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Via Francigena in Tuscany: Siena to Acquapendente 28

Cycling Via Francigena: Siena to Rome

Overview

Explore the last section of the legendary Via Francigena route, from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the splendour of Rome. The journey will take you along charming roads out of Siena, crossing the Val d’Arbia and the Val d’Orcia, landmarks of the Tuscan landscape. You will visit wonderful villages like Bagno Vignoni, with its enormous thermal pool in the centre of the square, and Radicofani, whose fortress dominates southern Tuscany. Entering Lazio, you will be amazed by the beauty of Lake Bolsena, and charmed by the ancient paving stones of the Via Cassia, still intact after 2000 years. Furthermore, you will also explore the enchanting medieval centre of Viterbo, the ancient Etrurian roads, the Roman amphitheatre of Sutri, and the beautiful cycle path that leads you into the heart of Rome, running along the river Tevere until your destination: St Peter Square.

Highlights

  • Admire the big thermal pool in the centre of Bagno Vignoni square
  • Take in a sunset over Lake Bolsena – the largest volcanic lake in Europe
  • Walk barefoot on the paving of the Via Cassia in Montefiascone
  • Get lost at night in the district of il Pellegrino, in Viterbo

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Siena

Your journey will start in Siena, one of the most beautiful towns along the Francigena, famous for its Palio horse race. You will be able to spend the day walking through its paved streets, looking for coats-of-arms on the walls of the contradas, or climbing the Torre del Mangia to enjoy a unique view over the roofs of the town. Do not miss a visit to the duomo, which will impress you with its amazing black and white columns. If you are lucky, you will be able to witness a festival in one of the contradas and see the work of the skilled flag-throwers before sitting down at a table in Piazza del Campo to enjoy a plate of pici all’aglione for dinner, admiring the illuminated Palazzo Pubblico.

Day 2: Siena to San Quirico d’Orcia | 54 km

Today you will ride along the typical dirt roads of Siena as far as the fortified village of Lucignano, with its fine Church. At the gates of Monteroni d’Arbia, you will be able to admire the impressive Grancia di Cuna, a fortified farm that held the reserves of wheat for the republic of Siena. From Lucignano you will continue your journey through the Valle dell’Ombrone to Buonconvento. You will cross the gate of the walls and enter the fine old town centre of the village, discovering why its name means “happy, fortunate place”, before jumping again on your bicycle and continue towards San Quirico enjoying the beautiful views of the Val D’Orcia, and cycling among hills tinted with charming shades and scattered with vineyards and cypress trees. At San Quirico, you will stand enchanted before the gate of the Collegiata, trying to recognise the various architectural styles that blend into its decorations, before enjoying a rest among the green hedges of the Horti Leonini, a 15th-century garden.

  • Cycling for the day: 54 km, ↑650 m ↓490 m
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in San Quirico (Hotel Palazzuolo  or similar)

Day 3: San Quirico d’Orica to Radicofani | 37-42 km

You will continue your journey across the fabulous landscapes of the Val D’Orcia: just beyond San Quirico, you will enter a timeless world visiting Vignoni Alto, and you will be able to enjoy a reinvigorating rest in the thermal waters of Bagno Vignoni. Today you will test your strength with a short but demanding section of your journey, which will take you as far as Radicofani; it is absolutely worth the effort because of the views from the Radicofani fortress. You will also be able to visit the Pieve di San Pietro, a little jewel dating back to the thirteenth century, and take an evening walk in its old town centre, admiring the illuminated Fortress.

  • Cycling for the day: 37/42 km, ↑650/650m455/650m
  • Accommodation: Agriturismo in Radicofani (Agriturismo La Selvella or similar)

Day 4: Radicofani to Bolsena | 55-60 km

From Radicofani, you will cycle towards one of the most exciting sections of the Via Francigena, leaving the fortress behind you and travelling along the old Via Cassia, surrounded by scenery of infinite hills dominated by Monte Amiata. You will be able to walk in silence in the Romanesque crypt beneath the Basilica del Santo Sepolcro. Your journey will continue gently as far as the first views of Lake Bolsena, from where you will descend into a volcanic crater and continue along dirt tracks, alternating thick woods with meadows scattered with olive trees, as far as Bolsena. Do not miss tasting Sbroscia, a soup made from lake fish and tomatoes.

  • Cycling for the day: 55/60 km, ↑620/840 m ↓610/610 m
  • Accommodation: Agriturismo in Bolsena (Agriturismo Le Vigne or similar)

Day 5: Bolsena to Viterbo | 33 km

You will continue through woods and olive groves on a route that will offer constant views of the lake. First, you will cross an area famous for the production of extra virgin olive oil (which we recommend you taste on a piece of fragrant local bread) before arriving in Montefiascone, where we strongly recommend a climb up to the Rocca. If you want to spoil yourself a little, you will be able to enjoy a pleasant halt at the spas of Bagnaccio, recharging your batteries in its thermal waters before proceeding towards Viterbo, the end of your journey for today.

