Lucca to Siena group walk: June 12-19, 2022

Pilgrims walk 6 days and stay 7 nights beginning inside the UNESCO-World Heritage walls of historic Lucca and ending in glorious Renaissance Siena. This unforgettable walk takes pilgrims on the Via Francigena through some of the most quaint and best-preserved medieval Italian towns — all surrounded by the spectacular rolling hills of Tuscany. This is the region of focaccia bread and rich red wines and many other gastronomic delicacies. Bring your appetite and camera.

Our van transports baggage each day and is also available if you’d like to reduce the length of your walk.
  • June 12, 2022 – Gather in Lucca. Overnight in Lucca (optional Lucca tour). Lucca has been called by some a “smaller Florence.” Inside its medieval walls the town is beautifully preserved with quiet streets full of shops and charming restaurants. The Duomo is spectacular in its intricate stone work. We meet at our hotel in the evening for an orientation and delicious dinner.
  • June 13, 2022 – Lucca to Altopascio (18.3km/11.4miles, rated Easy). Altopascio also features a charming medieval quarter with lively cafes and restaurants. Rather than being a tourist town, Altopascio is a place where local Italians live, work and play. The day’s walk is on quiet, flat paved roads and is a good warm up for upcoming walks.
  • June 14, 2022 – Altopascio to San Miniato (28.7km/17.8miles, rated Average). The enormous tower of San Miniato can be seen for many miles around and was erected as a beacon to pilgrims on the Via Francigena. Today’s stage includes a long walk through a forested nature reserve.
  • June 15, 2022 – San Miniato to Gambassi Terme (24.1km/15miles, rated Average). Now the vast rolling hills open up and this very picturesque day carries pilgrims through beautiful farmland with constant, sweeping vistas of Tuscan countryside.
  • June 16, 2022 – Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano (13.7km/8.5miles, rated Easy). San Gimignano is noted as one of Italy’s best-preserved medieval towns, with dozens of towers where prosperous medieval families stored their treasures.
  • June 17, 2022 – San Gimignano to Monteriggioni (27.4km/17miles, rated Challenging). Monteriggioni is a fully walled medieval village atop a rounded mountain. The challenging but beautiful walk can be shortened with a van ride at the start or end of the day.
  • June 18, 2022 – Monteriggioni to Siena (20.6km/12.8miles, rated Average). There are few words worthy to describe Siena. Inside its medieval walls there are world-renowned treasures of medieval and Renaissance art, capped off by a stunningly beautiful cathedral at its heart.
  • June 19, 2022 – Tour and depart Siena. Our time together ends with breakfast at the hotel followed by a morning tour of the city.
    • Option #1 Remain an extra night in Siena to enjoy this wonderful, medieval city (price TBA). Option #2: Extend your walk by continuing to Rome (see our Siena-Rome group walking tour). 

This trip includes: Nightly hotel accommodations in 4-star or best available facilities, daily breakfast and dinner, baggage service, van service, and leadership by certified hiking guide Giovanni Ramaccioni and pilgrim author Sandy Brown. Prices do not include air or ground travel to and from start and finish points or lunch each day. Itineraries subject to possible change. Terms and conditions apply.

Photo opposite: top of the facade of the Lucca cathedral.

Florence to Assisi group walk: September 5-21, 2022

After enjoying the capital of the Renaissance, figuratively step back in time to ancient forests and monasteries of the Middle Ages. The beautiful Casentino National Forest is the setting and St Francis’s beloved Santuario della Verna atop serene Mount Penna with its active Franciscan convent is the first goal. His hometown is the final destination. In between, walk among the towns and forests that were his inspiration, including the town of Gubbio where he made peace with the wolf, and Montecasale where he converted the three thieves. At Valfabbrica he was robbed and stripped and of course, at Assisi he was born and was buried. No itinerary brings you closer to the person and the legend that walking from Florence to Assisi on the Way of St Francis.

