Saturday, June 27, 2015

Colline Livornese: Parrana San Martino e Valle Benedetta

I'd never heard of Colline Livornese before today;  I was riding south and was afraid to ride through the busy city of Livorno.  So when I saw a turnoff on the edge of town marked Via delle Sorgenti I randomly chose it to avoid the traffic downtown.  It meandered eastward through the countryside, then branched off onto Via Parrana San Martino.  I began climbing up through forest, then into a landscape of rolling hills, fields, orchards, olive trees, vineyards.  

After San Martino I descended to busy SS206 but escaped before long onto another country road,  
Via della Valle Benedetta.  This was a pretty steep climb with the sun beating down.  It winds up through Colognole to Valle Benedetta.  While I was climbing I'd seen an enormous white geodesic radome on the mountaintop and found the access road here, Via del Radar.  This was a kilometer averaging 10% gradient up to a chain link fence topped with concertina wire.  The radome was hidden by the trees, so I descended.

Now I switchbacked down to Limoncino and into Salviano on the periphery of Livorno.  I wandered through town generally heading north and eventually reached Stagno and the road home.  I'd had a taste of this delicious countryside and knew I had to return. 

Aquedotto Leopoldini, built in 1800

Stone and brick arches

Parrana San Martino

Steep Via del Radar above Valle Benedetta

Hazy view of Mar Tirreno, Livorno 

Geodesic radome

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