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3
moderate

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 7 nights in 3 star hotels and agriturismo / B&B's
Meals
  • 7 Breakfasts

8 Days£920GBP

Overview

Trip Code: FR5

Trip highlights


  • Stage 5 of the Via Francigena in Italy
  • Hiking the limestone ranges of the Apuan Alps
  • Experiencing diverse landcapes from vine covered hills to the Mediterranean coast
  • Tasting the excellent local wine and food
  • Exploring Lucca, a highlight of medieval architecture

The Via Francigena has experienced a recent revival and is now one of the most exciting pilgrimage trails in Europe. This section of the trail takes you through a little-known region of Tuscany. Starting in Pontremoli, in the heart of the Lunigiana region where the green hills are dotted with fine castles, you will descend to the sea in Versilia. Enjoy the coastal scenery as you walk along the sandy beaches and during the warmer months you can happily stop for a swim en route. Leaving the coast behind, you will head back toward the Tuscan hills. You can visit the fascinating artists' workshops in Pietrasanta, known as the Italian Athens, which rests at the foot of the Apuan Alps. The highlights continue as you reach the walled town of Lucca, one of the most captivating old town centres of Tuscany.

Countries:

Italy

Starting Point:

Pontremoli

Finishing Point:

Lucca


Make your own way to the first hotel in Pontremoli, a jewel in the heart of the Lunigiana region. This afternoon you can wander among the sandstone tower-houses, admire stone warriors and goddesses in the museum of stele statues, visit the local churches, or take an aperitivo in one of the main squares. Sample the local delicacies, torta d'erbe della Lunigiana - a delicious herb pie, and testaroli - a crepe-like pasta that is often served with pesto.

Meals:  Nil

Your walk today will take you through a mix of green countryside and small medieval villages. Along the way you can admire the tower-houses of Ponticello, the ancient hospice of San Jacopo at Filattiera and the ancient Pieve di Sorano, which has been home to the stele statues of Celtic warriors for centuries. Continue to Mocrone where you stay overnight.

Meals:  B

From Mocrone you'll head to Filetto and Villafranca, a beautiful medieval village, where you can climb the hill above the walled village of Malgrate and its castle, or look through the trees of the ruins of the old castle of Malnido, residence of the Malaspina family. From Villafranca continue towards Aulla, crossing a thick forest and walking along sections of an ancient Roman road, towards Terrarossa castle. The last section of the walk is over old railway tracks which have now been transformed into a cycle path. Today's destination, Aulla, has many interesting sites. If ancient history interests you be sure to visit the Abbey of San Caprasio and its museum with archaeological finds from the medieval period. You can walk along the ancient walls of Brunella Fortress, a typical example of Renaissance military architecture, and through the old town centre. If you're hungry there is nothing better than the tasty local focaccia, best enjoyed warm and served with charcuterie and cheeses. Overnight in Aulla.

Meals:  B

The first section of today's walk is over demanding but rewarding paths, and it's here that you will catch your first glimpse of the sea. Along the way you will again pass through green countryside and medieval villages. Today you'll be able to visit the ruins of the La Brina Castle, while at Sarzana you will be amazed by the Baroque interior of the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral. You can also admire the Gothic facade of the Pieve di Sant'Andrea, the oldest building in the town. This afternoon you can get lost in the old town centre as you wander through the alleyways which lead into the main squares. You can enjoy dinner in one of these squares, and for dessert you should try the "torta scema" and ask a local to explain the meaning behind its name. Overnight in Sarzana.

Meals:  B

The walk today will be mostly along flat paths, following in the footsteps of the ancient pilgrims who walked from the Roman port of Luni towards Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Luni has a fascinating archaeological area which is well worth a visit. The archaeological area includes an ancient Roman amphitheatre and a museum which houses a splendid mosaic dedicated to the God Neptune. Continuing along paths with stunning views of both the sea and the Apuan Alps, you'll finally arrive in Massa where you will stay overnight. Option to short today's walk to 18km/11.2mi using the public bus.

Meals:  B

Today's walk takes you up to the Aghinolfi Castle and on to Pietrasanta. Pietrasanta has a splendid old centre with many art galleries and shops, and you should visit the Duomo and admire its marble columns and frescoed vaults before continuing your walk. When you finally arrive in Camaiore with its old town centre and ancient Badia di San Pietro, you can try the local rice-based chocolate cake to reward your day's efforts. Overnight in Camaiore. Option to short today's walk to 20km/12.5mi using the public bus.

Meals:  B

Today you will continue walking over rolling hills eon your way to Lucca. Descend to the valley of the Contesola creek and cross the Serchio River at Ponte San Pietro to reach Lucca. You'll enter Lucca through the city walls and find yourself surrounded by the historic town centre, where many attractions await you. You can admire the decorated facade of San Frediano, browse the small shops in the circular piazza where you can buy local biscuits, or conquer the Guinigi tower and enjoy the views. Overnight in Lucca. Option to short today's walk to 23km/14.3mi using the public bus.

Meals:  B

This morning the trip concludes in Lucca after breakfast. Please ask for our rates if you want to stay an extra night, or you can continue along the Francigena Way to Siena .

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts: Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, tea, coffee & juices
  • 7 nights in 3 star hotels and agriturismo / B&B's on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • Digital information pack including smartphone app, routebook and maps 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 and SMS hotline
  • Credenziale - the pilgrim's passport

  • Travel to Pontremoli and from Lucca
  • Meals not listed as included, drinks
  • Entrance fees
  • Guide – this is a self-guided walking holiday
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Travel insurance
  • Hotel taxes (allow €1-2.50 per night, to be paid directly to each hotel)
  • Excess luggage
  • Items of a personal nature

Suitability

moderate

3

MODERATE – GRADE 3 This is a moderate grade walk along paths that are well defined and clearly marked and sometimes paved. You should be an experienced walker and be able to walk for up to 7 hours a day in hot sun on dusty and stony tracks. There are some steep hills, and the terrain is mountainous at times. The whole itinerary is well-marked by the official signs of the Via Francigena. A reasonable level of fitness is required. 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, two to three 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 27 May to 31 Aug, supplement applies

Priceper person from

£920GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Single supplementGBP£280
  • Solo traveller supplementGBP£520
*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.

Videos

Walking Pontremoli to Lucca | Italy's Via Francigena | UTracks