EasyWays is offering an opportunity to experience the Via Francigena through the gentle landscapes of Tuscany. The remote towns and hilltop citadels you will visit, the wonderful wines you will taste, the food you will discover and the friendly people you will meet, all add up to a journey you will never forget!
The entire Via is a stunning heritage trail dating back to the Middle Ages. It starts in Canterbury in England, crossing Europe through the WWI battlefields to the Champagne region in France, Lake Geneva in Switzerland, the mighty Alps, the Aosta Valley and Tuscany to Rome. The name Via Francigena was first mentioned in a document in 876AD but the route itself existed long before that, under a number of other names, including the Lombard Way.
Nowadays, the Via Francigena is a far less travelled route than the Camino de Santiago in Spain, allowing walkers to appreciate the peace and authenticity of the Italian countryside and villages. Within the past decade however, interest in the Via has grown and the Italian government has launched a project to recover and promote the Italian part.
The EasyWays package offers 4 days of walking on part of the Via in rural Tuscany combined with guided tours of the towns of Siena and Pisa, including a visit to the famous 14th century Leaning Tower of Pisa. Maps and supporting information will be available for collection from your first overnight hotel in San Miniato. Some accommodation providers charge city tax and sanitary insurance. These are nominal amounts – currently about €2 – payable directly and only on request.
Are you interested in walking the Via Francigena? Fill out our enquiry form today.
First time on a walking holiday? Here are just a few of our tips on preparing for long distance walking..
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Arrival in Pisa and use public train and bus transfer to San Miniato where you can enjoy some time in the famous town of Black Truffles. This mediaeval town, located in the centre of Tuscany, hosts a magnificent historic centre set on the hill top with the Cathedral, the Episcopal Palace, the Municipal Palace and the Tower Fortress dominating all the surrounding Arno, Era and Egola valleys. Accommodation is in a cosy agriturismo (farmhouse) on the edge of town which offers the opportunity for evening dining and an outdoor swimming pool. Accommodation is in a cosy agriturismo on the edge of town and offers the opportunity of evening dining and an outdoor swimming pool.
Begin your Via Francigena walk here taking the southern road out of town before joining the exceptionally beautiful path into the hills of Val d'Elsa where the castles, forts and abbeys that make the Via Francigena so unique are situated all around. On the Sigeric Path, you encounter two "submansiones": the Coiano Parish Church with its steep stone steps and the parish of Santa Mariain Chianni, rebuilt in the twelfth century. Soon you will reach Gambassi, known for its hot springs. The end of this leg is the Church of Christ the King in the town. If time permits enjoy the local spa facilities located in the centre of town. Archaeological evidence indicates that Gambassi Terme has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age. However, the first most noteworthy human settlements here were around the seventh century BC when the Etruscans lived in the area. The town is famous for its glass working tradition that flourished between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries. More recently, in 1977, the town changed its name to Gambassi ‘Terme’ in order to highlight its other important business – that of its natural spas. The town’s spas (‘Terme’) opened in 1974 and boast waters which are scientifically proven to be therapeutic and curative for many ailments.
A short walk today with a similar beginning on road surface for the first 2km before finding the secluded but well signposted gravel path directly south over typical, undulating Tuscan hillsides with fattorias (working farms) and vineyards in abundance. Stop for lunch at the hamlet of Pancole. Approaching from the valley, the magnificent town of San Gimignano comes into view. Dominated by its old towers, is really breath-taking and truly merits its nickname as the "New York" of Tuscany! Complete the walk into the town where you can enjoy the late afternoon and evening in spectacular medieval settings. Accommodation in a comfortable bed & breakfast in the very center of the town.
A longer distance walking today therefore an early departure is recommended. Stop for some provisions in town as there is very limited food stops along the route. Begin with a quiet road walk for about 5km that takes you south out of the town before entering a mix of woodland and vineyards. Scenic overviews are less in evidence on this section but take time to walk around the tiny hamlet of Strove with its beautiful streets and tiny square before continuing on until you approach Abbadio Isola from where the walled town of Monteriggioni dominates the horizon. This old castle town that dates back to the ninth century is really amazing, especially at night when remaining inside the city walls is an unforgettable experience. It’s like stepping back in the past for many centuries and your accommodation is in a bed and breakfast within these old town walls! The town is a miniature masterpiece of 15th century architecture and contains some beautiful restaurants for evening dining.
Today sees the end point of the walk at the magnificent city of Siena, the undoubted jewel in the Tuscan crown. Begin by departing Monteriggioni by the south on some road walking before transferring to open farmland and sparse woodland. Again be sure to stock up on provisions before departing and choose a shady point to have lunch before ascending the final section of the route into the city. Siena, the town of the Palio, of the Panforte and many other important historical events. Accommodation in hotel in the centre of the town allowing time for visiting the amazing Piazza del Campo and the Cathedral, including Santa Caterina Monastery. Siena is the embodiment of a medieval city where the inhabitants pursued their rivalry with Florence in medieval times. Throughout the centuries, they preserved their city's Gothic appearance, acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries when the city was built around the Piazza del Campo devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape.
Explore the beautiful city of Siena on your inclusive Guided City Tour - discover the fascinating history and wonderful Tuscan culture of this UNESCO World Heritage Site as you take in the city's important landmarks on a journey of more than 2,000 years of history since its first settlement by the Etruscans. Learn how Siena grew after the Roman Empire and about the Lombards who settled in the town. As you visit Siena's landmarks—including the Piazza del Campo, the cathedral and the majestic Basilica of San Domenico—your guide divulges historical information as well as fascinating stories about each of these sights, including the Siena Palio horse race held every year.
Morning train departure from Siena to arrive in Pisa in the early afternoon where a Guided City Walking Tour including entrance into the Leaning Tower of Pisa is included in your tour package. Enjoy Pisa's historic centre and learn more about the important monuments housed in Piazza dei Miracoli. Your entrance to the Leaning Tower allows you to bypass the queue and get straight to the top of the tower for one of the best views of the city. Described by Gabriele D'Annunzio as the "meadow of miracles", Piazza dei Miracoli is an impressive square dominated by 3 religious attractions: the Baptistery, the Cathedral and the Monumental Cemetery. As you walk, learn more about the religious and architectural significance of these medieval monuments and Renaissance buildings around the historic town.
After breakfast, it is time to set off on your onward journey.
Fixed Price - £695 per person
Single supplement - From £200
If you would like to stay an extra night at any point on the route, please let us know in the Comments section of the Enquiry Form.
|Stages and Distances|
|15 miles - 24 km|
|8.5 miles - 13.5 km|
|18.5 miles - 30 km|
|13 miles - 21 km|
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