Day 1: Lucca
Lucca is a small town with a charming old town centre, rich in attractions: we advise you to enjoy a long walk along its sixteenth-century walls, admiring the surrounding view, before going to discover why Holm-oak trees grow at the top of the Guinigi tower. Naturally, the mystery can be revealed only by climbing the numerous steps! Restore yourselves with a snack of Bucellato, before visiting the splendid Duomo. After dinner, go and admire the elliptic square built over the ruins of the ancient Roman amphitheatre, now hidden by multi-coloured houses containing little restaurants and artisan shops.
Day 2: Da Lucca a San Miniato, distance: 47 km
An easy and flat leg of the journey will lead you from the walls of Lucca to the old town centre of Altopascio, passing through the Badia di Pozzeveri, where ancient pilgrims stop to rest and pray. In Altopascio you mustn’t miss the local bread: enjoy it at the foot of the Torre Campanaria whose tolling bell, together with a fire lit on the terrace, used to guide the pilgrims towards the town as darkness was falling.
Leaving Altopascio you will walk along a splendid section of the original paved Via Francigena, surrounded by woods. Allow yourself to be charmed by the wild land of the Cerbaie, before crossing the river Arno and continue towards San Miniato. The Seminary which gives the name to the main square will amaze you with its particular facade: enjoy it lit up, perhaps after eating a risotto dusted with the typical white truffle, the pride of the local area.
Day 3: Da San Miniato a San Gimignano, distance: 42,2 km
A demanding leg, but one with unique beautiful scenery, awaits you. From San Miniato you will descend in the bottom of Val d’Elsa to later ascend again towards Gambassi Terme, where you will be able to cross the threshold of the Pieve di Chianni and enjoy a healthy bathe in the hot springs of Gambassi, surrounded by a park of ancient trees.
You will continue your journey pedalling across splendid natural scenery to San Gimignano, one of the most beautiful towns along the Via Francigena: you will get a foretaste of your arrival when you see the famous towers that make its skyline unmistakeable. Do not miss the view of the medieval town and its surrounding valleys from the top of the Torre Grossa, or if you don’t run out of energy, venture up the steps of the Rocca di Montestaffoli, for an even more special view.
Day 4: Da San Gimignano a Siena, distance: 51 km
From San Gimignano you will continue, up and down, through the Tuscan hills , to Colle Val d’Elsa, a Tuscan village which will take you back in time, with its charming old town centre and narrow alleyways winding through the stone walls.
Prepare yourselves for one of the most beautiful sections of the Via Francigena: a meditative route, along which you can surround yourselves with the silence of the Pieve di Strove, with its Romanesque interiors, or stand in the quietness of the splendid Abbadia at Isola, with its imposing Abbey.
Your breath will be taken away when you see the castle of Monteriggioni, with its crown of towers, built on a hill as a defence against the ancient republic of Siena. Do not miss a stroll along its walls to admire the surrounding ladscape before continuing towards Siena and passing through porta Camollia, the traditional Francigena entrance to the historic center. An unforgettable way to celebrate? A plate of pici all’aglione in the illuminatedPiazza del Campo. And don’t forget the panforte
Day 5: Da Siena a San Quirico d’Orcia, distance: 54 km
Let’s hope that the sun will be shinning during the first day of your journey, because the Crests of the Val d’Arbia offer unforgettable views: after saying goodbye to Siena, resting on the hills on the horizon, you will travel along the typical dirt roads of Siena as far as the fortified village of Lucignano, with its fine Church. At the gates of Monteroni d’Arbia you will be able to admire the impressive Grancia di Cuna, a fortified farm which held the reserves of wheat destined to the republic of Siena.
From Lucignano you will continue your journey through the Valle dell’Ombrone to Buonconvento. You will cross the gate of the walls and enter the fine old town centre of the village, discovering why its name means“happy fortunate place”, before jumping again on your bicycle and continue towards San Quirico over dirt roads and some asphalted ones: these however will be compensated by the beautiful views of the Val D’Orcia, among hills tinted with charming shades and scattered with vineyards and cypress trees. At San Quirico you will stand enchanted before the gate of the Collegiata, trying to recognise the various architectural styles that blend into its decorations, before enjoying a rest among the green hedges of the Horti Leonini, a fifteenth century garden.
Day 6: Da San Quirico d’Orcia a Radicofani, distance: 36 km
You will continue your journey across the fabulous views of the Val D’Orcia: just beyond San Quirico you will enter a timeless world visiting Vignoni Alto, and you will be able to enjoy a reinvigorating rest in the thermal waters of Bagno Vignoni.
