Are you ready to enter a postcard-like landscape? In the first part of this journey you will walk along the legendary dirt roads of Siena for kilometres and kilometres, crossing the Val d’Arbia and the Val d’Orcia, icons of the Tuscan landscape. You will visit wonderful villages like Bagno Vignoni, with its enormous thermal pool in the centre of the square, and Radicofani, whose fortress dominates southern Tuscany.
Once you enter Lazio, you will be amazed by the beauty of Lake Bolsena, and charmed by the ancient paving stones of the Via Cassia, still intact after 2000 years.
But surprises continue, from the enchanting medieval center of Viterbo, with with an entire district dedicated to the pilgrim, through the ancient Etrurian roads, to the Roman amphitheatre of Sutri, completely dug out from the tufo. Then, a beautiful cycle path leads you into the heart of Rome, running along the River Tevere until your destination: St. Peter Square.
If you appreciate good flavours, keep in mind that you will cross the vineyards of the Brunello di Montalcino, one of the best Italian wines, and the production zones of the cacio di Pienza (type of cheese), before entering one of the most important areas for the production of extra-virgin olive oil, between Bolsena and Montefiascone.
Your journey will start in Siena, one of the most beautiful towns along the Francigena, famous for its Palio race: you will be able to spend the day walking through its paved streets, looking for coats-of-arms on the walls of the contrade, or climbing the Torre del Mangia to enjoy a unique view over the roofs of the town; not to be missed is a visit of the Duomo, which will impress you with its amazing black and white columns. If you are lucky you will be able to witness a festival in one of the contrade, and see the work of the skilled flag-throwers, before sitting down at a table in Piazza del Campo to enjoy a plate of pici all'aglione for dinner, admiring the illuminated Palazzo Pubblico.
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 strade bianche (typical dirt roads of the Sienese countryside) 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 for the Republic of Siena.
From Lucignano you will continue your journey through the Valle dell'Ombrone to Buonconvento. You will cross wall gate and enter the fine old village centre, discovering why its name means "happy fortunate place", before jumping again on your bicycle to continue towards San Quirico over dirt roads and some paved 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. At 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.
Today you will test your strength with a short but demanding leg of your journey which will take you as far as Radicofani: however it will definitely 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.
From Radicofani you will walk towards one of the most exciting sections of the Via Francigena, leaving the fortress behind you and travelling along the old Via Cassia, surrounded by scenery of infinite hills dominated by Monte Amiata. You will be able to walk in silence in the Romanesque crypt beneath the Basilica del Santo Sepolcro, among decorated capitals and arches: where, according to tradition, some stones bathed in the blood of Christ are supposed to have been kept.
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, as far as 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 typical 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 climb up to the Rocca, where you will be enchanted before a boundless view. After descending from the Rocca, you can visit a typical wine bar and taste a glass of Est!Est!!Est!!!, which is even better here because it is km zero.
If you want to spoil yourself a little more, you will be able to enjoy a pleasant stop at the spas of Bagnaccio, recharging your batteries in its thermal waters before proceeding towards Viterbo, the end of your journey. In honour of your trip, do not miss visiting the picturesque 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 !
From Viterbo the journey continues towards Vetralla, town in the heart of the ancient Etrurian territory, to later continue through the green countryside of Lazio you come to Sutri, a small town rich in attractions. The Roman amphitheatre, completely dug out from the tufo, is something not to be missed. Decide whether to sit on the terraces or to get up onto the stage, but as you leave remember to sign the visitors’ register: it is very important for the custodian, and if he is there he will invite you to do so. After this, proceed to the church of Santa Maria del Parto, the tufo walls of which are decorated in well preserved frescoes. Look for the group of pilgrims among the images, depicted in prayer with their sticks in their hand.
