A backpacking camino that starts and ends in two extraordinary artistic centres: Lucca and Siena. This journey through the Tuscan countryside takes you to renowned medieval villages such as San Gimignano and Monteriggioni, but also includes surprising, off-the-beaten track towns like San Miniato and Colle Val d’Elsa.
The ever-changing scenery varies from the plain around Lucca to the gentle hills of Val d’Elsa, where the modern wayfarer can plunge into timeless atmospheres evoking medieval pilgrimages, as you encounter millenary churches and ancient paved paths.
If you prefer walking this route with the backpacking formula, visit this page: https://www.sloways.eu/walking-via-francigena-lucca-siena
A demanding leg, but one with unique beautiful scenery, awaits you. From San Miniato you will walk along an asphalted section of road, amply compensated by the following part which passes through the splendid crests of the hills of the Val d'Elsa: along the road you can cross the threshold of the Pieve di Chianni, following in the footsteps of entire generations of pilgrims. For a fitting end to the day you can enjoy a healthy bath in the hot springs of Gambassi, surrounded by a park of ancient trees.
This leg of the journey, short but rich in splendid natural scenery, will lead you to San Gimignano, one of the most beautiful towns along the Via Francigena: you will get a foretaste of your arrival when you see the famous towers that make its skyline unmistakeable. Do not miss the view of the medieval town and its surrounding valleys from the top of the Torre Grossa, or if you don’t run out of energy, venture up the steps of the Rocca di Montestaffoli, for an even more special view. During the evening, take a quiet stroll to admire the illuminated town before enjoying a good glass of Vernaccia in one of the taverns of the old town centre.
From San Gimignano you will continue, up and down, through the Tuscan hills. In one point of the journey not yet well marked you will come to Sce Martin in Fosse, one of the halting places along the ancient route of Sigerico. Today's destination is Colle Val d'Elsa, a Tuscan village which will take you back in time, with its charming old town centre and narrow alleyways winding through the stone walls.
Prepare yourselves for one of the most beautiful sections of the Via Francigena: a meditative route, along which you can admire the Pieve di Strove (unfortunately just from the outside) and stand in the quietness of the splendid Abbadia at Isola, another stage in the journey of the Archbishop Sigerico, where time stopped 1000 years ago, when he passed through. Your breath will be taken away when you see the castle of Monteriggioni, with its crown of towers, built on a hill in order to defend the ancient Republic of Siena. Within it, a small ancient world, with the beautiful square and small gardens where you will be able to gather your breath, before climbing up onto the walls to admire the surrounding view.
From Monteriggioni you will start your walk again along the white roads of the Sienese countryside, passing thought the old, no longer inhabited medieval village of Cerbaia: you will experience the same feelings as the ancient pilgrims when you pass through porta Camollia, the traditional Francigena entrance to the town of Siena. An unforgettable way to celebrate? A plate of pici all'aglione in the illuminated Piazza del Campo. And don’t forget the panforte!
5 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
GPS tracks are available on request.