A Medieval Pilgrimage Through Classic Tuscan Scenery

Follow in the footsteps of Europe’s pilgrims with a historical route through a region where local culture is at the root of everything. Out among the picturesque Tuscan countryside, staying in the medieval towns (now UNESCO sites) that were stopping points on the pilgrimage, you’ll be retracing the steps of ancient travellers to Rome. The Tuscan Via Francigena takes in the most picturesque sections of a route that originally stretched to Canterbury, with a retinue of ancient rural churches and baroque medieval towns that would of served the route’s original travellers.

Highlights:

  • Follow in the steps of medieval pilgrims, visiting the various 12th century churches and abbeys that housed pilgrims along the way – known as Submansiones
  • Visit some of Tuscany’s most picturesque and historic towns, including Buonconvento, Siena and San Gimignano
  • Travel through a landscape where time seems to have stood still, as you walk through the rolling hills of Tuscany, a landscape dotted with farmhouses, castles (Monteriggioni and Chiocciola castle among them), old churches and medieval walled, hilltop towns – places of extraordinary beauty
  • A region famous for its gastronomy, with a myriad of fine restaurants, as well as prestigious regional wines and the famous white truffle of San Miniato Alto

RouteVia Francigena
Duration8 nights/7 days walking
Length77 mi (123km)
GradeEasy to Moderate
Comfort3/4
AvailabilityApr - Oct
Price from£815
Holiday CodeITA-TVF

Why this walk?
The Via Francigena traces a course through the heart of Tuscany, linking the picturesque medieval towns of the region with some of the area’s lesser known castles and ancient sanctuaries with the most quintessential Tuscan scenery. Here, your surrounding have changed little since the time of the ancient pilgrimages, where your journey mirrors exactly the road taken by travellers from every strata, be it laborer, knight or archbishop. The hiking experience on the via Francigena is worth the trip alone as you follow the rolling hills of Tuscany through vineyards and orchards, with far-reaching, panoramic views over Italy’s classical, rural heartland.

The Path

A route steeped in history on the most popular pilgrimage route to Rome, its origins stretching as far back as the 8th century. Unlike more common Roman roads across Europe, the Via Francigena connects important Abbeys, rather than cities. Waymarking on the route was originally confined to scholars and local enthusiasts, although in recent history, the route has attracted far greater funding as well as recognition in Europe for its cultural and historical significance, as well as its low environmental impact.

Though the Via Francigena originated as a way of pilgrimage, it was also a convenient way through the formidable Alps and Apennines. This leg of the trip, through the heart of the Tuscan countryside, follows old mule tracks and rural paths through fields and tracks shaded by a border of pine and cypress.

The Accommodation

Historic buildings with artistic interiors and terraces in larger towns, rustic farmhouses in smaller villages. We use 3* and 4* hotel and agriturismo, some with swimming pools and restaurants.The places you stay have been carefully renovated from their original structure, with neoclassical villas within towns and stone-walled country retreats with gardens out in the more rural areas. All rooms have en-suite bathrooms, breakfast included, dinner included on 4 nights.
Hotel Exterior Via Francigena

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Itinerary: San Miniato Alto to Buonconvento

Days: 7 (8 nights)| Distance: 77 mi (123 km) | Difficulty: Easy to Moderate| Comfort: 3.5/4 | Price: from £815 p.p.

  • Day 1

    Arrival in San Miniato Alto

    Arrival by train from Florence or Pisa.
  • Day 2

    San Miniato Alto to Gambassi

    15 miles/24km

    From San Miniato, a paved road takes you through onto a spectacular route through to the typical countryside of the Val d’Elsa. On your way, you’ll meet two of the original ‘Submansiones’ – two of the original churches that housed travellers on the pilgrimage, dating back to the thirteenth century.
  • Day 3

    Gambassi to San Gimignano

    8.4 miles/13.5km

    Monuments from the middle ages are dotted along the path between the two charming medieval towns, stopping off at the villages of Collemuccioli and Pieve di Cellole, with time to visit the sanctuary in Pancole. Dinner is in the famous medieval town of San Gimignano.
  • Day 4

    San Gimignano to Colle Val d’Elsa

    7.5 miles/12km

    Today’s walk features some of the most memorable of the gorgeous, pastoral you can typically find in Tuscany. Vineyards, olive groves, field and woods make up your route to your overnight stay in Gracciano. There is also an optional detour to the fascinating Abbey of Santa Maria a Coneo, an important artistic and architectural heritage site dating back from the 11th century.
  • Day 5