Our van service carries our bags each day and is also available to pick you up if you’d like to shorten the day’s walk.
  • September 5, 2022 – Gather, overnight in Florence – Capital of the Renaissance, gather here to meet other participants and orient yourself to the walk.
  • September 6, 2022 – Florence to Pontassieve (18.9km/11.7miles) – Walk along the quiet banks of the Arno River among locals.
  • September 7, 2022 – Pontassieve to Consuma (17.8km/11.1miles) – Vineyards turn to forests as you climb to the first reaches of the Casentino National Forest where you’ll remain for the next days.
  • September 8, 2022 – Consuma to Stia (17.0km/10.6miles) – Almost exclusively on paths and gravel roads, see the green side of Tuscany and the first hints of breathtaking mountain views. Sita stands at the headwaters of the Arno amidst forests of oak, birch and pine.
  • September 9, 2022 – Stia to Camaldoli (16.6km/10.3miles)– For over 1000 years monks and hermits have called Camaldoli their home. See their chapels and shop among their soaps and medicinal herbs at Camoldoli Hermitage and Monastery.
  • September 10, 2022 – Camaldoli to Badia Prataglia (15.0km/9.3miles) – Take the van uphill for a visit to the Camaldoli Hermitage where hermit monks live and pray to this day, then walk among forests to the lovely resort town of Badia Prataglia, nestled in a narrow valley of the Casentine forest. See the 1000 year old crypt, last remnant of the abbey from which Badia Prataglia gets its name.
  • September 11, 2022 – Badia Prataglia to Santuario della Verna (20.1km/12.5miles) – Take the van for a brief trip to the start of the hike, then walk across the Madrioli Pass with views of the Adriatic Sea in good weather to Monte Penna, site of the beloved Santuario della Verna, a functioning Franciscan convent and one of Italy’s holiest places.
  • September 12, 2022 – Santuario della Verna to Pieve Santo Stefano (15.2km/9.4miles) – After a downhill walk on forested paths the Tiber Valley opens up and the mountain town of Pieve Santo Stefano welcomes us.
  • September 13, 2021 – Pieve Santo Stefano to Sansepolcro (24.3km/15.1miles) –Take the van to the Viamaggio Pass, then walk mostly downhill in forests to Sansepolcro, stopping along the way at Montecasale, one of the oldest St Francis sites, where the saint converted three thieves. Athletic walkers can begin walk to Viamaggio, stopping at the 8th c Cerbaiolo hermitage to see this beautifully restored site that was given to St Francis in 1216 and was an overnight stay for St Anthony of Padua.
  • September 14, 2022 – Sansepolcro to Citerna (12.7km/7.9miles)- A flat walk through farms ending with a short climb up to the walled, hilltop town of Citerna with its sweeping views of the Tiber Valley and the mountains beyond.
  • September 15, 2022 – Citerna to Città di Castello (20.3km/12.6miles)- A green day of farms nurturing sunflowers. Climb the famed cylindrical tower at Città di Castello and enjoy the delicacies of this picturesque town. Dinner is not included at Città di Castello so you have an opportunity to explore the gastronomic pleasures of this beautiful Umbrian town.
  • September 16, 2022 – Città di Castello to Pietralunga (29.8km/18.5miles)- From the Tiber Valley climb a pass toward the Chiascio Alto, the headwaters of the river that waters Assisi, before your overnight at medieval Pietralunga. It’s a “pizza experience” in Pietralunga, where we order off the menu in a traditional pizzeria.
  • September 17, 2022 – Pietralunga to Gubbio (26.5km/16.5miles) – Everyone loves medieval Gubbio, the town of the Ceri races, the wolf tamed by Francis, and acrobatic funicular that ascends to Basilica San Ubaldo above the settlement.
  • September 18, 2022 – Gubbio to Biscina (22.7km/14.1miles) – The Chiascio River drains these forested hillsides among castles and convents ending in a hostel stay in a former hermitage.
  • September 19, 2022 – Biscina to Valfabbrica (15.9km/9.9miles) – Lake Valfabbrica is a constant companion as you near beautiful Assisi.
  • September 20, 2022 – Valfabbrica to Assisi (13.4km/8.3miles) – Climb the ridge separating the two towns and see Assisi’s Rocca Maggiore and then the beloved Basilica San Francesco. Receive the final stamp on our pilgrim passports and then your testimoniumthat confirms completion of your pilgrimage walk. A 6:00 mass in the Basilica welcomes all pilgrims. Afterward toast your accomplishment over a beautiful dinner with your pilgrim companions.
  • September 21, 2022 – Depart Assisi – (overnight option, tour option) You’ve had a memorable pilgrimage in unforgettable scenery accompanied all the way by the memory and spirit of St. Francis.

