Hard to believe Cheryl and I were in San Gimignano going for a hike on the Via Francigena just a week ago. Seems like it was longer than that. What is it about vacation weeks moving too fast and work weeks taking forever? We covered the first part of our Tuscan holiday in my last post so here’s the rest of the trip: some photos from along the Via Francigena and San Gimignano.
One of the biggest reasons we chose San Gimignano as home base for our trip was because it is a stop along the Via Francigena. The Via Francicena, or ‘the road which comes from France,’ was an old pilgrimage route to Rome. In 900 AD an archbishop named Sigeric documented the 80 stages of his journey. San Gimignano is the end of the 62nd stage and the beginning of the 63rd so there are actually had two separate hikes available. We opted for a 4 hour hike on the part of the trail which led out of San Gimignano south towards Rome which, according to one web guide’s information, was the more picturesque of the two. No idea what the northern trail is like but this one was definitely beautiful.
The trial from San Gimignano follows a road then makes a sharp turn onto a dirt path. From there you walk through the countryside up and down hills, through vineyards, olive trees, and past agriturismos. It’s not a very difficult hike but the hills could be a little strenuous. Pictures are worth a thousand words supposedly so…
Not bad eh? So what about the town we were staying in? San Gimignano is a small village known for its towers. Only 14 towers remain standing from 72, which helped give it the nickname of ‘Manhattan of the Middle Ages.’ Because of this, San Gimignano is one of the more popular day trips for tourists. On our way back into town from our hike we stopped at an overlook and sat watching the tour buses roll up the hill. It was quite the sight. The good thing about day trippers is they’re gone by night so we were able to enjoy some good dinners in relative peace and quiet. Neat place.