A steep climb to the hilltop town of Campiglia Marittima
Early morning in Tuscany, the sun just rising, it is the best time to head out for a run or bike ride before it gets too hot. Around Cafaggio, the locals collect their morning bread and sit outside reading papers whilst drinking an Espresso. I cycle past on the road climbing up to Campiglia Marittima. The climb starts just outside of Cafaggio a small village at the base of the hills, still in the shade I pass a ruined country house set back from the road side, the windows are boarded up but the landscaped gardens and fields are still tended, along the edge of the road large cactus plants have grown to discourage visitors on to the land. The road turns through a steep S-shaped curve to gain height and I am soon passing the riding stables situated underneath the town of Campiglia. As the sun continues slowly rising, the colour of the trees emerge from the shadows on the hillside.
The road twists back on itself again, as I rise higher up the hillside, the soft morning glow and smokey outline of the distant hills is calming, details begin to emerge of farmhouse in the olive groves, whilst the the town has moved nearer after disappearing from view for a while. The road twists sharply two more times as I approach the edges of the town. Joining the main road I have to climb in a straight line up the hill and against the sunlight, no place to stop until I reach Il Piazzone, the public square and first flat landscape area of the town. I ride along the level road that skirts the front of the town because it offers extensive views out over the valley below and the headland of Piombino beyond.
The road leads to the main entrance of the town, a square overlooking the Cornia river plain and the wide sweep of the Piombino coastline in the direction of Follonica and Punta Ala. The side roads beckons me to cycle around the corner a route skirting the old town walls and passing the lower entrance gate of Campiglia, this way takes me slowly uphill to the rear of the town. A last steep uphill cycle to the castle then a short time to catch my breath, from here a climb up the steel staircase to the top of the castle ruins and the chance to look out over the landscape below.
Rocca di Campiglia
The sun is now up, it has taken me forty-five minutes to cycle up here, but now it’s getting too warm. The views from the Rocca are extensive out over the valley, only parts of the structure remain. Time to cycle down through the town and out the lower gate, the cobbled streets have steep inclines..the brakes need to do some work …..its fun.
At the lower gate it is time to take in the views again before the downhill cycle, the headlands are emerging from the early morning haze, the distant outline of the hills recede with their distance. Time to head down and then off to the beach, it is still only eight-thirty in the morning.
2nd August 2015