Assisi to Rome group walk: Sept 22 – Oct 7, 2022

Walk among vineyards and olive groves through the region St Francis loved, stopping at key sites in his life. See where he heard his call to poverty, where he spoke to the Pope, where he received his vision and look at a letter written in his own hand. Visit serene lakes and enjoy mountain vistas, then feel the mists of the thundering waters of the largest human-made waterfall. When it is all over, arrive at the incomparable Eternal City of Rome to enjoy an unforgettable pilgrimage made more real because you walked to get there.  

Like a shorter day? Our van is available to pick you up!
  • September 21, 2022 – Gather, overnight in Assisi (optional Assisi tour).The beautiful hometown of St. Francis is one of the most beloved pilgrim sites in all the world.
  • September 22, 2022 – Assisi to Spello (easier: 13.8km/8.6miles; harder: 17.6km/10.9miles) –The climb on Assisi’s Mount Subasio offers spectacular views of the Tiber River Valley. Choose this for its views or stay below in the easier and still scenic route among olive groves.
  • September 23, 2022 – Spello to Trevi (19.1km/11.9miles) – Onto the valley floor now, enter Foligno, where Francis sold his father’s cloth to raise money to rebuild the Church of San Damiano then climb to delightful Trevi famous for its beautiful views.
  • September 24, 2022 – Trevi to Spoleto (easier: 19.1km/11.9miles; harder: 27.6km/17.2miles) – Either descend to the valley floor for a quiet walk along a flat bike path or take the longer mountainside option through Poreta. Spoleto is a cultural capital of Umbria as it hosts the annual Due Mondi festival that attracts the world’s finest classical musicians each year; its cathedral houses a hand-written letter of St Francis.
  • September 25, 2022 – Spoleto to Macenano (20.4km/12.7miles) – A brisk 45-min climb takes you to the Monteluco Franciscan convent, and then a long downhill wilderness trail leads along dramatic gorges into the Valnerina recreational area. Overnight at the ancient Abbey of San Pietro in Valle (when available).
  • September 26, 2022 – Macenano to Arrone (10.4km/6.5miles) – A perfectly restful day with a quiet, flat walk along a green mountain-bike path to the charming Umbrian hill town of Arrone.
  • September 27, 2022 – Arrone to Piediluco (15.2km/9.4miles) – Leave later in the morning so you can arrive when the waters are flowing at majestic Cascata delle Marmore, a waterfall on the Velino River made by the Romans over 2000 years ago. Walk alongside the Velino River to quiet Piediluco, home to the Italian National Crew Team.
  • September 28, 2022 – Piediluco to Poggio Bustone (21.8km/13.5miles) – Atop a mountain stands the 800-year old Beech Tree of St Francis. The day ends in Poggio Bustone, site of the cave where St. Francis had two visions that would change his life.
  • September 29, 2022 – Poggio Bustone to Rieti (17.7km/11.0miles) – A quiet and verdant walk to the gorgeous village of Cantalice and then the sanctuary of La Foresta where legend attributes a key miracle to St. Francis. End the day in Rieti, an important stop on the ancient Roman salt road.
  • September 30, 2022Rieti Rest Day – optional trip to Greccio and Fontecolombo, key St Francis sites in the Rieti Valley, and optional tour of Rieti. Dinner is on your own this evening so you can explore the restaurant scene of this historic town on the Salt Road.
  • October 1, 2022 – Rieti to Poggio San Lorenzo (21.8km/13.5miles) – Walk along the ancient Roman Salt Road through quiet farms of the Sabine Region to tiny Poggio San Lorenzo.
  • October 2, 2022 – Poggio San Lorenzo to Ponticelli (21.6km/13.4miles) – An up-and-down day of forested ridges, olive groves and sheep pastures with views to castles and quiet villages. Overnight at 15th c Castello Orsini.
  • October 3, 2022 – Ponticelli to Montelibretti (13.2km/8.2milesl) – The mountains begin to spread out before you and the hills begin to flatten as you prepare for the broad Tiber Valley ahead.
  • October 4, 2022 – Montelibretti to Monterotondo (16.6km/10.3miles) – Although Rome is near, the path carries you through lush nature preserves, away from traffic and city life. In clear weather the first glimpse of St. Peter’s can be seen in the far distance.
  • October 5, 2022 – Monterotondo to Monte Sacro (19.3km/12.0miles)- With some sadness leave nature behind and walk the second half of this day through Roman suburbs to a comfortable lodging in the Monte Sacro district of Rome.
  • October 6, 2022 – Monte Sacro to the Vatican (15.4km/9.6miles) – Follow quiet bicycle paths until the right moment to dive into the city, walking through Piazza del Popolo and on the edge of Piazza Navone. Cross the Bridge of Angels and take the first steps out of Rome into Vatican City at the doors of the Basilica of Saint Peter, our journey’s goal.
  • October 7, 2022 – Depart Rome – With your testimonium in hand and your mind full of memories say goodbye to Rome. This pilgrimage through the Roman countryside in the places beloved by St. Francis stays vivid in your mind for a lifetime of cherished memories. Optional Rome Tour (inquire for details)

