More big names passed under my wheel and then I caught a glimpse of the sign post on the side of the road. PUNTA VELENO, Arrivo 5km, 16.9%. Ok so now it all made sense, I had heard about the Punta Veleno. I knew it was in the Garda area somewhere. Basically I randomly found one of the toughest climbs in the whole of Italy on a scorching hot day. But, I didn’t want to give in so early like my fellow German holidaymaker, with this new information I wasn’t going to let this climb beat me, although it was doing a great job already.
While on a reconnaissance trip to Alta Maremma during the World Championships in Tuscany, after a weeks quiet riding in the spectacular Metallifieri hills we decided to venture further afield on the last day. We were in striking distance of Monte Amiata, the highest point in Tuscany at 1,750m and only one of two places for Florentines to ski in Tuscany (the other being Abetone on the Emiglia-Romana border). Even though we did’t have much left in the tank after a solid weeks riding in the warm September sun, it felt rude to miss out. Seggiano at the foot of Monte Amiata (an extinct volcano), is a one and a bit hours drive south-east of Massa Marittima. The road from Seggiano is the classic way up, a 19km climb and 1,284m elevation at 6.7% average.