This trip starts from Parma, a real gastronomic heaven, and leads you through Medieval hamlets and ancient archeological sites to cross the Appennines at Cisa Pass, the gate of Tuscan Via
Francigena. You then plunge into the mysterious atmosphere of Lunigiana, the little-known land of the moon, to later reach world-famous Tuscan towns such as Lucca and San Gimignano.
Your ride continues among parish churches a thousand years old and tower crowned castles to finally reach Siena, with the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo surrounded by competing contrade.
Possibility of other versions along the Via Francigena from Aosta to Rome – itinerary can be modulated
Day 1: Arrive in Parma
The journey starts in Parma, a crown jewel of Italian gastronomic tradition: the province of Parma boasts the largest number of PDO and PGI gastronomic products.You can try and taste as many as possible or take your time to explore the artistic beauties of the city: from the imposing interior of its Cathedral and Baptistery to the enchanting Palazzo Farnese, designed by Michelangelo and built of stone taken from the Rome Coliseum.
Day 2: From Parma to Berceto (74 km)
The first section is quite demanding, but rich in beauty: along your way the villages of Bardone and Terenzo, with their ancient churches and some bass-relieves treasured in their interiors. From this point you will face an ascent that will lead you to Cassio, where a brief descending trait deludes you in believing you have reached your destination. Unfortunately this is not true: you have to face another ascent towards Berceto, a little “stone jewel”, where you can restore yourselves with local mushrooms and pattona, a typical cake made from chestnut flour.
Challenge: 74 km, 1068m ascent, 322m descent
Day 3: Ride from Berceto to Aulla (53 km)
There is no rest during the last leg, but the surprises along the way definitely makes all your efforts worthwhile. From the Cisa Pass you exciting descent to Pontremoli, the town of bridges and mysterious stele statues , where you can enjoy a relaxing walk among the alleyways of the old town centre.
Once in Aulla set your bicycle down and visit the Abbey of San Caprasio, which contains archaeological finds from the medieval period. Do not miss a walk along the ancient walls of the Fortezza della Brunella before taking a walk through the old town centre. And if you are hungry, there is nothing better than the tasty little local focaccias, to be enjoyed still hot accompanied by charcuterie and cheeses.
Challenge: 53 km, 370m ascent, 1115m descent
Day 4: Ride from Aulla to Massa (48 km)
From Aulla you travel over demanding but gratifying paths: from here you will glimpse the sea for the first time.long the road you will pass through very green countryside and medieval villages. Once in Sarzana you will be amazed by the Baroque interior of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, and you will admire the Gothic facade of the Pieve di Sant’Andrea, the oldest building in the town.
Your journey continues along flat paths, following in the footsteps of the ancient pilgrims who from the Roman port of Luni used to embark towards Santiago de Compostela, to finally reach the nice town of Massa, a few kilometres far from the sea of Verisilia.
Challenge: 48 km, 716m ascent, 770m descent
Day 5: Ride from Massa to Lucca (52 km)
A nice cycle path along the sea leads you from Marina di Massa towards Pietrasanta. Before browsing among its art galleries and shops we recommend a visit of the town’s Duomo, to walk among its marble columns and to admire its frescoed vaults.
From Camaiore you continue up and down among the hills of Lucca,: enter through the walls and surround yourselves in its old town centre, browse in the little shops of the circular piazza to buy spelt and local biscuits to take home with you, conquer the Guinigi tower and admire the town from up high in its hanging garden.
Challenge: 52 km, 380m ascent, 356m descent
Day 6: Ride from Lucca to San Miniato (46 km)
An easy and flat leg of the journey leads you from the walls of Lucca to the old town centre ofAltopascio, passing through the Badia di Pozzeveri, where ancient pilgrims stop to rest and pray. Do not miss the local bread, a real delicacy!
The itinerary continues across the wild land of the Cerbaie, before crossing the river Arno and continue towards San Miniato. The Seminary which gives the name to the main square will amaze you with its particular facade: enjoy it lit up, perhaps after eating a risotto dusted with the typical white truffle, the pride of the local area.
Challenge: 46 km, 228m ascent, 122m descent
Day 7: Ride from San Miniato to San Gimignano (41 km)
A demanding but unique section awaits you. From San Miniato you descend in the bottom of Val d’Elsa to later ascend again towards Gambassi Terme, where you will be able to cross the threshold of the Pieve di Chianni, where the same Arcibishop Sigeric slept on his way to Rome.
You will continue your journey pedalling across splendid natural scenery to San Gimignano, one of the most beautiful towns along the Via Francigena: its famoustowers that make its skyline unmistakeable. Do not miss the view of the medieval town and its surrounding valleys from the top of the Torre Grossa, or if you don’t run out of energy, venture up the steps of the Rocca di Montestaffoli, for an even more special view.
Challenge: 41km, 640m ascent, 476m descent
Day 8: Ride from San Gimignano to Siena (50 km)
From San Gimignano you continue, up and down, through the Tuscan hills to Colle Val d’Elsa, an out-of-time Tuscan village with a charming old town centre and narrow alleyways winding through the stone walls.
The itinerary then continues through one of the most beautiful sections of the Via Francigena: a meditative route, along which you can surround yourselves with the silence of the Pieve di Strove, with its Romanesque interiors, or stand in the quietness of the splendid Abbadia at Isola, with its imposing Abbey.
Do not miss a stroll along the wall of the breath-taking castle of Monteriggioni, once defending the Repubblica of Siena, before reaching Siena through dirt roads and the ancient medieval hamlet of Cerbaia. An unforgettable way to celebrate your arrival? A plate of pici all’aglione in the illuminated Piazza del Campo. And don’t forget the panforte!
Challenge: 50 km, 505m ascent, 470m descent
Day 9: Arrivederci Via Francigena!
The trip ends after breakfast, unless you have booked extra nights or other optional services with us.
Other tours on the Via Francigena