The Monsummano Terme area is indeed a true destination, abounding in places for delightful walks with no shortage of beauty or sights. For anyone who loves hiking and nature walks, there are several interesting trails suitable for all skill levels. Here some of the routes, organized by CAI Pistoia.
This circular route goes up to Monsummano Alto, continues east along the Montalbano ridge, descends to Montevettolini, and then returns to Monsummano Terme.
Signage: white-red trail signs and signs at crossroads
Difficulty: E (hiking)
distance: 12.84 Km.
Elevation Gain: 600 m. climb; 600 m. descent
Journey time: about 5 hours
Reconnaissance date: September 2012 (updated February 2019)
The walk starts in the small square in front of the Grotta Giusti Spa, follows Via delle Terme then to the right into the fields. It skirts an abandoned farmhouse (Podere Valipona Alta). It then joins trail no. 32 (originating at the quarries) and climbs along the Geological Trail to a large tabernacle and a crossroads near the Podere alla Vergine.
From here, towards the left, trail no. 32 leads shortly to Monsummano Alto and then goes down towards the center of town. However, our trail continues to the right, first on a dirt road and then on an asphalt one. After passing C. Autore and the Poggio Tondo holiday farm complex, it climbs through the woods until crossing the ridge and joining trail no. 300.
The two trails run jointly along the Pistoia side of Mount Belvedere, to then descend towards Casa Ronconi (junction for Vinacciano Trail no. 17). Shortly afterward, it arrives at I Papi (Case Montirici), where we take the provincial road that connects Cantagrillo to Montevettolini. We turn left and walk along until reaching a curve near Case Rocchine.
We leave the asphalt road and the 300 path to take Via Case di Monte, a dirt road, to the right. Here, our route joins trail no. 26 (leading to Cecina and Castello di Larciano). The two trails begin to descend, after passing through the village of the same name and a stretch of wood. At the first intersection, we continue straight in an olive grove towards the Porcile Alto farm. Here, trail no. 26 bears left at a large electrical pole, while our trail continues to descend, ending on a dirt road that we take to the right. The road then becomes asphalt, bordering some aqueduct facilities and going to the bottom of the ravine near some houses. Here, our trail follows Via Fontana del Prefetto uphill to the right, and then Via Capanne di Roncone until it finally joins Via Bronzoli which takes us to the Madonna della Neve oratory near the village of Montevettolini.
From the oratory, the trail follows the paved road to the open space in front of Porta Barbacci on Montevettolini’s north side. The trail continues downhill into an olive grove then bears sharply to the right and descends crossing Via Castelvecchio.
We walk along to the left for a few tens of meters. Then, we soon leave it to take a trail that branches off to the right and leads into a thick acacia wood. The narrow road with some large curves descends to Forra Belvedere, which we cross (by ford or taking the bridge) near a group of houses.
Go past the houses and proceed for about 100 m. on a dirt road. We then take Via delle Rave to the right uphill. When the road reaches a crossroads at the hilltop near Case Romani, we continue to the left on Via dei Romani and, at a curve further on, we take a dirt road to the left. Near an abandoned vineyard, we follow a narrow road that runs parallel to the fence of a villa, which ends on a paved stretch (Via Picasso) at the conclusion of which we find ourselves at the starting point.
This circular route goes up and returns to the town hall of Monsummano Terme.
Signage: red-white trail signs and signs at crossroads
Distance: Total Km 6.83
Walking time: about 3 hours
The trail starts near the town hall, where Via di Gragnano meets Via Ventavoli and Via Maneto. Taking the latter, we begin to climb in a residential area. The street becomes a dirt road and turns left at the verge between the woods and olive groves.
