3. Tour on Medici’s remnants, stop at Bilancino lake
- Type of route:
Mtb, cross country, e-mtb, gravel
San Piero a Sieve (Provincial Road 551)
22 km (about 13,6 miles)
- Travel time:
2 and half hours (2,5 hours)
- Complexity level:
- Suitable for:
Medium trained cyclists or e-bike owners
- How to reach San Piero from our store:
Starting from our store, where is possible to rent bikes, you can cycle to San Piero a Sieve passing through Borgo San Lorenzo and continuing along the Provincial Road 551 (for about 5 km – 3,1 miles – it is quite a busy road). Alternatively we can deliver the bikes in San Piero a Sieve.
Route 3: Trebbio Castle and Spugnole. Excursion on Mtb on the Medici’s remnants and stop at Bilancino lake
From the top of a hill, Trebbio Castle overlooks on the whole Mugello, it is one of the most important proof of Medici’s presence in the territory. The itinerary passes next to Spugnole Church, runs along the castle and then goes down to the lake, passing through San Giovanni in Petroio, a parish church and will give you many beautiful sights. Difficulty level is medium, but it is very pleasant and perfect for an excursion on history traces.
The path is mainly on asphalted roads and partly on dirt trail, it passes through groves, it doesn’t have any particular technical difficulties. Many panoramical points will give you the chance to take amazing pictures or to rest.
Departure is from the roundabout just at the beginning of San Piero a Sieve, in front of the bar “Garden Caffè”, where you can also park the car. If you continue on the Provincial Road, that goes through the town, you will arrive at another big roundabout, take the second exit, direction Firenze-Vaglia and proceed on the National Road 65, that connects San Piero a Sieve to Florence. After the village Campomigliaio follow the directions to Spugnole – Castello del Trebbio on the right and leave the paved road. The road starts uphill and will continue for the whole tract, alterning ups and downs. The path is very nice, with sunny spots and shaded places where is possible to stop and enjoy the stunning panorama.
After about 1,5 km (1 mile) leave the main road and turn right, follow the directions to Chiesa di Santa Maria e San Niccolò a Spugnole. Unfortunately the church is not always open, usually on the third Sunday of the month it is opened for visitors from 10 to 5 pm, even if you find it closed, it worths to stop by and admire it from the outside and also to see the beautiful landscape offered. From there you will also have a preview of the magnifency of Trebbio Castle, before to go back and proceed on the road, direction: the Castle
The Castle is 1,5 km far from from the deviation, you will arrive there after few ups and downs.
The arrival at the Trebbio Castle is quite suggestive and you will enjoy and see the magnifency of the building, in fact it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Once arrived at the Trebbio you can stop under the cypress next to the “Cappella dell’Ascensione”, then turn left (directions to Croci di Calenzano) and proceed towards San Giovanni in Petroio.
Continue on the dirt trail, through groves and hills, the ground is good and it doesn’t present any particular technical difficulties. At the end of it you will merge into another road, turn left to arrive in Sa Giovanni in Petroio Church, an amazing church that overlooks on the lake. Pass the church you will find a junction that will guide you on the panoramic main road. Turn right to go on the main road, and also to start to return on the way to San Piero a Sieve.
Before finishing the tour you can stop for a while along the shore of the lake, 1 km from the junction you can find directions to Bahia Caffé, a beach with a bar and a restaurant.
To go back to San Piero a Sieve go along the lake and pass through two tunnels using the foot path, because it is separated from the main road, so it is safer. At the roundabout take the first exit, directions Borgo San Lorenzo/ Firenze, continue and pass Cafaggiolo Castle (another Medici’s Villa in Mugello) and you will find a cross road, turn left to Scarperia/ Borgo San Lorenzo/ Autodromo/ Firenze, pass the petrol station and turn right. You will see Mugello Verde Camping on your right, go over it and continue on the road for few kilometers until you will find San Piero a Sieve historical town centre, have a look at the main square before going back on the provincial road and arrive at the departure point Garden Caffè.
Cultural and touristic points of interests
Santa Maria e San Niccolò a Spugnole Church
This church is considered one of the best examples of romnesque churches in Mugello. It is located on top of a hill, on the site of the same name castle, destroyed at the beginning of ‘300 from Castruccio Castracani, after a fight against Florence. It was rebuilt in 1324 and reinforced with walls, as many other castles in the area. In 1351, during a war against the Viscounts of Milan.
Since 2013 it is part of the UNESCO World’s Heritage, built between 1427 and 1436 from Michelozzo Michelozzi commissioned by Cosimo I, it hosted the Medici for long periods and also the famous captain Giovanni delle Bande Nere. In 1476 Amerigo Vespucci was escaping from the plague that hit Florence, he found a safe shelter here.
The Castle is located on a hill, 500 m high.
San Giovanni in Petroio Church
It was built along an old romanesque road, during the ‘400, it was owned by the Medici, whom have left all their emblems here. It is located on a favoured position, because in the past was overlooking Mugello valley, nowadays it looks on the new Bilancino lake. Inside it preserves a very ancient baptismal font, dated 15th century.
This was another Medici residence, well known as Castello di Cafaggiolo, here the family was usually doing ceremonies and banquets. They used to spend lots of time here, hosting artists and famous people. The original building is dated 1300, but it was renovated into a residential house in 1443 by Michelozzo, commissioned by Cosimo Il Vecchio. Today the castle is closed, they are doing some works to reopen it in a Resort, that once terminated will be open also for visitors.
Agritourisms, hotels and restaurants
On the off-road path you won’t find any fountains or restaurants.
Restaurants in San Piero a Sieve and Bilancino lake:
- Bahia Cafè (Lago di Bilancino)
- Garden Caffè (San Piero a Sieve)
- Gelateria Fiocco di Neve (San Piero a Sieve)
- Bar Pasticceria Marcello (San Piero a Sieve)
Along the track you will find following Agritourisms/Hotels:
- B&B Elisir Toscana (Loc. Tagliaferro – San Piero a Sieve)
- B&B Tenuta il Verone (Loc. San Giovanni in Petroio)
- Apartment La Chimera Barberino del Mugello (Lago di Bilancino)
- Camping Mugello Verde (San Piero a Sieve)