Date walked: 30th September 2015

Distance: about 9 miles (but should have been less if I had not got lost)

Guide book used: “Walking and eating in Tuscany and Umbria” by James Lasdun and Pia Davis.  Edition published 2004. See website www.walkingandeating.com for comments and corrections.

*********

This was the second of my walks when I was based at the country house hotel of Terre di Baccio just outside the attractive town of Greve in Chianti.

The grounds of Terre di Baccio, photographed by Charles Hawes

I had been given a room in the main building. This wasn’t ideal in a couple of  respects. Firstly, the building being set into the side of the hill, and the room being at the back, there was little natural light and no views out of the window. Secondly, it was directly opposite the small communal living room, which, though cosy, was the only place you could pick up a wifi signal.

Communal living room at Terre di Baccio, photographed by Charles Hawes

This meant that residents congregated there to use Skype to shout at their friends and relatives, so it was also a bit noisy.  End of complaints. In all other respects I liked the place very much enjoying their extensive grounds (though not the swimming pool)….

Swimming pool at Terre di Baccio, near Greve in Chianti, photographed by Charles Hawes

Not In late September, I think

…., and I preferred to take my (yummy pastries – plenty of other options) breakfast on the terrace rather than in the perfectly nice but without-views breakfast room.

Brekfast room at Terre di Baccio, photographed by Charles Hawes

Limole is a little hamlet a few miles from Greve . The Guide book describes this as “one of the best walks in the region” and Ristoro di Limole as  “one of the most pleasant restaurants in Chianti”.  I started the walk at 10.30am so hardly lunchtime! The walk starts from there.

Ristoro di Limole, Chianti, photographed by Charles Hawes

I should at least have had a closer look

I parked my car nearby, opposite the little church (popped in – not very interesting). There was a great view over the countryside to start me off.

View from Lamole, Chianti, photographed by Charles Hawes

The path takes a track by the side of the restaurant, climbing up gently beside a vineyard.

Vineyard at Lamole, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Most of the grapes had already been picked from the vines. Much of the wine in the region  is made by very small producers and one such place was having a sort out.

Samll winery at Lamole, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed from Lamole ring walk by Charles Hawes

Today’s walk was mostly following  the designated CAI (Club Alpino Italiano) path No.30, and I soon came upon a very good sign, marked with the same horizontal red and white horizontal stripes that I had come across in France when walking The Way of St James.

Sign on Lamole Ring Walk, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

There’s nothing like good signing to put your mind at rest

The path takes a rough farm track though mostly coppiced chestnut woods.

Chestnut coppice on Lamole ring walk, Chianti, photographed by Charles Hawes

The signing was reassuringly frequent, using large boulders as well as wooden posts.

Painted sign on boulder for the Lamole ring walk, Chianti, photographed by Charles Hawes

A rather macabre sight greeted me as the path opened out at the edge of a field of vines; the head of a wild boar (I think), was impaled on a rusty metal pole.

Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Photographed by Charles Hawes

I like a bit of gruesome

Still climbing gently, I enjoyed a bit of flora spotting, the bright red hips of a wild rose being a frequent feature and easy to identify…

Wild rose hips on Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Always a lovely sight

…as were large clumps of the fluffy seed heads of Clematis vitalba.

Clematis vitalba seedheads on Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Our only native Clematis in the UK; I wonder if the same in Italy?

I wasn’t so sure about some shrubs…

Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Suggestions?

…. but fairly fairly confident in naming these blue berries as Sloe (prunus spinosa).

Berries on Sloe photographed on the Lamole ring walk in Tuscany by Charles Hawes

Note the nasty thorns

Still climbing, the path was on bedrock in parts….

Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

… but mostly it was a firm gritty surface, and bordered by the cheery leaves of young chestnut stools.

Lamole Ring Walk , Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

I think the light coming through the leaves made it particularly uplifting

Towards the highest point, the wood became a conifer plantation with an undergrowth of mostly broom (genista)……

Lamole ring walk , Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Not in flower now, obvs.

…… and occasional clumps of blue-berried Euonymous ( I think).

Euonymous on Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

It’s such an education, walking with me

More reassuring signs pointed me onwards to San Michele – the highest point on the walk.

Signs on the Lamole ring walk for San Michele and Lamole, photographed by Charles Hawes

At the end of the pine wood, at a confluence of several paths, I encountered my first fellow walkers.

Lamole ring walk- near San Michele, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Actually I felt mildly threatened- they might speak to me!

With the briefest of “buongiorno’s” (my Italian is, shamefully, not up to much else)…I was once again signed on towards San Michele.

Sign for San Michele on Lamole ring walk, photographed by Charles Hawes

Like the daiseys

Up to now my directions from the guide have been spot on. Here, though, they seemed a little out-of-date referring to “really nice views”, which now are hidden by a new plantation of trees.  I stopped for a little break and became fascinated by a black grass hopper that I stalked for a while though the dry grass.

