From Siena to Rome along the Via Francigena

Overview

Lace up your hiking boots and join us on the legendary Via Francigena, the medieval pilgrimage trail that led from northern Europe to Rome. We’ll be following the most beautiful sections of this route, with hikes linking historic towns including San Quirico d’Orcia, arguably one of Italy’s loveliest hilltop villages, and ancient Viterbo, and ending with a hike right into stunning St. Peter’s Square. This pilgrimage is an experience of the senses as well as the heart. We’ll follow trails alongside serene Lago di Bolsena, taste wines from renowned vineyards, and explore the peaceful Etruscan ruins at Sutri. The delightful cuisines of Tuscany and Lazio, accompanied by deep Chianti and Brunello wines, will keep you well-fueled for the journey. Buon cammino!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Siena / Buonconvento / San Quirico d’Orcia / Lago di Bolsena / Montefiascone

From ravishing Siena, we hike trails lined by fields of sunflowers and avenues of tall cypress trees to the medieval walled town of Buonconvento, one of the piu belli borghi d’Italia (most beautiful villages in Italy). Contouring golden wheat fields, we reach the unspoiled village of San Quirico d’Orcia, where our hotel is a beautifully restored 15th century building. Our trail crosses a small section of cobbled Roman road as we head above deep blue Lago di Bolsena to the citadel town of Montefiascone, with its papal fortress offering stunning views across the lake. Sampling regional dishes, from ribolitta to panzanella and carciofo romanesco, adds to our pleasures en route.

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Days 5-8
Viterbo / Sutri / Monterosi

Hiking through vineyards where grapes for some of the best Italian wines are grown (the region known as Est! Est! Est! di Montefiascone), we reach Viterbo, whose historic city center is surrounded by still-intact medieval walls. In Sutri, with its well-preserved Etruscan, Roman, and Renaissance treasures, we see the spectacular Roman amphitheater, a masterpiece excavated from tufa rock. We also explore Monterosi, once a major stop on the pilgrim trail, the Parco Valle del Treja, which protects a stretch of rocky gorges and mixed oak forest, and the picturesque village of Isola Farnese, perched on a rock outcrop. This tiny village has a fascinating history—a member of the Farnese family became Pope Paul III.

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Days 9-10
Rome

From our castle-hotel nestled in the countryside, we hike into Rome, pausing for an incredible panorama of the Eternal City from Monte Mario, a hill just above the city. The last steps of our pilgrimage lead us to Bernini’s masterpiece, St. Peter’s Square, flanked by the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. Leaving our pilgrim staffs by the door, we enter the revered sanctuary of the Basilica. We can watch Sunday mass right from our hotel—the only one right in front of the Basilica—before departing on Day 10.

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Highlights

Highlights

Hike historic routes used by wayfarers since the Middle Ages
Discover medieval villages on foot, savor Tuscany’s and Lazio’s mouth-watering culinary treats
Enjoy panoramas of stunning Lago di Bolsena from a balcony trail
Enter Rome on foot, from the hills above, and walk to the great St. Peter’s Basilica

Details

Length: 10 days
Cost From: $4995  
Arrive: Siena, Italy
Depart: Roma, Italy
Lodging: 9 nights hotels, including historic properties
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

A mix of moderate walks and hikes, some steep trails, 4-7 hours a day, van support (for luggage or if you wish to skip a day’s hike).