car, roads

mountain bike, cycling Trails

trekking, Walking Trails

The Berignone-Tatti Forest
and castle

Dispensa di Tatti - Monte Soldano- Botro al Rio-Castello dei Vescovi - Dispensa di Tatti-

Walking time: a day

Drive to Montemiccioli then to Ponsano and the Dispensa di Tatti from where the excursion begins.
A leisurely walk and steady climb through farm and woodlands.
The Berignone-Tatti forest, a natural unspoilt woodland, abounds with thick undergrowth and dense
scrubs, legends of woodcutters and charcoal burners and is particularly ideal for wild boar hunting and mushroom picking.
In the past , the forest provided the wood to feed the evaporation boilers in the salt factory in Saline di Volterra.
This lavishly green ridge of hills is a great ellipsoid of sedimentary rocks constituted almost exclusively of lake deposits of upper miocene (conglomerates, marns and clay)
associated with the more or less consistent deposits of lignite in southern Tuscany and generally associated with this particular geological formation. The vegetation is prevalently Mediterannean macchia, impenetrable dense coppices of Turkey oak,holm oak, arbutus,flowering ash and bushy heather with a rich fauna of wild boar,deer, falcon and a great variety of nesting birds.This enchanting trail winds through Monte Soldano , La Fonte della Venella to the Botro al Rio ( a water course deeply incised between enormous thicknesses of red lake conglomerates) to the Grotta Rossa
(a spectacular stratigraphic window) and to the isolated ruins of the 10th century castle Castello dei Vescovi poised on a ridge at the confluence of the Botro al Rio and the Sellate streams.
The castle which once served as a mint for Volterra was destroyed and rebuilt several times and finally abandoned in the 16th century . The path to Dispensa leads to the Orgialia farm house famous for the abundance of fossils found in the area.
The Castello dei Vescovi may also be reached by an easier and quicker route (half a day)(A,B)
Just before the village of Mazzolla turn left and then right at the crossroads until you come to the Batazzone farm house where a sharp bend to the left leads to the Fosci valley. Proceed until you come to a chain across the road , leave the car and continue to walk for approximately 45 minutes to the castle.
From Mazzolla you can walk down to the Foschi valley and the 10th century castle of Luppiano which looms over the valley. From here you can walk up to Spicchiaiola and back to Volterra taking the SS.68.

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