Stop and look around. What you are seeing is the iconic Tuscan countryside – the one printed on postcards. But this is not a photograph, it is live and you are here! In front of you lies the soft rolling hills scattered with cypresses, a gravel road stretching as far as the eye can see and a horizon filled with more and more beautiful landscapes.
Have you even wondered which part of Via Francigena is the most spectacular? Here it is, in the heart of Tuscany.
4 days of walking from San Miniato to Monteriggioni – from a Tuscan hilltop jewel to the high walls of a former defensive stronghold.
Enter the Pieve di Chianni, where Sigeric the Serious slept, and rest within the frescoed walls of its hostel. The following day, see the towers of the Monteriggioni castle, from a distance, getting closer and closer with every step as you venture through the beautiful Val d’Elsa. The promising horizon foretells of a rising fairytale castle and its crown of towers.
Your journey begins in San Miniato, a small town perched on a hill. While this little hamlet may not be as famous as the other art cities along your path, we believe sometimes "the less known, the better".
Our first day of walking covers one of our favorite sections of the route. You walk along the sides of soft rolling hills; in the spring green colored and speckled with wild flowers, and in the summer a golden windswept sea.
Gambassi Terme hosts the Pieve di Chianni – and one of the most beautiful hostels of the entire route. You sleep in bedrooms with ensuite services, the walls often decorated with original restored frescoes, taken care of by the family that manages the hostel with love and dedication.
Exchange travel stories with the other guests with a glass of ice-cold beer in front of you, and then a not-to-miss visit to the Pieve where you will find several engravings, bas-reliefs, and paintings with more than a story to tell.
Today’s walk is short but sweet. Before long you will see the towers of San Gimignano shimmering in the distance: the goal looks promising, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey.
This part of the walk is through soft hills, a sea of green/golden grass and farmhouses, to finally reach the Pieve di Cellole. This unique place, immersed in peace and silence, hosts a monk community. If you hear a muffled sound coming from the Romanic church guarded by cypresses, quietly come closer and listen: the monks sing every day, and you may be fortunate enough to hear them.
You proceed towards San Gimignano, closer and closer. Our recommendation is that you go straight to the Torre Grossa. From the top of this highest tower of San Gimignano, far from the crowd filling the narrow streets below, you can admire a 360° view of the old town center and the beautiful landscape all around.
If you like wine, you must taste the local pride – the Vernaccia, a white wine that you can sip at its best, in the winery of the Montestaffoli fortress.
The journey continues along a much more shaded section. Today you walk through the forests of Val d’Elsa and enjoy little adventures as you ford easy rivers and streams, find meadows dappled in sunlight that breaks through the trees, and refresh yourself in the cool stream water.
Today you reach Colle Val d’Elsa, a medieval hamlet enclosed in stone walls.
Prepare yourself for a restorative meditation in the form of a walk. The road takes us through hills, woods and meadows, quiet churches, and unique places like Abbadia a Isola – once an ancient abbey surrounded by marshes, now a hostel that hosts pilgrims and an annual slow travel festival.
Here we can stop by Massimo for a coffee and a slice of homemade cake before setting off again. Now we are headed to Monteriggioni, a tiny ancient world enshrined in a crown of towers. We will sit in the main square and watch as it comes to life with pilgrims and locals or walk on the walls to enjoy the surrounding landscape from an elevated position.
This is also where our trip ends: we’ll say goodbye after four days of walking and exploring.
Multiple rooms, shared (double room where available) in hotels, B&Bs. Single room available on request.
What is included
· 3 Nights in double room in **/ *** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast, with private bathroom
. Transfer from San Miniato to start of the walk on unpaved path
. Documentation (Info package, maps, app, gps tracks on request)
. 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
. Luggage transport
· 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
. Half Board supplement
. Luggage transport
· Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.