Abbadia San Salvatore

Abbey of Sant'Antimo

Albarese

Acquapendente


anghiari

Archipelago Toscano


Arcidosso


Arezzo


Asciano


Badia di Coltibuono


Bagno Vignoni

Barberino Val d'Elsa

Beaches

Bolsena Lake


Bomarzo

Brunello di Montalcino

Buenconvento

Campagnatico


Capalbio


Castel del Piano


Castelfiorentino

Castell'Azarra

Castellina in Chianti


Castelmuzio


Castelnuovo Bererdenga


Castiglioncello Bandini


Castiglione della Pescaia


Castiglione d'Orcia


Castiglion Fiorentino


Celleno


Certaldo


Chinaciano Terme


Chianti


Chiusi


Cinigiano


Città di Castello

CivitÀ di Bagnoregio


Colle Val d'Elsa


Cortona


Crete Senesi


Diaccia Botrona

Isola d'Elba

Firenze


Follonica


Gaiole in Chianti


Gavorrano

Gerfalco


Greve in Chianti


Grosseto


Lago Trasimeno


La Foce


Manciano


Maremma


Massa Marittima


Montagnola Senese


Montalcino


Monte Amiata


Monte Argentario

montecalvello

Montefalco


Montemassi


Montemerano


Monte Oliveto Maggiore


Montepulciano


Monteriggioni


Monticchiello


Monticiano


Orbetello


Orvieto


Paganico


Parco Naturale della Maremma


Perugia


Piancastagnaio


Pienza


Pisa


Pitigliano

Prato

Radda in Chianti


Roccalbegna


Roccastrada


San Bruzio


San Casciano dei Bagni


San Galgano


San Gimignano


San Giovanni d'Asso


San Quirico d'Orcia


Sansepolcro


Santa Fiora


Sant'Antimo


Sarteano


Saturnia


Scansano


Scarlino


Seggiano


Siena


Sinalunga


Sorano


Sovana


Sovicille

Talamone

Tarquinia


Tavernelle Val di Pesa


Torrita di Siena


Trequanda


Tuscania


Umbria


Val d'Elsa


Val di Merse


Val d'Orcia


Valle d'Ombrone


Vetulonia


Viterbo

Volterra




 
Walking in Tuscany
             
 
I T
The Via Francigena in Tuscany

Walking trails in Tuscany Surroundings
       
   

The Via Francigena in Tuscany

   
   

The Via Francigena is an ancient road between Rome and Canterbury, passing through England, France, Switzerland and Italy. In mediaeval times it was an important road and pilgrimage route. To pilgrims headed south, it was the Via Romea; to those headed north, the Via Francigena.

The Via Francigena was the major medieval pilgrimage route to Rome from the north; even today pilgrims travel this route, but in far fewer numbers than the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago). The route was first documented as the "Lombard Way", and was first called the "Frankish Route", the Iter Francorum, in the Itinerarium sancti Willibaldi of 725, recording the travels of Willibald, bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria. The Via Francigena is first mentioned in the Actum Clusio, a parchment of 876 in the Abbey of San Salvatore al Monte Amiata (Tuscany). At the end of the 10th century Sigeric the Serious, the Archbishop of Canterbury, used the Via Francigena to and from Rome to be consecrated by the Pope;[2] he recorded his route and his stops on the return journey,[3] but nothing in the document suggests that the route was then new. Other itineraries include those of the Icelandic traveller Nikolás Bergsson (in 1154) and Philip Augustus of France (in 1191).[4] Two somewhat differing maps of the route appear in manuscripts of Matthew Paris, Historia Anglorum, from the 13th century.

The Via Francigena was not a single road, like a Roman road, paved with stone blocks and provided at intervals with a change of horses for official travellers. Rather, it comprised several possible routes that changed over the centuries as trade and pilgrimage developed and waned. Depending on the time of year, political situation, and relative popularity of the shrines of saints along the route, travellers may have used any of three or four crossings of the Alps and the Apennines. The Lombards financed the maintenance and defence of the section of road through their territories as a trading route to the north from Rome, avoiding enemy-held cities such as Florence. Unlike Roman roads, the Via Francigena did not connect cities, but relied more on abbeys.