  • Cycling for the day: 33 km, ↑545 m ↓420 m
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Viterbo (Hotel Palazzo Riario or similar)

Day 6: Viterbo to Sutri | 38 km

From Viterbo, the journey continues towards Vetralla, a town in the heart of the ancient Etrurian territory. Continuing through the green countryside of Lazio, you come to Sutri, a small town rich in cultural sites. The Roman amphitheatre, completely dug out from the tufo, is something not to be missed.  Choose whether to sit on the terraces or get up onto the stage, but as you leave, remember to sign the visitors’ register, it is very important for the custodian, and if he is there, he will invite you to do so. After this, proceed to the church of Santa Maria del Parto, with its well-preserved frescoes.

  • Cycling for the day: 38 km, ↑420 m ↓510 m
  • Accommodation: Agriturismo in Sutri (Agriturismo Montefosco or similar)

Day 7: Sutri to Formello | 34 km

From Sutri, you go on towards Campagnano and the Formello; during the journey, you will pass by the Mount Gelato Waterfalls, where you can stop for a reinvigorating dip. A panoramic road of the Veio Nature Park will bring you to the gates of Campagnano, where you can rest in the Venturi Park, the home of a three-hundred-year-old Yew tree. You will continue through the Veio nature park with its woody hills before entering the enchanting Valle del Sorbo. Along the way, you will be able to admire the sanctuary of the Madonna del Sorbo and later arrive at Formello with its medieval buildings. 

  • Cycling for the day: 34 km, ↑534 m ↓590 m
  • Accommodation: B&B in Formello (B&B Nonna Loreta or similar)

Day 8: Formello to Rome | 34 km

Get back on the saddle and face the last section of your journey, which will take you to the Eternal City. The leg continues across the countryside of Lazio, where you could never guess to be so close to a metropolis. You will have to cross a brief trait of trafficked roads to reach the cycle path of River Tevere, an enchanting slow path that will lead you to the gates of Vatican City, where you will be able to end your journey in St Peter Square.

  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Rome (Dharma Style Hotel or similar)
  • Cycling for the day: 34 km, ↑155 m ↓280 m

Day 9: Departure

The trip ends after breakfast. Departure on your own or extend your stay in Rome.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Standard accommodation for this trip is in selected 3-star hotels in the larger towns, cosy, friendly agriturismo** (farms) and inns in the smaller villages, all in twin/double en-suite rooms. Some accommodations have a swimming pool. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us, and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

**What is an agriturismo? A combination of the words for “agriculture” and “tourism” in Italian — It is a farm-stay, but it’s also much, much more. Typically, an agriturismo is an independently-owned farm that the owners have decided to use partially for accommodation purposes, in a way similar to English or American bed and breakfasts. One of the best parts of staying in a traditional agriturismo? The food. An Italian agriturismo will usually serve guests food that was prepared from raw materials – vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, and often wine and olive oil – produced on the farm or from other local merchants.

Meals

Breakfast is included each morning. When no restaurant is available on the route, lunches and snacks can either be bought from local shops or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. 2 dinners are included, on day 3 in Radicofani and day 6 in Sutri. On the other days, dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or in the town where you stay overnight.

Difficulty & terrain

The rides follow mostly well-asphalted country and secondary roads. Near larger towns, you can expect a bit more traffic. Average daily distances vary between 40 km and 60 km, with daily elevation gain ranging from 420 m to 650 m. The trip is suitable for regular cyclists who have an active lifestyle (read more about difficulty grades). Once you arrive at your first hotel, you will receive a detailed information package, including a destination manual, route notes, and maps. Before the start date, you will also be sent GPS tracks, which you can load on any Garmin device or smartphone application that you are used to working with.

When to go

You can start your holiday every day between the beginning of April and the end of October. Spring and autumn months are a preferred travel period if you want to avoid the summer heat of July and August (If you’d like to catch the famous Palio di Siena, you will have to travel in July or August, however). In September – October, you will enjoy pleasant temperatures and might also be able to catch the regional grape harvest in Tuscany.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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By plane

Our recommended arrival airports for this holiday are Florence and Pisa. On departure, the closest airports are Rome Fiumicino and Ciampino.

By train or bus

Arrival in Sienna
From Bologna Airport (BLQ), reach the central railway station, from where you can take a train to Siena with change in Florence.
From Pisa Airport (PSA), you can take a train to Siena with change in Pisa Centrale station and in Empoli.
From Florence Airport (FLR), take a public bus to Florence Santa Maria Novella Train Station, and then either a bus or a train to Siena (both direct).

Departure from Rome
On departure, you can reach Pisa, Bologna and Florence by train. If you are flying from Rome (FCO or CIA), you can reach the airport by bus.

Inclusions

Included

  • 8 nights in selected B&Bs, hotels and agriturismi (en-suite double/twin rooms)
  • 8 breakfasts
  • 2 dinners on Days 3 & 6
  • Luggage transfer on all cycling days (1 piece per person)
  • A detailed information pack, route notes and maps with tracks
  • 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches and 6 dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Local tourist tax & entry fees (payable on the spot)
  • Personal expenses
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘Included’ in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Bike rental, including bike delivery to Siena, theft insurance and collection from Rome
  • Extra nights

Bike Rental

In case you would like to rent a bike from us, we can offer you a standard trekking bike, road-bike or E-bike. All our bikes are equipped with a front bag with a map holder and odometer. Additional panniers are bookable upon request.

Sample models: Kalkhoff Endeavour 27, Wilier Cento 1 Hybrid, Kalkhoff Endeavour 27 5B. 9G

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