The final day of our Via Francigena walk as part of this trip to Italy and a fairly easy 19 km and of average difficulty!
We had been left a fresh and tasty croissant each in the little pouch outside our bedroom door and we munched on this with our Illy coffee this morning! We had a last look around beautiful Monteriggioni before we began the final leg towards Siena.
We left Monteriggioni behind and were soon walking in open fields.
And along quiet roads lined with wild flowers and poppies.
After about 7 km we arrived at the village of La Villa where we came across a pilgrim stop!
The owner, Marcello provides free refreshments throughout the day to enable pilgrims to refuel along the route. We left a donation and had coffee and deliciously light home made Madeira cake and fruit tart.
Nicely refreshed we continued on our way. Partly through fields, partly through woods and some sections along quiet roads.
We came to this sign for Siena but we were still a few km away…
We had a fairly steep climb up into Siena and walked for about 30 minutes along the urbanised roads, stopping off for a quick ice cream and a shot of macchiato to go, just to give us the final boost to the end.
Once inside the walled city we walked for another 20 minutes or so until we reached the centre; we were pleased that the weather had remained dry so far that day 🙂
We had a quick detour to have a look at Piazza del Campo then continued onto Piazza del Duomo which was the finishing point.
We arrived at the spectacular and ornate Duomo di Siena (Siena Cathedral) and were grateful to a particularly skilled tourist who took the above photo for us! We collected the final Siena stamp in our pilgrim passports having just completed the best part of 80 miles of walking from Lucca… mostly… with the exception of the taxi between Colle Val d’Elsa and Monteriggioni…
Once we had checked into our accommodation we agreed to have some free time and meet 3 hours later. We had not had any lunch and as Chris and I were hungry we found a cute wine bar nearby.
Later that evening we re-grouped and the 6 of us went to a restaurant recommended by the manager of our accommodation. The food was OK but not the best of the week. I tried something new… I thought I had ordered vegetable pasta however the above contains vermicelli and vegetables that were deep fried. But the vegetable souffle I had for a starter was delicious. (I suspect the restaurant owner was a friend of the accommodation manager…)
I woke up with mixed feelings the following day… sad the walking part had come to an end but pleased not to be getting up early and pulling on my damp walking boots… especially as it was raining.
Medieval Siena is famous for its art, museums and food and I would like to explore more of this interesting city. We hadn’t booked our onward train ticket to Florence however due to the rain and as Chris and I have planned at some point to return to Siena to walk the gap… i.e. the next 5 stages between Siena and Bolsena, rather than exploring more of Siena in the rain we said goodbye to Roza and Russell and soon headed off to the final destination of our trip – Florence! We took the train together with Mike and Flo who were also heading to Florence 🙂
With wonderful friends (I love spending time with these guys), excellent food and spectacular scenery we had another brilliant 6 days of walking the Via Francigena! This really is my kind of holiday 🙂
As mentioned above, it would be great to complete the entire Lucca to Rome journey at some point with 5 more days of walking between Siena and Bolsena. The above photo shows the coloured dots marking the two completed sections walked.