Monday, June 29, 2015

Via di Montenero

Beautiful ride today.  After traversing the city of Livorno I found Via di Montenero and began climbing.  It's a beautiful winding road up the hill to Castellaccio.  From here I began a long, forested descent on Via Quercianella to the junction with SS-1, the coastal highway.  It resembles California Highway 1, spectacular twisty road on cliffs above the sea.  Unfortunately like Highway 1 it's also very busy, so I opted out of riding it today.  Maybe very early on a Sunday morning I'll try it, when no 18-wheelers are on the road and sightseers are still enjoying their complimentary breakfasts.

Today instead I headed back up the climb to Castellaccio.  A castle tower was visible in the distance, I saw a side road, I thought I'd explore.  Alas the narrow lane deteriorated, then became dirt, then steeply-descending rough gravel, small boulders.  Being stubborn I kept going.  Plus a guy (even older than me!) was climbing this on his MTB in the opposite direction.  Anyway, I avoided crashing and finally arrived at rough pavement.  At a T-intersection I went steeply down to the right and ended up in La Vedetta and then my goal: Santuario di Montenero.  Nice church here.  Then I continued down Viale del Tirreno, which  has some gorgeous long, looping switchbacks suitable for fleets of tour buses bringing pilgrims to the santuario.  I followed the same route through busy Livorno and made it home unscathed.

Note:  I have no GPS track because my Garmin battery died yesterday.  Inexplicably, I have a USB charger at home but opted not to bring it.  Also I've omitted a blog entry for yesterday's ride on Via Popogna.  It's a nice climb but joins the same road (Via del Valle Benedetta) I already wrote about, so seemed redundant.   Also I lost my iPhone on the gravel road home (Via dell'Uliveta) but a very kind Italian jogger had found it and helped me beyond the call of duty to recover it.  Such a kind person!  VV Italia!

Sea oats (?) along the mountain road 

SS-1 (AKA California Highway 1)

Ventana Highway in the sunshine

Santuario di Montenero

Il Papa visited here, I'm guessing

These are tombs I believe

View from terrazzo of Livorno and the sea

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