Mountain biking in Chianti (3)
Please note: The times we have given is for riding without stopping to explore the numerous places of interest en route.
The excursions start and finish at Greve, the little town which is the "capital" of Chianti. Its charming, irregular central square, Piazza Mercatale, is enclosed by loggias where once produce was gathered ready for sale and now is lined with speciality shops.
There are frequent fairs and exhibitions in the square, including an annual autumn wine festival. A statue of Verrazzano stands in the square. Born in Greve, the famous navigator was the first European to sight what was to become New York.
Greve - Montefioralle - Monte Calvario - Quattro Strade - Mercatale - Ferrone - Poneta - Poggio ai Mandorli - Chiocchio - Nozzole - Passo dei Pecorai - Greve
Length: Km 41.9
Estimated time: about h.2.17' (bitumen Km 18.5 - dirt Km 23.4)
One of the longest itineraries, the unpaved road surface is good and not particularly steep, either uphill or downhill. However, the rider needs to be fit. The itinerary follows the north-west border of Chianti Classico as far as Mercatale. There are two villages along the itinerary: Montefioralle and Mercatale.
There aren't many places of cultural interest, but the rider will enjoy the beautiful countryside. En route amongst the hills one will see castles, country churches and farm houses surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and woodlands. At Km 3.1 the road could be very muddy.
Km 0/ h 0
departing from Greve, follow directions for Montefioralle. A steep climb (bitumen / uphill)
Km 1.3 / h 10'
Montefioralle. Do stop and have a stroll through this delightful "borgo". All that is left of the antique feudal castle is part of the 13th century wall which forms a semicircle around the S. Stefano church, built in the Gothic style and containing several valuable works of art. In the past this village belonged to several noble families: Ricasoli, Benci, Buondelmonte and Gherardini.
The fame of its wine has been documented since at least 1404. Continue straight on riding beside the wall of the village. Turn left near the water fountain. (bitumen, dirt / varying terrain)
Km 2.2 / h 13'
Turn left at junction, riding downhill (dirt / downhill)
Km 3.1 / h 19'
Having ridden uphill turn right at junction (dirt / uphill)
Km 4.4 / h 26'
Keep going straight ahead past the Pernano farmhouse. (dirt / uphill)
Km 4.5 / h 27'
Turn right along the SP 118, following directions for Mercatale (bitumen / downhill, uphill)
Km 6.6 / h 37'
Case la Paurosa. Keep going straight on along the bitumen road (bitumen / uphill)
Km 8.7 / h 44'
Poggio di Testa Lepre. Follow directions for Mercatale (bitumen / varying terrain)
Km 13.4 / h 52'
Quattro Strade. Go straight on at junction, direction Mercatale (bitumen, varying terrain)
Km 14.6 / h 55'
Mercatale. During medieval times Mercatale became the market spot for the inhabitants of the surrounding area (they lived in the hills for defence purposes).
When peace finally reigned the inhabitants gradually moved close to the market place, the town developed and the hill communities disappeared.
During the Renaissance Florentine noble families and merchants built villas in the area. Follow directions for the town centre and S. Casciano (bitumen / flat)
Km 16.2 / h 1.00'
At junction turn right for Luiano. There is a wonderful lookout along this road. Do be careful to stay on the right as you ride down the dirt road! (bitumen, dirt / flat, downhill)
Km 21 / h 1.09'
At junction turn right along the SP 3, direction Greve. (bitumen / flat)
Km 22.9 / h 1.14'
Ferrone has always been the centre of terracotta production in Tuscany. Production today is mostly paving tiles. Ride over the stream and turn left near the church, continuing along the dirt road. (dirt / uphill)
Km 25.9 / h 1.28'
Go straight on at first junction. Turn right at second junction, riding uphill. Ride through the woods, then after approximately 100m turn left and then turn right. Go straight on past several side roads. (dirt / uphill, flat)
Km 27.1 / h 1.36'
Poggio a Mandorli. Ride past the downhill road on the left. At next junction, turn left. (dirt / flat)
Km 28.8 / h 1.41'
Chiocchio. Go to the left as you come to the first houses. Continue on to the SS 222 (the "Chiantigiana"). Turn right. (bitumen / varying terrain)
Km 29.4 / h 1.44'
Chiocchio: Turn right along the dirt road - there is a restaurant ( note: there is a post office further along the street which you turn off). Ride through the wooded area as far as Fattoria di Nozzole. Turn left. (dirt / varying terrain)
Km 33.6 / h 1.55'
Passo dei Pecorai. Turn left, direction Greve. (bitumen / flat)
Km 38 / h 2.06'
Turn right at junction, direction Greti-Greve. (bitumen / flat)
Km 41.9 / h 2.17'
Welcome back to Greve.