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The Fiesole loop: the essence of Tuscany
A bike tour in the hills of Florence

A tour in the heart of the Fiesole area, surrounded by farms, woods, old villas and bell towers as well as hills strewn with olive and cypress trees, offering delightful views over Florence.

Duration: 5 hours (alternative 6 hours)
Towards Montesenario

For 10 kilometres cycle the gentle up and downhill slopes heading toward Olmo along via dei Bosconi, in the heart of the Fiesole area; it is a sea of hills, an honest and ancient harmony between man and nature. Following the road you'll soon see the hills of Fiesole to the south, which watch over the city of Florence, to the west Montemorello with its slopes stretching to the horizon, inviting your gaze to pass down the valley towards Mugnone, scattered with farms, woodland, old villas and bell towers, whose colours change through the seasons, from green and grey to yellow, orange and brown. To the north, Montesenario with its monastery keeps watch along the ridge, an outpost overlooking the Mugello and the Apennines.

Having reached the "Quattro Strade" crossroads, carry straight on towards Bivigliano, leave the municipality of Fiesole and enter Vaglia. After a right-hand hairpin bend, a short yet steep climb leads to a new, open panoramic viewpoint. Looking east, over the road that you have just taken, you can sometimes see Poggio Pratone (702 m), the highest point in the Fiesole area, as well as Montereggi. Take in the views of Florence Cathedral, an unmistakeable call to travellers, today as in the past, to the City of the Lily.

In the forests of Fiesole

Turn right, uphill, at the next junction, heading for Montesenario, which is your first destination. It runs along the ridge and boasts the rolling Mugello hills. In a landscape of low-lying hills, carved by the wind, vast meadows followed by the pine, chestnut and fir trees take the place of olive and cypress trees. Wrapped in the silence of the dense firs of Montesenario, the darkness preceeds the peaceful nature of the monastery, where the unexpected view of the Apennine mountains helps to distract from the tiredness of your legs after you have reached the summit (809 m).

Go back via the same road (expert cyclists can take the via Matris, a steep gravel slope) as far as the crossroads, turning right towards Bivigliano, which you will reach after a long descent through dense chestnut woods. Ride through the village and the small central square, continue along the tree-lined avenue and then into the pinewoods for wide ranging views. Take the same road you took on the way to get back to Fiesole.

An alternative: through a swathe of olive trees
Fiesole- Credit:  Jacqueline Poggi

Prior to the last downhill section before the Quattro Strade crossroads, turn right along via di Campolungo (then via di Campilungo), heading down a steep slope for approx. 3 km, first on asphalt, then on a dirt track. With the olive trees keeping you company, take in the scenery and enjoy the details of a countryside that seems garden-like. Having reached the bottom (Querciola) cross the via Faentina and turn left. Continue for 500 metres, then immediately turn right, along the isolated via delle Molina (then via Nuova delle Molina) and climb up the left slope of the Mugnone Valley. It's no mean feat to get back onto the initial road that leads to Fiesole, but it is a beautiful ride that is certainly worth the effort.

This itinerary was created by Giovanni Crescioli/FiesoleBike.it on the occasion of the 2013 UCI Road World Championships, which took place in Florence and surroundings.

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