The road to Rome remains unchanged in parts of Tuscany, leading across the unspoiled landscape. Vineyards decorate hillsides. Cypress trees shade unpaved country lanes. Medieval towns that were built around historic churches maintain strong connections to their roots. Your custom tailored Tuscany tour takes you on the route of pilgrims known as Via Francigena. Stroll alongside historic walls; meander around ancient...
Florence – The Route of Pilgrims
Via Francigena once led pilgrims from France to Rome during the Middle Ages. The route connected abbeys throughout the countryside, linking sacred places across Europe’s Christian world, followed by merchants and travelers alike. A large portion of the road, 250 miles worth, winds along the Tuscan landscape and connects small villages that once settled around the historic churches. When you arrive at Florence International Airport, your private transfer greets you.
Your first introduction to the province is the lush greenery draping over the undulating hills. Cypress trees line unpaved roads, and oak trees flourish in the distance. You make your way to the Pontremoli, a stunningly preserved medieval town set against the lushness of Tuscany’s northern region of Lunigiana. The castle was erected in the 11th-century and continues to watch over the streets. The marketplace still brims with energy along the cobblestone streets on Wednesdays and Sundays. The 17th-century cathedral stands in the center of town with a rich Baroque interior. You easily settle in town with the aroma of pesto drifting out of the local restaurants.
Florence – On the Winding Road
Avenza – Rediscovering Tuscany
Pietrasanta – Along the Castle Walls
Lucca – Finding A Little Italian Athens
Altopascio – Outside of the Seasoned Walls
Castelfranco di Sotto – Following the Medici
Elsa Valley – The Hills of Val d’Elsa
San Gimignano – Towers in the Distance
Monteriggioni – Roots of the Road
Siena – Traveling to Traditions
Siena – End of the Road
- Visit a number of medieval and Renaissance villages off the beaten path of visitors, taking you into the heart of Tuscany
- Travel along an ancient road that has guided pilgrims from France to Rome for a millennium
- Discover remarkable churches, abbeys, and monasteries overlooking lush valleys and stunning hills
- Stroll along antique city walls that have protected art and culture for centuries
- Witness the marvels of Roman and Etruscan ruins, along with the remains of their culture in archeological parks
- Wander through fortresses, castles, and towers that offer unparalleled views of Tuscany and the magnificent coastline
- Revel in physical activity while simultaneously slowing down to experience the beauty of Tuscany’s culture, traditions, and natural wonder
The pilgrim’s route in Tuscany through Via Francigena, shows you the unique charms of the Italian province, from olive groves to medieval alleys, leading you into the enchantment of lesser-known villages and often overlooked artwork. On your 12-day journey along via Francigena, you can walk, mountain bike, or horseback ride along the historic pathway, leading you from the province’s northern edge to its southern borders. Part of the beauty of the modern pilgrimage route is that you can begin and end your travels at any town along the way.
When you arrive at Florence International Airport, your private transfer welcomes you to the region. Soon you can settle in the small northern Tuscan town of Pontremoli. The following day, your guide meets you at your hotel with a bicycle and hands you a Pilgrim’s Passport, where locals in each city can stamp your document as a testament to your unique journey. You leave Pontremoli en route to Aulla, visiting the towns of Ponticello, Filattiera, Filetta, and Villafranca in Lunigiana. Each town brims with Romanesque churches and sensational castles that lend a storybook ambiance to the countryside.
On your way to Avenza, you have views of the seaside while biking alongside abbeys and fortresses. Your view of the Apuan Coast leads to Sarzana and Luni before you continue to Avenza. After breakfast, your guide leads you into the countryside to the Ducal Palace of Massa and the Aghinofli Castle of Montignoso. You settle in for the night at Pietrasanta. After exploring Pietrasanta in the morning, you set out for Valdicastello and Camaiore, both invoking an ethereal charm emanating from the historic churches. Montemagno has remnants of a historic hospital dating back to the 11th-century. Once in Lucca, you can relax inside the celebrated antique city ramparts.
The route continues, lined with cathedrals and churches in the towns of Segromigno, Capannori, Lunata, and Rughi. In Montecarlo, you find a quiet, preserved 12th-century town before reaching Altopascio. The path to San Miniato has you visiting the Hospice of Tau. En route to Gambassi Terme, you witness castles and decadent religious artwork, including the wonders of an Etruscan Tomb in Elsa Valley at Montaione. You have a short journey to the medieval hillside town of San Gimignano, known for its tremendous towers.
The road winds across the hilltops where you can take in the Roman Ruins and Etruscan tombs at Poggibonsi and Colle Val d’Elsa on your way to Monteriggioni. The final leg of your tour takes you from the fortified town of Monteriggioni to Siena, a medieval city that once rivaled the beauty and power of the provincial capital of Florence. After breakfast on your final morning, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you back to Florence International Airport. However, you can always stay in Siena and continue the path of the pilgrim, making your way all the way to Rome. For trip extension ideas, browse the reviews for Italy tour operators on Zicasso.
$3,295 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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