In contrast to the anti-itinerant rhetoric of the Church in medieval times, the last movements of St. Dominic between Rome and Bologna (1218-1221) testify to the ferment and initiative of the Saint, divided between official assignments received from the Pope and the desire to carry out a great project based on study, preaching and evangelical poverty.
The choice to retrace the Saint’s last journeys during the Jubilee does not arise from an apologetic idea, but rather from the desire to provide a renowned opportunity to reflect on the life and legacy of the founder of the Order of preaching friars.
Even if shorter than the Saint’s lengthy journeys (born in Caleruega in Castile, he moved incessantly between Spain, France and Italy), these trips offer the chance to live the spiritual and symbolic experience that Dominic himself lived in his peregrinations (“every time you travel, you spiritually retrace the journey of existence”).
Here you are, you reached the hill-top village of Montepulciano, with stunning views over the Orcia Valley. Upon arrival, celebrate with a glass of the famous local Vino Nobile wine in main the square and stroll around the craftsmen shops and laboratories.
Today this beautiful walk takes you to the UNESCO town of Pienza, where Renaissance town-planning concepts were first put into practice after Pope Pius II decided, in 1459, to transform the look of his birthplace. Half way you can make an optional detour to the Medieval hamlet of Monticchiello.
From Pienza, travel along an immensely panoramic roads past the medieval stone-built hamlet of Lucignano d’Asso. Ride up a remarkable limestone ridge and enjoy breath-taking views of the Val d’Orcia. Gather your strength as you make the climb up to Pieve a Salti. Upon arrival, celebrate with a glass of the famous local Vino Rosso.
Today’s walk is through a series of rolling hills and wheat-cultivated meadows in the heart of the “Crete Senesi”, a clay area that never ceases to amaze the passer by, with its distinctive grey coloured soil that makes it look like you’re on the moon.
Enjoy a visit to the city, famous for its biannual “Palio” horse race, held in the most beautiful shell-shaped square in Europe: the Piazza del Campo. Don’t miss a visit to the Duomo, an architectural treasure, and numerous imposing medieval palaces. History comes alive as you meander through the narrow streets of this fantastically preserved jewel of Italy. After the train journey, arrive in Firenze and breath the Renaissance air all around you: take a stroll along the tiny alleys and end up in Santa Maria del Fiore or climb up to Piazzale Michelangelo to get a panoramic view, at sunset!
After a short journey by train to S. Piero a Sieve you start walking towards the Appennines. It's a long walk, running from the bottom of the valley to the top of the mountains at La Futa pass, with the biggest German cemetery in Italy, where more than 30.000 German soldiers were laid to rest, with great views over the Firenzuola valley and Mugello.
This section is especially beautiful as you walk through immense green fields and chestnut woods. At your feet are Roman paving stones of the “Flaminia Militare”, the Roman road that used to link Bologna to Arezzo; you will see traces of the Roman passage still visible on the stones to Pian di Balestra, where you find ourselves at the border between Emilia and Tuscany.
After a short transfer you start walking from Sasso Marconi, named after the Nobel Prize winning scientist Guglielmo Marconi who was born here. You walk across Parco Tolon where the Casalecchio lock-gate has been managing the flow of the Reno River into the city of Bologna for 800 years. To reach the Basilica of San Domenico you walk to the Portico di San Luca, built in 1674: this is the longest covered street in the world, 4 km dominated by 666 arches, which extends all the way to the Basilica of San Luca.
Our services end after breakfast, unless you want to add an extra night to explore Bologna more.