TUSCANY TRAIL

WORDS: MARCELLO CORAZZA
PHOTOGRAPHS: YARI GHIDONE

I hope my girlfriend won’t hold this against me. I made love with Tuscany, with its land, scenery and the natural elements. This is the diary of my Tuscany Trail: with just a bike and a 600 km route to travel. I left on my own, but I was rarely alone. Compared to my usual solo adventures, I was able to share the desire to go, go, go. Meeting fellow travelers adds fuel to the mind and horsepower to the legs. Without rushing, because it is not a race, but riding to get to the end. It is a challenge against yourself. And, above all, it is a journey by bike.

I forced myself to ride only during daylight hours, so that I would not miss any of the places along the way. Or, should I say, in which I would have “immersed” myself, given the amount of water that rained down on me. At times, I felt as if I was swimming rather than pedalling. Especially during the first high-altitude stretch, among the clouds of the Apuan Alps, where trails turned into streams.
At last, I started the long descent down to the plain of Prato and the roads beside the Arno River as far as Florence, with a very “technical” slalom on the Ponte Vecchio among the tourists, unaware of where all these bicycles and muddy bikers were coming from.

I continued along the peaks and troughs of Chianti, magnificent in the hot sun (at last). After beautiful dirt roads that crossed vineyards as far as the eye could see and farms with their traditional cypress rows, I arrived in San Gimignano. I tried to clean myself up at the fountain in the middle of the square, along with two other lads, equally covered in mud. The dirt was everywhere even between our teeth. (I can still remember that pesky crackling sound of soil in my mouth!) The tourists, sitting at the bar, watched us in disbelief; it was hilarious! Then came the tent, stove and dinner. And a few lines in my travel diary.

Tuscany Trail 2016 - Yari Ghidone

“Then the tent, stove and dinner.

And a few lines in my travel diary.”

The third day I covered “legendary” dirt roads: the Via Francigena, L’Eroica, crossing through magnificent villages and scenic views: Monteriggioni, Siena and Val d’Orcia.
My GPS blackout meant I got to know some guys during the climb up to Radicofani, where we arrived, very tired, at dusk. We filled up a table in a restaurant: we took the plates by storm, even before they had been set down. We hadn’t even ordered some of the courses, but I think the manager took pity seeing us in that state! From then on, we rode together. Towards the sea, through the Feniglia nature reserve, up to the Argentario and the magnificent views on the top.

It wasn’t a race, it’s true, but when you know that there are just a few kilometers left, your body gets high on euphoria and you cannot think of anything else than that final stretch.
The last daylight. And there it was, the “finish line”. We made it! Beers flowed like water, but this time it wasn’t rain. It was amazing to see the arrival of other happy riders. Exhausted yet euphoric, even in the middle of the night and into the dawn. What enthusiasm, what strength, and what an adventure!