Who hasn’t heard of Tuscany at some point in their lives?
Undoubtedly, this is the most popular route of the Via Francigena .
In fact, it will allow you to walk through one of the most beautiful regions, whose cities are among the most famous and visited in the world.
Now you can enjoy it with the assistance of Galiwonders and live your Italian dream!
Among the cities listed as World Heritage by UNESCO you can visit San Gimignano, Siena and Florence.
Not only you will be able to enjoy the beautiful landscape of rural and urban Tuscany. Also, you will be able to taste the delicious gastronomy. All of this, accompanied by a good glass of one of the local wines in an impressive natural environment.
Therefore this is a unique opportunity to enjoy spectacular scenery in the company of many pilgrims from all over the world.
If you feel the stages are too long, don’t worry, we can offer you the possibility of splitting them in two and staying halfway, so you can walk at your own speed.
Galiwonders will help you to make the most of this vital experience. We will take care of the logistics, so that you can just concentrate on enjoying your walk
Arrive and visit of the city of Lucca.
Lucca although is not as famous as other Tuscan cities certainly deserves a visit in its wonderful historic center. The incredibly well-maintained medieval walls protect a splendid historical old town.
Never really used to protect the city, these walls where instead used for car races in the XX century. Many composers were born here, like the famous Giacomo Puccini (author of many opera compositions as La Bohéme or Tosca) and whose museum can be visited in the town. Music never stopped to be very important for Lucca and that’s why each year there is the Lucca Summer Festival that hosted singers as Eric Clapton, roger Waters and Santana. It is called “the city of 100 towers and 100 churches”.
Highly recommended are the visits to the imposing Cathedral of St. Martin and the Guinigi Tower built in 1390. On the top of this tower you can find nothing less than a garden! Very peculiar is also the elliptical square built on the ancient Roman Amphitheatre where you can recharge your batteries in a typical restaurant or browse in the local shops.
We remind you that after having visited Lucca you can follow the Via Francigena on foot from Lucca to Altopascio and from Altopascio to San Miniato as indicated in the following description. However, another very common option among pilgrims is to arrive with a transfer directly to San Miniato and from there continue on foot.
This is a fairly light stage that will allow you to admire the Church of Capannori, whose façade dates from the 13th century.
After a path that passes through an industrial area you will enter Porcari, where you can admire the remains of the Badia de Pozzeveri, in the village of the same name.
This was a place of great importance in the 13th century when the Camaldolite monks lived there. Following an easy walk you will arrive at Altopascio, called the “village of bread”. There, its famous medieval hospital, whose aim was to assist pilgrims, became a very important site when the order of the Knights of the Tau was founded in 1060 and spread throughout Europe.
Leaving the walls behind, you will be able to live an immersion in the Tuscan nature and in the wild environment of the Cerbaie.
After enjoying the panorama characterized by woods and farms you will reach a small uphill and downhill before finding the fortified bridge of the Medicea period (16th century).
Passing through the ancient village of Fucecchio with its medieval tower, you will cross the river Arno towards the charming village of San Miniato, visited twice by Napoleon himself.
After admiring the seminary, which is not far from the Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace as well as the Tower of Federico, you will be ready to rest with a good dinner based on white truffle, a product of excellence, typical of the area.
A stage as demanding as precious! You will be able to enjoy a marvelous panorama in the Elsa valley walking through oak and chestnut woods.
The route is today the living image of Tuscany which is known all over the world with its olive trees and its vineyards on the top of gentle hills. You will pass through the village of Chianni with its small but beautiful church Pieve di Santa Maria, from the 12th century.
We are almost there, another 300 meters uphill and you will have reached the village of Gambassi Terme. As a reward for so much effort you will be able to take a rest in the Gambassi thermal baths.
In medieval times, besides being an important stage for pilgrims, it was also a glass processing center known all over Italy.
This stage may seem a bit difficult because there are some ups and downs but, without a doubt, the landscapes will compensate the effort.
Crossing the Chianti vineyards, a name that will surely ring a bell for being one of the most famous wine in the world, you will reach the magical San Gimignano, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
This village, considered by many to be the most beautiful in Italy, has also been called the Manhattan of the Middle Ages because of its high towers, real skyscrapers if you consider that they were built in the Middle Ages.
In medieval times, as today, the height of the towers was a symbol of power and wealth among the wealthiest families that competed with each other.
The museum of 1300 allows the visitor to know the aspects of the architecture, history and society of this territory in the Middle Ages. The most adventurous can also visit the Museum of Torture! Anyway, San Gimignano is not only history.
Its food and wine also deserve special attention. Its famous dry white wine, the Vernaccia of San Gimignano, like the typical dishes (panzanella, pappardelle or ribollita) are really excellent! To finish off with a delicious dessert, in the main square you will find the Gelateria Dondoli, an ice-cream shop that on several occasions won the prize for the best ice-cream in the world!
Smoother route option:
Remember that this stage can be divided into two parts for those who want to walk at a slower pace because it might be too demanding. This alternative would allow you to rest in a charming village called Colle di Val d’Elsa.
Here you will be able to visit the Porta Volterrana that gave access between the wall to the old city. You will have the opportunity to enjoy an incredible scenery from the viewpoint and take a walk through this unique village full of history and tradition.
Leaving the village of Colle di Val d’Elsa you will descend towards Castel Petraio and pass through Abbadia to Isola where you can visit the 11th century church before continuing on to the village of Monteriggioni on top of the hill.
This medieval town walled in a more or less circular shape is still perfectly preserved despite the fact that it was built in the 13th century.
The fourteen towers that form part of it were a fundamental part in the defense of Tuscany against the invasions of Florence that fought to increase its territories.
These same towers were cited by the famous Tuscan poet Dante Alighieri to evoke an image of the infernal abyss in his piece of literature The Divine Comedy. Modern artists were also impressed by this peculiar village and that’s why it has been represented in many movies (such as The English Patient, Gladiator or Life is Beautiful).
The last 18 km that separate you from another Tuscan wonder, also a World Heritage Site, are relatively simple but it must be taken into consideration that on this route there is almost no place to drink water or eat.
You will finally reach one of the most famous cities in Tuscany and one of the most visited in Italy, Siena.
Its eno-gastronomy, its art, its medieval architecture and its “Palio” have made this city a pearl of great value for the lucky ones who can stroll through its streets. It seems that its origins date back to almost the same time as the foundation of Rome.
Legend has it that Siena was founded by Asquio and Senio, sons of Remo, the brother of Romulus, the famous founder of Rome.
Here is one of the most important Universities in Italy, founded in 1240 and the whole city still looks very similar to what it looked like at that time.
There is so much to see in Siena that you will even find it difficult to choose between so many options.
The 12th century Cathedral as well as the Museum of the Cathedral’s Work preserve the wonders of incredible artists such as Donatello and Duccio de Buoninsegna.
In the extraordinary Piazza del Campo, in the shape of a fan, you will find the Palazzo Pubblico and the Town Hall with its famous Bell Tower. Here is held a horse race unique in the world where seventeen riders represent each district of the city.
Check out Siena