The Via Francigena or Via Romea was first documented in 990 by Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, in his diary describing the places he passed through as he returned to Canterbury after receiving his cope and pallium, a circular band of white wool with pendants, worn by archbishops over the chasuble, from the Pope. The roads that Sigeric followed became known as the Via Francigena (the road to France) or "Via Romea" (the road to Rome) and for centuries were used by merchants, prelates, soldiers and pilgrims travelling back and forth from the north of Europe to Rome and Jerusalem.

The 80 stages in Sigeric's itinerary averaged about 20 km a day, covering some 1700 km; they have helped to identify the route.

Having crossed the English Channel to Calais, or, following Sigeric's example to Wissant, still called Sumeran (Sombres) by Sigeric, a pilgrim bound for Rome might stay in Gisne (Guines), Teranburh Thérouanne, Bruaei (Bruay), Atherats (Arras), Reims, Châlons-sur-Marne, Bar-sur-Aube, Langres, Besançon, Pontarlier, Lausanne and Saint-Maurice, then travel over the Great St. Bernard Pass to Aosta, Ivrea, Vercelli, Pavia, Fidenza, Aulla, Luni, Lucca, Poggibonsi, Siena, San Quirico, Bolsena, Viterbo and Sutri before reaching Rome. One of the best-known places on the Via Francigena is the Passum Padi in the municipality of Senna Lodigiana, where Sigeric crossed the Po River.

Today the Via Francigena enters Tuscany at the Cisa Pass in the area called Lunigiana north of Pontremoli and heads south toward Acquapendente in Latium passing through Lucca and Sienna. It is still possible to follow approximately the ancient road and to find refuge in most of the same villages mentioned by Sigeric. The route passes through four distinct geographical areas where the landscape, the building materials and the gastronomic traditions follow their own local traditions, occasionally still reflecting mediaeval influences.

 

Montalcino surroundings


The first of these four areas begins at the Cisa Pass, the crossing point from the Region of Emilia Romagna into the Region of Tuscany, north of Pontremoli in the Appennine mountains, and follows the valley of the Magra river down to Aulla and Sarzana. This area is called Lunigiana, after the Roman port city of Luni, today an archaeological site, where marble was sent by ship to the rest of the world, as from the port of Carrara today. Sarzana, further inland, became an important intersection where the Roman road, called the Via Aurelia, and the Francigena met. This area is characterised by castles, walled mediaeval villages and isolated monasteries, constructed primarily of the gray limestone found locally. These places are never of great size and were built on the steep slopes of the mountains along the principal road and were easily defended. All around these locations there are woods, small tributaries and natural caves.
The second area begins at Sarzana and goes past Lucca to Altopascio. The principal characteristic of this sector is that the road hugs the foot of the Appuan alps and stays inland from the sea coast. The main towns one sees are Sarzana, Carrara, Massa and Pietrasanta, all in the marble working area, and Camaiore which is the only village mentioned by Sigeric after Luni. It is a flat area with some hills just before Lucca and was dotted with numerous churches, abbeys and hospices, the most famous being the Abbey of Camaiore, which goes back to the 8 C and where Sigeric certainly stayed. Lucca was already an important city at the time of Sigeric as it was the seat of the Duchy. Within the walled city of Lucca, the traveller today can visit many different kinds of museums and churches, particularly the Cathedral where there is a highly venerated crucifix said to show the real face of Christ. Lucca is also the starting point for trekking in the famous Garfagnana area where many foreign artists and musicians have settled. This sector ends at Altopascio which was, at the time of Sigeric, a very large centre for pilgrims, with places of refuge and hospices.
The third sector is the longest segment of the Francigena and runs from Altopascio, down to Fucecchio, and on to Sienna passing through Castelfiorentino, Certaldo, Poggibonsi, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni before it arrives in Sienna. Near Fucecchio, the road goes through very open and flat land that used to be swamp and which is still the crossing point of the Arno river, and there are rolling hills beginning near Castelfiorentino. All the cities were walled and the mediaeval atmosphere is still evoked by the narrow streets, gates and the buildings made from the local sandstone. The northern part of this sector passes small industries related to the tanning of leather and to the south through areas dedicated to the production of wheat, wine and olives. If one stops around Fucecchio, it is possible to make side trips to places such as Galleno, to see the longest reconstructed stretch of the original Via Francigena (1150 meters) or to Vinci the home of Leonardo, or Coiano mentioned by Sigeric, but today out of the way. The food is good and so is the local wine. After Fucecchio, one goes near San Miniato, a mediaeval village, through Castelfiorentino, Certaldo, Poggibonsi and San Gimignano. This last mentioned village is a very famous mediaeval walled city, today very active, famous for its 13 C towers and the Collegiata, where Ghirlandaio painted the chapel dedicated to the local saint, Santa Fina. Here again there are many places to visit - museums, churches and in the area some of the finest vineyards. Not far away there is Montelupo known for is pottery and ceramics. Next, we proceed to Colle Val d'Elsa, famous for its glass and crystal industry as well as for its historical past, and on to Badia a Isola and Monteriggioni, a splendid walled town. This is where one can again begin trekking and in fact there are remains of the via Francigena near here as well.
The fourth sector begins in Sienna and goes south to Abbadia San Salvatore. The geography is quite distinctive. The open rolling hills are planted with golden wheat, there are the gray crags of the Crete Senese and some of the most famous monasteries and great abbeys are located in this area. Sienna has always been an important political, economic and cultural area, and differs from the rest of the Tuscan cities in that it received many influences from France.