 

Cross the Alps on the Via Francigena, September 4-19, 2023

The most challenging and beautiful section of the Via Francigena is its transit of the Alps at the Grand St Bernard Pass between Switzerland and Italy. This unforgettable Alpine walk features snow-capped mountain peaks, towering waterfalls and majestic forests, interspersed with castles, Roman ruins and spectacular mountain scenery. This group walk is timed to allow a snow-free transit of the Alps, and offers overnights in modest, pilgrim-class accommodations, with dinners and breakfasts included, except as specified. Accompanied by your host, guidebook author Sandy Brown. Join our contact list for updates.

  • September 4, 2023 – Gather in Lausanne, Switzerland– Home to the International Olympic Committee, Lausanne sits on the north shore of beautiful Lake Geneva. Tonight, meet your fellow travelers and prepare for your first day of walking.
  • September 5, 2023 – Lausanne to Vevey (21.0km/13.0miles)– Leave Lausanne on charming lakeside trails, then head up onto vineyard-covered mountain sides on the way to lakeside Vevey.
  • September 6, 2023 – Vevey to Aigle (25.8km/16.0miles) – July’s annual Jazz Festival put Montreux on the map. Enjoy its lakeside promenade and then beautiful Chillon Castle before saying goodbye to the lake and heading up the Rhône Valley to Aigle.
  • September 7, 2023 – Aigle to St Maurice (16.6km/10.3miles)– As the valley narrows and the track slowly climbs, mountain towns like Ollon exude Swiss charm. Set along tall cliffs, the town of St Maurice holds one of Europe’s oldest monasteries.
  • September 8, 2023 – St Maurice to Martigny (16.7km/10.4miles)– The valley continues to narrow while the boulder-strewn route traverses mountainsides in quiet forests to the accompaniment of waterfalls cascading down steep cliffs.
  • September 9, 2023 – Martigny to Orsieres (18.4km/11.4miles) – The path continues to ascend on narrow mountain paths under tall forests. The valleys are just wide enough for a two-lane road, a train track, and your pathway.
  • September 10, 2023 – Orsieres to Bourg St Pierre (14.0km/8.7miles)– The last night in Switzerland is spent above the tree line in the sparse settlement of Bourg St Pierre after the truly first steep climb of the walk.
  • September 11, 2023 – Bourg St Pierre to Col St Bernard (12.6km/7.8miles)– The climb concludes in an enchanting land of heather, cool streams and tall, snowy peaks. Summit at the historic St Bernard Hospice at the Swiss/Italian border where dogs are still trained to rescue stranded hikers.
  • September 12, 2023 – Col St Bernard to Echennevoz (14.8km/9.2miles) – The first steps follow cattle trails down the green peaks and then a path alongside a delightful wayside canal that feeds vast, irrigated fields far below.
