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3
moderate

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 7 nights hotels/B&Bs/rifugio
Meals
  • 3 Dinners
  • 1 Lunch
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days£1080GBP

Overview

Trip Code: SWO

Trip highlights


  • Following in the footsteps of pilgrims from centuries ago
  • Discovering the wild slopes of the Apennine mountains and the best preserved forests in Italy
  • Visiting Florence and several medieval towns and villages, each with their unique atmosphere
  • Immersing in the spirituality and nature surrounding La Verna Franciscan Sanctuary
  • Staying in comfortable, welcoming and charming hotels and guesthouses

During the Middle Ages St Francis of Assisi traversed the ridges and valleys of the Apennines, looking for God's signs in nature and talking to people about peace, humility and brotherhood. During this first section of the Way of St Francis 'camino' route, follow the paths St Francis covered during his frequent pilgrimages. From the Tuscan capital Florence with its magnificent artistic and architectural heritage, discover traces of St Francis' passage including Franciscan hermitages, chapels and crosses as you walk east and through the National Park of Foreste Casentinesi to Chiusi della Verna. Apart from Florence and the spiritual side of this walk, there are numerous drawcards along the way such as the medieval town of Stia and the Sanctuary of Verna, as well as the culinary delights which await each evening. Walking through villages, valleys and forest and with evidence of St Francis and his journey from church to chapels, immerse in the picturesque rural landscapes of eastern Tuscany.

Countries:

Italy

Starting Point:

Florence

Finishing Point:

Chiusi della Verna


Make your own way to the first hotel in Florence. Once you have checked in you are at leisure to explore this beautiful city and breathe the Renaissance air. There is much to see and do including the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, the statue of David, the San Lorenzo Market and Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic view at sunset! It is also home to the world’s largest Franciscan church, the Basilica di Santa Croce, which marks the starting point of the St Francis Way. If you'd like to spend some time in Florence before your walk (highly recommended) we can assist with pre-tour accommodation - please ask for our rates.

Meals:  Nil

After a short transfer to Pontassieve you will start walking towards La Consuma pass. It's quite a long walk which runs from the bottom of the valley to the top of the mountains at the pass, with great views over the Sieve valley, mostly in the shade of the forest. Along the way you'll pass by Ferrano castle, built from local stone and dating from the early 19th century. At the end of the walk a short transfer will take you from Consuma to your accommodation in the hamlet of Caiano. Dinner is included this evening. The region offers a rich assortment of IGP, DOP and Slow Food designated local products including chestnut flour, wine, olive oil, cured meats, soft and hard cheeses. Walking: 17.5km/10.9mi, +1184m/3880ft, -272m/892ft

Meals:  B,D

A morning transfer will take you back to Consuma to continue your walk. From the pass you descend easily to the base of Casentino valley. Most of today's itinerary runs inside the woods, with an optional detour to the village of Castel Castagnaio. You also have the option of an alternative route with great panoramic views over the Casentino valley,. Today's destination is the beautiful hamlet of Stia. Situated at the foot of Mt Falterona and at the confluence of the Arno river (near its source) with the Staggia torrent, Stia has been an important centre for the manufacture of wrought iron since the 12th century. We recommend trying the traditional local dish of potato tortello, made here and elsewhere in the Casentino region. Walking: 14.7km/9.5mi, +475m/1558ft, -1070m/3510ft

Meals:  B

Today is a quite demanding walk in terms of difference of altitude. Starting from the bottom of the valley, you'll reach the top of the Apennines before descending to Camaldoli monastery. Walking through the Casentino's rural landscape, you'll reach the fascinating Eremo di Camaldoli (hermitage), dating from the XI century - a must stop! Overnight in Camaldoli. Walking: 16km/10mi, +1098m/3600ft, -800m/2625ft

Meals:  B

Today is a relatively short but demanding walk, again for the difference in altitude, from the monastery of Camaldoli to the top of mountain edge and down to the village of Badia Prataglia. The path is mostly through forests. There is an alternative route you can follow which is approx 6km/3.75mi longer but more interesting in terms of landscape, with spectacular views of the southern Casentino valley, its villages and the surrounding mountains. Walking: 8km/5mi, +550m/1804ft , -550m/1804ft or 13.5km/8.4mi, +800/2625ft, -800/2625ft.

Meals:  B

Today’s walk leads through the forests to the hamlet of Frassineta, from where you can enjoy panoramic views of Vallesanta, La Verna mountain and the Apennine ridge. Overnight rifugio with shared facilities, surrounded by oak and beech woods on the slopes of Mount Penna. Walking: 10km/6.25mi, +560m/1837ft, -660m/2165ft or 14.5km/9mi, +900m/2953ft, -900m/2953ft

Meals:  B,D

Today's destination is Chiusi della Verna. Head for the hotel and check in. If you arrive early enough, you can visit La Verna Franciscan Sanctuary in the afternoon. The Sanctuary is open daily year round from 6:30am to 7:30pm (and 10:00pm in summer). NOTE: To enter the Sanctuary, you need to cover your chest and arms and wear trousers / knee-length skirt (ie wear sleeves, no shorts). Walking: 9km/5.6mi, +790m/2590ft, -570m/1807ft

Meals:  B,L,D

The trip concludes after breakfast in Chiusi, or continue on the next stage to Città di Castello. We can also assist with booking an extra night in Chiusi on request.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts, 1 packed lunch, 3 dinners. Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, tea, coffee & juices. Packed lunch is picnic style. Dinner will consist of 3 courses, usually starting with a salad or pasta dish, followed by either a chicken, red meat or fish dish with seasonal vegetables & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cakes.
  • 6 nights in simple to 3 star hotels, B&Bs with ensuite facilities and 1 night in a rifugio with shared facilities
  • Transfer from Florence to Pontassieve on day 2 and between Consuma and the agristurismo on days 2 and 3
  • Digital information pack including smartphone app with maps plus a route book per room booked
  • Luggage transfer (max 1 piece, max weight 20kg and max size 60 x 50 x 40 cm per person). Supplement applies for excess
  • Emergency hotline
  • St Francis Way passport

  • Travel to Florence and from Chiusi della Verna
  • Meals not listed as included, drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Guide – this is a self-guided walking holiday
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Transfers not listed as included
  • Tourist Tax if applicable - allow EUR5 pp (payable directly to the hotel)
  • Excess luggage
  • Items of a personal nature

Suitability

moderate

3

MODERATE – GRADE 3 This is a moderate grade trip with daily walks from 8 to 17.5 km/5mi to 11mi. With ascents up to 1000m/3280ft, the trail presents a variety of landscapes. You will cross several hamlets and some larger villages where access roads have been asphalted. Some walks are on 'strade bianche,' (white roads) of the region. The walks are for the greater part on well-marked trails, old donkey paths and roads, and a trekking pole is therefore handy. A good level of fitness is required and prior experience is advisable. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, and jogging, three to four times a week for three months prior to your departure.


Departure dates

Daily from 1 Apr to 31 Oct

Notes

H
High Season
Note:
High season is 25 Jun to 31 Aug, supplement applies

Priceper person from

£1080GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Discount for triple share rooms (pp)GBP£-96
  • Single supplementGBP£230
  • Solo traveller supplementGBP£540
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

Self-Guided Specialists

We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.