Today you will test your strength with a short but demanding leg of your journey which will take you as far as Radicofani: stick it out, because admiring the view from the Radicofani fortress, tired but satisfied, will repay all your efforts. You will also be able to visit the Pieve di San Pietro, a little jewel dating back to the thirteenth century, and take an evening walk in its old town centre, admiring the magic of the illuminated Fortress.
Day 7: Da Radicofani a Bolsena, distance: 51 km
From Radicofani you will walk towards one of the most exciting sections of the Via Francigena, leaving the fortress behind you and travelling along the old Via Cassia, surrounded by scenery of infinite hills dominated byMonte Amiata. You will be able to walk in silence in the Romanesque crypt beneath the Basilica del Santo Sepolcro, among decorated capitals and arches: where, according to tradition, some stones bathed in the blood of Christ are supposed to have been kept.
Your journey will continue gently as far as the first views of Lake Bolsena: from here you will descend into a volcanic crater and you will continue along dirt tracks, alternating thick woods with meadows scattered with olive trees, as far as Bolsena. If you are curious to see proof of the miracle of the Corpus Domini, for which Bolsena is famous, in the Cappella del Miracolo some marble slabs stained by the blood pouring from a Host in the thirteen century are kept. If, instead, you are more interested in the typical cuisine. you can taste the products offered by the lake, such as the Sbroscia, a typical soup made from lake fish and tomatoes.
Day 8: Da Bolsena a Viterbo, distance: 33 km
You will continue through woods and olive groves, on a route that will offer constant views of the lake: you will cross an area famous for the production of Extra virgin olive oil, which we recommend you taste on the a piece of fragrant local bread. You will experience the emotion of walking on the ancient paving stones of the Cassia, travelled over before you by pilgrims from every century and provenance, before arriving at Montefiascone: not to be missed, a climb up the Torre del Pellegrino, where you will be enchanted before a boundless views. After descending from the Tower, you can go into a typical wine bar and taste a glass of Est!Est!!Est!!!, which is even better here because it is km zero.
If you want to spoil yourself a little more, you will be able to enjoy a pleasant halt at the spas of Bagnaccio, recharging your batteries in its thermal waters before proceeding towards Viterbo, the end of your journey. In honour of our trip, do not miss visiting the picturesque pilgrim’s quarter, before admiring the splendid Palazzo dei Papi and enjoying the silence of the Longobard cloisters of Santa Maria Nuova. And to end on a sweet note, celebrate the end of the journey with the delicious local frittellacce !
Day 9: Da Viterbo a Sutri, distance: 38 km
From Viterbo the journey continues towards Vetralla, town in the heart of the ancient Etrurian territory, to later continue through the green countryside of Lazio you come to Sutri, a small town rich in attractions. The Roman amphitheatre, completely dug out from the tufo, is something not to be missed. Decide whether to sit on the terraces or to get up onto the stage, but as you leave remember to sign the visitors’ register: it is very important for the custodian, and if he is there he will invite you to do so. After this, proceed to the church of Santa Maria del Parto, the tufo walls of which are decorated in well preserved frescoes. Look for the group of pilgrims among the images, depicted in prayer with their sticks in their hand.
Day 10: Da Sutri a Campagnano, distance: 27 km
From Sutri we go on towards Campagnano: during the journey you will flank the Mount Gelato Waterfalls,where you can stop for a reinvigorating bathe. A panoramic road of the Veio Nature Park will bring you to the gates of Campagnano. Here you can rest in the Venturi Park, the home of a three-hundred year old Yew tree the locals call the “Tree of Death”: but don’t worry, you can sit in its shade without any danger!
Day 11: Da Campagnano a Roma, distance: 41 km
Get back on the saddle and face the last leg of your journey which separates you from the Eternal City. You will continue through the Veio nature park with its woody hills, before entering the enchanting Valle del Sorbo.Along the way you will be able to admire the sanctuary of the Madonna del Sorbo, but also the old town centre of Formello, with its fine medieval buildings. The leg continues across the countryside of Lazio, you could never guess to be so close to a metropolis. You will have to cross a brief trait of trafficked roads to reach the cycle path of River Tevere, an enchanting slow path which will lead you to the gates of Vatican City, where you will be able to end your journey in St.Peter Square.
Do not forget to take a triumphant photograph in front of the Basilica, before celebrating the end of the journey fortifying yourselves with spring lamb, pecorino romano cheese, and perhaps a delicious maritozzo with cream…you’ve deserved it!
Day 12: Rome
Last day is included. Service ends after breakfast.