Best of Tuscan Via Francigena, Easy Version

Level
1
Distance
80 km
Duration
9 days | 8 nights
period
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
price from
€ 872
CO2 footprint
145 Kg/person
  1. Italy
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode ITSM365E

Have you ever wondered which part of the Via Francigena is the most spectacular? Well, here it is, nestled in the heart of Tuscany. This version of the walk cuts some sections by taxi or public transport, allowing an easier experience for less experienced walkers and camino beginners. 

You will immerse yourself in the quintessential Tuscan countryside – the very image immortalized on postcards. But this is no mere photograph; it's alive, and you're here, experiencing it firsthand! Before you stretch gentle rolling hills adorned with cypress trees, a gravel road extending into the distance, and a horizon painted with ever more stunning landscapes.

Step inside the Pieve di Chianni, where Sigeric the Serious once rested, and find solace within the frescoed walls of its hostel. The next day, catch sight of the towers of Monteriggioni castle from afar, drawing closer with each step as you traverse the picturesque Val d’Elsa. 

The rust-colored earth beneath your feet guides you towards Siena until you pass through its gates: here, it's not uncommon to round a corner and encounter a procession of flag-wavers and drummers, proudly displaying the colors of their district. Finally, lose yourself in the lunar landscape of the Crete Senesi, where colors blend and shift before your eyes on windswept, sun-kissed grass.

All of this awaits you in a single journey: savor the best, all the while knowing that you'll never be able to resist the allure of everything this beautiful land called Italy has to offer!

Highlights

  • Take a leisurely stroll through the historic center of San Miniato;
  • Marvel at the skyline of San Gimignano from the road leading to Colle Val d’Elsa;
  • Pause in quiet reflection at the Pieve di Chianni in Gambassi Terme;
  • Indulge in a dish of Pici pasta in the fortified center of Monteriggioni.

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in San Miniato

Arrival in San Miniato

Your journey commences in San Miniato, a quaint town nestled atop a hill. While this charming hamlet may not boast the fame of other art cities along your route, we believe that sometimes, "the lesser-known, the better". Here, you can meander through the narrow lanes of the old town center and marvel at the painted façade of the Seminary – especially enchanting under the glow of the night sky, following a delectable dinner.

And speaking of dinner, for the food enthusiasts among you, don't overlook the local culinary delight: the white truffle, a delicacy that awaits you as a delightful celebration of your journey.

Day 2

Transfer to Coiano and walk to Gambassi Terme, 13 km

Transfer to Coiano and walk to Gambassi Terme, 13 km

Are you ready to start your adventure? Your first day of walking includes one of our favorite walks of the route. You'll traverse the gentle slopes of rolling hills, adorned with vibrant spring greens and speckled with wildflowers, or bathed in a golden, windswept sea during the summer months.

Gambassi Terme is home to the Pieve di Chianni – and one of the most stunning hostels along the entire route. Here, you'll rest in bedrooms with ensuite facilities, their walls often adorned with meticulously restored original frescoes, lovingly cared for by the family who manages the hostel with dedication.

Share travel tales with fellow guests over a glass of ice-cold beer, followed by an unmissable visit to the Pieve, where you'll discover a treasure trove of engravings, bas-reliefs, and paintings, each with its own captivating story to tell.

Distance: 13 km

Elevation gain: +340/-200 m

Day 3

Walk from Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano, 14,5 km

Walk from Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano, 14,5 km

Today's walk may be short, but it's certainly sweet. Before long, you'll catch sight of the shimmering towers of San Gimignano in the distance: a promising sight indeed, but remember to savor every step of the journey.

This leg of the walk guides you through gentle hills, dotted with charming farmhouses, until you reach the Pieve di Cellole. Nestled in serene tranquility, this unique place is home to a monk community. If you detect a soft, distant sound emanating from the Romanesque church guarded by cypress trees, quietly draw nearer and listen: the monks sing here every day, and you might just be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of their harmonious melodies.

As you continue your journey towards San Gimignano, the iconic towers draw nearer with each step. Our recommendation is to head straight to the Torre Grossa. From the summit of this tallest tower in San Gimignano, far removed from the bustling crowds filling the narrow streets below, you'll be treated to a breathtaking 360° panorama of the historic city center and the stunning landscape beyond.

And if you're a wine enthusiast, be sure to indulge in the local pride – Vernaccia, a crisp white wine best enjoyed at its source, in the winery of the Montestaffoli fortress.

Distance: 14.5 km

Elevation gain: +350/-350 m

Day 4

Walk from San Gimignano to Colle Val d'Elsa, 12 km

Walk from San Gimignano to Colle Val d'Elsa, 12 km

The journey proceeds through a shaded route today. You'll wander through the forests of Val d’Elsa, encountering charming little paths as you traverse gentle rivers and streams, discover sun-dappled meadows illuminated by rays of sunlight filtering through the trees, and rejuvenate yourself in the crisp waters of mountain streams.