From Sutri we go on towards Campagnano: during the journey you will flank the Mount Gelato Waterfalls, where you can stop for a reinvigorating bath. A panoramic road of the Veio Nature Park will bring you to the gates of Campagnano. Here you can rest in the Venturi Park, the home of a three-hundred year old Yew tree the locals call the “Tree of Death”: but don’t worry, you can sit in its shade without any danger! Get back on the saddle and face the last leg of your journey which separates you from the Eternal City. You will continue through the Veio nature park with its woody hills, before entering the enchanting Valle del Sorbo. Along the way you will be able to admire the sanctuary of the Madonna del Sorbo, but also the old town centre of Formello, with its fine medieval buildings
The leg continues across the countryside of Lazio, so close to Rome yet so distant because of its quiet atmosphere. You will have to cross a short section of trafficked roads to reach the cycle path of River Tevere, an enchanting slow path which will lead you to the gates of Vatican City, where you will be able to end your journey in St.Peter Square.
Do not forget to take a triumphant photograph in front of the Basilica, before celebrating the end of the journey freshening up with spring lamb, pecorino romano cheese, and perhaps a delicious maritozzo with cream...you’ve deserved it!
Last day is included. The tour ends after breakfast.
Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
The three-star Hotel Chiusarelli is located in the city centre of Siena, finds its natural setting in a neoclassical villa built around 1870. The structure has been completely renovated in 2013. Rooms are spacious and clean and these offer bathroom with shower or bathtub, hairdryer, air conditioning/heater, telephone, Wi-Fi, TV with Sky Vision. The Hotel has no lift. High quality breakfast.
Hotel Palazzuolo is situated within a private park of 11 hectares on the edge of the village of San Quirico d’Orcia. The structure is a little bit dated, but rooms are well-furnished and some of these have a balcony with views of swimming-pool or Val d'Orcia. The restaurant is open every day and it offers traditional dishes.
Set between 2 rolling hills in the heart of the Val D’Orcia Valley, Agriturismo Selvella is a renovated Tuscan country house Radicofani 3 km away offering typical rustic rooms and a summer pool. The location is quiet and totally surrounded by nature. Rooms are comfortable and cozy with free Wifi, air conditioned and some of these have a view overlooking tuscany countryside or Radicofani. Owners are hospitable and helpful. Quality breakfast and cuisine.
This agritourism is just 250 metres from the centre of Bolsena and it has a nice view of the Bolsena Lake. Rooms are spacious and well appointed. These offer flat tv, free WiFi, air conditioning, heating, independent bath and shower and some with private entrances. Breakfast is rich and various of sweet and savoury food.
Surrounded by greenery, Hotel Royal is set 20 m from the shores of Lake Bolsena and it offers elegant rooms and an outdoor swimming pool. Rooms are spacious, well-finished and clean with air conditioning, TV, free Wifi, telephone. Breakfast is rich with savoury and sweet dishes.
Hotel Riario is located in the center of Medieval Viterbo, in a builiding of the 16th century. Rooms are furnish in elegant way, comfortable and well-finished. These offer TV, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning. Breakfast is good and rich.
Agriturismo Montefosco is nestled in the countryside of Lazio a few steps from Rome and surrounded by its hazelnut trees. Room are well-finished, clean and well-furnished with free Wifi, TV, air conditioning/heating. There is quality cuisine and the restaurant offers traditional dishes with local ingredients.
B&B Nonna Loreta is located in a quiet and comfortable house and it offers a garden and a terrace. Rooms are well-finished and clean with air conditioning/heating, TV, private bathroom and some of these have common bathroom. Breakfast is rich and varied.
Dharma Style Hotel, located in the center of Rome, is very close to the main attractions and it is also close to the metro. Rooms are all recently renovated and are modern and beautifully decorated. These are equipped with free Wifi, soundproofing, air conditioning, TV, minibar, coffee/tea maker, telephone with direct line. Breakfast is rich and good.
Bianchi Sempre Pro
E-BIKE Customized Peugeot
GPS tracks are available on request.
What is included
· Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
. Two dinners (Radicofani, Sutri)
· luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
· maps and detailed description of the itinerary
. Pilgrim Passport
· Medical and luggage travel insurance
· 24h phone assistance
What is not included
. Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
· lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated.
· visits and entrance fees - tips
· personal expense
· possible sojourn taxes
· everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.
These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:
. Single room supplement
. Cancellation insurance
. Bicycle rental
· Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.
We just returned home in Japan. I will never forget this trip. It has been a wonderful experience. You have been of great help. Thank you for everything! (Hiroko K., 2019)