On the right, we can see an old loading facility used for the quarries above. A bit after, we must pay attention, as we leave this road and go up to the right on an almost parallel trail. While Trail no. 32A appears on the left, our trail continues to the right, becoming a dirt road that soon reaches the Cava Grande, or large quarry, with its imposing terraced wall. On the right, we have a view of the town and the plain with the marshes. At the old electrical substation, we bear first to the left as we approach the quarry, then to the right going down to a large work-yard. On the southern side of this open area, we find a narrow road that goes back into the woods and, going slightly uphill, we reach Cava Grigia, which is used for rock-climbing.
The dirt road continues slightly downhill past the entrance to Cava Rossa (closed by a gate) and joins Trail no. 30 from Grotta Giusti. Continue straight along this uphill trail (also known in this section as the Geological Trail) with a view of Grotta Giusti’s swimming pool and spa facilities. Turning north, it enters the forest in which we can see some remains of the quarry works.
We leave the forest, passing through an olive grove. Taking a dirt road lined with cypress trees, we head towards the ruins of a farmhouse after which we arrive in front of a tabernacle near Podere alla Vergine at the ridge. We follow the paved road (Via Castello di Monsummano), which leads to Monsummano Alto, on the left for about 200 meters. We then leave it at the second trail on the left to go uphill through a fairly dense forest. Upon leaving it, we can see the remains of Castello di Monsummano’s walls and the well-preserved arch of Porta del Pidocchio (or del Mercato). From here, we can enjoy the beautiful panorama of the plain, the Montalbano ridge, and especially the village of Montevettolini.
We pass through the gate and, with one last push, reach the first buildings in Monsummano Alto. We skirt the Church of San Nicolao (first half of the 12th century) and continue straight ahead among the remains of the 12th-13th century defensive structures. Upon reaching the northwestern end of the castle, there is a formidable pentagonal tower and the gate of Nostra Domina, with its expansive view of Montecatini Terme, the Pisan mountains, and the Apuan Alps.
Right in front of the gate, we take a dirt road that goes down among low vegetation bordering an abandoned house (Casa Pellegrini). Continuing the descent, we come to the northern side of the large quarry. After finding the entrance gate to a house on our left, the dirt road becomes wider. At the end of the descent, we turn to the right onto another dirt road (Via Croce di Pacino) with the town of Serravalle Pistoiese in view. The road becomes paved and shortly after crosses another wider road (Via Monsummano Castello) which we follow to the left.
Along the descent, the junction to trail no. 32A is found on the left. This is a shortcut for returning to the village center. However, Trail no. 32 continues straight until it comes to a roundabout at the edge of the town of Monsummano. Here, we take Via di Gragnano to the left. After passing Villa Renatico Martini (seat of the Museum of Contemporary Art), we again arrive at the town hall where we began our hike.
Trail No.° 32 A
This short trail connects between two branches of trail no. 32, following the western slopes of the hill, almost parallel to Via di Gragnano, but at a slightly higher altitude.
This wide, almost flat road is also accessible to motor vehicles, bordering some old, much smaller quarries than those on the south side. The northern end connects with Via Monsummano Castello. It is marked by a wooden pole and three signs, while the southern end is marked by a metal pole with three signs.
It was built in 2017 at the request of the Municipality of Monsummano as part of the geological trail’s restoration and maintenance of the remaining trail network.
The Leonardino is a cultural, natural, and spiritual itinerary to discover the young Leonardo da Vinci.
It will be possible to go through the alleys, valleys, woodlands, and hills between Anchiano and Montevettolini, a unique experience through Leonardo’s birthplace.
The idea of this itinerary originated from his first drawing dated 1473, with his handwritten note, “I Santa Maria della Neve addì 5 daghosto 1473″ (5th August 1473, the day dedicated to Our Lady of the Snow).
The 2 itineraries: the high itinerary, about 17 km, and the low itinerary, about 19 km. Both are practicable in 5/6 hours on foot, and 2/3 hours by mountain bike. There is also the possibility to stop half way at San Baronto or Larciano, in order to make it suitable for families with children.
For more information: https://illeonardino.it/