Your destination for today is Colle Val d’Elsa, a medieval hamlet ensconced within sturdy stone walls.

Distance: 12 km

Elevation gain: +287/-222 m

Day 5

Walk from Colle Val d'Elsa to Strove, 10 km

Walk from Colle Val d'Elsa to Strove, 10 km

Prepare yourself for a quiet and meditative walk. Your path will lead you through hills, forests, and meadows, past tranquil churches, and to unique sites like Abbadia a Isola – once an ancient abbey surrounded by marshes, now a hostel welcoming pilgrims and hosting an annual slow travel festival. A transfer will take you to Strove where you overnight.

Distance: 10 km

Elevation gain: +170/-55 m

Day 6

Walk from Strove to Monteriggioni and train/bus to Siena, 7 km

Walk from Strove to Monteriggioni and train/bus to Siena, 7 km

Today's destination is Monteriggioni, a tiny ancient village crowned with towers. You can linger in the main square, observing as it buzzes with pilgrims and locals, or stroll along the fortified walls for a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. Seek out the hidden gardens for moments of serene rest – but we'll leave the joy of discovering them to you!

You will then reach Siena by train or bus.

Distance: 7 km

Elevation gain: +100/-105 m

Day 7

Bus from Siena to Isola d'Arbia and walk to Lucignano, 10 km

Bus from Siena to Isola d'Arbia and walk to Lucignano, 10 km

A morning bus will take you outside Siena, to Isola d'Arbia, from where you start the walk. today you will cross the typical "strade bianche" – gravel roads winding through the hills. The landscape enveloping you resembles a masterpiece painted by a skilled artist, with each hue carefully selected and placed. Shades of gray, green, and silver blend before your eyes, offering a new and captivating view with every glance.

It's a lunar landscape, seemingly removed from both space and time, a spectacle unique to this corner of the world.

Just beyond Monteroni d’Arbia, you'll encounter the imposing Grancia di Cuna, a fortified farm once responsible for storing the grain reserves of the Republic of Siena.

Distance: 10 km

Elevation gain: +175/-165 m

Day 8

Walk from Lucignano to Buonconvento, 14 km

Walk from Lucignano to Buonconvento, 14 km

On your last day of walking, you'll journey through the picturesque Ombrone Valley, yet another breathtaking natural masterpiece. The final kilometers of your adventure promise to be just as delightful as the rest, leading you to a village where your journey concludes in style.

Buonconvento epitomizes the essence of Tuscan life – a truly "happy and fortunate place," as its name suggests. Stroll through the streets of the medieval city center, immersing yourself in the leisurely, serene rhythm of life in this provincial town. If, after reveling in the beauty of nature, you crave the artistic creations of humankind, the Museum of Sacred Art of the Val d'Arbia showcases the works of some of the most renowned Sienese painters.

Distance: 14 km

Elevation gain: +170/-205 m

Day 9

Arrivederci Buonconvento!

Arrivederci Buonconvento!

Our services end after breakfast, unless you book any extra services.

Details

Is this for me?


If you'd like to start with a bang and walk the most beautiful part of Via Francigena, this is it. From the quaint hamlet of San Miniato to the lunar landscape of Crete Senesi, through the towers of San Gimignano and Monteriggioni. The first stage may result a bit challenging in terms of lenght and lack of  shade in Summer, but you can shorten it with a private transfer. 

Some sections of this walk are shortened with taxi transfers or public transport, making this itinerary more suitable to beginners.

Included


What is included

  • 8 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
  • 2 dinners (Gambassi Terme, Lucignano)
  • luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
  • transfer San Miniato-Coiano
  • official guide of the route, App
  • Pilgrim Passport
  • Medical and luggage travel insurance24h 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.

Optional Services

these services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:

  • Single room supplement
  • cancellation insurance
  • Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.

Accommodation


We work with 3* hotels, B&Bs and farmhouses that reflect our way of experiencing travel: they are comfortable and characterful structures, which we choose one by one, managed by passionate and welcoming people.

Unless otherwise specified in the travel listing, all provide private en-suite rooms with breakfast included.

Below you see some examples of the facilities used for this trip, but keep in mind that they may vary based on availability in the period. We could therefore book for you structures different from those you see listed here, but of the same category and carefully chosen according to SloWays criteria.

