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

Price

$1080USD

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Overview

Trip Code: FR5

Trip highlights


  • 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.

Trip Grading

moderate

More info about grading system

Traveller Rating

 

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 first walk 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. You’ll pass Villafranca which is a very 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. As you reach today’s destination, Filetto, the Via Francigena meets the town’s castle. Overnight in Filetto.

Meals:  B

From Filetto and Villafranca you cross a thick forest and walk along sections of an ancient Roman road towards the 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 which contains archaeological finds from the medieval period. You can walk along the ancient walls of Brunella Fortress, a typical example of Renaissance military architecture, and then walk through the old town centre. If you're hungry there is nothing better than the tasty local focaccia, best enjoyed hot 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 19km/11.8mi 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 (hotel taxes extra, payable locally - allow €10-15)
  • Information pack including smartphone app with maps plus a route book per room booked
  • Luggage transfer (max 1 piece per person)
  • Emergency hotline and SMS hotline
  • Credenziale - the pilgrim's passport

  • Travel to Pontremoli and from Lucca
  • Lunches, dinners and drinks. Allow EUR15-20 for each dinner and EUR5 for a picnic lunch
  • Items of a personal nature including drinks, souvenirs, phone calls, internet and laundry etc.
  • Entrance fees (museums, galleries etc.)
  • Guide - this is a self guided tour
  • Travel insurance
  • Hotel taxes (allow €1-2.50 per night, to be paid directly to each hotel)

Grading

moderate  

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
DN1
A high season supplement applies for departures from 27 May to 30 Sep.
DN4
Prices valid to 31 December 2021

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$1080USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Single SupplementUSD$250
  • Single Traveller SurchargeUSD$560
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

Videos

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

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