The Country House in Cafaggio
The Country House in Cafaggio

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 Cactus Boarder
The Cactus Border
The riding stables below Campiglia Marittima
The riding stables below Campiglia Marittima
An olive grove by the sea
An olive grove

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.

Early morning Campiglia
Early morning sunlight on Campiglia Marittima
The sea headland of Piombino (The village of Populonia on the hills to the far right)
The sea headland of Piombino (The village of Populonia on the hills to the far right)
The church of Pieve di San Giovanni. Looking south towards Follonica
The church of Pieve di San Giovanni. Looking south towards Follonica

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.

A side door in the towns walls
A side door in the towns walls
Lower Entrance to Campiglia Marittima
Lower Entrance to Campiglia Marittima
A glimpse
A glimpse around the corner
The houses of the old town
The houses of the old town
The church bell tower reaches above the rooftops.
The church bell tower reaches above the rooftops.

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.

The ruins of the Rocca di Campiglia
The ruins of the Rocca di Campiglia
Window to the East. The ruins of the Rocca di Campiglia
Window to the East. The ruins of the Rocca di Campiglia
The Viewpoint from the ruins of the Rocca di Campiglia
The Viewpoint from the ruins of the Rocca di Campiglia
The stone quarry in the hills behind Campiglia
The stone quarry in the hills behind Campiglia
The town hall of Comune di Campiglia Marittima
The town hall of Comune di Campiglia Marittima
The back streets of Campiglia
The back streets of Campiglia

 

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

The Tuscan Landscape
The Tuscan Landscape
The Southern hills
The Southern hills
The church of Pieve di San Giovanni
The church of Pieve di San Giovanni
Running Home
Running Home

One thought on “A Tuscan hillside village

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