Heading down the trail you initially pass by Riparotta and a bridge over the Rio Casciani. The trail undulates over a series of small hills and along a stretch called the Siene Val d’Elsa. Here you see the ruins of an old castle and the isolated Church of Santo Pietro which was mentioned in 1109 as a place of worship by pilgrims.
Enjoy your first panorama of San Gimignano’s famed towers, built by wealthy local families to demonstrate their power in the 12th century. At one time there were 72 towers, but only 13 remain. Spend time this afternoon discovering this town, one of the most famous in Tuscany. Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Gimignano still retains its medieval atmosphere and it is a pleasure to wander through the narrow streets and soak up the ambiance.
As this route tries to remain as true to the original pilgrimage route as possible, you will not only walk on trails and unpaved roads but also on asphalt part of the way. The ‘traditional’ walk is alongside some busy main roads, which is why we give other suggestions (especially near Rome). Please take care when walking along roads and always be mindful of other road users. Pavements or paths should be used if provided and walk on the right-hand side of the road if there is no pavement or path. This way you can see oncoming traffic.
Italy is known to have long, hot summers with July and August being the hottest months. At that time of year, the temperatures can rise into the 30 degree Celsius during the day. Always make sure to stay hydrated and carry plenty of water. It is also advised to wear skin protecting clothing and use sun cream/screen. We recommend you inquire about the day’s forecasted weather before setting out on your walks. A useful website for climate information specific to towns and countries is www.weather2travel.com or www.yr.no
Tips and hintsDue to the remote location of some of the smaller towns and villages along the way it is possible that some of your overnight hotels will be a few kilometres from the route or in a nearby town or village. If this is the case, you will always receive directions to and from the trail in your route notes. Please be aware that this may result in slightly longer or shorter walking days.
This depends on the time of year you are walking; if traveling in the spring or autumn it can be cool in the morning, but it soon heats up in the late morning and afternoon so make sure and bring some layers with you. During the summer months, the area can be prone to afternoon thunderstorms, so waterproofs are also essential in case of heavy showers. In the heat of the day, sun cream is essential and a sunhat is highly recommended. Otherwise normal hiking gear in a ~25-liter rucksack will suit. Either sturdy walking shoes or light hiking boots are suitable.
Other essential items are water, enough food and snacks to last between supply points, blister treatment and first aid kit, insect repellent, biodegradable toilet tissue, and a whistle and torch.