Tuscany is a mountainous region, some of those mountains though are not what they might seem. Rising from the high plane of Arcidosso, towering 1780metres about the landscape is the isolated mountain of the Amiata. Once a volcano, which can be appreciated by the numerous volcanic hot water springs around the area, Amiata is now a tourist and natural environmental hot spot all year.
In Winter the slopes can be skied, in summer the slopes are filled with wild flowers and grasses meadows where you can take a picnic or walk in the woods. The woods that characteristics the slopes are strewn with large volcanic boulders and tall trees. The atmosphere is serene and cool above the summer heat below in the country side around.
The Amiata is best reached by car about 60 minutes from the Castiglione area. The mountain rises above Castle del Piano, and the road winds up the hill to reach the base of the lift area at Prato del Maciniae and Contessa. On the way up you may spot picnic areas and parking as you pass through the woods, at these points it is possible to barb-e-que, come early as these are popular spots.
Here you can on weekends and specific days in August take a lift to the top parking in the area around is plentiful. Alternatively you can cycle not he roads up to the top with an E-bike and take in the views that present themselves across the surrounding areas, where it is possible to see on a clear day for 100’s of km. At Maciniae you can find a tree climbing activities for children, hotels and also a few bars and cafes. Mid week is peaceful with very few people, weekends are a little busier with local people and tourists escaping the summer heat below.
On the top of the mountain (Vetta Amiata) which is accessible by foot is the large cross with views southwards to lago di Bracciano. Keep walking past the bar and cafe - where if you wanted you could stop for a local chestnut beer, coffee, or brief lunch - you will find the Maddona della Scouts. Installed in the 1960’s the Maddona at its base marks one of the highest points of the mountain. People tie messages and wishes to the Maddona here hoping for them to come true one day. Just behind the Maddona is the geographical highest point marked by a metal post. At 1780 metres the Amiata is a truly stunning part worth a visit in the heat of the day, where the air will be fresher and the summer crowds much diminished.
Things to do:-
Cycle : Amaita Free ride operates a bike area in summer. http://www.teamzero.it/
Tree Climbing: Kids can be entertained with the extensive climbing area. http://amiata.indianapark.it/?lang=it
Rock Climbing: Amiata Mountain has several routes in boulder, sport and traditional climbing. Grades vary from beginner to hard. Some of the routes can be seen from the road just a few kilometres from Abbadia San Salvatore.
Walking: There are many walking routes which are well marked, http://www.monte-amiata.eu