Pontassieve.
We recommend a stop at the Bottega di Rosano, where you can enjoy great Tuscan food – a light lunch is in order! It's on the way, when you turn left for the old Monastery of Santa Maria. After the old group of houses, belonging to the Monastery, the way turns off the main road again and starts to climb the hill on a nice track in the woods.
Once at the top, a rolling dirt trail gets you to the Castiglionchio farm, and from there, alongside vineyards, the track starts to climb uphill. It becames steep and rocky but fun for those who have the legs and driving skills, for about a quarter mile until the last part ends on a tight stretch on tarmac.
Now you are on the edge of the hills in the surroundings of Florence. From here, the way is along a long rolling dirt road in the woods. Meeting the crossing called “4 strade”, turn left and get ready to approach your last climb! After this, the route finally starts to go downhill, first on tarmac and then on dirt road as you head to the Nuovo Ranch Restaurant.
From here, the track goes down on the old Roman road, which is evident once you see the rocks become well-placed on the way. These roads lasted a long time!
At the crossing with Via della Bascula, turn right and enjoy the panoramic view of Florence and the Arno valley. Be careful on the steep tarmac going downhill and be ready to follow the GPS: after turning, you have to proceed right on a dirt road. You will see old houses and villas here, a very nice spot!
Keep checking the GPS track under control so you won't miss the single track that slightly turns left. At the house with the tower turn right, then left and continue downhill. The soil turns first to gravel and then to tarmac at the end. Turn right now, and then, after a very small bridge, turn left again onto gravel. Once again, turn left where you'll meet a tarmac road that goes down to Florence.
Your itinerary off-road is over.. sorry! From Rimaggio, just follow the Arno River and then the GPS track to get back to the start/finishing point.
Enjoy the ride!