A map and itinerary of Via Francigena in Tuscany are what you need if you are planning to take this walk to reach Rome, the final destination coming from the North of Italy or Europe. Perhaps you have decided to hike the Via Francigena for spiritual reasons or to feel like a pilgrim doing such a long trip on foot, or simply because you like hiking and walking surrounded by nature.
Whatever reason drove you, in this article, I will provide you with an interactive route map, an itinerary of the Via Francigena in Tuscany, and some practical information. But first of all, if you are interested in discovering the history of this ancient route, read our previous post on the Via Francigena in Tuscany.
The Itinerary of Via Francigena in Tuscany: the 15 stages
1 Passo della Cisa – Pontremoli
2 Pontremoli – Aulla
3 Aulla – Avenza
4 Avenza – Pietrasanta
5 Pietrasanta – Lucca
6 Lucca – Altopascio
7 Altopascio – San Miniato
8 San Miniato – Gambassi Terme
9 Gambassi Terme – San Gimignano
10 San Gimignano – Monteriggioni
11 Monteriggioni – Siena
12 Siena – Ponte d’Arbia
12 Ponte d’Arbia – San Quirico d’Orcia
14 – San Quirico d’Orcia – Radicofani
15 Radicofani – Acquapendente
The Map and the Itinerary of Via Francigena in Tuscany
Practical information to face the itinerary of Via Francigena in Tuscany
You have two options to enjoy the itinerary of Via Francigena in Tuscany with a suitable calm. You can do it hiking or riding a bike.
Both ways will help you in focusing on the journey, allowing you to socialize with other pilgrims, your group, or the inhabitants. You will discover hidden places that you could not reach using a car, feel totally surrounded by nature, and experience the efforts of traveling as was done in the past. Anyway, if your feet hurt, you can take some public transport (especially if you do not have more than 30 days to complete the walk), and keep walking after a rest. But do not forget that you are perfectly allowed to stop to have a visit to the surrounding of the place you arrived. In fact, if you hold the Credential, you are can receive the Testimonium.
What is the Credential and how to obtain it?
The Credential is a document, a kind of “Pilgrims Passport”, which demonstrates that the pilgrim is doing the journey towards a place of worship.
To be recognized as a pilgrim from the hospitality facilities along the Via Francigena, you have to show the Credential, and they will make a stamp on it, as proof of your passage. Only collecting the stamps, you will receive the Testimonium once arrived at the Holy See.
What is The Testimonium and how to obtain it?
As for the Camino de Santiago, even for the pilgrimage of Via Francigena, you can receive the “Testimonium”. This document certifies that you completed the journey along the Via Francigena, and is the proof of the end of the pilgrim vows. For this reason, in the past, this was very important for the pilgrims.
To obtain the Testimonium, you have to disclose a stamped reference of at least 100 km by foot or 200 km by bike. You can receive the Testimonium at the following offices:
- Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi at Piazza San Pietro (Piazza Pio XII, 9), on the right of the Bernini colonnade, if you face the Basilica, or at San Giovanni dei Fiorentini (Piazza dell’ Oro, 1). Opening time: every day from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm, Phone +39 06 69896380.
- The vicarage of San Pietro, at the Petriano entry, Piazza S. Uffizio. Opening time: every day from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm asking for Mr. Patrizio Menna Valerio, Phone +39 06 69883731
- If you are not able to obtain your Testimonium while in Rome, you can request it by post. Send your request to Fabbrica di San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, enclosing:
- copy of Identity card or passport.
- copy of the Credential with all stamps.
- your full address.
- date of birth.
- starting place of your pilgrimage.
- starting date and arrival date.
- if you walked or cycled.
- Your motivation: faith, culture, or something else.
- Which Organisations assisted you before or during your pilgrimage.
When to go
The best months to travel along the itinerary of Via Francigena in Tuscany are May and June, or September and October. I suggest you avoid the hottest months of the year such as July and August. Moreover, keep in mind that you can find some snow passing through the Cisa Pass even during Spring. During winter some accommodations are closed or without a heating system, and the itinerary might be rough. In Lucca on 13 and 14 September, you can attend the Cross Celebration, and the Lucca Comics & Games during Halloween days, which is nowadays celebrated even in Tuscany. Monteriggioni in July hosts the medieval festival at “Monteriggioni di Torri si colora”. In Siena, during Summer there is the famous horse race, the Palio, on 2nd July and 16 August.
