Via Francigena Stage 6: San Miniato - San Quirico8 Days & 7 Nights 4.7 Read 13 reviews
- Following an ancient pilgrimage route through rolling Tuscan landscapes
- Quintessential Tuscany: San Miniato, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Siena & San Quirico
- Relaxing with a glass of full-bodied Chianti in the Piazza del Campo, Siena
- The 13 towers of San Gimignano, the Manhattan of Tuscany
- The imposing and fortified masterpiece of Grancia di Cuna, which offered respite for pilgrims
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:
- Foodie Adventures
- Wine, Whisky & More...
- Personal Growth
- Historical Journeys
Grade & Terrain
This walking holiday is graded moderate. However the daily distances vary quite a lot between 13.5 and 29km, 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 - you'll be walking through hilly Tuscany.
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
This trip is available from mid-March to the end of October. You can start your holiday on any date in the season.
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
San Miniato has a railway station and is on the Florence/Pisa line. Therefore you could fly into either Florence or Pisa and then take a train to San Miniato (50 minutes from either airport). Please check the Trenitalia website for more information on fares and schedules.
Getting from the End
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 from Rome Fiumicino Airport you can take a taxi from San Quirico d’Orcia to Chiusi and then take a train (via central Rome) to Rome Fiumicino Airport. However the taxi will cost around €50 so the alternative is to fly from Florence or Pisa, taking a bus from San Quirico d’Orcia to Buonconvento and then a train. (Please note: the buses do not run very regularly and you may have to wait).
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 Miniato
Arrive in San Miniato, a medieval village set atop three small hills at the very centre of Tuscany. It is in a strategic location, at the intersection of the Florence-Pisa and Lucca-Siena roads, hence its historical importance. During the Middle Ages there was a constant flow of both friendly and hostile armies, traders and travellers from near and far. Spend time here viewing the historic centre and perhaps have dinner in a restaurant with an outside terrace while you soak in views of the surrounding valleys of Arno, Era and Egola.
With rustic furnishings, air-conditioned apartments and rooms at the Agrituristica Cafaggio feature a seating area, satellite TV and private bathroom. The apartments have a kitchenette complete with a coffee machine, oven and electric kettle.
Walk through stunning Tuscan landscapes and oak woods, which then give way to vineyards. Famous for its fine red Chianti wines, such as tempranillo and Sangiovese, if you are travelling in the spring and summer the vines will be in full bloom and if travelling in the autumn they will be deep reds and browns.
Combining almost perfect weather and soils that produce these world-renowned wines, there is evidence to show that the Etruscans cultivated and even experimented with vines here. Along the route, you can visit two interesting churches, Pieve di Coiano and Santa Maria a Chianni, the latter situated on the side of a valley and the former positioned close to Gambassi with a beautiful façade.
Arrive in Gambassi Terme, located on a hill 350m above sea level. The town has been known for its production of glass since medieval times.
Irene and Marco welcome you to their inn with a friendly, familiar environment and typical country side hospitality.
Today’s walk is relatively short as this gives you time to explore San Gimignano this afternoon. Once again you will be walking through the gorgeous Chianti vineyards. Heading down the trail you initially pass by Riparotta and a bridge over the Rio Casciani. The trail undulates over a series of small hills and along a stretch called the Siene Val d’Elsa. Here you see the ruins of an old castle and the isolated Church of Santo Pietro which was mentioned in in 1109 as a place of worship by pilgrims.
Enjoy your first panorama of San Gimignano’s famed towers, built by wealthy local families to demonstrate their power in the 12th century. At one time there were 72 towers, but only 13 remain. Spend time this afternoon discovering this town, one of the most famous in Tuscany. Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Gimignano still retains its medieval atmosphere and it is a pleasure to wander through the narrow streets and soak up the ambience.
At B&B Il Pino you will get a warm welcome. The five bedrooms are located above the restaurant and are well equipped and comfortable.
Your walking today is along trails that are some of the most beautiful along the Via Francigena. First set off in the direction of Campiglia, a small hamlet surrounded by the characterful Tuscan countryside and continue onto Badia a Coneo, a gracious and remote church. Also pass through Abbey Island, a complex of mysterious medieval buildings. In the 11th century this island was surrounded by marshes, hence the fact that it is called an island.
Located in the heart of historic Strove, just outside of Monteriggioni, this small village, is a crossing point for pilgrims on the Via Francigena.
This friendly family-run hotel is set within an ancient Lombard fortress. The hotel has maintained many of its historic features such as the stone walls, wooden beamed ceilings, and the grand fireplace in the public lounge. Bedrooms have been decorated with antique furniture, but also offer modern comforts such as a TV, WiFi, and air conditioning.
Hotel Monteriggioni is a four-star hotel housed in a 17th century residence, in the heart of the medieval fortress town. The architecture, respecting the original style, perfectly integrates the hotel services with the exclusive environment of the Tuscan village. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, and garden.
If you set off early enough you will have enough time to spend exploring Siena this afternoon. One of the highlights of today's walk is passing through the old town of Monteriggioni, a beautiful sight. It is still completely surrounded by walls that are virtually intact and there is virtually no traffic inside. Continue along trails that take you to Montagnola and Cerbaia, a medieval village now in a neglected state. Walk through woods to the castles of the Chiocciola and Villa before arriving at Porta Camollia, the traditional access road on the Via Francigena into Siena.
Siena is a town well-known for its Palio horse race which occurs twice a year, its medieval buildings and the wonderful Piazza del Campo. Sit in an outdoor café within the piazza whilst viewing the medieval houses and buildings, particularly the Palazzo Publico and the Torre del Mangia, both architectural treasures.
Situated in Siena city centre, so perfect for exploring on foot. Built in around 1870 as a Neoclassical villa, it was restored in 2004, keeping its original style as well as its beautiful, frescoed common rooms. The comfortable bedrooms have air conditioning and WiFi access. Some have a balcony. The hotel has a restaurant, bar, terrace, and small garden to relax in.
Depart from Siena along the official Via Francigena road, the Porta Romana. The trail meanders through serene farmland, rolling hills and small hamlets crisscrossing the Via Cassia all the way. En route is the imposing medieval building, the Grancia di Cuna which served as protected storage for food supplies in the Middle Ages and which offered hospitality to pilgrims and travellers.
Transfer from Grancia de Cuna to Buonconvento (this shortens the walk from 32km to a more manageable 18km).
A small hotel in the centre of Buonconvento. It has a large terrace on the third floor providing a great view over the historic village. The comfortable bedrooms have WiFi access and air conditioning, and some have a balcony.
En route to San Quirico d’Orcia you pass through Brunello vineyards there will the opportunity to visit a nice winery at Torrenieri. Cross the railway line and carry on through wineries and iconic landscapes to San Quirico, a delightful walled town. You have just completed this section of the Via Francigena and perhaps you would like to reward yourself with a glass of delicious Chianti in the medieval town square.
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.
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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