Black grass hopper, Lamole Ring Walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Damn fine close up!

Having persecuted the little creature long enough to get a decent picture I walked on, the track dropping down a little before rising again….

Lamole ring walk near San Michele, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

…. to a crossroads of paths, my route being straight on…

Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

…… (clearly signed again)…

Signs on Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

No reason to get lost here – they even give you times

… and taking me though another dense conifer plantation.

Conifer forest in Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Its impossible to get the right atmosphere in these dark shots

Villa San Michele is an attractive complex of buildings which now includes a restaurant/bar (not mentioned in the Guide).

 

Villa San Michele Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

A rather pointless pagoda-style gate stands at the top of its drive….

Entrance to Villa San Michele, Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Why the metal gate bit? Why any of it?

…. and by that a board pointing out to the Italian literate, the finer points of the Parco di San Michele.

Sign for Parco di San Michele, photographed from the Lamole Ring Walk, Chianti, Tuscany, by Charles Hawes

My Link’s in Italian, too

The seat by the board had seen better days….

seat on Lamole ring walk at Villa San Michele, photographed by Charles Hawes

…., and truth be told (and I always tell the truth), the view from it was somewhat spoiled by the power cables strung across the field below.

View from San Michele from the Lamole ring walk, photographed by Charles Hawes

I wandered down to the Ristoanti/Bar/Ostello, tempted by the idea of a snack and then wandered back, put off by the loud radio playing ghastly music.

Lamole ring walk in Parco San Michele, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

After some careful reading and re-reading of the directions, I took the track downhill, passing an oak tree with the reassuring path-marker painted on its trunk.

Lamole ring walk near San Michele, Chianti, photographed by Charles Hawes

No mistaking this direction

As the path opened out to grassland, I saw several wild Colchicums.

Colchicum on Lamole ring walk, Chianti, photographed by Charles Hawes

The beady-eyed might see two bonus bugs on the plant

Here the view was splendid and unspoiled, the peace and quiet restored.

Lamole ring walk Chinti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Plenty of grass but no more Colchicums

The path descended to the right, edged on the right hand side by a mixed wood including a Sorbus with the most enormous berries.

Sorbus on the Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Bonus hips and berries of Euonymous bottom RHS

The Guide refers to the fine stonework walls of the path, which I might have missed but for having them pointed out to me.

Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Should have taken a pic of the side of it

As I wound down the side of the forest, the views over the densely wooded valleys were very beautiful.

View over woods from the Lamole ring walk, photographed by Charles Hawes

Even better than the Wye Valley

I came to a “T” junction – referred to in the Guide – taking the left turn, the path continuing to wind down the hill passed several properties.

Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

One of these was the Agriturismo Rifugium, its gates giving me a weird picture.

Entrance to Agriturismo Rifugium photographed from the Lamole ring walk by Charles Hawes

Strange, isn’t it – I didn’t notice at the time

More fabulous views gave me clear sight of Limole again on the other side of the valley.

View of Limole from the Lamole ring walk, photographed by Charles Hawes

Perfect location

I was still doing alright with cross referencing directions from the Guide, it referring to a track with a wooden sign for Il Terrato.

Sign for Il Terrato photographed from the Lamole ring walk by Charles Hawes

Somewhat faded now.

A vineyard where the grapes had not been picked bordered the path as it dropped down into the valley.

View over vineyards to Lamole , Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Towards the bottom Casa Terrato, looked unoccupied, its tomatoes in the kitchen garden going to waste.

Villa Terrato, near Lamole, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it

So I stole a few for lunch.

Lamole ring walk photographed by Charles Hawes

Fleshy and flavoursome.

It was around here that I lost my way. After crossing a dried up stream, the Guide does try to give directions to “make it easier to find the path on the other side”, but they weren’t clear enough for me. My path got narrower and narrower, my direction as I climbed steeply, taking me away from Limole, not towards it.

Lamole ring walk-55

I should probably have gone back and tried again, but as you know I have a serious reluctance to re-trace my steps so I just carried on forging through the overgrown track climbing steeply the while.  I did eventually reach a landmark building which I had passed on the way out – a good two miles from where I should have been but at least I knew where I was.

Lamole ring walk, Chianti, Tuscany, photographed by Charles Hawes

Described in the Guide as a water shed

And from there it was downhill to the village…..

Vineyard by Limole photographed from the Lamole ring walk by Charles Hawes

… where now several people were enjoying the view accompanied by lunch.

Ristoro di Lamole, photographed by Charles Hawes

I feel silly now that I did not sample the place.

I really should get over this barrier to eating lunch.

 

{ 4 comments }

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Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)