Not considering the transfer from your place to the departure point and back, the average daily expenses per person for food and accommodations are between €50 and € 30. If you are traveling on a budget you have to seek accommodation at some religious or laical organization, but there is not plenty of them, generally, they accept an offering and it might be calculated with minimum fare. Mountain shelters and hostels usually have rates not higher than € 20. You can opt for the most expensive solution, which includes a wide offer of bed and breakfast, guesthouses, and hotels. The number of trattoria offering a special price for pilgrims is increasing: a meal with a first dish, the main course, and beverages are between 12 and 15 euros, but some hostels provide the kitchen use.
Tips for walks along the itinerary of Via Francigena in Tuscany
Averagely each stage is between 22 and 23 kilometers, 13 and 14 miles, with a maximum peak of 23 kilometers, 19 miles. Along the Camino, you will find a big network of places that host pilgrims, such as religious facilities, hostels, or guesthouses.
Sometimes the journey can be tough, mostly due to the length of the route, but also for the different altitudes or for the lack of water, so the pilgrims should lighten their backpacks bringing only the strictly necessary and enough water.
The average speed of a trained walker along an itinerary with not too much difference in height is 4 or 5 Km/h, 2,5 or 3 m/h, but this is not valid along the climb of the Passo Della Cisa, (which is one of the most difficult but also one of the most fascinating), and the path to reach Radicofani. But take note that after 5 or 8 hours of walk, you will be really tired and that the day after you should get up early to be able to walk during the driest hours of the day. So be wise, and go to sleep early, after having taken care of your feet at your accommodation.
Tips for riding a bike along Via Francigena
Some of the bike itineraries are essentially the path walk, but there are some bike lanes. You might not face any difficulties using a mountain bike, but in this case, the suggested average daily journey is between 20 and 30 Km, 31, and 43 miles. With a road bike, at the entry with Tuscany, at the Passo Della Cisa, you can deviate for the Strada Statale 62 Della Cisa, which is barely abandoned since the Autostrada A15 Parma-La Spezia has been built, and once you are arrived next to the Arno river to enter in Pisa there is another detour to take. There are not any troubles once arrived in the Siena valleys.
People with disabilities, traveling with kids and with animals
Unfortunately, the itinerary of the Via Francigena is not recommended for people with disabilities, or for children, because some parts of the itinerary and accommodations are not equipped for them. Despite the fact that the itinerary can be done if you are walking with your dog, most of the accommodations do not allow animals. Riding a horse along the Via Francigena might be an amazing experience, but there are not plenty of facilities for them, then take note to ask about the hosts if they offer this service.
- By flight: You can reach the Via Francigena itinerary even by airplane, in fact, you can land at one of the two Tuscan Airports.
- By train: If you need a break from your walk, you can take a regional train to move along the Italian leg of the Camino. Thanks to an agreement signed between Trenitalia and the European Association of the Via Francigena, every pilgrim has a 10% reduction on the tickets for the regional trains. The train stations along the Via Francigena are Aulla, Pontremoli (along with the rail line Parma-La Spezia); Carrara, Massa, Pietrasanta, (along the rail line Pisa-Genova) Lucca, and Altopascio (along the rail line Pisa-Firenze) and Siena. Along the Lunigiana and Garfagnana areas, where once was dislocated the Via del Volto Santo, runs the rail line of Aulla-Lucca. In the Val d’Elsa, the train stations are Castelfiorentino, Certaldo, Poggibonsi-San Gimignano and Siena (along with the Firenze-Siena rail line). Finally, the Val d’Arbia is served by the rail line Siena-Grosseto, which stops in Isola d’Arbia, Monteroni d’Arbia, Buonconvento.
- By bus: If you opt for a bus journey you can use CTT Nord for Massa e Carrara, Lucca and Pisa area, and Train Siena area.
- By car: From Passo della Cisa you can reach Pontremoli along the Strada Regionale 62 della Cisa, crossing Sarzana (in Liguria), and continuing in Tuscany along Strada Statale 1 Aurelia to Carrara, Massa and Lucca (that runs in parallel to the motorway Autostrada 12 “Azzurra” that has the exit in Carrara, Massa, Pietrasanta, and Camaiore, here the Strada Provinciale 1 leads to Lucca). The Strada Provinciale 23 Gello and the Strada Provinciale 61 Molina di Quosa go through the Arno Valley to Altopascio. Here some provincial roads go to Fucecchio, and the Strada Statale 67 Tosco-Romagnola leads to San Miniato. Moreover, keep going to San Gimignano to reach Siena, and from here to Val d’Arbia and Val d’Orcia. Then San Quirico d’Orcia and Bagno Vignoni and the Tuscan route it ends in Radicofani.
Before starting the journey do some exercise to be ready and perform better during your trip. It will help you also on knowing your limits and sometimes achieve new goals. The physical and psychological effort of this walk is not a joke, so be wise, prepare yourself at least one month before not only with exercise but also with a healthy diet and with a rhythm of life with the times marked as if you are already doing this walk. It is always important listening to our body, and break in the shoes if they are new, to avoid blisters.
