The route is quite easy due to low differences in height. The whole itinerary is mostly on paths and gravel roads (strade bianche), even if you will find some sections on asphalted road.
Some walks are quite long but can be shortened if requested in advance. The whole itinerary is well marked by the Official signs of the Via Francigena (white-red markings and yellow sign with the Pilgrim symbol on it).
Start: San Miniato Finish: Buonconvento
Your travel will start from San Miniato, a jewel of Via Francigena. The Seminary, from which the main square takes its name, will surprise you with its particular façade: don’t miss it illuminated, maybe after having enjoyed a risotto powdered with the typical white truffle, a local gastronomic pride.
A demanding leg, but one with unique beautiful scenery, awaits you. From San Miniato you will walk along an asphalted section of road, amply compensated by the following part which passes through the splendid crests of the hills of the Val d’Elsa: along the road you can cross the threshold of the Pieve di Chianni, following in the footsteps of entire generations of pilgrims.
Challenge: 7 hours, 24 km, 781m ascent, 654m descent
This leg of the journey, short but rich in splendid natural scenery, will lead you 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. During the evening, take a quiet stroll to admire the illuminated town.
Challenge: 6 hours, 18 km, 595m ascent, 540m descent
From San Gimignano you will continue, up and down, through the Tuscan hills. In one point of the journey not yet well marked you will come to Molino d’Aiano, one of the halting places along the ancient route of Sigerico. Today’s destination is 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.
Challenge: 6 hours, 12 km, 209m ascent, 204m descent
Prepare yourselves for one of the most beautiful sections of the Via Francigena: a meditative route, along which you can admire the Pieve di Strove (unfortunately just from the outside) and stand in the quietness of the splendid Abbadia at Isola, another stage in the journey of the Archbishop Sigerico, where time stopped 1000 years ago, when he passed through. 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. Within it, a small ancient world, with the beautiful square and small gardens where you will be able to gather your breath, before climbing up onto the walls to admire the surrounding view.
Challenge: 4 hours, 16 km, 132m ascent, 57m descent
From Monteriggioni you will start your walk again along the white roads of the Sienese countryside, passing thought the old, no longer inhabited medieval village of Cerbaia. : you will experience the same feelings as the ancient pilgrims when you pass through porta Camollia, the traditional Francigena entrance to the town of Siena. An unforgettable way to celebrate? A plate of pici all’aglione in the illuminated Piazza del Campo. And don’t forget the panforte!
Challenge: 6 hours, 20 km, 224m ascent, 245m descent
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.
Challenge: 6 hours, 21 km, 316m ascent, 484m descent
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”: you will walk through the picturesque streets, where life is lived quietly following the slow rhythms of a provincial village, and if you love art, you will be able to admire the works of some of the most famous Sienese painters in the Museum of Sacred Art of the Val d’Arbia.
Challenge: 5 hours, 13.8 km, 168m ascent, 187m descent
All accomodations are carefully selected because of their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite.
You can find below the standard hotels of this trip. If a hotel is fully booked, then we will book a similar one for you and inform you about the alternative booked.
Extra overnight:You can book additional night(s) at any of the accommodations along the way.
What in the thirteenth century was a severe monastery cloister is now Hotel San Miniato, refined historic home sits on a hill overlooking the Tuscan countryside between Florence and Pisa. The rooms are comfortable, elegant and clean. Breakfast is good and rich.
This building is situated on one of the branches of the Via Francigena, which Sigerico, Archbishop of Canterbury, walked between 990 and 994. This hostel housed in finely restored historical buildings and it has basic, clean and comfortable rooms.
The hotel is both overlooking the ancient Piazza della Cisterna used to welcome pilgrims from all over the world and charming hills of San Gimignano. This stately homes is located in an excellent position, into the heart of San Gimignano.
The Arnolfo B&B, next to the ponte di Campana, is a confortable accomodation divided into three apartments for a total of 10 rooms, each having its own bathroom with shower, Wi-Fi and satellite TV. Furthermore these are spacious and quiet. The location is well-finished and beautifully decorated. Breakfast is rich.
Borgo Gallinaio is a medieval hamlet dating back to fifteenth Century, now converted into a charming hotel surrounded by the Tuscan countryside and located at short distance from Monteriggioni Castle. Rooms are spacious and furnished in a rustic style with wooden beams and terracotta floors and have private bathroom and free Wifi. Location is quiet and the staff is friendly and helpful. Quality breakfast is served in the courtyard.
Hotel Chiusarelli is located in the city center of Siena and finds its natural setting in a neoclassical villa built around 1870. The Hotel has been completely renovated in 2013 and offers spacious and clean rooms with air conditioning/heating, telephone, free Wifi and TV with Sky Vision. The Hotel doesn't have the lift. Quality breakfast.
The Hotel is surrounded by a relaxed and pleasant environment. Rooms are small, but clean. These are furnished in every detail while maintaining the typical Tuscan style with beams and wood trim. In some rooms you can admire the beautiful Tuscan landscape. Free Wifi, air conditioning, TV.
You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April and October.
Arrival in San Miniato
From any airport, get to the closest railway station. From there, you can reach San Miniato Basso by train (the station's name is "S. Miniato-Fucecchio"). Trains are direct from both Pisa and Florence.
Once in San Miniato Basso, you can reach San Miniato Alto by bus (get off at Piazza del Popolo). Chec bus schedules on www.pisa.cttnord.it (bus line 320).
Departure from Buoconvento
You can get Pisa, Florence, Bologna and Milano by train.
Check train timetables on www.trenitalia.com.
GPS tracks are available on request.
(*) ONLY 1 PIECE OF LUGGAGE PER PERSON IS ALLOWED
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