San Gimignano to Colle di Val d’Elsa
Macs Adventure Verified partner Explorers Choice
Views following the trail into Colle di Val d'ElsaPhoto: Sally Thompson, Macs Adventure
At the beginning of today's walk follow trails through mostly fields and vineyards. As it progresses you will then walk through wooded areas and and farmland. You will also pass through a couple of small towns/hamlets and the more or less abandoned settlement of Fabbricca. Upon reaching Gracciano d’Elsa you make your way to Colle di Val d'Elsa via a nature trail which criss crosses the Fiume Elsa with its stunning waterfalls and surrounding woodland. The day can be shortened slightly by walking directly into the town via the main road or by catching a bus from Gracciano to Colle di Val D’Elsa. See below for more details.
Safety informationThere are a couple of small river crossings today that do not have a rope/handrail however these are very small and easily crossed using the stepping stones. Walking poles are very useful given today’s varied terrain!
Tips and hints
Food & Drink ...
San Gimignano is well served with shops, restaurants, cafes and bakeries where you can stock up for a packed lunch. We recommend taking a packed lunch today as there are no easy lunch stop offs.
Alternative Transport ...
Escape route at Campiglia: if you need to cut your walk short it is possible to follow the road off the VF to the small town of Campiglia from where you can take the bus to Colle di Val d’Elsa. The bus lines 770 and 201 make this journey. Check the following for more details: http://www.pisa.cttnord.it/ (line 770) and http://www.tiemmespa.it (line 201). There is also a bus from Gracciano to Colle di Val D’Elsa to shorten the walk (Line 201) if you wish.
(This route is used in the following itineraries: WItSClass and WItSClSB)
0.00km - START POINT: Tourist Information Centre.With the Tourist Information centre directly behind you head right and then TURN RIGHT onto Piazza della Cisterna. Continue STRAIGHT ON walking onto Via San Giovanni descending.
0.40km - Exit Historic Centre through Porta San Giovanni. BEAR LEFT onto pavement. There is a nice bakery here which is an ideal spot to pick up some lunch for the day ahead.
0.60km - BEAR LEFT down stone steps and continue to BEAR LEFT following signs for the Via Francigena.
0.70km - TURN RIGHT onto Via Baccanella, again following the signs for the Via Francigena. Come to roundabout, BEAR RIGHT again toward zebra crossing. Cross road.
0.80km - BEAR LEFT on pavement and follow pavement. After 10m or so, come to another zebra crossing on your left. Cross this and join pavement. TURN RIGHT onto pavement and then follow it as it BEARS LEFT following signs for Via Francigena. Continue on this path.
2.90km - After around 200 metres past the town with buildings on your right come to a zebra crossing. TURN RIGHT to cross road and join gravel footpath in woodland area signposted for the Via Francigena. (please note you will pass several zebra crossings along this path you will know it the correct one when you see the Via Francigena signposts).
3.00km - BEAR LEFT on path ignoring smaller dirt track on right. Continue to follow signs and stickers for VF. After about 10m, come out of wooded section and BEAR LEFT joining larger gravel path descending.
4.20km - BEAR LEFT following signposts. Come off of gravel path (which leads to private house) and walk on faint grassy path through small trees. Shortly after, enter woodland and cross small river with care. The path here can be very muddy if it has recently rained so take care. Walking poles are a great help! Ascend into woodland, again following signs/stickers for VF.
4.50km - At top of woodland path, TURN RIGHT following signs into vineyard. The path here should go around the outside of the vines turning left at the top and walking along the top of the vineyard. However the path here can be very muddy depending on the weather, so best to choose the grassiest section between vineyards to.
5.10km - At the end of the vineyard path, BEAR RIGHT onto gravel road ascending, following signs and passing a sign for the vineyard on your left. BEAR LEFT at top of road, there is a farm building on your left.
5.30km - BEAR LEFT onto faint grassy path following VF markers and descending.
5.60km - BEAR RIGHT. Reach small river and cross carefully. Continue on path following VF markers.
6.30km - Reach fork in road. BEAR RIGHT following VF marker and ascending slightly.
6.50km - Arrive at junction. BEAR LEFT following VF markers.
6.80km - BEAR RIGHT descending, ignore road straight ahead.
7.10km - As the path forks, continue to BEAR RIGHT. Descend and pass cluster of houses.After a few meters, TURN RIGHT onto gravel road (continue to follow VF signs). After another few meters, BEAR LEFT onto smaller gravel path, following VF signs/markers.
7.50km - Come to small river, cross carefully using stepping stones. Continue on dirt track STRAIGHT ON.
8.00km - Come to a junction. BEAR RIGHT ignoring road on left ascending, even though the signage says that left is for Colle di Valle D’Elsa, this is a variant and NOT the official route. You are following the official route.
9.60km - Ignore road on left and continue on path BEARING RIGHT.
10.20km - Arrive at Junction with main asphalt road. TURN RIGHT onto footpath that runs adjacent to the road. Come to Zebra crossing and cross.
