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Itinerary n. 2 •

Montepulciano (S.Biagio) - Poggio Colombi (SS.146)
Madonnino - Badia Sicille - Trequanda - Montelifrč
Montisi - Castelmuzio - Petroio - Madonnino
Poggio Colombi - Montepulciano (S.Biagio)

A feature of this route is the continual undulation of the road, with some climbs rather steep even though short. The critical point is reached at the end of the steep drop after Montisi. The first 500 meters of the climb are sufficiently steep to require a 39 x 23 gear, it then becomes progressively more manageable. On the whole, the route requires a lot of gear-changing.

Indications for the route:

Leave from the temple of S. Biagio in Montepulciano. Take the SS 146 in the direction of Pienza as far as the junction for Torrita. After about 3 Kms you can take a detour for Montefollonico and after another 5 Kms for the ancient monastery of Sicille. Unfortunately the late romanic church can only be seen from the outside. Returning to the main route turn right and continue as far as Trequanda, with its interesting historical center, then continue towards Montisi which we pass on the left. At the next junction take the road for Castelmuzio and watch out for the ruins of Montelifre castle. Just before you reach the town itself, we suggest you take a short detour to the right towards the romanic church of S. Stefano a Cennano. Then continue towards Petroio, where it is possible to refill your water flasks from a roadside spring, then start the uphill climb. Just before the top, on the right, you will see the ovens which produce the famous terracotta of the region. At the Madonnino cross-roads turn right to rejoin the road already covered towards Montepulciano and, after as total of about 50 kms, back to the starting point.

Environmental and historical features:

The countryside which we cross along this route is clean and attractive with a large number of sites of historical interest. This hill system dominates the three valleys of the Chiana, Asso and Orcia. The agricultural landscape is a balanced combination of olive groves, vineyards and meadows and sheep and horse-breeding. Chianina beef is also bred here. There are some beautiful country farmhouses, each telling its own tale of their "mezzadria" or share-cropping past. Naturalists will be interested by the Mediterranean scrub found between Castelmuzio and Petroio, made up largely of holm-oak and stunted bushes. Montefollonico, Trequanda, Montisi, Montelifre, Castelmuzio and Petroio are the castles, walled towns and medieval villages. The churches of Sicille, SS. Pietro and Andrea in Trequanda, with their frescos by Sodoma, and Santo Stefano a Cennano offer excellent examples of romanic architecture. After Castelmuzio, looking towards the Val d'Orcia, there is the wonderful view of the solitary and imposing structure of S. Anna in Camprena. At the end of your ride you really must spend some time relaxing at San Biagio, a superb example of Renaissance architecture.



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