Via Francigena by bike and incredibile cycling experience!
In the first part of this journey you will cycle along the legendary white roads of Siena for kilometres and kilometres, crossing the Val d’Arbia and the Val d’Orcia, icons of the Tuscan landscape. You will visit wonderful villages like Bagno Vignoni, with its enormous thermal pool in the centre of the square, and Radicofani, whose fortress dominates southern Tuscany.
Once you enter Lazio, you will be amazed by the beauty of Lake Bolsena, and charmed by the ancient paving stones of the Via Cassia, still intact after 2000 years.
But the surprises continue, from the enchanting medieval center of Viterbo, with with an entire district dedicated to the pilgrim, to the ancient Etrurian roads, to the Roman amphitheatr of Sutri, completely dug out from the tufo, to the beautiful cycle path that leads you into the heart of Rome, running along the River Tevere until your destination: St. Peter Square.
If you appreciate good flavours, keep in mind that you will cross the vineyards of the Brunello di Montalcino, one of the best Italian wines, and the production zones of the cacio di Pienza (type of cheese), before entering one of the most important areas for the production of extra-virgin olive oil, between Bolsena and Montefiascone.
Day 1 – Arrive in Siena – 54 Km – up 650 – down 490
Your journey will start in Siena, one of the most beautiful towns along the Francigena, famous for its palio: you will be able to spend the day walking through its paved streets, looking for coats-of-arms on the walls of the contradas, or climbing the Torre del Mangia to enjoy a unique view over the roofs of the town; not to be missed is a visit of the duomo, which will impress you with its amazing black and white columns.
If you are lucky you will be able to witness a festival in one of the contradas, and see the work of the skilled flag-throwers, before sitting down at a table in Piazza del Campo to enjoy a plate of pici all’aglione for dinner, admiring the illuminated Palazzo Pubblico.
Day 2 – from Siena to San Quirico d’Orcia – 54 Km – up 650 – down 490
Let’s hope that the sun will be shinning during the first day of your journey, because the Crests of the Val d’Arbia offer unforgettable views: after saying goodbye to Siena, resting on the hills on the horizon, you will travel along the typical dirt roads of Siena as far as the fortified village of Lucignano, with its fine Church. At the gates of Monteroni d’Arbia you will be able to admire the impressive Grancia di Cuna, a fortified farm which held the reserves of wheat destined to the republic of Siena.
From Lucignano you will continue your journey through the Valle dell’Ombrone to Buonconvento.
You will cross the gate of the walls and enter the fine old town centre of the village, discovering why its name means “happy fortunate place”, before jumping again on your bicycle and continue towards San Quirico over dirt roads and some asphalted ones: these however will be compensated by the beautiful views of the Val D’Orcia, among hills tinted with charming shades and scattered with vineyards and cypress trees.
At San Quirico you will stand enchanted before the gate of the Collegiata, trying to recognise the various architectural styles that blend into its decorations, before enjoying a rest among the green hedges of the Horti Leonini, a fifteenth century garden.
Day 3- Ride from San Quirico d’Orcia to Radicofani 37/42 Km – up 650/650 – down 455/650
You will continue your journey across the fabulous views of the Val D’Orcia: just beyond San Quirico you will enter a timeless world visiting Vignoni Alto, and you will be able to enjoy a reinvigorating rest in the thermal waters of Bagno Vignoni.
Today you will test your strength with a short but demanding leg of your journey which will take you as far as Radicofani: stick it out, because admiring the view from the Radicofani fortress, tired but satisfied, will repay all your efforts.
You will also be able to visit the Pieve di San Pietro, a little jewel dating back to the thirteenth century, and take an evening walk in its old town centre, admiring the magic of the illuminated Fortress.
Day 4 – Ride from Radicofani to Bolsena – 55/60 Km – up 620/840 – down 610/610
From Radicofani you will walk towards one of the most exciting sections of the Via Francigena, leaving the fortress behind you and travelling along the old Via Cassia, surrounded by scenery of infinite hills dominated by Monte Amiata. You will be able to walk in silence in the Romanesque crypt beneath the Basilica del Santo Sepolcro, among decorated capitals and arches: where, according to tradition, some stones bathed in the blood of Christ are supposed to have been kept.
