Francigena Way: Best of Tuscany

Francigena Way: Best of Tuscany

Trip Highlights

  • Walking through the spectacular landscapes of the Tuscan countryside full of vineyards and picturesque rolling hills
  • Exploring the round walls of the historical fortified village of Monteriggioni
  • Discovering the charming UNESCO towns of San Gimignano and Siena
  • Staying in small, comfortable family-run accommodations and tasting the delicious Tuscan culinary specialities

Trip Summary

On this section of the Camino trail to Rome, combine well-known towns including Siena and San Gimignano, with charming hamlets such as San Miniato, to discover the very best of the Tuscan Via Francigena in a single week. Starting in San Miniato, one of the hidden pearls of the Via Francigena, this itinerary takes you through a region of extraordinary beauty. From the thousand year old Pieve di Chianni, to the crenellated towers of Monteriggioni, to finally reach spectacular Siena, this walk will continue to amaze you. With achievable daily distances ranging from 13 to 24 km (7.5 to 15mi), enjoy wonderful views as you walk and discover fortified hamlets where time seems to have stopped. The landscape is not the only highlight. At meal times, savour the local cuisine including the precious white truffle of San Miniato, the pici of Siena and the saffron of San Gimignano, while at night stay in quality, handpicked hotels and agriturismi, the perfect blend of comfort on an active Italian holiday.

Itinerary

Make your own way to San Miniato Alto. Set between Pisa and Florence, the medieval town of San Miniato is a splendid jewel of the Via Francigena. Sitting on the top of three hills, it dominates the Arno Valley. After checking in to your hotel, be sure to stroll the old town streets and visits the Episcopal Seminary, the Duomo and the church of San Domenico. San Miniato is known for its white truffles and we recommend sampling these tasty delights perhaps with a risotto at dinner.

Meals:  B

From San Miniato a paved road brings you to a spectacular route which leads you across typical Tuscan countryside. Following in the footsteps of Archbishop Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury from 990 to 994, who walked between Rome and Canterbury in 990, you will pass two "Submansiones" (Sigeric's "stopping places"): Pieve di Coiano and Pieve a Chianne. Continue to Gambassi Terme and your hotel for the night. Walk: 24km/15mi. Ascent: 781m/2562ft. Descent: 654m/2145ft.

Meals:  B,D

The walk today will lead you through wonderful surroundings and landscapes of the Via Francigena. You will visit the tiny villages of Collemuccioli and Pieve di Cellole, as well as the Sanctuary in Pancole, where you can learn about its legend. On arrival in San Gimignano, your final destination for the day, we recommend exploring the town on foot so you can really appreciate its charming medieval atmosphere. Walk: 18km/11mi. Ascent: 595m/1952ft. Descent: 540ft/1772ft.

Meals:  B

Today the Via Francigena will lead you up and over the Tuscan hills. This picturesque walk will lead you across vineyards, olive groves, fields and woods until you reach your accommodation in Gracciano. Along the way it's possible to make a detour to discover the fascinating Abbey of Santa Maria a Coneo, dating from the 11th century. Walk: 21km/13mi. Ascent: 209m/686ft. Descent: 204m/669ft.

Meals:  B

Today you will cross Pieve a Elsa, which was once a large, ancient parish frequented by pilgrims. You can also visit the ancient Etruscan Thermae (hot pools) of Caldane. Later in the day you will reach Strove and its beautiful Romanesque church. From Strove you continue past the medieval village of Abbadia a Isola, built around the Cistercian Abbey of San Salvatore, before reaching Monteriggioni. You will see its famed crown of towers as you approach. After check in you can spend the afternoon exploring this fascinating town. Walk: 13km/8mi. Ascent: 132m/433ft. Descent: 57m/187ft.

Meals:  B

Leaving Monteriggioni you walk on dirt roads along the Montagnola Senese, the main hilly area of the district. You will pass the ancient medieval suburb of Cerbaia which currently appears to be abandoned. Walking through woods you will reach the castle of Chiocciola and ascend to Poggio di Riciano. From here you will start your descent, walking along the river of Pian del Lago (or you can shorten your walk by omitting the Poggio di Riciano visit). At the end of the Renai forest you enter the beautiful town of Siena via the ancient pilgrim's access, Porta Camollia. Overnight in Siena, which you can explore this evening. Walk: 20km/12.5mi. Ascent: 224m/735ft. Descent: 245m/803ft.

Meals:  B

After leaving Siena you will walk along typical dirt roads en route to the fortified village of Lucignano, with its fine church. You will enjoy unforgettable views on today's walk, especially on a clear day. At the gates of Monteroni d'Arbia you can admire the impressive Grancia di Cuna, a fortified farm which held the reserves of wheat destined for the republic of Siena. Overnight in Lucignano d'Arbia Walk: 21km/13mi. Ascent: 316m/1037ft. Descent: 484ft/1588ft.

Meals:  B

Today you continue your journey through the Valle dell'Ombrone on your way to Buonconvento. Here you walk through the gate and find yourself in the old town, whose name means "happy, fortunate place". We recommend strolling through the picturesque streets, where life is lived quietly following the slow rhythms of a provincial village. Art lovers can admire the works of some of the most famous Sienese painters in the Museum of Sacred Art of the Val d'Arbia. Walk: 13.8km/8.5mi, 5hrs. Ascent: 168m/551ft. Descent: 187m/614ft.

Meals:  B

Your trip concludes after breakfast in Buonconvento.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 8 breakfasts, 1 dinner: Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, tea, coffee & juices. Dinner will usually consist of 3 courses, starting with a salad or pasta dish, followed by either a chicken, red meat or fish dish with seasonal vegetables & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cake
  • 8 nights in 3 star hotels and agriturismo / B&B's on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities (hotel taxes extra, payable locally - allow €10)
  • Information pack including smartphone app with maps plus a route book per room booked
  • Luggage transfer (max 1 piece per person)
  • Emergency hotline and SMS alert
  • Credenziale - the pilgrim's passport

What's Not Included

  • Travel to San Miniato Alto and from Buonconvento
  • Lunches and dinners (except dinner in Gambassi) - allow EUR15-20 for each dinner and EUR5 for a picnic lunch
  • Items of a personal nature including drinks, souvenirs, phone calls, internet and laundry etc.
  • Entrance fees (museums, galleries etc.)
  • Guide - this is a self guided tour
  • Travel insurance
  • Tourist Tax - allow approx EUR1-2 per day - payable directly to the hotel

Upcoming Travel Dates

AT A GLANCE

Duration:9 Days
Countries:Italy
Starting Point:San Miniato Alto
Finishing Point:Buonconvento
Activities:SELF GUIDED WALK
Grade:moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:FRT
Prices From:GBP£870 Per Person
Single Supplement:GBP£300  Click for more information
Single Traveller Surcharge:GBP£340  Click for more information