10.40km - BEAR RIGHT onto small gravel road.
11.60km - Ignore small path on left and continue STRAIGHT ON. Views to small church in distance on hill to your right.
11.80km - BEAR RIGHT following markers and descend. Ignore path on left ascending. Shortly after, continue to BEAR RIGHT following markers. TURN RIGHT at end of gravel path and join small asphalt road descending. There is a fork here with the left ascending path taking a detour to a small church if you wish to take it, it meets up with the main path a little further on.
12.00km - BEAR LEFT off asphalt road onto small gravel path.
12.30km - BEAR RIGHT on path, following VF signs.
12.90km - Arrive at junction and TURN LEFT following sign and ascending steeply. At top of hill, TURN LEFT again following sign and continuing to ascend. Shortly after, BEAR RIGHT ignoring small path on left then continue on path STRAIGHT ON.
13.20km - Continue STRAIGHT ON ignoring road on right.
14.50km - TURN LEFT following sign and ignoring path on right. Continue on main path ignoring any small paths on right and left.
14.80km - BEAR LEFT onto larger asphalt road.
15.00km - Cross zebra crossing and join pavement BEARING RIGHT. Continue along pavement.
15.10km - At end of pavement TURN LEFT onto Via Degli Aragonesi and into the town of Quartaia. On your right hand side there is a picnic bench and a bar should you want to stop for refreshments.
15.30km - TURN RIGHT onto Via Della Concordia following VF sign.
15.40km - TURN LEFT following VF sign. Leave asphalt road and join small gravel road. There is a farm on your right.
16.20km - Ignore road on left. Continue STRAIGHT ON following VF signs. Come to Fabbrica, a cluster of ruined buildings. There is also a tiny church here on your left.
16.60km - Path forks here, BEAR RIGHT following VF stickers/markers.
17.00km - BEAR LEFT at small junction and ignore road on right. The gravel path soon turns into a woodland track.
17.50km - BEAR LEFT at fork in path, continue to follow signs and markers.
17.70km - Shortly after, come to another fork. BEAR RIGHT at fork, ignore path on left ascending.
18.50km - Continue STRAIGHT ON ignoring ascending path on left. Continue to follow signs and descend.
18.90km - Continue STRAIGHT ON ascending on rocky gravel path. Ignore path veering right near the water.
19.70km - BEAR LEFT onto small asphalt road. Ignore small gravel path on right leading to building.
20.30km - Arrive at a junction and ignore sign for the Via Francigena pointing right. You are now coming off the Via Francigena. Continue STRAIGHT ON (you are now in a suburban area of Gracciano).
20.50km - Arrive at a junction and TURN LEFT onto Via F.lli Bandiera. Follow this pavement straight ahead. Cross road at zebra crossing. BEAR RIGHT on pavement at roundabout. Cross zebra crossing. There is a large church on your right.
21.10km - Once across the road, TURN LEFT onto foot and bike path which runs adjacent to the main road. Cross bridge. Here one can choose to catch a bus for the rest of the way into Colle di Val d’Elsa if it is a convenient time. This would make the day shorter by about 4km. There are bus stops all along the road you are on now, the ‘Viale dei Mille’.Alternatively you can continue to walk straight into Colle di Val d’Elsa along this road, some of it has a pavement and some of it requires walking alongside the road. This option shortens the day’s walk by about 1km. Our recommended option for getting into Colle di Val d’Elsa, via the nature trail is detailed below.
21.60km - Continue STRAIGHT ON on this small asphalt road leaving the main road behind you. Descend. At bottom of asphalt road BEAR RIGHT onto nature trail descending. At bottom of descent BEAR LEFT following signs for Ponte di Spugna. Follow this nature trail for a few kilometres criss crossing the river on purpose built stone and wood bridges. All are securely built but please do take care when crossing, especially when using the stepping stones. Admire the stunning views of the waterfalls adjacent to the path.
24.30km - You will come to the foot of the large bridge (Ponte di Spugna) with traffic crossing it. At signs ascend a steep grassy path BEARING RIGHT. Come to the road, cross at zebra crossing and TURN LEFT onto path. Continue on pavement. BEAR RIGHT at end of path, following signs for the tourist information/centro.
24.60km - Cross road at zebra crossing, continue to follow signs for tourist info/centro. TURN RIGHT onto Traversa Della Stazione then TURN LEFT into Piazza Arnolfo di Cambio. Continue STRAIGHT ON through square and then onto Via Garibaldi ascending slightly. After 200 Metres TURN RIGHT and the public lift should be ahead of you.
25.10km - FINISH POINT: Public lift. Use the public lift (open 24/7) to ascend to the historical centre of Colle di Val d’Elsa where your accommodation is located. Please see your accommodation sheet for exact hotel location. Please note that there maybe times when the lift is not in operation, if this is the case you may have to walk up to the centre instead of taking the lift.
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