From Sienna south, the Via Francigena closely follows the Via Cassia, another of the old roman roads. Visits to Isola d'Arbia, Buonconvento, Montalcino, the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore and San Quirico d'Orcia are all worthwhile. However the last two stops of Sigeric, Bagno Vignoni and Abbadia San Salvatore, are the most spectacular. Bagno Vignoni is where for centuries people have gone for health cures because the sulphur water baths. The Abbey of San Salvatore is the best conserved of the mediaeval villages with a great Abbey attached. It was already famous in the 8 C.

On these pages we focus on the Via Francigena walk route from Passo to Cisa a Siena, and from Siena to Viterbo.




Visualizza Francigena BSA in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori
 
   
   
   
 
The Via Francigena in the Siena Region | From Passo to Cisa a Siena

 
Fom Passo della Cisa to Pontremoli
- 19,4 km

  From Pontremoli to Aulla - 32,9 km

  From Aulla to Avenza - 32,4 km

 

From Avenza to Pietrasanta - 27,8 km


  From Pietrasanta to Lucca - 32,3 km

  From Lucca to Altopascio - 17,8 km

  From Altopascio to San Miniato - 23,5 km

  From San Miniato to Gambassi Terme - 25,6 km


From Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano


 

Visualizza Tappa 09 in una mappa di dimensioni maggiori
   
  From Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano - 13,4 km

 

A short stage, however an interesting one for the beauty of the landscape along the Via Francigena. Exiting from the centre of Gambassi Termi, one goes towards the Luiano farm, passing through terrain cultivated with vineyards. Once past the farm, we encounter the bridge of the Madonna, on the Torrente dei Casciani which marks the confine between the provinces of Florence and Siena and the entrance to the municipality of San Gimignano. From here the route goes uphill past cultivated fields and beautiful cypresses until reaching Pancole, the site of a Marian sanctuary and a place for refilling water. The route involves going through the underground passage of the large religious structure. Shortly after, one can already glimpse the multi-towered profile of San Gimignano. But before reaching the town we encounter the charming Romanesque parish church of S. Maria a Cellole, completed in 1238, as recorded in an inscription to the side of the portal. From the church, passing the houses of Sferracavalli, one can take a brief detour to visit an Etruscan necropolis with well-preserved hypogeous room tombs that date between the 4th and 1st century BC. There is no rest point along the route.

From Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano - 13,4 km

Da Gambassi Terme a San Gimignano
- 13,4 km


From San Gimignano to Monteriggioni

 

View Tappa 10 in a larger dimension
   
  From San Gimignano to Monteriggioni - 29,8 km
Total length (km): 29.8
Travel time on foot (h: min): 7.30
Paved roads: 19%
Dirt roads and driveways: 70%
Mule tracks and trails: 12%

Getting to the starting point: FS Empoli-Siena Railway Line, Poggibonsi station; bus line 133 for S. Gimignano

  This 29.8 km leg begins in San Gimignano and takes in about 7 hours to complete. It is one of the most beautiful legs of the Via Francigena, and after the frst section of the path, you begin to walk up and down in the valley of the Foci river, near Molino d'Aiano.

A path leads upward to the Romanesque church of Santa Maria a Coneo. Then you cross the bridge on the hilltop to reach the Romanesque church of San Martino di Strove. Then you go to the Abbey of Island, before catching a sight of Monteriggioni, with its unmistakable ring of walls and towers that dominate the surrounding hills.

From San Gimignano to Monteriggioni - 29,5 km

Da San Gimignano a Monteriggioni - 29,5 km
   

From Monteriggioni to Siena

 
 
ViewTappa 11 in a larger dimension
   
  From Monteriggioni to Siena - 20,5 km
  Departure: Monteriggioni, Piazza Roma
Arrival: Siena, Piazza del Campo

Getting to the starting point: FS Empoli-Siena Line, Castellina Scalo station
  This 20.5 km leg begins in Monteriggioni and takes in about 6 hours to complete. Leave Monteriggioni and walk along the road in the Sienese hills to the medieval village of Cerbaia. It runs through the woods up to the Castle of Chiocciola and the Castle of Villa, before descending down toward Pian del Lago.

Then cross the Renai woods before arriving at Porta Camollia, the traditional Via Francigena entrance to Siena. In the city, walk down Banchi di Sopra and then up to the end of this leg in Piazza del Campo, the Duomo and then the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala.

From Monteriggioni to Siena - 20,5 km

Da Monteriggioni a Siena - 20,5 km
   
   
The Via Francigena in the Siena Region | From Siena to Viterbo
   

La Via Francigena | From Siena to Ponte d'Arbia


 
View Tappa 12 in a larger dimension
 
 
La Via Francigena | From Siena to Ponte d'Arbia - 28.5 km

Departure: Siena, Piazza del Campo
Arrival: Ponte D'Arbia, Centro Cresti
Length: 28.5 km
ype of travel: On foot, by mountain bike
Travel time on foot (h: min): 6.20

Getting to the starting point: Empoli-Siena-Grosseto and Siena-Chiusi railway lines, Siena or Monteroni d'Arbia station
 

The 28.5 km leg of the Via Francigena begins in Siena and takes less than 7 hours. A challenging course along the roads of the Val d'Arbia, with rolling landscapes and views on the skyline of the city of Siena, leading to the Grancia di Cuna, an ancient fortified farm that was owned by the Santa Maria della Scala hospice.
Continuing along the foothills of the Siena Crete, you pass Monteroni d'Arbia and reach Quinciano. A short distance away is the fortified town of Lucignano, with the Romanesque church of San Giovanni Battista. After a stretch along the railway line is the end of this leg in Ponte d'Arbia.


From Siena to Ponte d'Arbia
-28.5 km

Da Siena a Ponte d'Arbia -28.5 km


   
San Quirico Pieve
 
La cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta between San Quirico d'Orcia and Pienza
The chapel of Santa Maria di Vitaleta must be one of the most photographed places in all of Tuscany
 
   
   
The Via Francigena | Walk Route

   
Via Francigena – Walk Route
The road books, the maps, the Google Earth and the GPS trails for the walk route of the Via Francigena. A practical and utile guidebook for the numerous Europeans who choose to experience Europe following the route and discovering the paths that make up the historical stages.
The Via Francigena itinerary is completely traced by GPS and fully described on maps and road books. All the materials are available on www.francigenalibrari.beniculturali.it/news1_en.html
   
  (See the complete Route on Google Earth)

   
The Via Francigena | Links

   
Reasoned list of useful cultural and tourist links on the ancient faith ways.

