via francigena woman crossing the cisa pontremoli bridge
via francigena woman crossing the cisa pontremoli bridge

Via Francigena: Stage 5, Pontremoli to Lucca

Level
2
Distance
126 km
Duration
8 days | 7 nights
period
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
price from
€ 811
CO2 footprint
102 Kg/person
  1. Italy
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode ITSM350

Ready to explore the lesser-known side of Tuscany? The sceneries you are going to walk through are not your typical picture-perfect rolling hills and cypress-dotted fields. 

You start form Pontremoli, in the heart of Lunigiana - the land of moon, of mysterious "Statue Stele" - a green territory dotted with evocatory castles, to then descend towards the sea of Versilia

Here you can walk for hours on the sandy beaches, stop to bath in the sun or in the salty water, enjoy the sea breeze - especially in Spring, when the sun is not so ferocious and the light wind tickles your skin under the hiking clothes. 

You can visit the artists' ateliers in Pietrasanta, the Italian Athene, resting at the foot of the Apuan Alps - the most famous marble in the world is extracted nearby - and finally reach Lucca, guarding one of the most fascinating old town centres of Italy within its reinassance walls. 

Highlights

  • Learn more about the mystery of the Stele Statues, visiting Pontremoli museum;
  • Get excited by a glimpse of the sea from the hills above Sarzana;
  • Walk on the beaches of Versilia;
  • Admire from above the town of Lucca while walking along its walls, until you get to the Duomo to observe the labyrinth on the facade

Itinerary

Day 1

Pontremoli

Pontremoli

Your trip starts from Pontremoli, a gem of a village in the heart of mysterious Lunigiana, in the Northern part of Tuscany. Stroll through the tower-houses of the city centre, admire warriors and Goddesses made of stone in the Stele Statues museum - the imposing castle perched at the top of the village, guarding the mystery of these ancient locals. 

If you like the magic of written word, sit on the benches of the old town centre and try to guess the author of the literary quotations that they are decorated with. Or just enjoy a few pages of a book and write the first page of your travelogue. 

To celebrate the beginning of your journey, nothing better than a hearty portion of Testaroli - the local pasta, made in a very unique and traditional way - served with almond pesto, or a very thick slice of delicious "torta d'erbi", a salty pie filled with wild herbs.

Day 2

From Pontremoli to Filetto, 17 km

From Pontremoli to Filetto, 17 km

Ready to set off? In your first day you're walking in a beautiful scenery, where lush green forests alternate with small Medieval hamlets. The tower-houses in Ponticello, the ancient hospital of Saint Jacob in Filattiera - above all, the Pieve di Sorano, which treasured the statues of ancient Celtic warriors for centuries. 

Villafranca is a Medieval hamlet of great beauty: you can walk up the hill to the walled village of Malgrate and its castle, or glimpse the ruins of the ancient castle of Malnido - home to the rich Malaspina family - among the trees. 

The day is filled with Medieval sceneries, right to the last step: today's destination is Filetto, hosting a yearly Medieval festival that attracts people from all over the region. 

Distance: 17 km

Elevation gain: +250/-300 m

Day 3

From Filetto to Aulla, 15,5 km

From Filetto to Aulla, 15,5 km

From Filetto you walk right into a thick and fragrant forest, following portions of an ancient Roman road - a fairytale scenery on the way to the Terrarossa Castle, where one would not be surprised to see knights and dragons.

The last part of the itinerary follows the tracks of an abandoned railway, now converted in a walking and cycle path. 

If you are passionate about ancient history, don't miss the museum of San Caprasio Abbey, housing archaeological remains from the Medieval period, nor a stroll along the ancient walls of the Brunella fortress. 

Feeling peckish? Go for the local "focaccette" - fragrant and warm, rigorously served with local cold cuts and cheese. 

