June 25, 2018
Continuing north on the old via Aurelia, still on the flat plains that characterize the Tuscan Maremma, I reach the small burg of Braccagni, frazione of the comune of Grosseto. The local road winds high up the adjoining hill to the historic village of Montepescali, a fief in the Middle Ages of the Aldobrandeschi family which later passed into the Republic of Siena, gained autonomy in the first half of the 15th century, and was later annexed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Eyeing the steeply climbing road towards the hilltop, I think it best to continue cycling towards the north …
Soldiering on northward through thunderstorms and turbulent winds, I pass another hill town, Montemassi, a Gothic entrepot that also belonged to the Aldobrandeschi family in the Middle Ages, then fell into the hands of the Republic of Siena, and whose claim to fame in these remote parts is a fresco attributed to Simone Martini.
Even more imposing of a hill town, Roccatederighi looms above me to the right as I proceed along the serpentine roads in this mountainous landscape, still far from my ultimate destination.
Climbing further west along remote country roads towards Tatti, I enter into the Colline Metallifere, a mountainous and mineral-rich region of Tuscany that represents a unique and protected ecosystem.
The charming medieval hill town of Tatti is almost abandoned, other than a few of the very aged crawling through the byzantine alleys to some destination, a route the person may have taken regularly over many years, as the antecedents in turn innumerable generations beforehand. I am struck by the singular beauty of this simple town so rich in its charms, surrounded by such a dramatic landscape, a gem among a multitude of other barely known gems lost along the convoluted roads of this ancient landscape.
Thankfully, the storms I encountered further to the south have dissipated, and the sun has broken out again, revealing a stunning and picturesque landscape around me, but the end of the afternoon is close at hand, and I still have some distance to ride. Labouring further to the north, I reach the SP441 at Prata, then at Pian dei Mucini continue on the SP439 for the final stretch to my vaunted final destination.
As much as the day has been daunting, struggling through stormy weather earlier on in the day and the mountainous landscape the rest, the most challenging part is yet to come, the climb up a mountain to one of Tuscany’s great coastal cities, Massa Marittima.
(Narrative excerpted from www.travelingintuscany.com and Wikipedia)