Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised program, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
This departure: Grade 5
We fly to Pisa and transfer by road to San Miniato. The drive takes inland along the Arno Valley towards Florence. About half way we turn right up the impressive south side of the valley into San Miniato perched on the hills above the valley. Hopefully we have some time to look around.
The Via Francigena for the first 5km south of San Miniato follows a major road so we start our day by private coach to bypass this section before we start our walk to Gambassi Terme. The track undulates effortlessly through olive groves and vineyards. Most of the time we walk on a ridge with open, distant views of quintessential Tuscan scenery in most directions. On arrival in Gambassi we will be met by private transport to take us on to San Gimignano where we stay two nights. 21km (13 miles); 500m↑ 400m↓; 6 hours.
In the morning we take transport back to Gambassi Terme. From here we continue our way towards San Gimignano today. Today is an easier walk, shorter, shadier and with less ascent. The scenery is wonderful again: more vineyards, more olive groves, hills dotted with farmhouses and cypresses, distant views of higher mountains. This area feels affluent and sophisticated: no abandoned buildings here but luxurious ‘agriturismo’ hotels in superbly renovated farmhouses. 14km (9 miles); 200m↑ 230m↓; 5 hours.
Today the trail leads us to Colle di Val d'Elsa. There are no steep uphills and there is quite a bit of shade. The scenery changes subtly about half way: more woods, fewer vineyards, fewer olive groves. A good way to organise the day is to spend the morning enjoying the delights of San Gimignano and then set off late morning. This would get us to Colle mid afternoon with time to explore. Particularly look out for the lift which takes you up to the upper town. 11.5km (7 miles); 150m↑ 300m↓; 5 hours.
Continuing through little villages we walk to Monteriggioni. This is another gentle day across easy terrain. The outline of Monteriggioni is visible from some distance and makes an impressive goal for the day. Our accommodation will be in a local village so from Monteriggioni we will be transported to where we stay. 14km (9 miles); 200m↑ 150m↓; 4 hours.
This is a long but pleasant last stage, with a lot of walking on narrow tracks or forests paths. Vineyards and olive groves are getting thinner on the ground but the scenery is still lovely as you meander from woods to fields. There are plenty of sights (castles, towers) along the way as well. Siena is built on higher ground and can be seen from some way away. The city is a spectacular as its reputation suggests. 19km (11.8 miles); 300m↑ 300m↓; 6 hours.
A day of leisurely sightseeing in Siena. There is plenty to see, the Duomo with distinctive striped marble exterior and the Campo are highlights. For those feeling fit a climb up the 97m Torre del Mangia above the Campo offers good exercise and unrivalled views over your route to Siena. Also be sure to try some Panforte, Siena's most famous contribution to world cuisine.
Our transfer back to Pisa will be by road. It should take about 2hrs.
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