Via Francigena Stage 6: San Miniato - San Quirico8 Days & 7 Nights 4.6 Read 11 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 active 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 overall. However the daily distances vary quite a lot between shorter and a lot longer ones, so you must be capable of also walking the longer distances. You need to be in good physical shape to complete the full Via Francigena as there are also some elevation gains and losses along the way.
You will 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.
During your Via Francigena self-guided walking tour in Italy you will stay in a variety of accommodations. The properties range from private rooms in pilgrim's hostels, 2, 3 and 4* hotels as well as B&Bs and guesthouses. 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.
During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations that are not listed in the description. 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.
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 accommodations
- Baggage transfers
- Detailed maps and routes notes and a comprehensive information pack
- Transfers where mentioned in the itinerary
- Emergency telephone assistance from our team in Italy and our UK office if required
- Travel to and from the start and finish points
- Public transportation where mentioned in the itinerary
- Lunches & dinners
- Drinks & snacks
- Any additional travel en route, should you wish to miss a day's walking
- Baggage transfers
- Personal equipment
- Travel insurance
- Mountain rescue / emergency assistance
- Additional nights before, after or during the trip
- Half board supplement
When To Go
This trip is best enjoyed from mid-June onwards as the first section crosses the Alps and snow can still be on the ground up until July. Summer is a wonderful time to do the trip but it will be hot in August. Autumn is a lovely time of time of year as the colours start to change and the heat of the summer has subsided. Available from mid-June to mid-September.
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 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.
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.
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 bookings at the hotels and B&Bs
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.
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.
You will be asked to leave your luggage at reception or in a dedicated room before setting off and your luggage will be returned to you before 5 PM the same day in the new location. Please keep your bag to a minimum of 20 kg in weight.
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.
Today 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 traveling 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 inside 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 which 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.
You are now within sight of Monteriggioni, a village still completely surrounded by walls that are virtually intact. It will be a peaceful evening spent here as there is virtually no traffic.
The rooms at B&B in Piazza are located in the former Palazzo del podestà (city hall) in the beautiful fortified town of Monteriggioni, surrounded by the famous Chianti vineyards, lovely smelling cypress trees and only 10 minutes away from the city of Siena.
Once more this is a relatively short walking day which enables you to spend time exploring Siena this afternoon. Leaving behind the old town of Monteriggioni, walk 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.
This 3-star hotel is situated in Siena town centre. Built around the year 1870 as a NeoClassical villa and completely restored in 2004, it keeps its original style as well as its beautiful frescoed rooms. In its 48 rooms you find every kind of a comfort: bathtubs or showers, linen, hairdryer, safe, air conditioning/ central heating, telephone, satellite TV, and bedrooms with a Wi-Fi Internet connection.
Depart from Siena along the official Via Francigena road, the Porta Romana. The trail meanders through serene farmland, rolling hills and small hamlets criss-crossing the Via Cassia all the way. En route is the imposing medieval building, the Grancia di Cuna that served as a 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).
Hotel Ghibellino is a modern 23 room three-star hotel in the centre of Buonconvento. It has an excellent reputation and the comfortable air-conditioned rooms are a relaxing haven.
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 Info section for some useful details for your onward travel.
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