Via Francigena

TOP GUIDE TOUR

The Route, dirt and paved roads following in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims, was first documented in 990 by Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, in his diary describing the places he passed through as he returned to Canterbury. The roads that Sigeric followed became known as the Via Francigena (the road from France) or “Via Romea” (the road to Rome) and for centuries was used by merchants, clergyman, soldiers, and pilgrims traveling back and forth from the north of Europe to Rome and Jerusalem, carrying ideas as well as money and produce. These people traveled on foot or on mules and horses, and rarely by cart because the conditions of the road varied continually. The road was built and maintained by the local nobles. Because it was not constructed with the idea of connecting places of great importance and distance like the Roman roads, it was a series of local paths and trails of various widths and various materials, which linked mountain passes, bridges, ferry boats and villages.

Highlights

  • Discover the spirituality of the pilgrimage: no matter what you believe, a route walked by millions of people in more than a thousand years, is loaded with a special kind of spiritual energy, and to make the adventure even more rewarding, we’ll be ending on Easter weekend as we ride into the Vatican
  • Tuscany and Lazio are among Italy’s most seen regions: with our itinerary, you’ll discover a secret side: closer to nature and little forgotten artistic masterpieces
  • Experience traveling on a mix of paved and unpaved roads: away from cars and trucks, you’ll be able to focus on the sound of your turning wheels and the rhythm of your body
  • Gain a sense of adventure created by country roads across a pristine landscape for which there is no equal
  • Follow Enrico and Sandro, expert guides that know better than anyone off-road cycling and the Via Francigena
  • Several stops to enjoy ancient spas along the way
  • Ride on the basalt of ancient Via Cassia, 2000 years old roman road

Trip Details

Price
$5,795
Single Supplement
$800
Length
10 days / 9 nights
Level
Intermediate
Total Mileage
301
Terrain
Rolling on mixed terrain
Start/End Locations
Lucca, Italy/Rome, Italy
Trip Dates
04/12/19 - 04/21/19

Make this tour Private or for more information, call:

800.866.7314

Itinerary

Lucca

Lucca was already an important city at the time of Sigeric as it was the seat of the Duchy. Within the walled city of Lucca, the traveler today can visit many different kinds of museums and churches, particularly the Cathedral where there is a highly venerated crucifix said to show the real face of Christ.

San Miniato

We’ll have an easy and quite flat start, to Altopascio, village famous for its bread, continuing on, we’ll cross the wild area of Cerbaie and meet some stretches of the ancient way, preserved as it was originally; San Miniato is located in the lower Arno valley, on the south-eastern hills dominating the river plains, halfway between Pisa and Florence. The medieval village of San Miniato is in the center of Tuscany and it preserves a historic center set on the hill top with the Cathedral, the Episcopal Palace, the Municipal Palace and the Tower Fortress dominating all the surrounding Arno, Era, and Egola valleys.

San Gimignano

A rolling ride that will bring us to Gambassi Terme, where we can take a break at the local spas.

Siena

Siena is the emblem city of the Via Francigena, to which it owes its wealth and prosperity. You will experience a walk through the middle ages as you visit the ancient hospital of Santa Maria della Scala with its frescoed ‘pilgrims’ hall’.

Bagno Vignoni

Siena’s unique profile will follow you for several miles, while you ride on the easy paths of the Val d’Arbia. The Via Cassia climbs to the spectacular Quirico d’Orcia, sitting high on a hill with commanding views of the surrounding scenery. At dawn the Tuscan sun shines onto the breathtaking landscapes of the Val d’Orcia, with its rolling hills of yellow wheat or plowed field. We’ll end our day by the square basin of Bagno Vignoni, a thermal spring whose water was a cure-all for medieval pilgrims.

Bolsena

This is the hardest day of the trip, with over 1,200 meters of elevation gain. We’ll leave the Val d’Orcia and reach Radicofani, in the lands of Ghino di Tacco, who was a famous outlaw that ruled the mountains at the border between Tuscany and Lazio. Fortunately for us, we’re more likely to meet local shepherds with their sheep dogs, watching the flock that produce the precious “pecorino” cheese. The descent to Bolsena is long and fun, but requires focus to ride with care.

Viterbo

The way to Viterbo unfolds in northern Lazio, the area was developed before the Romans by the Etruscan; here we’ll ride by ancient tumuli (burial sites) and using the “vie cave”, roads cut in the soft stones, with a very modern concept; our destination, Viterbo is very pretty city, full of history, where architectural styles melt in an intriguing blend.

Formello

Today we’ll go by Sutri, Etruscan site who’s amphitheater, fully carved from a soft stone hill, is testimonial of a rich and educated civilization. From there we’ll go to the village of Campagnano, the Monte Gelato waterfalls, and the lovely fresh valley of Rio Sorbo. Formello, our final destination is a lovely medieval village.

Il Vaticano e Roma

We will not hurry now that your goal is so near. We’ll cool off in the shady forests in the Veio park, where you’ll find it hard to believe that Rome is so close. Soon the silent Roman countryside must soon give way to the streets and palaces of the city. The emotions of the last day, the last short stage, will stay with you forever as you arrive in the Eternal City and are surrounded by the beauty of St. Peter’s Basilica and Bernini’s colonnade embracing you in the last few pedal strokes.

Arrivederci!

We say “arrivederci” at 9am today.

What's Included

Trip Planning

  • Use of a gravel bike
  • Ciclismo kit
  • Group shuttle at the end of the tour

On The Tour

  • 3 cultural visits with local guides
  • Van support
  • 2 tastings of local specialties

Accomodations & Meals

  • 7 dinners, 9 breakfasts, 3 lunches
  • All accommodations

Meet the Guides