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Location

Italy

Difficulty

4-5

Moderate to Challenging

Length

8

Trip Cost

from $1490 pp
twin share

Overview

  • Traverse spectacular Tuscan countryside and the distinctive Val d’Orcia landscape, in the footsteps of Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Indulge in traditional Italian dishes and locally-produced, world-class wines
  • Stroll through vineyards and olive groves and watch farmers harvesting their crops*
  • Explore charming, medieval UNESCO listed villages 
  • Relax in hot springs at Bagno Vignoni, an UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Stay in carefully selected accommodations that are chosen for their warm hospitality, unique character or location

*Seasonal events

Since the 4th century, Christians, clergymen, plebians, emperors and sovereigns have undertaken epic, life-changing adventures on foot to Rome, the Holy Land and Santiago de Compostela. Those seeking out the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul were destined for the ‘Eternal City’ of Rome. The Via Francigena connected Canterbury Cathedral in England to the Vatican and St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, Italy, via a 1900km pilgrimage route.

Traditionally the journey was taken as an act of devotion and pilgrims would stop along the way at places deemed holy by the church. Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, documented his return journey from Rome (AD990) and it is this route that has had the most significant influence on successive pilgrimages.

So grab your hiking boots and large appetite and become a ‘pellegrino’ on the Via Francigena – the Italian Camino, following in the footsteps of Sigeric. This itinerary travels from Buonconvento in Tuscany, to Montefiascone in the province of Lazio, and is a journey that is spiritual, cultural and historical. Beautiful trails through the countryside, vineyards and forests lead you to ancient churches, historical monuments and medieval villages (often on hilltops).  At the end of each day reward yourself with a tasting of Italy’s gastronomic delights!

Buon Viaggio!  

Trip grade: Moderate to Challenging

Extend Your Holiday – City Breaks

Double your holiday experience by including a stopover on your journey! A city break is a great way to explore another place, indulge in some extra shopping, dining or sightseeing and is a great way to break up a long flight. Our fabulous array of RAW Travel city breaks can be tailor made to your requirements and usually include an arrival transfer, 2 nights accommodation and a city sightseeing tour.

Read more about our city breaks.

Are you a first-time or solo traveller?

We’ll support you all the way! View our preparation and training resources.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Buonconvento

Today you will need to make your way to Buonconvento, appropriately named “the good convent” as it was an important haven for pilgrims and travellers. You will notice the relaxed pace here where life slows to the rhythm of a provincial village. Art lovers will appreciate a visit to the Museum of Sacred Art of the Val d’Arbia which features artworks by some of the most famous Sienese painters Duccio, Sano di Pietro and Matteo di Giovanni, who also left a Madonna and Child in the 14th-century Santi Piero e Paolo church.

Kick off your journey with an Italian feast of homemade Tuscan specialties and locally produced wine.

Overnight: Buonconvento

Meals: B

Day 2: Buonconvento to San Quirico d’Orcia (21km, hours)

  • 641m ascent, 376m descent

Today your journey will take you towards San Quirico, on dirt and bitumen roads accented with cypress trees and vineyards. There are splendid views across the vast landscape of the Val d’Orcia. San Quiroco d’Orcia is a lovely example of medieval architecture and city planning. At the centre of the historic town sits the stunning Collegiata. Built in the 11th-century on the site of an old baptistery, it has three main main doorways. one of which overlooks the Via Francigena.  Before dinner, enjoy a relaxing amble among the green hedges of Horti Leonini, a 15th-century garden.

Overnight: San Quiroco d’Orcia

Meals: B

Day 3: San Quirico d’Orcia to Castiglione d’Orcia (9km, 3 hours)

  • 400m ascent, 300m descent

Only a short walk today to allow you time to amble and enjoy the striking scenery of the Val d’Orcia and some special highlights along the way. Not long after leaving San Quirico you will enter the timeless world of Vignoni Alto. Discover the remains of an 11th-century castle and stop for a peaceful meditation at the Roman church of San Biagio. Continuing on you will come to the delightful town of Bagno Vignoni, popular for its hot spring pools since the Etruscan era. Famous popes, saints and pilgrims frequented the hot springs, due to their proximity to the Via Francigena pilgrimage route. The focal point of the town is the large rectangle pool of thermal waters. While this ancient pool is no longer open to public bathing, visitors can enjoy spa treatments and bathing sessions at nearby wellness centres or the free access pools further down the hill. Spend some time exploring this UNESCO World Heritage site and relaxing in the therapeutic waters.

After an indulgent afternoon you make your way through one of the most beautiful panoramic sections of the whole Via Francigena to arrive in Castiglione d’Orcia. Affording excellent hill views, this village is also UNESCO listed as a World Heritage Site. Locate the walled old town and stroll the cobblestone streets, passed medieval houses, Roman churches and the town hall to Piazza il Vecchietta. The square is dedicated to Lorenzo di Pietro, a sculptor, architect and painter.

