San Nicolò is the main access point for the Greenway: the first stretch of the cycle path begins here. The cycle path winds 1,200 m from here in a north-easterly direction, flanked by the Tessino river on the right and the Marroggia river on the left. The building at the beginning of the Greenway is called the “Mattonelle” (Tile Works) terminal. It has been equipped to offer assistance to cycle path users, and takes its name from the factory that used to operate here. Following the path, visitors can observe the results of the native plants replanting project undertaken with a view to restoring riverbank vegetation.
Further down the track, look southeast towards Spoleto to take in the limestone mass of Monteluco Mountain, famed for the Bosco Sacro (Sacred Woods) that surround its summit. This centuries-old holm-oak forest provides vital refuge for a vast array of animal species. Before arriving at the sports facilities, visitors can catch a glimpse of the Marroggia river. The river’s flow is regulated by the Arezzo Dam, which forms a small lake called the Firenzuola or Arezzo Lake. Stretches of original native riverbank vegetation remain along the banks of the Marroggia, offering a series of small natural oasis that offer food and refuge to the numerous bird species in the valley.
When the two rivers reach the Pontebari they get closer still, flowing in parallel. Here our route takes us under the bridge before turning off to the left. From the cycle-footpath alongside the bridge, the route continues along the cycle path on the other side.
The “Mattonelle” factory
The old tiles factory, that today is a concreting inclined plane held up by several brick-arches, dates back to Morgnano Mines that at that time was the hearth of the Spoletan Valley economy. The factory mined the gravel from Marroggia river and grinded it to obtain grit; then it was kneaded with a bonding material, especially concrete, to make floor tiles.
It is situated on the eastern side of Martani Mountains along the Marroggia river, which links the mountain to the Spoletan Valley. It was built between 1956 and 1962 to reguilate the floods of the river, that were disastrous for the country and for the cities downstream. The barrage originated Lake of Firenzuola, or of Arezzo, an artificial basin extremely important for fishermen, excursionists and fond of nature. The versants that gently degrade towards the dam are characterized by oak woods where downy oak is dominant.