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10-06-2023 | Marcel van Herten

Monte Amiata, Tuscany's forgotten vulcano

Summer has arrived and the long-awaited summer vacation is (almost) upon us. If you travel to central Italy this summer, you can hardly miss the striking silhouette on the southwestern horizon of Siena, Lago Trasimeno or Perugia. After all, the 1738-meter-high Monte Amiata rises more than 600 meters above the surrounding plateau.

But that Vetta (Italian for summit) is actually not a mountain peak, but the cone of Italy's highest extinct volcano. This puts Monte Amiata in third place among Italy's highest volcanoes (after Etna and Stromboli). But simultaneously also in that of highest peaks in Tuscany (after the Pania della Croce and Monte Sagro). Despite its fine podium finishes, Monte Amiata is perhaps one of the most unknown climbs in Italy. So it certainly belongs in our list of unknown climbs. And then not once but right away six times.

Photo: Silhouette from Lago Trassimeno

Impressive numbers

The numbers are impressive and it is nice that Monte Amiata is not so well known. But what makes it so interesting for us cyclists? At 1670 meters, the parking lot of the small ski resort is the highest, on a road bike, cyclable point in Tuscany. From there, by the way, it is possible by gravel bike or MTB to ride on a hiking trail all the way to the top. A 22-meter-high iron cross from 1910 marks that summit.

But what makes Monte Amiata unique is that the summit can be conquered from six sides! According to Climbfinder even seven. And the numbers of those climbs don't lie, as you can see in the table below. And to think that Monte Amiata has never even made it to the Giro d'Italia..

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The seven climbs

Starting placeLengthVertical dropAverage %
Cassia via Abbadia San Salvatore
23,7 km13065,5
Castel del Piano
14,2 km10557,4
10,8 km8577,9
13,8 km8636,2
9,5 km7788,2
Abbadia San Salvatore 
12,5 km8136,5
17,5 km11926,9

A Tuscany clingé?

Can you complete all the climbs in one ride? Yes you can! Can you also get a brevet? Yes you can: the Brevetto Amiata including its tile. Get ready for a day of over 200 km and 6,737 m+.

Foto: © Brevetto Amiata Riccardo Mililotti

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Riccardo Mililotti is the man on duty at Brevetto Amiata, but also an advocate for more cyclists on the Amiata:

"Even if I say so myself, but Monte Amiata and its surroundings are great for cyclists. We are busy creating permanently signposted routes on the road and for gravel bikes."

We can thus include the Monte Amiata in the illustrious list of the Clingé du Ventoux, Triplio Stelvio, Brevetto del Monte Nerone and the Fêlés du Grand Colombier.

How does it work?

You don't have to tick off the six climbs of Monte Amiata in a day. It may take you a month. Pre-register via the website, pay €15 for a stamp card and pass 19 stamping stations. A serious, but fun diversion from your Tuscan vacation. Check out the route on our Komoot channel.

Unknown but unfortunately also unloved

As mentioned, Monte Amiata is an unknown and therefore unloved climb for many. The Giro has ignored the extinct volcano for years. But even in the crazy gran fondo nation of Italy, there isn't even a gran fondo that visits Monte Amiata. We have to make do with the Rando Marre-Vetta-Marre in late May/early June, with a single ascent of the Vetta.

Speaking of that unloved: stunning scenery, typical Tuscan villages, tufa rock formations of Valle dell'Inferno and Italy's largest chestnut and beech forest. If you come on a Saturday or Sunday morning, especially in August or September, you can see many locals heading into the woods with a stick and basket in search of delicious tartufo (truffles) or porcini faggi (porcini mushrooms). And if you want to relax after ticking off one (or more) of the six climbs take a dip in one of the free hot springs at Bagno San Filippo and enjoy a Pasta Funghi Porcini del Monte Amiata to finish.

It's time for an unadulterated gran fondo up, over and around this beautiful mountain!

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