The Via Francigena in Tuscany: from Lucca to SienaTuscanyDifficulty path:
Among the ancient white roads of Tuscany, old farmhouses perched on rivers and medieval villages, you will arrive in Siena welcomed by Porta Camollia, the ancient entrance to the city strategically placed on the Via Cassia.
The incredible medieval atmosphere of Lucca
San Miniato: the village of the Emperors
Chianti DOCG: a tasty Tuscan tradition
Vernaccia: the "white queen" of Dante and Boccaccio
Terra di Siena: a unique pigment in the world
It is from this beautiful city steeped in history that you will begin your journey to Siena, along the ancient Via Francigena in Tuscany.
You will arrive independently in Lucca and we advise you to dedicate this day to take a pleasant walk in its historic center between the imposing city walls, the Cathedral of San Martino and the Amphitheater.
However, a trip to Tuscany cannot be said to be complete if you do not immerse yourself in the tasty typical cuisine. A dish that will surely make you feel the smells and flavors of the times of ancient pilgrims is the Lucca style spelt soup, spelt grown in these areas since the Romans, which together with legumes and vegetables chosen on the basis of seasonality, gives life to a complete and nutritious meal. It is in fact the same one that was offered, already in the Middle Ages, to the many pilgrims who passed through here.
From Altopascio to San Miniato
30km, +330 -210
After a hearty breakfast, you will say goodbye to Lucca to officially begin this exciting journey that will lead you to Siena.
A short train transfer will take you to Altopascio, a very important medieval village that, in the past, based its development above all on welcoming pilgrims: it is from here that this historic journey along the Via Francigena in Tuscany begins.
From the very first steps, it is easy to see how much history has influenced the destiny of these places, and that of their inhabitants, over the centuries: the rivers and marshes crossed by medieval wayfarers form the backdrop to the comfortable bridges that modern walkers cross today. Surrounded by the pristine nature of the Cerbaie woods, full of centuries-old oaks and beautiful water lilies, you will quickly reach the Tuscan plain, characterized by long expanses of skilfully cultivated fields.
You cross the ancient town of Fucecchio, a historic stronghold on the Via Francigena, with the pastoral hedgehog preserved in the Civic Museum as evidence of a profound past. After crossing the Arno River, we soon reach San Miniato with its perfectly preserved medieval village. Spread across three hillocks overlooking the Arno valley, the enchanting Tuscan town is linked to the name of two important emperors who changed the course of history: Napoleon and Frederick II.
In fact, the valiant French general seems to have direct family ties here, which can still be found in the city today in the name of squares, palaces and public places. Instead, Frederick II of Swabia was responsible for the construction of the Roca from which the Tower rises, placed to protect the territory.
→ It is possible to shorten today's stage to just 4 km by taking the train from Lucca to S.Miniato-Fucecchio with a change in Pisa: you could visit the famous leaning tower!
From San Miniato to Gambassi Terme
25km, +500 -410
The Via Francigena in Tuscany is a path steeped in tradition that is ready to whisper to you all along the way.
It is precisely for this reason that even Sigeric, the ancient bishop of Canterbury, enraptured by the beauty of these areas, chose to stop here several times, contrary to the schedule he had set.
In fact, the second stage of our journey unfolds along dirt roads and ancient paths, until arriving, in the final stretch, in the Lands of Chianti. Here well-kept vineyards will delight the eye and the spirit, in the setting of beautiful landscapes that offer different colors according to the season.
Suffice it to say that the Etruscans and Romans were already cultivating these vines, which is why today the Gallo Nero, or black rooster, is synonymous with fine wine and its production is protected by DOCG certification.
Arrival in Gambassi Terme, which, as its name suggests, owes its fame to its spa facilities, a stopping point for pilgrims of all ages.
→ Upon request, it is possible to shorten today's stage to 13 km with a short private transfer to cover the last few kilometers to Gambassi.
From Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano
15km, +460 -390
The third part of the Via Francigena in Tuscany is one of the most beautiful stages of the entire route.
It is possible to see how much the passage of the Via Francigena has influenced and determined the daily life of the surrounding area, which is dotted with fairytale castles, marvellous abbeys and accommodation facilities. The long and charming dirt roads, framed by beautiful and orderly cypresses, will take you along the most evocative places in Tuscany, such as the Sanctuary of Pancole and the Pieve di Cellole.
The sight of the towers soaring on the horizon is the unequivocal sign that you are in San Gimignano. Once you arrive, take some time to visit the old shops nestled in the narrow streets of its beautiful medieval old town. Among these is still preserved the Vernaccia, the "white queen" of San Gimignano, one of the Italian wines that boasts the oldest tradition, mentioned by 14th century Florentine poets such as Dante and Boccaccio.
From San Gimignano to Colle di Val d'Elsa
15km, +240 -370
After a pleasant awakening in the medieval village and a tasty breakfast with local products, you will leave San Gimignano and its aura crystallised in time, to set out once again, this time pampered by the pleasant shade of ancient oaks that characterise the rich Sienese countryside along with centuries-old olive trees.
You will arrive in Colle Val d'Elsa, which, as you might guess, owes its development to the adjacent river: in fact, it is no coincidence that workshops were already active in the Middle Ages.
Given its position on the border between Florence and Siena, the village has always been a fundamental stop for the many wayfarers who were welcomed here by the locals.