It is important doing some stretching exercises to warm your muscles, prepare your articulations, and always drink enough water to avoid inflammations.
Backpack and equipment
Choose a good excursion backpack with a capacity of 9/11 gallons (35/45 lt) that fits perfectly with the length of your back and your physique. Fills it just with the necessary (15/17 lbs – 7/8 Kg for men, and 13/15 lbs – 6/7 kg for women).
Every morning you have to redo your backpack, positioning the lower the heavy things and on the top of the light things. Keep in consideration to deliver part of your luggage to some post offices along the itinerary using the general delivery, in order to walk without excessive weight on your backpack.
Use plastic bags to put back your things in the backpack, to protect it from water infiltration. Bring a light sleeping bag but most of the hostels provide bed sheets. Two or maximum of three daily changes, that you can wash, preferring for versatile apparel possibly technical clothes. Do not forget a hat to protect your head from sunlight, and you can opt for some hiking sticks.
Bring always an emergency box in your backpack, furnished with your medicaments, some Vaseline to grease your toes before you wear socks, patches, liquid disinfectant, an elastic band, gauze pads, needles, and threads, scissors, analgesic, sunscreen.
Shoes and feet care
It also is important to choose good quality technical equipment both for shoes and a backpack. I suggest you wear waterproof hiking shoes (at least at your ankle high), anti-blister soak, a pair of sandals, or slippers to let your feet breathe during your break. Be aware of walking with humid shoes or socks, and after any fording take care of drying perfectly your feet. In the case of blisters, take a needle, and disinfect it, then punch holes in the blister to let the liquid exit without removing the skin. Disinfect the blister, and cover it with a patch.
I recommend you bring also some technological instruments, such as a smartphone or tablet, able to visualize maps with the GPS. You can also use it to make memories of your journey shooting pictures, writing your journey travel, keeping updated with the last news in the world, staying connected with family and friends, sharing your best moment on social media, or calling for help in case of emergency.
How to organize yourself every morning
I suggest you start your journey in the early morning when it is not too hot. Sometimes you have no chance to find any shadow, so cover your head with a hat and use sunscreen to protect your skin from the rays of the sun. In case you feel fatigued, headache, fever, or are fainting, due to long exposure to the sun, rest immediately under the shadow and drink some water with supplements. Refresh your head with wet handkerchiefs, and in the case of emergency call the Healthy Emergency Service at 118.
If you walk the Via Francigena in the summer, note that usually the streams and rivers are dry, but if it rains intensely, it could be difficult, inconvenient, or dangerous to wade the water flow. I highly recommend keeping you informed about the weather forecast in Tuscany during your journey. I suggest you have a windbreaker in Goretex and an umbrella, instead of a cloak in case of rain, and something to cover your backpack.
Water and hydration
During your journey bring at least 2 bottles of water per person and refill your bottle (with a screw cap) with fresh water in a “Bar” (cafè) or drinking fountains. Bring also vitamin supplements, to avoid any risk of heatstroke. In a case of dehydration, you could have a dry mouth, excessive sweating, vomiting, and tachycardia, and the skin dries out and loses elasticity. To avoid these cases, have healthy nutrition, but if it happens, drink water with some supplements in a small sip, to prevent vomiting.
I suggest you buy food along with your journey, so you can taste the local products and not bings worthless heavy loads. Good options are fresh fruits, bread, cold cuts or cheese, or dried fruit, so you can take energy.
Emergency Phone Numbers
- Ambulance 118
- Carabinieri 112
- State Forestry Corps 1515
- Coast Guard 1530
- Police 113
- Roadside Assistance 803 116
- Fire Department 115
Books about Via Francigena
- The Via Francigena Canterbury to Rome Part 1 and The Via Francigena Canterbury to Rome Part 2, by Alison Raju, Published by Cicerone Guide;
- Via Francigena: Practical Tips for Walking the “Italian Camino” (Practical Travel Tips), by Elinor LeBaron
- Return to Glow, by Chandi Wyant
What you should not miss along the itinerary of Via Francigena in Tuscany
I suggest you do not skip the Tuscan villages like San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, and Radicofani. You will meet them along the Tuscan path of Via Francigena. They got the Bandiera Arancione, literally the Orange Flag. This is a quality brand awarded by the Italian Touring Club to those hamlets with no more than fifteen thousand inhabitants, that distinguish themselves for their hospitality, tourism services, tourist attractions, and environmental sustainability.
Photo Cover Credit: Visit Tuscany