From Saline you see the river Cecina, awesome with its crystalline waters, and then you start the climb to Volterra along the wooded Nature Reserve of Berignone, a challenge for even the fittest riders. Cycling on roads that run through the rolling hills of Volterra countryside, we pass the village of Mazzola that stands on top of a hill, and continue in the direction of Volterra.
Once in Volterra, we will be taking the entrance of what was the ancient route of the old railway Saline – Volterra. Built around 1909 with a bold project, the railway was opened in 1912, and until 1958 it was the main connection between Saline and Volterra. It was about 8.5 km long and had some unique technical features. In particular, the locomotive was always located downhill in respect to the carriages but with the “face” directed “uphill”, so that the carriages were pushed uphill, and when going downhill, the engine was pulling to prevent the train going too fast. Furthermore, because of the slope in the vicinity of Volterra , there was a form of gear system to help the train to climb. The railroad remained in operation until 1958 and was finally dismantled in 1962.
Today you can still see the building that housed the Volterra station, and the 4 tollbooths that you meet on the way down. From here, after a short refreshment stop, we will start a fantastic and almost interminable descent to return to the starting point while enjoying the incredible views of the countryside of Volterra.