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certaldo alto

In the Middle Ages the Francigena was described by Sigeric, the Archbishop of Canterbury coming back from Rome between 990 and 994.

 

Francigena, the road that stretched from Canterbury to Rome: thereafter the religious journey proceeded to Jerusalem in the Holy Land.  The pilgrims travelled in groups on foot as penitence and had to walk approximately 25 kilometres a day.

 francigena

The eleventh century Crusaders also followed this guide to win back Christ’s Holy Sepulchre.  The road was, in addition, a popular channel for both cultural and commercial exchanges and over the years facilitated the configuration of Europe as we know it today.
The Tuscan section, which is 394 km long, starts at Passo della Cisa – at the village of Berceto to be precise – and enters Lazio at the Ponte a Rigo, traversing areas of stunning beauty and important cities.
 
Some of the latter actually grew and flourished thanks to the Via Francigena just as oratories, churches and hospitals for wayfarers were built along this artery for the religious and ‘logistic’ support of pilgrims.
 
For this reason the Via Francigena, rediscovered and completely mapped as part of a large-scale  promotion for tourism and trekking, offers many opportunities for exploration and travel.
 
A European site dedicated to the road contains information and descriptions of the various sections: www.viafrancigena.eu
 
 
 

In the segment of Via Francigena concerning the province of Florence, the small towns that we find are Fucecchio, Castelfiorentino, Gambassi Terme, Certaldo.


The itinerary includes from North to South: from Altopascio (LU) to San Miniato (PI)

In the initial part of the stage, it is possible to find a wonderful paved segment of the ancient Via Francigena.
Going past the wild and desert area of the Cerbaie, we are heading to Ponte a Cappiano, where a hostel has been created inside the ancient Medici bridge. From here, we cross an ancient marsh now drained, and we go up again towards the interesting historic centre of Fucecchio.
We cross the Arno, walking along the river bank towards San Miniato.


From San Miniato alto Tedesco (PI) to Gambassi Terme (FI).
Now we have an hour before us walking down an asphalt road, then we take a path of extraordinary beauty along the hilly ridges of Val d'Elsa.
On the itinerary of Sigerico, we find two historic places: the parish church of Coiano, in very bad conditions, and the parish church at Chianni, in whose vicarage a beautiful hostel has been created.


From Gambassi Terme (FI) to San Gimignano (SI)
It is a short tranfer stage, interesting anyway for the beauty of its panoramic views surrounding the Via Francigena.
We can visit the Sanctuary of Pancole, before going up to the characteristic residential area of Collemucioli and from here to the enchanting parish church of Cellole.
The day can be dedicated to the visit of San Gimignano, one of the most popular destinations in Tuscany, which has a new different taste if reached on foot.

 

 

Published: 16/6/2014

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