Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Self-guided walking tour along the Via Francigena: San Quirico to Montefiascone
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Highlights

  • Spending the night next to Lago di Bolsena, a jewel in the heart of Italy
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of fellow hikers and pilgrims
  • Following trails through the geologically unique landscapes and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Crete Senesi
  • Appreciating the beauty of the Romanesque 12th century Abbey of Sant Antimo
  • Savouring a glass of local red Brunello wine in a hill top town restaurant

Following in the footsteps of pilgrims from the Middle Ages this section of the Via Francigena begins in the heart of the Tuscan countryside and finishes in the medieval town of Montefiascone. Encounter small hamlets and villages atop conical hills and set within the distinctive undulating Italian countryside.

For the most part this section of the Via Francigena takes you through the glorious landscapes of Tuscany, carpeted with cypress-studded hills and where the birth of the Renaissance began. As Tuscany is also famed for its excellent wines, you will also encounter many local vineyards along the way where you may stop and perhaps have a typical picnic lunch with wine, local meats, cheeses and artisan breads. Appreciate the incredible fact that you are following an ancient trail that many pilgrims and travellers walked along in the Middle Ages.

Make your way to San Quirico d’Orcia a charming walled town situated on the northern edge of the Valley d’Orcia where your incredible journey begins. The first part of this stage takes you through this aesthetically pleasing valley and also to Sant Antimo Abbey an important stop for pilgrims and an enchanting Romanesque structure. One of the highlights of your walking tour is passing through the geologically unique and ochre-coloured landscapes of the Crete Senesi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The town of Radicofani was an important stronghold in Italy for centuries and you can see its citadel from 10km away! Enjoy a night beside Lago di Bolsena with its crystal clear waters originally formed from a volcanic crater. Finish in the pretty hill-top town of Montefiascone.

DAY 1: Arrive in San Quirico d’Orcia

Arrive in San Quirico d’Orcia which in the Middle Ages was a very important stop on the Via Francigena. This delightful walled town is often overlooked because of other more famous local towns such as Pienza or Montelcino, however San Quirico d’Orcia is well worth a visit in its own right. Not only does sit on the northern edge of the Valley d’Orcia, but it is also of Eruscan origin and there are many sites to see here, such as the La Collegiata di San Quirico and the Church of St Francis which has a beautiful Madonna on the high altar.


Overnight: Antica Sosta B&B,  San Quirico d’Orcia


DAY 2: San Quirico d’Orcia to Castelnuovo dell’Abate

The Valley d’Orcia has a distinctive landscape, topped by fortified towns and villages and interspersed with conical hills. This unique landscape was inspired by many Siennese artists and their paintings demonstrate the beauty of this area. Begin walking through these  amazing scenes this morning along unpaved trails and roads. See lovely views of the Ripa d’Orcia Castle and gorge. The last stretch of your path climbs steadily through Brunello vineyards.


Today you will be walking along an older version of the Via Francigena as it bypasses the Sant Antimo Abbey, one of the most striking places in Tuscany. It is an elegant Romanesque edifice and remarkably you can still hear Gregorian chants being sung inside throughout the day.


Walk: 13.5km


Overnight: Il Borghetto B&B, Castelnuovo dell’Abate


DAY 3: Castelnuovo dell’Abate to Roccae d’Orcia

This morning you begin walking through the Crete Senesi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The grey clays here produce a very distinctive landscape of rolling hills in shades of brown, yellow and green. Pass sturdy brick farmhouses and cypress-lined roads all of which have inspired artists since the Middle Ages. For most of the day you will be walking along a ridge with incredible views. Later this afternoon arrive in the small hamlet of Roccae d’Orcia which is truly charming.


Walk: 19km


Overnight: La Cisterna B&B, Roccae d’Orcia


DAY 4: Roccae d’Orcia to Radicofani

Begin today’s walk in front of the little church of  San Sebastiano and down to the little square of Cisterna. Make your way into the valley and  through olive groves, clusters of oak trees and farmers fields. En route there will be perfect views of Monte Amiata. One of the most important stops on this pilgrimage route and a highlight of the tour.


Radicofani’s citadel comes into view from 10km away dramatically situated at the highest point of the town. It is located in the middle of the medieval quarter and known to have existed since 973 AD. Take the time to explore this fortress with its fantastic views over the nearby hills and valleys.


Walk: 27km


Overnight: B&B La Selvella Radicofani-Locanda del Ciabattino, Radicofani


DAY 5: Radicofani to Proceno

Ponte a Rigo, your first destination today is surrounded once more by beautiful Tuscan scenery. This road set high above the valley was the official route until the 16th century when a bridge was built over the River Paglia. Close by is the Via Cassia an ancient route from Rome to northern Italy and along which many thousands of people travelled in the Middle Ages.