Hotel San Miniato - San Miniato
Ostello Sigerico - Gambassi
Hotel La Cisterna - San Gimignano
Arnolfo B&B - Colle Val d'Elsa
Hotel Chiusarelli - Siena
Hotel Borgo Antico - Lucignano
Hotel Ghibellino - Buonconvento

When to travel


The climate in Tuscany is generally very mild with differences depending on the geography  of the  region, from coasts and valleys to the continental areas. The warmest months are generally July and August, with temperatures ranging from 23°C up to 30°C; the valleys can often see higher  temperatures and 38°C to 40°C is not uncommon. While June and September offer both nice warm weather. Of course, there are always exceptions or dry spells that cause a few days to get really hot.Spring (April and May) and Autumn (October and November) are dry, with sunny days but the chances of rain are high.The weather can change very quickly and you must be prepared forrain, mist, wind, fog (and even hail or snow at higher elevations) –especially in spring and autumn. 

What to bring


Clothing and other items
You will need your regular walking/cycling gear, including some sort of reflective garment. For the evenings, smart outdoor style trousers (or shorts) are invaluable, as are quick-dry t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town.

Take as little as possible to avoid potentially lugging a heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs at the end of the day. Please be aware that laundromats (“Laverie”) are not common in rural areas, so plan to do handwashing of small items.

Lightweight walking shoes/ trainers
For wearing around towns & villages. They can also be a back-up pair.

Socks & underwear
Take only good quality socks with quick-dry and insulating qualities. Road test them before you go on the trip. Take a suitable quantity of underwear as washing facilities are limited.

Warm jacket, hat, gloves
Bring a fleece, Polartec or warm layers for the evenings especially in spring or autumn; be sure it is totally suitable for your needs.
A fleece jacket which blocks the wind (Wind-stopper) is the most preferable. In the summer months a lightweight jacket is suitable for evenings.
If you are cycling/walking in mountainous or coastal areas, even in the height of summer, the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly and you should be prepared for fog, mist, rain, snow or hail at any time. Always take an extra layer with you, as well as a warm hat and gloves.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
If you are caught in heavy rain, with good waterproof clothing you should remain dry. Remember that most garments will lose their properties over time. Few will remain waterproof for more than five years and many deteriorate in three years or less. We recommend a rain jacket with a good hood and collar and waterproof or thermal walking/cycling trousers or tights.

Dress code
In general, you should wear suitable clothing when entering a church (in many places, it is considered unacceptable to go inside wearing shorts or a tank-top). We suggest that women carry a shawl to cover up bear shoulders or low-cut tops. It also comes in handy when your shoulders get sunburned!

It is considered inappropriate for men to go without a shirt / T-shirt (other than at the beach).

Trekking poles (adjustable)
Highly recommended. A pair works best, depending on what you are comfortable with. If you suffer from back or knee pain this should be considered essential. Remember to practise walking with your pole(s) on different types of terrain in the months preceding your trip.

Walking boots
The importance of good footwear cannot be stressed enough. Your boots should be sturdy and of good enough quality to handle all types of terrain. Lightweight boots, (cordura/leather boots) which have Gore-Tex or sympatex water-proofing are most suitable for this trip. They should provide good ankle protection and be well broken in. Waxing leather boots regularly prolongs their life.

Walking tops & trousers
We recommend walking trousers and shorts and quick-dry wicking t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town. Wicking T-shirts are fast drying, keep moisture away from your skin and are available at outdoor stores. You should also bring one pair of loose-fitting trousers to wear in cities and for evenings out, etc. Shorts or zip-off trousers are useful in warmer weather.

Practical info

How to arrive


From any airport, get to the closest railway station. From there, you can reach San Miniato Basso by train (the station's name is "S. Miniato-Fucecchio"). Trains are direct from both Pisa and Florence.

Once at the train station, you can reach San Miniato Alto by bus (get off at Piazza del Popolo). Check bus line 320.

On departure from Buonconvento, you can get to Pisa, Florence, Bologna and Milano by train.

Check train timetables on www.trenitalia.com

Mobile App


Use the SloWays APP for iOS and Android smart phones in combination with the written documentation provided.

The App has the detailed tracks and maps that you can use offline and without roaming. Thanks to the phone’s internal GPS, you can check your exact position on the map, so you always know exactly where you are. It also helps you self-navigate you way while travelling. More information on how to use the App inside the roadbook documents.

The navigation features include:

  • Offline navigation. Mobile data not required after initial download
  • Accurate GPS tracks
  • Autorotation of the maps
  • Daily route summary and elevation chart
  • Panorama of the track and at street level
  • Alarm and vibration that alerts you in case you go off track.Emergency SMS button with position coordinates
  • Possibility to record and take georeferenced photos of problems on route alerting fellow travelers
  • Hotel information
  • Points of interest along the way
  • Historical background

Wanderlust Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
Wanderlust
Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
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Touroperating
S-Cape Countryside Travels srl
Borgo Allegri 16R
50122 Firenze FI
P. IVA 05227330486

 
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Touroperating S-Cape Countryside Travels srl Borgo Allegri 16R 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
VAT Nr 05227330486

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