Via Francigena Stage 7: San Quirico-Montefiascone8 Days & 7 Nights 4.3 Read 3 reviews
- Spending the night next to Lago di Bolsena, a jewel in the heart of Italy
- Glorious landscapes of Tuscany, carpeted with cypress-studded hills
- 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
What To Expect
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent holiday.
Pilgrim Trail | You will follow a historic pilgrimage trail, in the footsteps of generations of travellers
This trip is suitable for:
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Historical Journeys
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.
The trail in the most part is well marked but in some of the agricultural areas, such as the cultivated lowlands, this does become sparser. Along the length of the route, it also travels through several different municipalities and the style of the markers can vary between them and not every region has invested in consistently waymarking the trail.
The type of markers includes brown metal plates with two walkers and the route name on them or smaller ones showing a pilgrim and an arrow pointing the right way at road junctions. Red and white signs with a yellow pilgrim on them are also common. There are also signs with little yellow pilgrims on them and a white arrow which points towards Rome (those that are the same but with a yellow arrow lead to Santiago). In the Valle d’Aosta the signs tend to be yellow with Via Francigena written on them along with a route number.
Even if the signs can be lacking or confusing at times, navigation is straightforward as you can use the Macs Adventure Smartphone App which has maps, GPS tracks, and daily route information. Simply download the GPS tracks for offline use and follow the route on your phone with the assurance that navigation will be simple, and you can’t get lost.
Experience & Fitness
You need to be a regular walker and in good physical shape to complete the Full Via Francigena. If you are doing shorter stages then these are less demanding, but the per day mileage still includes longer distances on some days and a couple of the stages include ascents and descents, especially in the foothills of the Alps at the start of the Via Francigena route. We would recommend taking training walks carrying your daypack ahead of going on this trip.
During your trip you will stay in a variety of accommodations. The properties range from private rooms in pilgrims' hostels to 2, 3 and 4* hotels as well as B&B's and guesthouses. At times you will be staying in remote towns and villages, therefore the accommodations in these places are the best that these particular areas have to offer.
If you require single rooms for your party we would be happy to accommodate you. Solo walkers are also welcomed.
Important: Due to the remote location of some of the smaller towns and villages along the way it is possible that some of your overnight hotels will be a few kilometres from the route or in a nearby town or village. If this is the case, you will always receive directions to and from the trail in your route notes. Please be aware that this may result in slightly longer or shorter walking days.
Daily breakfasts are included. Breakfasts are usually continental or Italian-style with a choice of bread, 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 groceries, cafes, and restaurants en route. You can opt to include dinners as well if you wish.
- Overnights in a variety of accommodation
- Door to door baggage transfer as per your itinerary
- Access to maps, GPX tracks and daily route information with the Macs Adventure smartphone navigation app
- Transfers where mentioned in the itinerary
- All your trip documents including a detailed information pack provided digitally through your online Macs “My Account”
- Telephone support from our office in the event of a problem
- Travel to and from the start and finish points
- Public transportation where mentioned in the itinerary
- Lunches, dinners, drinks, and snacks
- Any additional travel en route, should you wish to miss a day's walking
- Travel insurance (required) and personal equipment
- Mountain rescue / emergency assistance
- Tourist taxes (charged locally at hotels)
- Additional nights before, after or during the trip
- Half board upgrade supplement
When To Go
You can start this tour on any day of the week, between mid-March to the end of October.
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.
Getting to the Start
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 the End
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.
Enjoy the ease of walking with a light backpack and having your main luggage moved for you each day (included). Your bags will be collected from your accommodation and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes.
Please be prepared by packing all necessary items. 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, a day pack, sun hat, and sunscreen.
At Macs Adventure we care about the environment. We’re taking action to minimise the impact we have by converting the majority of our tour documentation for online delivery. On this tour, most of your detailed tour information will be digitally delivered. You will have access to this documentation via “My Account” on our website and the Macs Adventure Smartphone App.
There are three main pieces of equipment that are essential to you enjoying your pilgrimage, and they are comfortable walking shoes with good wool or anti-blister socks, and a day pack that gives you good back support.
Most surfaces along the way are smooth and so walking shoes should suffice rather than boots. It is hard surface walking for the most part, so we recommend walking shoes that have a good level of padding or walking socks that offer cushioning. There are a few sections of the route which include mountain paths, in particular in Stage 1 in the Alps. For this part of the route waterproof walking boots with good ankle support and sturdy tread are recommended.
This depends on the time of year you are walking; if travelling in the spring or autumn it can be cool in the morning, but it soon heats up in the late morning and afternoon so make sure and bring some layers with you. During the summer months, the area can be prone to afternoon thunderstorms, so waterproofs are also essential in case of heavy showers, or you may find since it’s still hot that a lightweight rain poncho is more suitable.
You will receive a full kit list as part of your trip documentation.
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.
Your required fitness level will depend upon which section of the Via Francigena you choose to do. Please read the grade and terrain section of each individual section or the full walk to give you an idea of the walking on that particular itinerary. We suggest that you might like to start a regular walking programme before you travel, in order to make the most of your time and walks and Italy.
Certain sections of the Via Francigena, such as the start and end of the trail, are very popular. Therefore it is better to book earlier rather than later to ensure we are able to secure the most suitable accommodation for your trip.
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, and a daypack etc. Our information pack has a list of all the equipment you will need, along with some helpful suggestions.
You may be able to take public transport or taxis onto the next accommodation, please check with the accommodation provider or our local partner as they are best able to give you up to date advice.
Each morning where a baggage transfer is required, just leave your main bag in the reception/luggage storage area and we will have them transferred to the next location. Please limit the weight of your baggage to 20 kg per bag (one piece per person).
ItineraryDay 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.
Located in a beautiful lake side setting just beyond the city walls of San Quirico, this hotel offers a cosy and intimate atmosphere. All 42 rooms are comfortable and well equipped. The hotel has a beautiful swimming pool and elegant gardens for you to enjoy.
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.
A clean and comfortable B&B with all necessary amenities and services.
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 Rocca d'Orcia which is truly charming.
A clean and comfortable B&B with all necessary amenities and services.
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.
La Selvella is an old farmhouse which has been completely restored. Their farm produces organic olive oil, a variety of vegetables, poultry, and free-range eggs. There is a lovely swimming pool situated at the front of the house.
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.
A stunning guesthouse located in beautiful, medieval, fortified surroundings. Clean and comfortable rooms with all necessary amenities and services. It also has a swimming pool.
You may wish to have an early start today as this is a long day of walking. 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.
A lovely 3* hotel set within a country park in serene and calm surroundings. Has all necessary amenities and services.
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.
Hotel Urbano V is situated in a very tranquil position, in perfect balance with the architecture of the historical centre, glorious land of the famous wine "Est!Est!!Est!!!". Completely restored in June 2002, it is one of the most ancient palaces in town, where noble families and popes have lived since the XIV century.
After breakfast your walking holiday will come to an end. See the Travel & Transfers section for some useful details for your onward travel.
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