TUSCANY BY BIKE: CYCLING AROUND MAREMMA

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Tuscany by bike: a selection of 3 itineraries to cycle around Maremma. Among lagoons, pine forests and Spanish fortresses.

Orbetello, Spanish fortress - Tuscany By Bike: Cycling Around Maremma (Ph. by Filippo Nardozza)

Orbetello, Spanish fortress – Tuscany By Bike: Cycling Around Maremma (Ph. by Filippo Nardozza)

From Orbetello to Argentario – pushed out towards the Tirrenian Sea and the Tuscan Archipelago. Or alongside coastal plains, towards Ansedonia, Marina di Grosseto and Castiglione della Pescaia. Maremma’s heart –  the Tuscan’s Southern area which borders Latium – is well suited to be discovered and enjoyed by bike. All thanks to the mild climate, the mainly flat land structure (but that’s just not true for the Promontory) and the irresistible fragrances of the Mediterranean scrub – rosemary, heather, junipers, sea pines, holm oaks – lasting until fall.

Maremma by bike: the starting point

Our advice to experience Maremma on two wheels is to start from Orbetello. The pretty town, with its singular, stretched shape surrounded by water (it stands on a strip of land lying in the homonymous lagoon, between Feniglia and Giannella, the “tomboli” that join the mainland at Argentario), is a lively but quiet tourist centre where it’s still possible to see the signs of the sixteenth-century Spanish domination.

If you are not already equipped with a vehicle, renting it here to pedal to various directions will be very easy.

The Orbetello lagoon communicates with the open sea - Tuscany By Bike: Cycling Around Maremma (Ph. by Filippo Nardozza)

The Orbetello lagoon communicates with the open sea – Tuscany By Bike: Cycling Around Maremma (Ph. by Filippo Nardozza)

Maremma by bike, towards Argentario

The first recommended cycling tour (about 20 km long) starts from the heart of Orbetello and leads towards the Promontory, alongside the artificial dam connecting the town to Monte Argentario.

Here the impact with the lagoon is direct: before sunset, it is not uncommon to see flamingos and other aquatic animal species. Also, the only specimen of water mill from the time of the Spain Protectorate in Tuscany, which still lonely reflects in the lake mirror, will immediately capture your attention.

After the dam, turn right, following the provincial road, to the main village of the Monte Argentario area, Porto Santo Stefano. The hamlet is dominated by the Spanish fortress from the Renaissance era and departure point for Giglio and Giannutri Islands. Along the way – passed the point where the lagoon, through an artificial canal, communicates with the open sea – you’ll catch glimpses of the coastal side and small stunning coves.

Alongside Orbetello's dam - Tuscany By Bike: Cycling Around Maremma (Ph. by Filippo Nardozza)

Alongside Orbetello’s dam – Tuscany By Bike: Cycling Around Maremma (Ph. by Filippo Nardozza)

Cycle tourism in Maremma between seaside and lagoon

The alternative, which takes us to the second itinerary (less than 20 km in total), consists in turning left at the end of the Orbetello dam, to reach the other major urban center of Argentario: Porto Ercole, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, curled up within its bay dominated by the promontory with the Renaissance Rock and the 19th Century Lighthouse.

Returning from Porto Ercole to Orbetello will then take you to the path along the entire Feniglia tombolo and its Natural Reserve, a strip of land separating the lagoon from the open sea. Take the road to Feniglia at the exit of the village, turning right on the provincial road and following to the beach. The way will bring you deep in nature, running in a lush Mediterranean blend. Stop to feel it, enjoying the echo of the verses from aquatic ornithological species, the light breeze, the flat and placid horizon.

Going along the whole Feniglia you will reach the village of Ansedonia, on the homonymous headland. A visit to the site of Cosa, an ancient Etruscan town then Roman colony and definitively abandoned in the 1300s, is a must. Turning north, towards the Aurelia road and along the coastal street that runs along the lagoon, you will return to Orbetello.

Porto Ercole - Tuscany By Bike: Cycling Around Maremma (Ph. by Filippo Nardozza)

Porto Ercole – Tuscany By Bike: Cycling Around Maremma (Ph. by Filippo Nardozza)

Biking in Maremma within large pine forests

The third and longest suggested itinerary (about 50km long) is a mix of bike and train in the heart of the Maremma Natural Park. Loading the bike on a regional train from Pisa and descending to Grosseto, cross the city westward following the indications for Principina a Mare. From this small holiday resort starts a coastal cycle path that comes first to Marina di Grosseto, and then to the famous Castiglione della Pescaia.

You will pedal in a pine forest that surprises for its continuity – interrupted only by bridges on canals and waterways reflecting the clouds – for its silence and its perfumes. For the strongest cyclist, it is possible to return to Grosseto (and from here by train to Orbetello) directly from Castiglione, following to the town through provincial roads, occasionally flanked by bicycle lanes.

You will pedal across the fertile Grosseto plain, dotted with white farmhouses.

Biking among the pines - Tuscany By Bike: Cycling Around Maremma (Ph. by Filippo Nardozza)

Biking among the pines – Tuscany By Bike: Cycling Around Maremma (Ph. by Filippo Nardozza)

Practical Info

Orbetello is located on the important Rome-Pisa railway line through the hamlet of Orbetello Scalo; from here you can reach which the city centre by bus in a few minutes.

For the overnight stay, there is San Biagio Relais, a charming solution with diverse rooms and suites. Double room with breakfast for 135 €.

For tourist information and tours’ suggestions check at Orbetello Tourism, whose offices are located in front of the small Duomo. Timetable: 10am-1pm and 4pm-7pm.

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