Our steps took us along several large Tuscan villas Sunday. Sue liked this one best. Plenty of room for family and friends, plus a place she could play tennis!
This is a quiet trail (we saw just five trekkers Sunday), but there is obviously interest in the Way of St. Francis, based on the record numbers (from many nations) viewing our posts. Will this be the Camino de Santiago of the future? If you have questions, feel free to ask through the comments at the bottom of the page. If you click the box to see future comments, you should get our reply. You can also view comments by clicking on the prompt on the website.
Ready or not, we’re off to Italy where we’ll begin The Way of St. Francis, a pilgrimage that traces the pathway traveled by St. Francis of Assisi in the early 13th century.
Our journey begins in the eastern portion of central Tuscany in Chiusi Della Verna, a small community located below Santaurio (Sanctuary) Della Verna. It was in this area that St. Francis is said to have received the stigmata. We’ve allowed two nights here to explore the history and beauty of the region…and to catch our breath after what promises to be two pretty hectic travel days.
Then we start walking, traveling mostly southward, with a goal of reaching Vatican City (not quite 300 miles away) by mid-May.
Many thanks to Sandy Brown for allowing me to use the above map, his incredibly detailed trekking guide, the links and foolproof instructions for downloading the GPX tracks onto my phone app and for hosting the Way of St Francis (Official Group) Facebook page. The information is invaluable!
As always, we will post on our blog when we’re able, so feel free to follow along on our journey as we walk The Way of St. Francis.
Categories: The Way of Saint Francis, The Way of St Francis
Tags: adventure, backpacking, hiking, Italy, long distance trekking, photo, Photos, pilgrimage, St Francis of Assisi, The Way of Saint Francis, The Way of St Francis, travel, trekking, Tuscany, walks
Leaves were painted for fall as we climbed Viale Niccolo Machiavelli.
A winding road as we begin our descent.
We returned to Florence today for a walk through the Uffizi, one of the city's top art museums. After more than an hour in a long line that moved little, we reluctantly moved on to Plan B. What a good decision.
We walked across the famed Ponte Vecchio (bridge) and, after a great lunch (see Possibly Our Favorite Meal post), we were on the far-less touristy side of Florence. We walked around the Boboli Gardens and up the winding Viale Niccolo Machiaveli next to a picturesque park, beautiful homes, and toward views of Florence.
We ended the walk with coffee, sitting in a cafe next to the Arno River, with a stunning view of the Ponte Vecchio. We missed a famous museum, but we made some fond memories.
A marker of the city center in the distance
After our walk, we pause for Americanos next to the Ponte Vecchio.
Our Sunday drive on Saturday took us to the medieval town of San Gimignano. Perched atop a hill in central Tuscany, the town's 13 towers dominate the skyline. Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, these towers once guided pilgrims as they made their way to Rome along the northern European route. Today, the towers still serve as landmarks, guiding visitors from around the world on a trek through the city gates.
Piazzas serve as a community gathering spot for both locals and tourists.
A keyhole archway provides a glimpse of the valley below.
With only a map to guide us, we set out this morning in search of the Tuscany we had heard so much about. We had all day, and it didn't really matter where we ended up…getting “lost” was half the fun. We turned left here and right there, stopping to gaze out over various patchworks of villages, vineyards and groves of olive trees. Armed with cameras, we hoped to capture some digital memories of this beautiful region.
After a few hours today of zig-zagging our way around central and southern Tuscany, we were walking along a wonderful narrow street in the amazing hilltop medieval town of San Gimignano. Shall we get something to take home for dinner? Yes! We bought some terrific pasta, Chianti wine, cheese, and flatbread. Now for the sauce. I chose some dried spices to mix with water and olive oil. The one with some chili sounded best. It was Sue's turn to cook.
A few seconds after my first bite, I refilled my water glass. By this time, we were both laughing and Sue, with spice-induced tears flowing, explained she had put three heaping tablespoons of the spices in the sauce because she wanted to make sure we used it all. The recipe called for a teaspoon per serving.
Neither birra nor water quelled the fire, but some Tuscany Chianti wine was the perfect cure.
We're pleased our little diesel Alpha Romeo gets 50+ MPG...since petrol is costing nearly $9.00 per gallon.
The car rental seemed like a splurge but as true Californians, we love our cars and have sometimes missed the freedom of having a personal set of wheels. Tuscany has been the perfect place to hone our Italian driving skills…and given the semi-remote location of our apartment, we justified it as a necessity.
This terrace would be perfect for a BBQ!
The quiet, almost rural atmosphere of San Baronto is a change from the excitement of Rome and Verona. Summers must find this place hopping, but November is definitely off season. We had hopes of enjoying our view from the terrace with a glass of local Chianti, but Mother Nature has had different plans. Evenings have been a bit chilly. No worries…we are still in Italy!
Our view comes into focus as the morning sun rises.
Four doors from the bedroom open onto the terrace.
Dining at home has been a nice change from 2 weeks of restaurant fare. The grocery store is a quick trip down the hill and has everything we need for simple meals of insulate mista (mixed salad), pasta and of course the wine…