From Colle di Val d’Elsa to Monteriggioni
15km, +260 -200
Leaving the small town of Colle Val d'Elsa, you will resume Sigerico's route on the Via Francigena in this penultimate stage that will lead you to the charming village of Monteriggioni. In fact, like ancient medieval pilgrims, you will be amazed at the sight, from afar, of the walls that protect the town and overlook the central Via Cassia, an ancient Roman consular road.
The solemnity of the walls contrasts with the delicacy of the village, adorned with finely manicured gardens and orchards bursting with colour and vibrancy, which will welcome you festively. Once you get here, a regenerating dinner will be just what you need, perhaps enjoying a tasty plate of pici, traditional handmade spaghetti, seasoned with the classic Tuscan ragù based on the local delicacy: the Cinta Senese pork. As per protocol, pigs have been raised in the wild in these areas since the Middle Ages, as evidenced by the famous painting "Allegory and effects of Good and Bad Government" (1338) by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, one of the greatest exponents of the Sienese School .
From Monteriggioni to Siena
20km, +380 -310
Today you will arrive in the enchanting Siena, one of the most beautiful and important cities of the Via Francigena.
Through woods embellished with centuries-old oaks and holm oaks, you will walk along the traditional Tuscan white roads which will alternate with those with a more intense color that distinguishes the Sienese countryside.
Entering the luxuriant and orderly countryside, you will come across numerous farmhouses and castles, such as the Castello della Chiocciola / Villa Petrucci, built in the Middle Ages in defense of the Republic of Siena, before arriving in the enchanting Pian del Lago. The name is linked to the presence, in the past, of a lake which has since disappeared. Despite this, the place has maintained its charm thanks to the presence of the splendid Villa Petrucci and the hermitage of San Leonardo al Lago. The hermitage is finely enriched by the frescoes by Lippo Vanni, a well-known Sienese painter of the second half of the fourteenth century: it will be a prelude to the beauty and wonders with which Siena will welcome you upon your arrival, starting with the magnificent Porta Camollia, the traditional gateway to the city for wayfarers of all ages.
→ It is possible to shorten today's stage to 16km with a short bus transfer from Monteriggioni.
After breakfast, end of services.
But first, treat yourself to a walk through the beauties of the historic center of Siena to fully breathe the magic of this city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.
Tour programme variations
Due to organizational reasons, weather conditions or provisions issued by local authorities, the itinerary may be subject to some changes before and/or during the holiday.
Along the way you may find temporary deviations (for example road works) which cannot be foreseen; in this case each walker can decide autonomously how to deal with these stretches.
Our offer includes
- 7 nights with breakfast in shared double/twin room
- Luggage transportation hotel to hotel
- Pilgrim's Credential
- Travel App (maps, tracks, route notes)
- Phone assistance 08:00-20:00
- Transfer IN and Transfer OUT
- Other meals and drinks
- Entrance fees and tips
- Hotel tourist taxes
- Insurance and what's not listed as “Included”
Departures and prices
Supplements per person
The itinerary along the Via Francigena in Tuscany takes place in 6 splendid stages on foot. The length of the stages ranges from a minimum of 15 to a maximum of 30 km with sometimes significant differences in height, so good walking training is required.
The tour winds mainly through dirt paths and country lanes; rarely, and only when strictly necessary, on busy roads.
We recommend to wear comfortable walking shoes, better if trekking boots, and to bring with you a hat, drinking water, sun cream, swimming suite and a waterproof jacket in case of rain.
This tour offers accommodation in central B&B and 3* hotel.
All rooms are ensuite.
- 1 night in Lucca > Hotel Rex
- 1night in San Miniato > Hotel San Miniato
- 1 night in Gambassi Terme > Relais Villa Bianca / Tenuta Sant’Ilario
- 1 night in San Gimignano > Hotel La Cisterna
- 1 night in Colle di Val d’Elsa >Hotel Palazzo Ranieri
- 1 night in Monteriggioni > Il Piccolo Castello
- 1 night in Siena > Hotel Chiusarelli
7 breakfasts included. All other meals are not included.
In case of non-availability we choose an alternative position with similar characteristics. Alternative details will be noted in the updated Service List.
We will take care of your luggage while you are walking.
For the whole duration of your tour, you can contact our assistance numbers:
→ +39 0832 182 68 68 - from Monday to Friday 09:00 - 18:00 (call or whatsapp);
→ +39 351 8368686 - every day 08:00 - 20:00 (emergency calls only).
A few days before departure you will receive by email the Service List with instructions for using the Travel App.
At the first hotel reception you will receive:
- updated Service List;
- Pilgrim's Credential;
- luggage Labels.
Lucca is easily reachable by train, bus, car and by air.
BY TRAIN. Trenitalia buses and trains easily connect Lucca with the main railway stations of Florence and Pisa. Lucca is located on the Firenze - Viareggio and Firenze - Pisa railway lines, so there are several trains that leave and arrive in the city every day.
BY AIR. The reference airports are those of Pisa and Florence with flights departing from the most important Italian and foreign cities. From Pisa airport it is necessary to take the train to Pisa Centrale and once you arrive here, take another one to Lucca. From Florence airport buses leave for Santa Maria Novella station in Florence every 30 minutes, from which it is sufficient to take a train or bus to Lucca.
BY CAR. The main highway to consider is the A11 Firenze - Mare. We recommend taking the Lucca east or west exit both about 1 km from the city centre. google.maps.com can help you with the directions.
→ If you prefer to travel in total comfort, you can book a private transfer on the days of arrival and departure.