Distance: 15,5 km

Elevation gain: +200/-300 m

Day 4

From Aulla to Sarzana, 17 km

From Aulla to Sarzana, 17 km

Have one more focaccetta for breakfast, because in the first section of today's itinerary you will climb and conquer the hills just out of Aulla - your much coveted price is a view so incredible that you can finally glimpse the sea, sparkling and inviting at the horizon. 

Along the way, lush green landscapes and Medieval hamlets: the ruins of Brina Castle to re-build in your mind, and finally Sarzana with its Baroque Cathedral and the Gothic church of Sant'Andrea, the oldest building in town. 

Sarzana is a gem - get lost in the narrow streets of the old town centre, opening in wide "piazzas" with plenty of chances to enjoy a great dinner. Something you must try? The "Torta Scema": despite its name - meaning "dumb cake" - this local specialty is a true delicacy. Have your host tell you the reason of its name, then sink your teeth in the cruncy rice surface to discover its undeniable qualities. 

Distance: 17 km

Elevation gain: +608/-646 m

Day 5

From Sarzana to Massa, 27 /18,5 km (with stretches by bus)

From Sarzana to Massa, 27 /18,5 km (with stretches by bus)

Today's walk is nice and easy as you follow the steps of the ancient pilgrims, embarking in the Roman harbor of Luni towards Santiago de Compostela. Don't miss a visit to the local archaeological area, with the ancient amphitheatre and the museum housing a splendid mosaic of Neptune, the God of Sea. 

Among country paths and gorgeous views on the sea and the Apuan Alps you will finally reach Massa, today's destination. 

Distance: 27 / 18,5 km

Elevation gain: +586/-544 m

Day 6

From Massa to Camaiore, 25 / 20 km (with stretches by bus)

From Massa to Camaiore, 25 / 20 km (with stretches by bus)

Today's highlight is Pietrasanta, magical city of art and marble. Before wandering among art galleries and artisanal workshops, we suggest a quick visit to the Cathedral - the star of a wide piazza filled with extraordinary art pieces. The interior does not disappoint, with its marble columns and frescoed vaults. 

Pietrasanta is not easy to leave, but today's walk is notover: today's final destination is Camaiore, with its old town centre and the ancient San Pietro church. Looking for a delicious way to recharge? Try the local dessert, a chocolate cake made with rice. 

Distance: 25 / 20 km

Elevation gain: +515/-550 m

Day 7

From Camaiore to Lucca, 25 km / 23 km (with stretches by bus)

From Camaiore to Lucca, 25 km / 23 km (with stretches by bus)

From Camaiore, continue with ups and downs in the hills around Lucca, until descending in the valley of Contesola stream and crossing the river Serchio. You are thus arrived in Lucca, the final point of your trip: cross the gates of the high walls and walk into the beautiful old town centre - Lucca is full of wonders, such as shops full of delicacies, frescoed churches and an amphitheatre-square in the heart of the city. 

More ideas? Conquer the Guinigi tower and admire the city centre from the hanging garden - its holm oaks can be glimpsed from above, making the tower and its top one of the symbols of Lucca. If energy is lagging, just sit at a local bar and order coffee and a good portion of buccellato, a local delicacy. You definitely deserved it! 

Distance: 25 / 23 km

Elevation gain: +412/-432 m

Day 8

Lucca

Lucca

Last day is included. Service ends after breakfast.

Details

Is this for me?


This section of Via Francigena starts from mysterious Lunigiana and continues through the North of Tuscany and the sea of Versilia to the Medieval walls of Lucca. This is the only section of Northern Via Francigena with portions along the sea! Some stages may result too long for a beginner, but you can choose to shorten them through public transportation. 

Included


What is included

  • 7 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
  • luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
  • official guide of the route, App
  • 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.

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


Ai Chiosi Pontremoli
B&B Ai Chiosi - Pontremoli

“Ai Chiosi” Bed and Breakfast consists of two recently restored ancient manor houses, separated by a 300 square metres stone paved patio and surrounded by 3 hectares of farmland.

Between the two farm houses there is the availability of a large open space in the green of nature, where it is possible to stay in relax, of a suitable area for the entertainment of children and of a reserved parking.