    Colle Val d’Elsa to Monteriggioni

    10 miles/16km

    A continuation of the classical Tuscan countryside scenery, one of the most famous wine and olive oil producing regions. From the Pieve (rural, middle ages church) at Elsa, continue on to the ancient Etruscan Thermae (thermal baths) Caldone. Upon reaching the picturesque Romanesque church at Strove, continue your route along the complex of Abbadia a Isola to Monteriggioni, a medieval town encircled by its curious style of turrets and towers
  • Day 6

    Monteriggioni to Siena

    12.5 miles/20km

    Time seems to have stood still in the Montagnola senese, an area of hills where the empty structures of farmhouses, medieval villages (cerbaia) and even castles (Chiocciola) are dotted across the landscape. From Poggio di Riciano, the route descends alongside the river of Piano del lago (there is also an option to forgo a visit to Poggio di Riciano and walk directly from Chiocciola to Pian del Lago). Following the route through the Renai forest, you will end today’s walk in the beautiful town of Siena. Arriving into the town via the Pilgrim's access point of Porta Camollia.
  • Day 7

    Siena to Lucignano

    13 miles/21km

    Departing from Siena, your journey continues through the farmland routes, passing the antiquated structures of Grancia di Cuna and the town of Monteroni d’Arbia to the fortified village of Lucignano and its beautiful San Francesco church.
  • Day 8

    Lucignano to Pieva a Salti (Buonconvento)

    8.6 miles/13.8km

    Buonconvento to accommodation + 1.9 miles/+3km. Forests and rivers, historical landmarks and isolated monuments make up the rolling hillsides of the Valle dell’Ombrone. This valley is rich in wildlife, and there are two large nature reserves across its place at the heart of the province of Grosseto. Follow the route to the gates of Buonconvento, a picturesque old town that directly translates as "Happy, fortunate place". The town is home to many examples of fine artwork, with some of the most revered of the Sienese paintings housed in the Museum of Sacred Art of the Val d’Arbia.
  • Day 9

    Depart Buonconvento – transfer to train station

    Departure by train to Florence or Pisa airports.

Click ' + ' signs to view a detailed daily breakdown

PricesSeason 1
01/04/18 – 15/05/18
01/10/18 – 31/10/18

Season 2
16/05/18 – 22/07
18
Season 3
23/07/18 – 30/09/18
Two people sharing (p.p.)£815£825£835
Single person in a party£1060£1070£1080
Solo person£1095£1105£1115
  • What's Included?

    Price Includes

    • 8 nights bed and breakfast
    • 4 dinners (Nights 2, 5, 7 & 8)
    • Luggage transfers and personal transfers to/from the path where necessary during the walking programme.
    • Destination Manual and Road Book (route notes) showing directions to your accommodations and local map.

    Price Does Not Include

    • City taxes (per person) only payable direct to accommodations – The prices below indicates the total to pay per person, rather than per night.

    Please consider city tax can vary during the year and new taxes can be introduced

    (Gambassi Terme 1€, San Gimignano 2€, Colle Val d’Elsa 1€, Monteriggioni 1€, Siena 2,5€, Buonconvento 2€)

    • Packed lunches (own arrangements)
    • Travel to San Miniato Alto / from Buonconvento
    • Postage Overseas ~ £5.00 (Europe), £10.00 (Rest of the World) ~ per walk pack
  • Price Info.

    Rest Days: Please enquire for extra night prices at each location

    Holiday arrival/departure dates:

    You choose which day you would like your holiday to start on. We will book your holiday in accordance with your requirements.

    Please note that unlike our UK holidays there are 3 separate price bandings.

    Please check the dates and prices carefully before booking. We will book your holiday in accordance with your requirements. (Holiday price determined by your arrival date).

  • Getting There

    Nearest airports are

    Florence “A Vespucci”        (FLR)                      http://www.aeroporto.firenze.it/en/

    Pisa “Galileo Galilei”                    (PSA)                 http://www.pisa-airport.com/en/                                                                                         

    You are responsible for booking your air travel to airports and onward travel to your first accommodation and from your accommodation on departure.

    Train timetables - http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en

  • Best Time to Travel

    Visitors will get the most out of the Tuscan region visiting either side of summer. Spring and autumn offer a better climate for walking as well as a chance to experience the countryside coming into flower, or the harvest at the end of the summer. Although the area around Siena is not typically as crowded as the Chianti region, visitors will find a much quieter side of Tuscany outside of summer.

                                                                                          

Enquire About Tuscan Via Francigena

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