Development: km 19,8 | Time 7.35 hours
Interests | Archaeological (Sassoforte Castle) | Geological (La Pietra-Outcrop of Rhyolite in Sassoforte) | Botanical (Chestnut wood-
Turkey wood-riparian vegetation along the Bardellone Torrent-Beech trees in Sassoforte) | Faunal (Wild boar-Roe deer-Hawks) |
Landscape (on the top of Sassoforte-La Pietra)
Difficult because of its length and the part that goes up to Sassoforte, it runs for almost its entire length
along paths through forest and chestnut wood. It is practicable in every season and water can be fetched
along the trail.
On leaving Torniella, after having gone through a chestnut tree wood we get to an old farm called "La Pieve". Walking on the road that goes down through a turkey oaks wood, we reach the Farma and we have to cross. If it ha recently rained and the water level is too high, we can walk along the fields’ edges and through a hundred metres of wood and then get to the bridge of the road no 73, Senese-Aretina. To get back to our itinerary, left the bridge we walk on for about 1 km where we turn left on a unpaved road; onthe right there is a farm called Santa Sicutera. After about 300 metres the road wades the Farmulla torrent and after other 300 hundred metres, we find the path, fording height, at the opposite side of the torrent's bank. Keeping left, walking on the unpaved road, we get to a small disused jasper quarry, just below a rock spur called "La Pietra", which gives the name to a small Natural Reserve between the Farma and Farmulla torrents, from here we get a wonderful view of the Bardellone valley and Monte Alto. We can admire a large wooded area ,which gives the best of itself in autumn thanks to the colours of the leaves :it is a vast area characterised by heterogeneous coppice wood, thick and intricate under wood of shrubs, a perfect environment for wild boar , which is widely hunted here. Hunting is practised during winter. Sometimes hunters get involved in shooting accidents but dogs are more at risk: they very often get attacked by wild animals and get seriously wounded.
Just before getting to the Farma, we find a spring, once surrounded by secular alders.
We walk on, crossing the Farma by the Bardellone bank, for a long way. It is a pleasant environment, in spring it is full of flowers such as primroses and violets that embellish a wood of poplars, alders, maples, turkey oaks, hornbeams, and beeches. We walk near the ruins of an old mill and some spring waters called "Le Vene".
We get to a pond named "Pozzo alle Pecore", we keep on walking through "Poggio del Castagno" to get to Sassoforte. We take the road that starts from a farm (called Poggio al Castagno itself) and we then get to another road that can be a short cut (if taken eastward) to arrive in Sassoforte (2 km) without following the marked indications. We then enter the chestnut wood of Sassoforte with its secular trees, among huge rocks and striking sheer walls. And after the final ascent, we find ourselves on a plateau where imposing beech trees grow. Here there are the ruins of Sassoforte Castle, an impressive strong hold destroyed by the Republic of Siena in the fifteen century. We then walk down on a path which goes through a coppiced wood and part of a chestnut wood , as far as the panoramic road of San Martino to find the indication of our Trekking: turning right we arrive in Roccatederighi, turning left, in Sassofortino..
|“La Pietra” Nature Reserve
The Farma and Farmulla streams mark the boundaries of the “La Pietra” nature reserve whose name is derived from the rocky spur found at 440 m. The reserve was opened in 1996 and covers an area of nearly 500 hectares. It boasts a large number of plant species including willow, black alder, and black and white poplars. You will also find unique vegetation including the southernmost example of the “Lupino Grecom (a plant not included in the Italian flora until 1989); Genista sagittalis which only lives above 1000 m; and the red lily—a rare species due to lack of past controls on harvesting.
How to get there
From Grosseto go towards Roccastrada and continue in the direction of Torniella. Before reaching Piloni, turn right and take the provincial road “Belagaio” that leads to the reserve. The reserve is always open.