Are you ready to immerse yourself in the typical colors of the Tuscan countryside? On this backpacking trip, you will travel along the legendary Senese dirt roads ("strade bianche"), through the Val d’Arbia and Val d’Orcia. Along the way, you will encounter postcard-like villages such as Bagno Vignoni, with its thermal pool in the middle of the square, and Radicofani, a real natural balcony overlooking southern Tuscany.
Crossing the border with Lazio, you will be welcomed by the gentle landscape around Lake Bolsena, and you will be able to walk on the ancient paving stones of the Via Cassia, still intact after 2000 years, before visiting the enchanting medieval center of Viterbo.
But surprises do not end here: you will walk among the vineyards of Brunello di Montalcino, one of the best Italian wines. On the route, you will also cross the production areas the Pienza cheese, and extra virgin olive oil, between Bolsena and Montefiascone.
Let’s hope that the sun will be shining during the first day of your journey, because the Crests of the Val d'Arbia offer unforgettable views: after saying goodbye to Siena, resting on the hills on the horizon, you will travel along the typical dirt roads of Siena as far as the fortified village of Lucignano, with its fine church. At the gates of Monteroni d'Arbia you will be able to admire the impressive Grancia di Cuna, a fortified farm which once held the reserves of wheat destined to the Republic of Siena.
From Lucignano you will continue your journey through the Valle dell'Ombrone to Buonconvento. You will cross the gate of the walls and enter the fine old town centre of the village, discovering why its name means "happy fortunate place": you will walk through the picturesque streets, where life is lived quietly following the slow rhythms of a countryside village, and if you love art, you will have the chance to admire the works of some of the most famous Sienese painters in the Museum of Sacred Art of the Val d'Arbia.
Today your journey will take you towards San Quirico, over dirt roads and some asphalted ones: these, however, will be compensated by the beautiful views of the Val D'Orcia, among hills tinted with charming shades and scattered with vineyards and cypress trees. In San Quirico you will stand enchanted before the gate of the Collegiata, trying to recognise the various architectural styles that blend into its decorations, before enjoying a rest among the green hedges of the Horti Leonini, a fifteenth-century garden.
You will continue your journey across the fabulous views of the Val D'Orcia: just beyond San Quirico you will enter a timeless world visiting Vignoni Alto, and you will be able to enjoy a reinvigorating rest in the thermal waters of Bagno Vignoni, with its unmistakable pool in the middle of the main square. The other pearl of the day is Castiglione, in the heart of the Val d'Orcia, which you will pass close by as you travel across one of the most beautiful panoramic sections of the whole Via Francigena.
Today you will test your strength with a short but demanding leg of your journey which will take you as far as Radicofani: but it will be worth it, because admiring the view from the Radicofani fortress, tired but satisfied, will repay all your efforts. You will also be able to visit the Pieve di San Pietro, a little jewel dating back to the thirteenth century, and take an evening walk in its old town centre, admiring the magic of the illuminated Fortress.
Your journey will continue gently as far as the first views of Lake Bolsena: from here you will descend into a volcanic crater and you will continue along dirt tracks, alternating thick woods with meadows scattered with olive trees, before reaching Bolsena. If you are curious to see proof of the miracle of the Corpus Domini, for which Bolsena is famous, in the Cappella del Miracolo some marble slabs stained by the blood pouring from a Host in the thirteen century are kept. If, instead, you are more interested in the typical cuisine. you can taste the products offered by the lake, such as the Sbroscia, a local soup made from lake fish and tomatoes.
You will continue through woods and olive groves, on a route that will offer constant views of the lake: you will cross an area famous for the production of Extra virgin olive oil, which we recommend you taste on the a piece of fragrant local bread, before arriving in Montefiascone: not to be missed, a climp up to the Rocca, where you will be enchanted before a boundless views. After descending from the Rocca, you can go into a typical wine bar and taste a glass of the famous Est!Est!!Est!!!, which here tastes even better because it is produced locally.
We return to travelling along the ancient paved road of the Via Cassia, in a leg of our journey that takes us over hills dotted with charming views over Montefiascone and Viterbo; you will be able to enjoy a pleasant stop at the spa of Bagnaccio, recharging your batteries in its thermal waters before proceeding towards Viterbo, the end of your journey. To honour of our trip, do not miss visiting the pictoresque pilgrim’s quarter, before admiring the splendid Palazzo dei Papi and enjoying the silence of the Longobard cloisters of Santa Maria Nuova. And to end on a sweet note, celebrate the end of the journey with the delicious local frittellacce!
8 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast