L'Eroica - The beauty of fatigue
Discover the most enchanting landscapes of the Chianti and the Val D’Orcia, cycling on the white roads and on the permanent routes of Terra Eroica. The routes are accessible throughout the year and on any type of bike, starting from any of the municipalities along the route, and can even last several days.
The Eroica was born in Tuscany in the most beautiful part of the Chianti (area) 25 years ago. It immediately became a ‘movement of values’ related to cycling, exported to other countries around the world through various international versions. The evolution has not, however, lost its roots and founding principles: sharing, friendship, the rediscovery of fatigue, love for the region, protection of the white roads, and respect for the environment.
The permanent route takes life from the values of the Eroica, making it a unique event recognised around the world and a proposal for those who use their bikes on holiday: over 200km of routes from Gaiole in Chianti to Montalcino, crossing the most evocative villages and towns in this region.
From the Chianti Classico up along the streets of Brunello to Montalcino, this landscape offers the most exciting cycling experience for every time of year, as well as being the protagonist of the three Eroica events (Classic Gaiole, Eroica Montalcino and Nova Eroica in Buonconvento).
Unique landscapes, villages, and towns, culture, food, and wine, thermal baths, relaxation, and sport are all the prerequisites for an unforgettable holiday at any time of year. A real philosophy designed to promote ‘slow’ tourism, dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the region, the adoption of good practices and a balanced and healthy lifestyle, while always respecting the environment.
Una campagna, quella chiantigiana, diventata icona stessa di un paesaggio quasi ideale: alternarsi di colline fitte di boschi, di ordinati filari di vigne, di pennellate argentee di olivete. Nel replicarsi del disegno occhieggiano, alla sommità dei colli, i “poderi”, casolari con logge e piccionaie, e serpeggiano sterrati definiti da muretti e svettanti cipressi. Imponenti ville, castelli, badie e pievi, piccoli paesi animati da secoli di genti che hanno vissuto e fatto questi luoghi.
Questo paesaggio, conosciuto e riconosciuto nel mondo, dal medioevo ad oggi l’ha disegnato l’uomo con il sudore, il lavoro e l’amore, creando un luogo a misura dei propri bisogni, senza spremere o sfruttare la terra ma assecondandone la generosità e raffinando, con perizia e ingegno, la produzione dei suoi frutti più preziosi: l’uva e l’oliva.
Ne nascono vini robusti dal sapore rotondo e intenso e un olio saporito e asprigno che esaltano i sapidi piatti di una cucina ancora ricca di prodotti dell’orto, del cortile e della caccia, come da sempre nella tradizione contadina che era, ed è, artefice di una cultura radicata in questa terra, ancora riconoscibile e unica.
The Val di Merse is the breath of the Terre di Siena, it is sap, it is rest, rest. It is Mediterranean and yellow scrub of brooms, bed of rivers, sometimes torrential at times placid, kingdom of wild and free animals.
In the woods, small villages that have stood still in time, that have not allowed modernity. In the green the treasures of water: remains of mills that in the Middle Ages made the economy of this land, thermal waters where centuries of generations and peoples have bathed, places where they have left traces, even in the DNA of the inhabitants, mysterious civilizations like the Etruscan one, small Romanesque churches, ruined castles. Surprising architectures at these latitudes: stately villas and Italian gardens, cloisters of monasteries with oriental charm as illustrations of “the thousand and one nights”, walls of powerful abbeys that, still, in silence, dominate the territory and radiate mysticism, hermitages where legendary knights laid down their weapons and changed their lives leaving traces that appear to us full of symbology.
Expanse of colors that rest the eyes, sounds of water and silence, smell of earth and smell of salt in the breeze that comes from the sea not far away, taste of fruits of the forest.
Many have written about Siena and its harmonious beauty, in all times, and it is difficult to invent new words to describe its charm, especially if you are not poets. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1995.
José Saramago, a Portuguese writer and Nobel Prize winner, was in love with the city and dedicated words that describe it with brushstrokes of deep emotion and passion.
“And here is Siena, the beloved, the city where my heart is truly pleased”. “The three hills on which it is built make it a city where there are no two equal roads, all contrary to submit to any geometry”. “This wonderful color, the color of the body browned by the sun, but that is also the color of the crust of the corn bread, this wonderful color goes from the stones to the road and to the roofs, softens the sunlight and erases the anxieties and fears from the face”.
“There can be nothing more beautiful than this city”. Piazza del Campo “a square inclined and curved like a shell, which the builders did not want to pave and remained so, as if it were a lap”.
“I look at the old palaces of Siena, ancient houses where I wish I could live one day, with a window of my own, overlooking the clay-colored roofs, the green shutters of the windows, as in the attempt to decipher where this secret comes from that Siena murmurs and that I will continue to hear, although I do not understand it, until the end of life”.
The Crete Senesi are a land landscape. Rain and wind have shaped and designed the hills of clay as the passing of time on a face wrinkles: bitterness and sweetness, roundness and edges, deep furrows and light slopes, the signs of a very long life lived intensely.
The Crete Senesi are a sea landscape when, green of the grass, brushed by the wind, the expanse of hills seems to move: waves, as far as the eye can see, up to the horizon. An illusion of infinity, a crystallized and immobile space that extracts the soul. Then…. A stronger wind rises and the clouds run changing the colors to the landscape, a flock moves, the sun is reflected on the window of an isolated farm next to a cypress, and dirt roads open up like scars in the green.
Ideal places if you look for a detachment from the world, as did Giovanni Tolomei, an important and rich Sienese family, who in 1313 found his place in the “desert of Accona”, where he founded the Abbey of Monteoliveto Maggiore.
The Via Francigena runs through much of the territory of the Natural and Cultural Artistic Park of the Val d’Orcia, a landscape still almost identical to that which crossed the traveler of the Middle Ages. Fortresses, castles, churches, abbeys, farms, hills, cypresses, woods, water: images known all over the world and that the whole world identifies as a maximum example of harmony between man and nature.
In 2004 UNESCO declared the Val d’Orcia a World Heritage Site with an exemplary motivation to understand the value and beauty of this land: “Val d’Orcia is an exceptional example of the redesign of the landscape in the Renaissance, which illustrates the ideals of good governance in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries of the Italian city-state and the aesthetic research that guided its conception.
The Val d’Orcia, a combination of art and landscape, geographical space and ecosystem, is the expression of wonderful natural characteristics but it is also the result and the testimony of the people who live there. Between the hard, rugged landscape of the Crete and the softer hills where the Mediterranean maquis, vineyards, olive groves, promiscuous crops are exchanged and intersect in frescoes of rare beauty, It is clearly understood how and how much the awareness of man has weighed on his works to depend on the resources of the surrounding environment and their use in a non-destructive way.