  • September 13, 2023 – Echennevoz to Aosta (13.9km/8.6miles) – Italian Alpine towns like Etroubles dot the countryside as the road continues downhill to the Roman city of Aosta, now capital of the Italian Aosta Valley region.
  • September 14, 2023 – Rest Day in Aosta – Take time to enjoy this Italian city that speaks French and has deep roots in the Roman Empire. Explore the Roman theater, and Arch of Augustus and then stroll on the main shopping street and browse gifts for your loved ones at home. Dinner is on your own tonight so you can explore the town’s Valdostan gastronomy (we’ll offer some suggestions).
  • September 15, 2023 – Aosta to Chattillon (27.7km/17.2miles) – Castles stand like silent sentinels on hilltops below tall peaks whose steep slopes end at the green valley floor below.
  • September 16, 2023 – Chatillon to Verres (18.5km/11.5miles) – A day of castles and gorges spent on hillsides high above the valley floor. Terraced vineyards result in fine wines that demand a sample over Valdosta specialties at dinner.
  • September 17, 2023 – Verres to Ponte-Saint-Martin (16.0km/10.0miles) – The town of Bard relives its medieval roots each day as its trendy shops welcome tourists and pilgrims both. Roman bridges cross the blue-green waters of the Dora Balthea River.
  • September 18, 2023 – Ponte-Saint-Martin to Ivrea (23.4km/14.5miles) – Widening out into the Po River Plain, the Aosta Valley ends at the castles of Ivrea, while the Italian National Kayak Team practices its maneuvers on the cascading currents of the Balthea River in the heart of town.
  • September 19, 2023 – Depart Ivrea– Catch a train to Milan or Torino to return home, or continue your holiday with a stop in Venice, Florence or Rome.

 

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Concierge Service – Custom Self-Guided Pilgrimage Tours

Our travel concierge service helps you enjoy your trip and skip the hassle. We organize your schedule, reserve your hotels and baggage service, coordinate your ground transportation, and free you to enjoy yourself rather than fussing over details.

We offer concierge service on these itineraries:

  • Camino de Santiago – Camino Francés from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela on the Camino Francés
  • Camino De Santiago – Camino Portugués
  • Camino Finisterre from Santiago to Finisterre and Muxía
  • Via Francigena from Lausanne to Rome
  • Via di Francesco from Florence to Assisi and Rome

Contact us for more information:

Click here to read our Concierge Service Terms and Conditions.

Terms and conditions

At registration, all participants must affirm that they have read and understood the Terms and Conditions listed below:

Nature of Pilgrimage and Accommodations: Pilgrim Paths organizes religious and cultural travel itineraries in the pilgrimage walking tradition. Accommodations are based on double occupancy and these itineraries will utilize modest properties ranging from B&Bs to 3-star hotels in larger cities.