The hospitality is familiar and careful of guest expectations, respecting their privacy.

www.aichiosi.it/en/

Locanda Gavarini - Mocrone
Locanda Gavarini - Mocrone
Bed and Bike Aulla
Bed and Bike - Aulla

Each suite has been designed to guarantee you a stay of relaxation and maximum comfort.

Inside the rooms you will have a sitting area for your moments of rest and tranquility, a kitchenette complete with induction hob, sink and fridge and a large private bathroom with shower. The modern style and attention to detail allows to respond to the needs of a single visitor, or a family, making each guest feel as if they were at home.

And for sunny days, if you want to relax outdoors, you can enjoy the large garden where you will find an equipped kitchen, wood-burning oven, barbecue and a comfortable whirlpool where you can refresh yourself before resuming your journey. Every corner of the structure has been designed to satisfy your every need for relaxation and carefree.

B&B In Piazzetta Sarzana
B&B In Piazzetta - Sarzana

B&B In Piazzetta is located in the centre of Sarzana on the second floor of an historic apartment block situated in one of the most important square of the city. Rooms are comfortable and have a modern look. These have free Wifi, TV and cooling fan. Breakfast is good and rich with sweet dishes. 

www.bebinpiazzetta.it

B&B Il Cuore Massa
B&B Il Cuore - Massa

Colourful brushstrokes brighten up the white walls, making joyous colour effects here and there.

The care for detail, the choice of the fabrics, the restoration of the beautiful double doors and old cast iron radiators, have brought back the antique splendour to this building of the eighteenth century, which opens up today to IL CUORE’S guests, receiving them in six magnificent rooms.

www.bbilcuore.it

Locanda Le Monache Camaiore
Locanda Le Monache - Camaiore

Locanda Le Monache, which takes its name from a monastery of Carmelite cloistered nuns which stood adjoining building, is located in the heart of the historical center of Camaiore. Each room has different characteristics and furnishings, with the early '900 and Liberty pieces rustic furniture. These are clean and well-finished with TV, shower and free Wifi. The restaurant offers good and quality dishes. 

www.lemonache.com

 

Hotel Rex Lucca
Hotel Rex - Lucca

Hotel Rex*** is 80 m from the main train station and 100 m from the ancient walls of Lucca. Rooms are quiet and well-finished with free Wifi, air conditioned, telephone and fridge. Staff is helpful and courteous. Buffet breakfast is rich and varied. 

en.hotelrexlucca.com

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, reach the closest railway station, from where you can get to Pontremoli by train. Trains are direct from Pisa, whereas you need to change if travelling from Florence, Bologna, Genova and Milano.

On departure from Lucca, you can easily get to Pisa and Florence by direct train. Trains to Genova, Bologna and Milano are not direct.

Check train timetables on www.trenitalia.com.

Mobile App


Se viaggiate con uno smartphone o un tablet Apple o Android, potete scaricare gratuitamente la App di sloWays.

Nella sezione “itinerari” visualizzare il vostro itinerario e sarete in grado di localizzare costantemente la vostra posizione sulla mappa grazie alla tecnologia GPS. Maggiori informazioni su come utilizzare l'app sono contenute nei documenti del roadbook che vi verranno consegnati una volta prenotato il viaggio. 

Tra le funzioni della nostra App personalizzata: 

  • Navigazione offline; non è richiesta copertura internet dopo aver scaricato l'itinerario.
  • Accurata navigazione basata su tracce GPS
  • Autorotazione delle Mappe
  • Descrizione giornaliera dell'itinerario e tabella delle altitudini
  • Vista panoramica dell'itinerario e navigazione a livello strada
  • Allarme e vibrazione che ti avvisano se vai fuori strada
  • Opzione d'emergenza per inviarci la vostra posizione nel caso vi siate persi
  • Possibilità di segnalare un punto in particolare e fare foto georeferenziate per informarci di problemi particolari
  • info sugli hotel 

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
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