The rides follow mostly well asphalted country roads and secondary roads. Near larger towns, the roads are more trafficked.
The journey starts in Parma, a crown jewel of Italian gastronomic tradition: the province of Parma boasts the largest number of PDO and PGI gastronomic products.You can try and taste as many as possible or take your time to explore the artistic beauties of the city: from the imposing interior of its Cathedral and Baptistery to the enchanting Palazzo Farnese, designed by Michelangelo and built of stone taken from the Rome Coliseum.
The first section is quite demanding, but rich in beauty: along your way the villages of Bardone and Terenzo, with their ancient churches and some bass-relieves treasured in their interiors. From this point you will face an ascent that will lead you to Cassio, where a brief descending trait deludes you in believing you have reached your destination. Unfortunately this is not true: you have to face another ascent towards Berceto, a little “stone jewel”, where you can restore yourselves with local mushrooms and pattona, a typical cake made from chestnut flour.
There is no rest during the last leg, but the surprises along the way definitely makes all your efforts worthwhile. From the Cisa Pass you exciting descent to Pontremoli, the town of bridges and mysterious stele statues , where you can enjoy a relaxing walk among the alleyways of the old town centre.
Once in Aulla set your bicycle down and visit the Abbey of San Caprasio, which contains archaeological finds from the medieval period. Do not miss a walk along the ancient walls of the Fortezza della Brunella before taking a walk through the old town centre. And if you are hungry, there is nothing better than the tasty little local focaccias, to be enjoyed still hot accompanied by charcuterie and cheeses.
From Aulla you travel over demanding but gratifying paths: from here you will glimpse the sea for the first time.long the road you will pass through very green countryside and medieval villages. Once in Sarzana you will be amazed by the Baroque interior of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, and you will admire the Gothic facade of the Pieve di Sant’Andrea, the oldest building in the town.
Your journey continues along flat paths, following in the footsteps of the ancient pilgrims who from the Roman port of Luni used to embark towards Santiago de Compostela, to finally reach the nice town of Massa, a few kilometres far from the sea of Verisilia.
A nice cycle path along the sea leads you from Marina di Massa towards Pietrasanta. Before browsing among its art galleries and shops we recommend a visit of the town’s Duomo, to walk among its marble columns and to admire its frescoed vaults.
From Camaiore you continue up and down among the hills of Lucca,: enter through the walls and surround yourselves in its old town centre, browse in the little shops of the circular piazza to buy spelt and local biscuits to take home with you, conquer the Guinigi tower and admire the town from up high in its hanging garden.
An easy and flat leg of the journey leads you from the walls of Lucca to the old town centre ofAltopascio, passing through the Badia di Pozzeveri, where ancient pilgrims stop to rest and pray. Do not miss the local bread, a real delicacy!
The itinerary continues across 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.
A demanding but unique section awaits you. From San Miniato you 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, where the same Arcibishop Sigeric slept on his way to Rome.
You will continue your journey pedalling across splendid natural scenery to San Gimignano, one of the most beautiful towns along the Via Francigena: its famoustowers 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.
From San Gimignano you continue, up and down, through the Tuscan hills to Colle Val d’Elsa, an out-of-time Tuscan village with a charming old town centre and narrow alleyways winding through the stone walls.
The itinerary then continues through 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.
Do not miss a stroll along the wall of the breath-taking castle of Monteriggioni, once defending the Repubblica of Siena, before reaching Siena through dirt roads and the ancient medieval hamlet of Cerbaia. An unforgettable way to celebrate your arrival? A plate of pici all’aglione in the illuminated Piazza del Campo. And don’t forget the panforte!
The trip ends after breakfast, unless you have booked extra nights or other optional services with us.
All accomodations are carefully selected because of their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite.
We choose comfortable 3* hotels, farmhouses and B&Bs where all rooms have private en-suite bathroom.
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.
You can book additional night(s) at any of the accommodations along the way.
Hotel Torino*** is located in the heart of the historic center, is just 50m from Parma's famous Regio Theatre and 200m from Cathedral, Baptistery and Piazza Garibaldi. Rooms are comfortable and clean with free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, TV. telephone. Breakfast is good and varied. Staff are welcoming.
Located in Berceto’s historic center, just a few steps from the Romanesque Cathedral, La Casa dei Nonni offers different accommodation types with its five rooms: single, twin and double rooms (extra beds available for children). The location is well-finished and beautifully decorated. Breakfast with house specials is served on the ground floor and for the dinner it's suggested to try the restaurant.
Hotel Demy*** is in a strategic position for visiting Cinque Terre. Rooms are basic and clean, but old-fashioned and neglected. Wi-Fi isn't working properly. Breakfast is normal.
Hotel Annunziata is in Massa, just 4 km from the coast and its popular beaches. The structure is dated, and it has rooms old-fashioned, but clean. Breakfast is normal, and the staff is helpful.
Hotel Rex*** is 80 m from the main train station and 100 m from the ancient walls of Lucca. Rooms are quiet and well-finished with free Wi-Fi, air conditioned, telephone and fridge. Staff is helpful and courteous. Buffet breakfast is rich and varied.
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.
Hotel Bel Soggiorno is in the center of San Gimignano, just 20km from the Chianti wine area. The property features a gift shop, beauty salon, a mini-market, a minibar and an elevator to reach the rooms on the upper floors. The rooms are furnished in classic style and have air conditioning, private bathroom, TV, free Wi-Fi and some have panoramic views. The buffet breakfast is good and varied, the staff very kind and helpful.
Hotel Chiusarelli*** is 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 Wi-Fi and TV with Sky Vision. The Hotel doesn't have the lift. Quality breakfast.
You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April and October.
Customized ELIOS, Aluminium bike
Bianchi Sempre Pro
E-BIKE Customized Peugeot
GPS tracks are available on request.
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