lunedì 31 dicembre 2012

Power walking, Running, Biking in Tuscany

 La Selva to Montebenichi, one of Arezzo's prized “Strada del Vino” 

One of the wonderful things to do during your holiday at La Selva Vacation Villa Rentals is to take a walk up to Montebenichi. It overlooks the breathtaking Val'd'Ambra or valley of the Ambra River. It is considered one of the most scenic roads in the Province of Arezzo and is part of “Le Strade del Vino” or “Wine roads”. It's a great way to start your day or to get moving after a day of relax reading or lounging around the pool.  If you think La Selva Villas already has an extraordinary panorama just you wait!  

At the top is Montebenichi, a charming ancient medieval village and aside from the church and private homes of local and international dwellers, it has a small 4 star hotel in a castle and one quaint restaurant, both fantastic. There is no bar or grocery store, but thankfully there is a public drinking water fountain next to the church to fill up your water bottles.

Montebenichi is 3.5-4.2 kilometres (2.2-2.6 miles) up depending if you are starting out from the main grounds of La Selva villa where Libreria and Terrazza apartments are located or one of our large Villas, Felciai and Fabbri. It climbs 200 metres (656 feet) up in altitude, just right. A completely paved road it meanders among olive groves, vineyards, cypress trees, oak woods with a few lovely farmhouses and villas on the way. Wide enough that any passing cars can get by you easily, it's bordered with and array of wild flowers, some very fragrant. 

 The climb starts out slowly and increases, a sort of natural warm-up.  Softer slopes dot the route from time to time to give you a bit of a break. It's nice to stop and turn around to admire the remarkable view. Often wild animals can surprise you when they cross your path; wild boar, pheasants, porcupines, fox, deer and badgers. No worries, they are afraid and take off fast! You won't be alone on this trail as quite a few of us have discovered this wonderous walk.

About 2/3rds to the top is an interesting 8th Century Romanic Church where the local Priest Don Alessandro stays.  The church is a wonderful setting for weddings overlooking terraced hills you can see in the photo above. 


The back faces the road and you can just walk around the side to get to the front.

The 360° panorama is stunning from the top. Siena can be easily seen to the SW and the Chianti Mountain range to the north.

 Of course the main view is Val'd'Ambra spread out marveously below.  On clear days you can see as far as Rapolano, the Crete di Siena, Val'd'Orcia and Tucany's volcano, Monte Amiato where the famous Brunello wine comes from. Closer below you can see La Selva and a little beyond Castello di Montalto (historical enemies of La Selva Castle-now-Villa during the medieval, but this is another story for another blog!).

If you are super energetic you can continue on a gravel road along the crest of the Hills of Val'd'Ambra towards Solata and further, Cennina; a great trail for mountain bikers. After a wonder around Montebenichi and a rest the way down is much easier - it is hard to not run!  You can admire the sights all the way down.

When weather permits I go almost every day as one of my primary work outs. Just being outdoors, getting the heart pumping, breathing in the clean air along with with stupendous views and fragrances extends the mind and brings a real sense of well being. I feel so fortunate to have this at my doorstep.

What you will need:
comfortable running shoes, a water bottle, adequate clothes, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses depending on the weather.

I hope you enjoy it when you are here with us.

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1 commento:

  1. This article was more for walkers and joggers, but I will do one specially for mountain bikers in the near future. There are a few excellent trails for those who like to do many kilometres in the most spectacular scenic places. La Selva Vacation Villas does offer mountian bikes to guests.