the Via Francigena
the pilgrimage from Canterbury to Rome
THE VIA FRANCIGENA
Travelling along the ancient route of the Via Francigena, we will cross one of the most evocative stretches of the Sienese countryside and visit some of the most important medieval towns in Tuscany. You will always be accompanied by one of our hiking and tourist guides, who will show you castles, churches and monuments that rose along the ancient pilgrimage route that connected Canterbury to Rome.
1st day - FROM SAN MINIATO TO GAMBASSI TERME
In the morning we will start our multi-day hike along the Via Francigena. Leaving San Miniato behind us, we will take a route of extraordinary beauty on cart tracks and paths along the hilly ridges of the Val d'Elsa. On the Sigerico route we meet two Submansiones: the Pieve di Coiano and the Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta in Chianni, with its beautiful Romanesque façade in local yellow sandstone. (6 h 30' walk, 23 km)
2nd day - FROM GAMBASSI TERME TO SAN GIMIGNANO
Short stop, but very scenic. After visiting the small town of Gambassi, we head towards the imposing Sanctuary of Pancole, before climbing up towards the characteristic village of Collemuccioli and from here to the enchanting Romanesque parish church of Cellole. The afternoon will be dedicated to the visit of San Gimignano, with its high medieval towers, elsewhere demolished or reduced, here preserved due to the decline of the town's power at the end of the Middle Ages. (3 h 30' walk, 14 km)
3rd day - FROM SAN GIMIGNANO TO COLLE VAL D’ELSA
Leaving San Gimignano, ancient up and down paths through vineyards, olive groves and streams will take us to Colle Alta, entering through the majestic Porta Nova. Here we visit the oldest part of the centre, with the main street flanked by imposing noble palaces from the Renaissance period, the Cathedral, the tower-houses, including the house where Arnolfo di Cambio was born. (3 h 30' walk, 13 km)
4st day - FROM COLLE VAL D’ELSA TO MONTERIGGIONI
After leaving the village we will start our trekking along the Sentierelsa, a beautiful and green nature trail along the banks of the river. Elsa, among loops, small lakes and suggestive waterfalls. From Ponte di San Marziale you head to Strove, a small town with a beautiful Romanesque parish church. After a short stop in Castel Pietraio, we pass by the splendid complex of Abbadia a Isola, an ancient abbey originally surrounded by swamps. Finally, we reach Monteriggioni, with its unmistakable turreted walls, an ancient Sienese outpost against the Florentine threat.
(4 h 30 min walk, 15 km)
5th day - FROM MONTERIGGIONI TO SIENA
Leaving the historical centre of Monteriggioni behind us, we walk along the white roads of the Montagnola Senese towards Cerbaia, an ancient medieval village. Crossing thick woods, we will reach the castles of Chiocciola and Villa, before descending into the reclaimed riverbed of Pian del Lago, where it is possible to make a possible detour to the famous tunnel of Leopold II of Lorraine. Finally, we reach Porta Camollia, the traditional access to Siena.
(5 h 30 min walk, 22 km)
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