Overnight: Castiglione d’Orcia

Meals: B

Day 4: Castiglione d’Orcia to Radicofani (25km, 7 hours)

  • 1000m ascent, 757m descent

Today you will embark on a longer, tougher hike as you make your way through valleys, olive groves and agricultural fields. You will have great views across the rolling hills to the dormant volcano, Monte Amiata.

Approaching Radicofani, you will see that the imposing citadel dominates the town and can be seen over 10kms away! You will spend your evening in a lovely Tuscan country house just outside of Radicofani, where you will receive a warm welcome and cozy accommodation. Take a swim in the pool or wander the beautiful gardens before enjoying a home cooked meal.

Overnight: Radicofani

Meals: B, D

Day 5: Radicofani to Acquapendente (18km, 6 hours)

  • 400m ascent, 900m descent

This morning you will be driven a short way to the town of Radicofani. Spend some time exploring this fortress that dates back to 973AD and admire spectacular views of Monte Amiata, the Apennines, Bolsena Lake and the Val d’Orcia from its tower. The village also has some special features including the Romanesque church of San Pietro. Built in the 13th-century, the church suffered damage during WWII but was later restored in 1946. Within its gothic arches is a collection of terracottas by Della Robbia, a famous sculptor from Florence.

Depart the town and travel along the old Via Cassia, an ancient route used by travellers in the Middle Ages between northern Italy and Rome. Surrounded by a landscape of infinite hills, you continue on to Centeno where you will take another short transfer to avoid busy and noisy road sections. Your last stretch of walking will lead you on an ascent to Acqupendente, the northernmost municipality of Lazio. Charles Dickens travelled to Acquapendente on the Via Cassia in 1845 and details it in his writings. If you have time, experience a silent walk through the Romanesque crypt located beneath the Basilica del Santo Sepolcro. It is rumoured that stones bathed in the blood of Christ have been kept here.

Overnight: Acqupendente

Meals: B

Day 6: Acquapendente to Bolsena (23km, 7 hours)

  • 424m ascent, 452m descent

Today the trail is fairly easy going and offers enchanting views of the slopes of Monti Volsini. You will eventually catch your first glimpse of Lake Bolsena with its tranquil, clear waters. From here you will descend into a volcanic crater along cart and dirt tracks and through dense woodland and open meadows dotted with olive trees. Lake Bolsena is the largest volcanic lake in Europe, formed over 370,000 years ago with the eruption of the Vulsini volcano. After the eruption, the surrounding land collapsed, creating a caldera and forming what is now, the bed of Lake Bolsena. Not only an important stop for pilgrims on the Via Francigena, Bolsena is famous for a miracle recorded in 1263 at the church of St Christina. This church is well worth a visit for its frescoes, architecture and underground catacombs. For dinner you may wish to try one of the local seafood specialties, fresh from the lake: Sbroscia is a soup made from lake fish and tomatoes.

Overnight: Bolsena

Meals: B

Day 7: Bolsena to Montefiascone (17km, 6 hours)

  • 607m ascent, 374m descent

After breakfast today, you will set off on a route that offers continual views of the lake. You will pass through fields and forests and an area famous for its olive oil production, and we recommend experiencing a tasting with a piece of warm, fragrant bread. Your walk ends in the papel town of Montefiascone. Located on top of a hill overlooking Lake Bolsena, this town is surrounded by vineyards that produce the EST! EST!! EST!!! wine the region is famous for. There are many sites worth visiting such as the Fortress of the Popes and the Santa Margherita Cathedral, both of which dominate the town’s landscape. Reflect on your Via Francigena pilgrimage with a glass of local wine and some home-made specialities.

Overnight: Montefiascone

Meals: B

Day 8: Depart Montefiascone

After breakfast, you are free to leave for your onward journey

Meals: B

 

Dates

Self-guided trips offer flexibility, independence and choice. Set your own agenda while someone else worries about the logistics. Our self-guided walking holidays are fully flexible which means you can normally start your walk on any day during the season and customise by adding extra days for resting or sightseeing. As you’re walking independently, you’re free to follow the trail at your own pace. You set your own speed as you are not limited by the constraints of group travel.

Note that if booking for a trip that leaves in 30 days or less, please be aware we cannot guarantee that your departure will be possible unless we have confirmed this via email first.

  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY

Inclusions

  • 7 nights accommodation in 3 star hotels, family run B&Bs or agriturismo (farm stays)
  • Breakfast daily, 1 dinner
  • Luggage transfers on trekking days
  • Pilgrims passport
  • Destination and trek training guide
  • GPS Map app and comprehensive walk notes and maps
  • Luggage tag and buff
  • 24-hour emergency support in Italy and Australia
  • Italian phrasebook
  • Transfers on Day 5 from accommodation to Radicofani and Centeno to Ponte Gregoriano

Not Included

  • Lunch and dinner (only 1 dinner included on night 4)
  • City tax (to be paid locally)
  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Single supplement $400
  • Train tickets

Map & Guide

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Trip Expert

Sue Chater – Team Leader, Camino

(03) 5976 3763

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Trip Grading

This trip has a difficulty rating of 4-5 out of 10.