Participant Responsibilities: As a member of a Pilgrim Path walking group you have responsibility to Pilgrim Paths and to other group members, including:

  1. Selecting a walk appropriate to your physical abilities and being in sufficient good health and fitness to complete the walk. If you have any medical or physical conditions that are likely to affect your capability to do this walk, or adversely affect the experience of other participants, you must submit a letter from your medical doctor stating that you are capable of participating in this walk.
  2. Preparing for your walk by reading all the information on the website and material sent to you by Pilgrim Paths, especially that relating to the daily walking stages, accommodation, transport and the role of the Group Leader.
  3. Respecting the other members in your group, especially the Group Leader, as well as the laws, customs, traditions and culture of the areas visited.
  4. Complaining to other group members can create a negative environment and spoil the tour for other members, so we ask all participants to speak directly to the Group Leader as soon as possible so any issues can be resolved.

At the Group Leader’s discretion, a member may be asked to leave the group if the leader feels that the person´s further participation may be detrimental to other group members or to the individual.

Passports and Visas: Participants must carry with them a valid passport with the necessary visa as required by local law. Any information from Pilgrim Paths regarding visa applications is only a guideline. The participant is responsible for all necessary visa and legal documentations, noting that European Union (Schengen) visa requirements apply and may vary depending on the country of origin.

Price: The published price per person includes only ground transportation published on the itinerary (from starting point to ending point of the walk only); luggage transfer service; lodging (per person at double-occupancy); breakfast each day and dinner most days; and the presence of a qualified group leader. The price does not include airfare, lunch each day (estimate €15/day), occasional dinners out (usually 1-2 nights per tour), recommended travel insurance, personal expenses, or anything not expressly stated on the itinerary. Tips for the tour leader and assistant are not allowed, but a tip for the in-country hiking guide, when part of the tour, is often expected.

Payment Information: A deposit of 33% is required to secure a reservation and $500 is non-refundable but transferable to another Pilgrim Paths itinerary. The final payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Payment can be made by e-commerce site (with additional fees), personal check or money order. Trip prices and costs are listed in EURO and translation to other currencies is based on Yahoo Finance conversion rates, which fluctuate daily.

Cancellations: Minimum group size is 8 participants. If an itinerary fails to meet its minimum, Pilgrim Paths may cancel the group up to 90 days before departure.

If a participant cancels 90 days or more before departure, all payments will be refunded except $500 of your deposit which is transferable to another trip with Pilgrim Paths adventure. If the cancellation is made fewer than 90 days before departure, the following non-refundable charges are added to the $500 withheld by Pilgrim Paths:

  • 15% 31-90 days before departure
  • 25% 15- 30 days
  • 50% 8- 14 days
  • 75% 4- 7 days
  • 90% up to 3 days
  • 100% at less than 3 days, no-show, interruption

These mandatory charges are included in order to cover the cost to Pilgrim Paths of subcontractors who have required advance payment in order to confirm bookings. Other terms and conditions may apply at registration.

Release and Assumption of Risk: I understand and agree that during the tour in which I will participate, under the arrangements of Pilgrim Paths, certain risks and dangers may arise, including, but not limited to, acts of God, the hazards of the forces of nature (including but not limited to animal or insect bites), dangers and risks inherent in trekking activities (including but not limited to falls or injuries), and accident or illness in remote places without access to medical facilities, transportation, pandemics, or means of rapid evacuation and assistance. Pilgrim Paths shall not be responsible for any injuries, damages, or losses caused to any traveler in connection with any of the above, mechanical or construction failures or difficulties, diseases, local laws, climatic conditions, abnormal conditions or developments, or any other actions, omissions, or conditions outside the travel company’s control. Traveler assumes complete and full responsibility for, and hereby releases the agent from any duty of, and all safety or security conditions at such destinations.

In consideration of, and as a part of the payment for, the right to participate in such treks, tours, expeditions, or other activities and as a part of the payment for, the services arranged for me by Pilgrim Paths and its agents, employees, associates, affiliated companies, or subcontractors, I do hereby expressly assume all of the above risks.

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