   
       
Guide books

   
La Via Francigena. Vademecum dal Gran San Bernardo a Roma


Way from the Grand St-Bernard to Rome.

   
Paul Chinn and Babette Gallard, The Lightfoot Guide to the Via Francigena, Pilgrimage Publications, 2009. In 3 volumes, Canterbury to Besançon; Besançon to Vercelli; and Vercelli to Rome. Available through our Bookshop. Mainly inteneded for cyclists, but it gives good route-finding information with GPS references and details of accommodation and services.    
The best guide book to the Via Francigena in Italy is written in Italian. Guida alla Via Francigena: 900 chilometri a piedi sulle strade del pellegrinaggio verso Roma, by Monica d'Atti and Franco Cinti. (Supplemento al numero 132, aprile 2006, di "Terra di Mezzo." Piazza Napoli 30/6, 20146 Milano.) ISBN: 88-8938-565-0. Concise route description of the section from the Great Saint Bernard Pass to Rome, with details of acommodation and services. Its maps are incredibly detailed, there are many photos and much information can extracted even if you can't read Italian.

There is a separate set of three maps with distances and GPS settings from the same publisher. ISBN 9788889385609

   
La Via Francigena Guida per il pellegrinaggio a piedi dal Gran San Bernado a Roma, Luciano Pisoni & Aldo Galli, ADLE Edizioni, Padova, 2004. ISBN: 88-8401-046-2. Guide to the Italian section of the route comprising a book and 28 laminated A4 size maps, with walking instructions and accommodation details on the back of each one.

   
Maps

   
Monica D’Atti & Franco Cinti, La Via Francigena. Cartografia e GPS. Dal Monginevro a Roma lungo l’itinerario storico, Milan: Terre di Mezzo Editore, 2007. ISBN: 978-88-8985-60-9, 22€.

3 large sheets of maps in a set, covering the 800km from the Monginevro Pass over the Alps to Rome at a scale of 1:30.000, i.e. nearly two and a half inches to the mile. In full colour there are 40 detailed maps covering all the stages of the journey, with the walkers’ route traced on them, height profiles, types of roads/paths used and complete GPS data. Designed initially to accompany the authors’ own guide book (see above) the only drawback (at present) is that those wishing to follow the “Sigeric route” (i.e. cross the Alps via the Great St. Bernard Pass) will have to wait till Vercelli (150km into the Italian part of the route) before they can use them.

   
TOPOFRANCIGENA A.Canterbury-Gd St-Bernard 1000km: 40 geo-cultural pocket-sized colour map-cards 150g prepared by Adelaide Trezzini with Giovanni Caselli providing the graphics View

TOPOFRANCIGENA dal Gran San Bernardo a Roma (900km) was published in 2005. The Topofrancigena is a set of maps (again in two parts Canterbury to St Bernard Pass published - Italian 2005) of the route. The Canterbury to St Bernard Pass section consists of 40 pages in full colour, with alternative routes, very loosely bound so old pages can be discarded. The maps show town or villages with accommodation and churches and historic sights.

   

Walking Pilgrim, old pilgrim routes in W Europe | Via Francigena in Italy

WMS/APIs for Maps: Italy | Portale Cartografico Nazionale; includes 1:250,000, 1:100,000 and 1:25,000 topo maps (beware! many of the sheets are very old)

   
   


La Casa Vacanze Santa Pia è in posizione strategica per raggiungere le più belle mete storico della Maremma Toscana.


Case vacanza in Toscana | Podere Santa Pia


     
         
         
Podere Santa Pia, splendido paradiso con vista panoramica sulla Maremma Toscana, nel silenzio della natura