Via Francigena: 6 day route from Lucca to Siena
The next 6 posts cover 6 more days of walking the Via Francigena (VF), this time taking in the spectacular Tuscan scenery from Lucca to Siena with each post covering each day of the trek.
We followed the VF staying in stops at each official stage of the route:
- Day 1: Lucca to Altopascio
- Day 2: Altopascio to San Miniato
- Day 3: San Miniato to Gambassi Terme
- Day 4: Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano
- Day 5: San Gimignano to Monteriggioni
- Day 6: Monteriggioni to Siena
The Via Francigena is an ancient pilgrim route which begins in Canterbury in England, continues through France and Switzerland then through Italy and finishes in Rome. Last year we completed the final 100 miles walking from Bolsena to Rome and had such an amazing time we decided to walk another section this year.
This year we walked as a group of 6 having met with Russell & Roza and Mike & Flo the previous evening. We had arranged to meet at the start of the walk at 11 am so Chris and I spent another couple of hours with a wander around Lucca and had a pre-walk coffee in the Piazza Cittadella.
The official start of the Lucca to Altopascio section was at the Cathedral of San Martino in Lucca and from there we headed east along the Via Roma.
At the Via dei Fossi we stopped next to the canal to fill our water bottles… with drinking water not canal water 😂
Much of the walk today was along quiet roads and industrial areas.
However we did see some splashes of colour. These pretty flowers filled the front garden of a Tuscan villa we passed.
We arrived at the town of Capannori and walked up a fairly steep slope to have a look at the Church of Santi Quirico e Giulitta where we stopped for a rest and a snack. A church was on this site since 786 although it has been rebuilt several times.
We were all getting fed up with the road walking until we eventually reached some fields and woodland at Pozzeveri.
The Abbey of St Peter in Pozzeveri was an important landmark of the Via Francigena in the early medieval times although it is desolate today.
The farm at Badia Pozzeveri sits on 400 acres and grows many cereals, vegetables and fruit including grapes. Here you can participate in wine tasting.
We arrived in Altopascio during the afternoon after after obtaining our official VF passport stamp from the civic library we enjoyed ice cream in an outdoor cafe before checking into our hotel.
Our luggage was there in the hotel waiting for us, courtesy of Sloways, the super reliable luggage transfer company we had used last year. While we organised our entire trip independently with Sloways transferring our luggage, they also offer a range of guided tours.
Following a recommendation from the hotel manager we enjoyed a lovely traditional Tuscan meal in the top rated La Dispensa restaurant.
It was in here that we met the first of our fellow pilgrims… two middle aged German guys, a Swiss couple in their 60’s and two women of a similar age.
Today had been hot, with uninspiring scenery at times and tough on the feet with all of the road walking. For these reasons some people skip this short section of the route and take the bus between Lucca and Altipascio. But we had a good hotel at the end and a delicious meal which set us up for a long next day of walking…