This section contains stories posted by guests during their stay at Giunasco, recounting their experiences, thoughts and feelings on their trekking and biking trips. Some guest posts include "travel notes" giving detailed information on a particular trekking route which were memorised on GPS devices for other guests to share and perhaps experience in turn.
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Biking in general:
The area around Giunasco is overall perfect for biking! Besides the tours I described, there are dozens of variations or completely different paths. Most of the tracks are on asphalted roads, so racing bikers are very welcome. If you keep away from the main roads, you will be surrounded by very few traffic, which I absolutely prefer! I have described the circles to the north only. There are at least as many possibilities on the other side of the main roads to the far south. So it is you bikers to discover and maybe leave a good track described here! For all of you not really wanting any risks, I have described three with altitude-diagrams that I have done various times. Also for you who visit the “grotto del vento”….you may do it by bike, leading you into a completely different region…There`s a diagram of the altitudes as well. Well then, fellow bikers, stay on track and enjoy the Tuscany!
Short Circle (12km)
The short circle is a stretch that gets you in touch with the very local area. It is about twelve or thirteen kilometers long, and the altitude you have to surcome is something like 500hm. It is for beginners and also nice for a walk or a run. The run in the summertime probably in the early morning, because wide parts of it, the sun will burn you….!
The road is paved all the way and you will either do the circle with the descend to Bagnone and turn left after the bridge over the river, up the hill to Treschietto and on to Vico and Corlaga. There you turn right to Agnetta and back to Orturano! There are two possibilities for something to drink on the way, so you may have some rest.
Medium Circle (45 to 50 km)
This is the regular one that I am doing a few times I am on vacation in Giunasco. It is about 45 km long and takes you over the larger hills that mark the end of the view you have standing outside the hotel, looking towards pool and Treschietto. It is quite demanding, thinking of the height-meters and the endless ups and downs from Licciana-Nardi to Bagnone, but….for a trained biker absolutely worth it and no problem! Three hours by MTB.
In the end, it is a circle as well, but I prefer to get to the start of the circle down to Bagnone and up towards Treschietto again! This is the shortest way of doing it. The other way around, via Agnetta and Corlaga is more fun, but more demanding. Anyway, when you come back from Licciana, you have the same choice again….so….. you can let it depend on the way you feel then….!
Just a few hundred meters after you have left Bagnone, there is a small road that leads you to the village of Tavernelle on the other side of “Passo Collesino”. Take it and go up to the first “passo”, that is about 800 s.l.m. (Giunasco is about 400, Bagnone somewhat more than 220). Almost on top you have a beautiful view over the valley of Orturano and Bagnone. You can also spot Giunasco! After the peak you go down a long way to Tavernelle until you hit SP74. A left turn gets you up to Passo Lagastrello on 1.200 meters. That is for the long tour! You turn right towards Licciana! In Licciana there is a little traffic-isle in the middle of the road and there you turn right again to follow SP21 to Panicale and Villa di Panicale and further on to Bagnone again! Not tired yet? And hungry? Then enjoy a pretty good ice cream just over the bridge in “downtown Bagnone”, and make your way back to Giunasco via Treschietto and Agnetta! Worn enough then do short over the long bridge and up to Orturano for a jump in the pool….:-)! And dinner afterwards.,….:-)
Oh, and for the racing bikers…. It is completely asphalted.
The long one (120km and 2.400Hm)
This one is quite a killer! It takes you (well…me….) about 7 hours (MTB, you might do it quicker, I don`t) gets you over 4 different “passi”, the highest about 1.450m, passing several beautiful lakes, different valleys and crossing the home of the famous “Parmeggiano”, for you will leave the Tuscany and cross the border to emilia-romagna in Parma!
The start is the same as the medium tour! But this time you turn left after Tavernelle and go up to Passo Lagastrello! And always remember, after you crossed this “passo”, there is actually no (short) way back, except for the exact road that you came from! So only cross Lagastrello, when you are sure for another two even higher passi! There is also not really a supermarket by the road on all the tour, so make sure you have enough food and water with you!
But if you are willing, then you will really enjoy it! On top of Lagastrello, 1.200m above sea level, you will have a perfect view of where you came from and to a completely different region to the place where your host is located! In simple terms, on this tour you cross the very high mountain ridge that surrounds Giunasco in the north east, travel alongside it, and come back over it in the northwest, down to Pontremoli. So that is a completely different view! And wonderful as well!
After the lake keep left! On the right is a future tour of mine…..never done it but it looks beautiful as well and I guess not much shorter than this one. Anyway, you keep to the left to go to Rigoso, Rimagna and Trefiumi! For the MT-Bikers of you, Trefiumi is very important! Because here you turn left (easy to miss, because you go quite fast downhill) to Valditacca! The racing bikersfollow the road further on to Monchio and Corniglio! There you hit SP 40 where you turn left towards Bosco and finally Passo Cirone! Sorry you’ll miss the highest one, but it is impossible with the racing bike. Except you want to carry the bike for about 5 km.
Back to the Mountainbikers. Go straight through Valditacca. Follow SP 86 until you either see the sign saying “Passo della Colla” (1.450m) or the sign “strada dissestrada”. Which it acually is! A desaster! Huge gravel, a long way to the top, but isn’t that what we are here for, folks?? Beautiful viewpoints on the way up, a little war monument just before the peak and some (very welcomed) shade underneath the trees that the path will lead you through. This is the beginning of a beautiful natural reserve, with huge rocks, pine trees and little lakes that you will pass by! Just beautiful! When you hit the real road again afterwards, this should be SP86! Follow it downhill and now do not miss SP 74 while you start loving all that downhill ride…. TURN LEFT to go after the signs of Passo Cirone (1.280m)! If you miss it, you’ll end up in Bosco and that is definitely the wrong direction!
The rest is a piece of cake! Up to that final Passo and then downhill (SP42) until your arms seem to break….! You will finally reach Pontremoli and turn left towards your home! I have always stopped at the Ice-Cream parlour in Villafranca. Get some motivation for the final climb up to Malgrate-Castle (pretty steep) and then to drop dead in Moniques or Giulios arms or at least close to the buffet at dinner….!
Congrats to you who made it and have enjoyed the landscapes and the tour itself, dinner is deserved now….most definitely …:-)