Proceno used to be situated on the border of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Papal States. For pilgrims arriving from the north this village provided their first encounter with the  Papal States. As a result Proceno became an extremely important stop on the Via Francigena. Your accommodation was built during these times and is a rare example of a medieval fortification that has survived in its original state,  and now converted into lodgings.


Walk: 24.5km


Overnight: Castello di Proceno*** Castle/Hotel, Proceno


DAY 6: Proceno to Bolsena

You may wish to have an early start today as this is the longest day of walking. En route pass by Acquapendente named for a small stream that flowed down the hillside. In 1845 Charles Dickens walked along the Via Cassia and into Aquapendente which he describes in his writings. It was also the first stop in Italy in the travels of Saint Roch in the early 14th century. This saint supposedly spent several days in the hospital here curing plague victims.


One of today’s highlights is seeing Lago di Bolsena coming into view. Formed in the crater of a volcano this lake has crystal clear waters and is  a jewel in the centre of Italy. It is here in Bolsena where you will find the St Cristina Church built in memory of the miracle that is at the origin of the Catholic celebration Corpus Domini. Spend tonight in a charming hotel on the shores of the lake.

Walk: 30km

Overnight: Hotel Loriana***, Bolsena


DAY 7: Bolsena to Montefiascone

Walk along the crest of hills that surround the eastern side of the lake with great views of the Cimini Mountains and the lake itself. Pass through woodlands and farmers' fields before arriving in Montefiascone, your final destination for today and for the week.


Spend time here discovering the wonderful frescoes of San Flaviano, many of which are attributed to unknown Sienese painters. Also visit the Fortress of the Popes, an imposing building which dominates Montefiascone’s skyline.


Walk: 12km


Overnight: Hotel Urban V***, Montefiascone


DAY 8: Onward travel

Today the tour finishes after breakfast and you may make your way to Rome for your return journey home.

Accommodation

On this trip you will stay in a variety of accommodations. The properties range from B&B’s to 2 & 3* hotels. At times you will be staying in remote towns and villages, therefore the accommodation in these places are the best that these particular areas have to offer.


Alternate accommodation

During the high season you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in tour webpage. If those listed are unavailable the alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome and again a supplement is payable.


Meals

Daily breakfasts at your hotels and B&B’s are included. Breakfasts are usually continental or Italian-style with a choice of breads, croissants, meats and cheeses. Sometimes it is possible to order packed lunches at your hotel or B&B the evening before or you can buy lunch in grocers, cafes and restaurants en route. You can opt to include 5 dinners if you wish.


Baggage Transfer

Baggage transfers are not included, however you can pay an additional fee for this service. If you choose to include baggage transfers we request that you have only one piece of luggage per person and it should weigh only 20kg.

Availability

You can start this tour on any day of the week, between mid-March to the end of October.


Time of Year

Spring in Italy is sublime and April, May and June are absolutely lovely. Autumn is a great time of year as the landscape is made up of a gold and red pallet so September and October are unmissable. July and August can be very hot so you will have to start early to miss the heat of the day and then perhaps have a long lunch and finish walking in the mid to late afternoon.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome and again a supplement is payable.


Grade & Terrain

This walking holiday is graded moderate. However the daily distances vary quite a lot between 12 and 30km, so you must be capable of also walking the longer distances. You need to be in good physical shape to complete this section of the Via Francigena as there are also some elevation gains and losses along the way.  


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

You will also be provided with detailed route notes and maps to help you find your way. As always when walking you should be able to read a map and use a compass in case of bad weather. The trail is also marked by the official red and white signs of the Via Francigena, which have a picture of a yellow pilgrim on them. However these waymarks will not appear all along the way but intermittently.


Unlike many of the more well-established Caminos, the Via Francigena has seen a relatively recent resurgence in popularity, meaning that trail marking is intermittent (not every region has invested in consistently waymarking the trail), and you should be confident in navigating with a compass and map, as well as using the route notes that we will provide you with.  A few  of the original sections of the Via Francigena are now (fairly busy) roads, and where necessary you may either follow these roads for a short time, or divert away from the traditional route to enjoy a more relaxed walk. 


Baggage Transfers

Baggage transfers are not included as standard, however you can pay an additional fee for this service. If you choose to include baggage transfers we request that you have only one piece of luggage per person and it should weigh only 20kg.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and trousers), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.


Getting to San Quirico d’Orcia

Since San Quirico d’Orcia is equidistant between Pisa/Florence and Rome you can either fly into Rome or Pisa/Florence. If you are flying into Rome Fiumicino Airport you can take a train (via central Rome) to Chiusi and from here a taxi to San Quirico d’Orcia. However the taxi will cost around €50 so the alternative is to fly into Florence or Pisa and then take a train to Siena, then Buonconvento. Once here you can take a bus to San Quirico d’Orcia. (Please note: the buses do not run very regularly and you may have to wait). Please check the Trenitalia website for more information on fares and schedules.


