A typical country track in Tuscany
"Strade Bianche" means
"white roads" and in Tuscany this expression refers to
the network of unpaved back roads that run among the vineyards and
olive groves of the Tuscan countryside. The name comes from the
colour of the dry earth and the limestone gravel and small stones
of these roads during the Tuscan summer. These strade bianche
provide an ideal means of exploring rural Tuscany by taking
leisurely walks, bicycle or horse rides and also car excursions.
(Car drivers - please drive slowly especially when you see walkers
or cyclists ahead. They'll appreciate not being covered in a cloud
of dust!) There are also panoramic walking paths markered by the CAI (Club Alpino Italiano), which in many cases follow these roads.
There are maps available, notably Kompass
maps, that have these walking tracks marked but they are
not always completely up-to-date. The strade bianche used to be regarded as an inconvenient relic from the past to be
sealed as quickly as possible but awareness of their attractions
for locals and visitors alike means that many are being preserved.
In addition, they are in fact essential to farmers who have to
drive their caterpillar tractors to distant fields since
caterpillars are prohibited on sealed roads because of the damage
the do to the surface.
The Montepaschi "Strade Bianche"
Bike Race of Tuscany, Italy
This wildly popular bike race was known
formerly as the "Eroica". In 2010, for
example, the 190 km route featured eight sectors
on the white gravel roads, the longest of which
was 13.5 km, for a total of 57.2 km. In terms of scenery and history, the race is hard to beat. The
2010 course started in Gaiole in Chianti and ended in
the Piazza del Campo of Sienna.
Bird watchers and orchid fanciers will be happy after a day
wandering these back roads.
You can picnic almost anywhere in the woods or the olive groves as long as you don’t break off branches, pick fruit or grapes, light fires or
leave rubbish behind. Take plenty of water with you. Feel free to pick wild
berries, especially blackberries, which are plentiful in season.
Please be very careful with cigarette butts and don't light fires.
The vegetation can be extremely dry for most of the year and scrub
fires spread rapidly.
The best way to enjoy the
strade bianche of Tuscany?
A horse and wagon tour!
If you're planning to stay in
Tuscany anywhere near Montespertoli - and
that means anywhere in Chianti or Florence - be sure
to look into the possibility of taking a short or
long horse and wagon ride with I Cocchieri di
' Chianti who are licensed to take you on an
excursion through the beautiful Chianti countryside.
A tour can include a wine tasting, a picnic, a lunch
at a farmhouse and many other activities.
More about horse
and wagon rides in Tuscany.
and hiking trails near Greve in Chianti.
on walking and hiking trails in Italy.
Bicycle routes in Tuscany between Siena and Florence.
orchids of the Tuscan countryside.