Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Via Francigena: San Miniato to San Quirico
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Highlights

  • 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 provided hospitality to pilgrims

Explore the central belt of iconic Tuscan landscapes and a distinctive trio of medieval towns; Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni. This stage of the Via Francigena takes you from the charming village of San Miniato to San Quirico situated on the northern edge of the Valley d’Orcia.

This journey encompasses all the highlights of central Tuscany and offers fascinating insights into the many towns and villages that you pass through with their wealth of history, culture, art and architecture.

Beginning in the medieval village of San Miniato you walk through Chianti vineyards and then make your way to Gambassi, known for its production of glass and to San Gimignano, the “Manhattan of Tuscany”. The famed towers were built in the 12th century. San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Monteriggioni is your next destination, enclosed by medieval walls which are still intact. Siena is unquestionably one of the highlights of this stage of the Via Francigena, with its medieval buildings and the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo. Twice a year around the piazza the famous Palio horse race is run with the same pomp and ceremony as in medieval times. Your walking tour finishes in the quintessentially Tuscan hill-top town of San Quirico d’Orcia.

DAY 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.


Overnight: Hotel Miravalle, San Miniato


DAY 2: San Miniato to Gambassi Terme

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.


Walk: 24km


Overnight: Villa Certosa***, Gambassi Terme


DAY 3: Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano

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.


Walk: 13.5km


Overnight: Il Pino B&B, San Gimignano


DAY 4: San Gimignano to Monteriggioni

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.


Walk: 29km


Overnight: B&B La Porta Segreta, Monteriggioni


DAY 5: Monteriggioni to 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.


Walk: 17km


Overnight: Hotel Chiusarelli***, Siena


DAY 6: Siena to Grancia de Cuna, transfer to Buonconvento

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). 


Walk: 18km


Overnight: Hotel Ghibellino***, Buonconvento


DAY 7: Buonconvento to San Quirico d’Orcia

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.


Walk: 23.5km


Overnight: Antica Sosta B&B, San Quirico


DAY 8: Onward travel

Today the tour finishes after breakfast and you may make your way independently 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 3* hotels and agriturismo (lovely farmhouse accommodation). 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.


Alternative accommodation

During the high season you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed on the tour webspage. 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 grocery’s, 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

This trip is available from mid-March to the end of October. You can start on any date in the season.


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 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.


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 Miniato

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 San Quirico

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).

Getting to San Miniato

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 San Quirico

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).

Included

  • 7 Nights in 3* hotels or B&B’s
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Transfer from Grancia to Buonconvento
  • 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 Miniato
  • Travel from San Quirico d'Orcia
  • Lunches & dinners
  • Drinks & snacks
  • Baggage transfers
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance
  • Mountain rescue / emergency assistance

Extras

  • Additional nights before, after or during 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 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.  Tuscany is hilly!

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?

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..

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.

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