Getting from Montefiascone

The best way of getting from Montefiascone is to take a taxi from your hotel in Montesfiascone to the local station (5km away) and then take a train to Rome, changing trains in Viterbo. You can fly home from Rome Fiumicino Airport. 

Getting to San Quirico d’Orcia

Since San Quirico d’Orcia is equidistant between  Pisa/Florence and Rome you can either fly into Rome or Pisa/Florence. If you are flying into Rome Fiumicino Airport you can take a train (via central Rome) to Chiusi and from here a taxi to San Quirico d’Orcia. However the taxi will cost around €50 so the alternative is to fly into Florence or Pisa and then take a train to Siena, then Buonconvento. Once here you can take a bus to San Quirico d’Orcia. (Please note: the buses do not run very regularly and you may have to wait). Please check the Trenitalia website for more information on fares and schedules.


Getting from Montefiascone

The best way of getting from Montefiascone is to take a taxi from your hotel in Montesfiascone to the local station (5km away) and then take a train to Rome, changing trains in Viterbo. You can fly home from Rome Fiumicino Airport.

Included

  • 7 Nights in 2 to 3* hotels or B&B’s
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Detailed maps and routes notes and a comprehensive information pack.
  • Organisational assistance and backup from our area manager in Italy and our office

Excluded

  • Travel to San Quirico d'Orcia
  • Travel from Montefiascone
  • Lunches & dinners
  • Drinks & snacks
  • Baggage transfers
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance
  • Mountain rescue / emergency assistance

Extras

  • Additional nights before or after the trip
  • 5 Dinners
  • Baggage transfers
  • Single room supplement if single room required.
  • Solo traveller supplement (if applicable)

How fit do I need to be?

This walking holiday is graded moderate. However the daily distances vary quite a lot between 12 and 30km, so you must be capable of also walking the longer distances. You need to be in good physical shape to complete this section of the Via Francigena as there are also some elevation gains and losses along the way.

When is the best time of year?

Spring in Italy is sublime and April, May and June are absolutely lovely. Autumn is a great time of year as the landscape is made up of a gold and red pallet so September and October are unmissable. July and August can be very hot so you will have to start early to miss the heat of the day and then perhaps have a long lunch and finish walking in the mid to late afternoon.

How far in advance do I need to book?

The Via Francigena is very popluar and therefore it is better to book earlier rather than later to ensure bookings at the hotels and B&B's.

What personal equipment do I need?

Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.

Which is the best airport?

Since San Quirico d’Orcia is equidistant between  Pisa/Florence and Rome you can either fly into Rome or Pisa/Florence. If you are flying into Rome Fiumicino Airport you can take a train (via central Rome) to Chiusi and from here a taxi to San Quirico d’Orcia. However the taxi is going to cost around €50 so the alternative is to fly into Florence or Pisa and then take a train to Siena, then Buonconvento. Once here you can take a bus to San Quirico d’Orcia although they are not very regular and you may have to wait. Please check the Trenitalia website for more information on fares and schedules.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Baggage transfers are not included as standard, however you can pay an additional fee for this service. If you choose to include baggage transfers we request that you have only one piece of luggage per person and it should weigh only 20kg.

What happens if I can't walk a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

Wonderful walking and excellent accommodation

4

A very good and , in parts, quite challenging walk. We have used Macs Adventure twice before and the organisation this time was up to their usual high standard. This was a lovely part of Tuscany and Macs had found some amazing accommodation (the Castello di Proceno stands out).

Alan

Kent

true

beautiful scenery on the via

5

This was part of walking 3/4 of the via francigena in 5 weeks. This was another beautiful section with lovely hills, olive groves, vineyards, churches, history, and towns. The hiking is challenging, lots of up and down. Stayed an extra day in radicofani, which was well worth it, as there are amazing views if you walk up to the fortress. This section takes you off the via for 2 days. The good to this, is that the countryside is lovely, and you get to visit the Abbey of San Antimo (beautiful!!). On the negative, however, you do 'lose' the fellow pilgrims you may have been travelling with, as they continue a slightly different route. Also, as previously stated in other reviews; as long as you are walking the via francigena, it is very well way marked. However, off trail (2 days in this case) the directions are not great. However, despite that, this was a fantastic trip. The hosts in Proceno at the 'castle' were sooo lovely, and you must eat at their restaurant, as it is stellar. We did cut the next day of walking shorter (from the 30 km) and got a ride part way from the hosts in Proceno. There are a few 'wine tastings' along the way (one happened to occur at 10 am....with an olive oil tasting added in) on this section of the trip.

alex

canada

true

Via Francigena: Stage 7: San Quirico-Montefiascone

4.5 2

100.0

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