Your journey will continue gently as far as the first views of Lake Bolsena: from here you will descend into a volcanic crater and you will continue along dirt tracks, alternating thick woods with meadows scattered with olive trees, as far as Bolsena. If you are curious to see proof of the miracle of the Corpus Domini, for which Bolsena is famous, in the Cappella del Miracolo some marble slabs stained by the blood pouring from a Host in the thirteen century are kept. If, instead, you are more interested in the typical cuisine. you can taste the products offered by the lake, such as the Sbroscia, a typical soup made from lake fish and tomatoes.
Day 5 – Ride from Bolsena to Viterbo – 33 Km – up 545 – down 420
You will continue through woods and olive groves, on a route that will offer constant views of the lake: you will cross an area famous for the production of Extra virgin olive oil, which we recommend you taste on the a piece of fragrant local bread before arriving in Montefiascone: not to be missed, a climp up to the Rocca, where you will be enchanted before a boundless views. After descending from the Rocca, you can go into a typical wine bar and taste a glass of Est!Est!!Est!!!, which is even better here because it is km zero.
If you want to spoil yourself a little more, you will be able to enjoy a pleasant halt at the spas of Bagnaccio, recharging your batteries in its thermal waters before proceeding towards Viterbo, the end of your journey. In honour of our trip, do not miss visiting the picturesque pilgrim’s quarter, before admiring the splendid Palazzo dei Papi and enjoying the silence of the Longobard cloisters of Santa Maria Nuova. And to end on a sweet note, celebrate the end of the journey with the delicious local frittellacce !
Day 6 – Ride from Viterbo to Sutri — 38 Km – up 420 – down 510
From Viterbo the journey continues towards Vetralla, town in the heart of the ancient Etrurian territory, to later continue through the green countryside of Lazio you come to Sutri, a small town rich in attractions.
The Roman amphitheatre, completely dug out from the tufo, is something not to be missed. Decide whether to sit on the terraces or to get up onto the stage, but as you leave remember to sign the visitors’ register: it is very important for the custodian, and if he is there he will invite you to do so. After this, proceed to the church of Santa Maria del Parto, the tufo walls of which are decorated in well preserved frescoes. Look for the group of pilgrims among the images, depicted in prayer with their sticks in their hand.
Day 7 – Ride from Sutri to Formello – 34 Km – up 534 – down 590
From Sutri we go on towards Campagnano and the Formello: during the journey you will flank the Mount Gelato Waterfalls, where you can stop for a reinvigorating dip. A panoramic road of the Veio Nature Park will bring you to the gates of Campagnano.
Here you can rest in the Venturi Park, the home of a three-hundred year old Yew tree the locals call the “Tree of Death”: but don’t worry, you can sit in its shade without any danger! You will continue through the Veio nature park with its woody hills, before entering the enchanting Valle del Sorbo. Along the way you will be able to admire the sanctuary of the Madonna del Sorbo and later arrive to Formello, with its medieval buildings.
Day 8 – Ride from Formello to Rome – 34 Km – up 155 – down 280
Get back on the saddle and face the last leg of your journey which separates you from the Eternal City. The leg continues across the countryside of Lazio, you could never guess to be so close to a metropolis. You will have to cross a brief trait of trafficked roads to reach the cycle path of River Tevere, an enchanting slow path which will lead you to the gates of Vatican City, where you will be able to end your journey in St.Peter Square.
Do not forget to take a triumphant photograph in front of the Basilica, before celebrating the end of the journey fortifying yourselves with spring lamb, pecorino romano cheese, and perhaps a delicious maritozzo with cream…you’ve deserved it!
Day 9 – Arrivederci Rome!
The trip ends after breakfast, unless you have booked extra nights or other optional services with
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