Food Lover's Via Francigena

Food Lover's Via Francigena

Trip Highlights

  • Sample local gastronomic delights
  • Enjoy cooking classes and wine tastings
  • Walk some of the most picturesque sections of the Via Francigena to Orvieto through superb scenery
  • Explore the magnificent city of Florence with its impressive architecture and cathedrals.
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of fellow food enthusiasts, walkers and pilgrims

Trip Summary

A visit to Italy is worth it for the food alone. To combine a food focussed itinerary with one of the country's most charismatic walking trails and historically rich regions, as this trip does, makes the allure to travel to Italy almost irresistible. Follow the route of the Francigena Way, the ancient pilgrimage route between Canterbury and Rome, to discover the essence of Italy's culinary scene. Beginning in Lucca, an important stop on the trail, this special Food Lover's trip will explore the incredible Italian historic and artistic heritage, as well as experience why the simple produce of the land can be created into gastronomic masterpieces, as you make your way on foot towards the "Eternal City" of Rome. The guided day walks combine the incredible Tuscan landscapes with numerous opportunities for tastings of local products and wines, delicious food as well as the intriguing history of the Via Francigena, which encompasses classic cities like Lucca, Florence and the medieval fortified citadels of Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni. You'll also enjoy hands-on cooking classes so that you can learn the secrets of Italian cuisine.

Suitability

INTRODUCTORY TO MODERATE – GRADE 2

During the trip there are four days which involve walking with average daily stages of 2 to 5.5 hours and distances ranging from 7 to 20km. The trip is graded introductory to moderate as it is mainly on well defined trails, with a few off path sections only. There are many ups and downs and walking poles are definitely a good idea. A good level of fitness is required to complete all the walks. 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. It may be possible to skip some of the walks - the guide will advise you on this locally.

Itinerary

Lucca is considered one of the pearls of Italian architecture. The perfectly conserved medieval walls, the bridges over the Serchio river, the towers, stunning gardens and the tiny squares, will give you a great idea of the medieval and Renaissance art. Birthplace of Puccini, the town is a cultural centre hosting a film festival and a summer festival which attracts international artists. After checking into your hotel there will be a welcome meeting with your group and guide at 2pm. Later this afternoon, we'll have a hands-on cooking class making fresh pasta and typical Tuscan dishes following by a dinner sampling our creations. Overnight Lucca.

Meals:  D

Leaving Lucca behind, we catch an early train to Florence and check in to our hotel. Welcome to the city of Leonardo, Giotto, Dante and Brunelleschi, with its artistic treasures and incredible beauty. On arrival there will be time to relax in the city. For lunch, we recommend the local market of San Lorenzo where you can taste typical Tuscan “street food”. Meet in the afternoon for a guided tour to discover the highlights of the city. Dinner tonight is in the characteristic “Oltrarno” quarter.

Meals:  B,D

Today is dedicated to enjoying two highlights of Tuscany: food and wine. In the morning we'll take a private transfer to Badia a Passignano, an ancient monastery dating back to the XI century. Enjoy a soft trek around the countryside before lunch in a typical trattoria. In the afternoon we visit the historic cellars of the Abbey, with a tasting of the best Antinori family's wines lead by a wine expert. Private transfer to San Gimignano, where we stay tonight. Our hotel is situated in the heart of the old city within walking distance of a number of excellent restaurants. Your guide can offer suggestions for dinner. Walking 7km/4.3mi, +200m/656ft, -200m/656ft

Meals:  B,L

Following ancient paths and the typical "white roads' our walk takes us between the little Romanic churches and chapels, through lush forests of chestnut and spectacular rolling fields and vineyards. The wild boar, the noble pheasant and the roe habitat this area. During the walk, we'll stop at a typical Agriturismo for lunch with olive oil and wine tasting. A private transfer takes us to Radda in Chianti, a lovely village with small medieval streets and beautiful architecture. Dinner and overnight at an organic farm. Walking 13km/8mi, +550m/1084ft, -550m/1084ft

Meals:  B,L,D

Chianti has been a traditional wine region since the time of the Etruscans and Romans. The first document attesting to the production of wine dated from the 13th century with the foundation of the Chianti League of Florence. Since then, the techniques have been refined to produce some of the country's best wines. From our agriturismo we will discover the old vineyards and cultivation techniques, followed by wine tasting.

Meals:  B,L,D

Leaving the farm we transfer to Monteriggioni, one of the most classical and best known walled towns in Italy. The mostly intact walls cover a length of 570m and are interspersed with 14 towers and 2 gates. From Monteriggioni we follow the Via Francigena trail to Siena. Walking 20km/12.5mi, +350m/1150ft, -300m/984ft

Meals:  B,L

There will be time in the morning for a guided visit of Siena before we transfer to the village of Montalcino, surrounded by vineyards and renowned worldwide for its precious Brunello red wine. We'll visit a famous vineyard and discover the secrets of making one of the most famous Italian wines. Wine tasting and a light lunch will be served. In the afternoon there's time to relax and enjoy this delightful medieval town.

Meals:  B,L

We leave Montalcino, with its expansive layout dotted with towers and belfries, and transfer to Orvieto. This lovely city has a well preserved medieval town centre and an impressive Cathedral, one of the most important in Italy. On arrival, we'll have a guided visit of the fascinating “Orvieto Underground” to better understand the Etruscan culture. Later we enjoy another cooking class. The region of Umbria, where Orvieto is located, offers a wide variety of foods specialties (wild boar ham, mushrooms, truffle, pecorino cheese…). Our cooking class will use local products to showcase Umbrian cuisine, which we will have the pleasure to taste for dinner. Overnight in Orvieto.

Meals:  B,D

This morning we'll transfer to Rome airport or train station. Trip concludes

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners - breakfasts will range from relatively simple (pastry, juice and coffee) to more substantial (breakfast buffet with breads, fruit, meats, cheeses, cereals, juice, yoghurt, tea and coffee) depending on the hotel. Lunches will be a combination of picnic, tastings using quality local produce or local restaurants. Dinners will usually be at least 3 courses (often more) in handpicked restaurants known for their quality food.
  • 8 nights in 3-4 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities (hotel taxes extra, payable locally - allow €15-20)
  • Transfers as noted in the itinerary - these will either be private transfers or by public transport (bus, train)
  • Luggage transfer
  • 2 cooking classes - dinner will be your prepared dishes
  • wine tastings as noted
  • Guided city visit in Florence and Siena
  • Entrance for Orvieto Underground tour
  • English speaking guide throughout

What's Not Included

  • dinners on days 3, 6, 7 and lunch on days 1, 2, 8, 9
  • Drinks throughout except breakfast beverages
  • Transport to arrive at the first hotel in Lucca - we are happy to arrange transfers, air and rail tickets - please ask our office or your travel agent for details.
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, internet etc.
  • Storage of luggage
  • Tipping

Upcoming Travel Dates

Reviews

The trip "Food Lover's Francigena Way" brought all the right ingredients together for a tasty trek through Italy. For us, we could not have chosen a better way to experience Italy than to drink in its ancient history by rambling through the picturesque countryside of olive groves & grapevines; & then in turn, taste their aromas in the food & wine of its regions. Our trip leader, Salvatore, was exceptional as our guide & companion. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip itinerary & would highly recommend this tour to anyone who really wants a quality travel adventure in Italy.

H. Yuen., Calgary, AB, Canada

AT A GLANCE

Duration:9 Days
Countries:Italy
Starting Point:Lucca
Finishing Point:Rome
Activities:GUIDED WALKING
CULINARY TRAVEL
Grade:introductory to moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:FLV
Prices From:GBP£2750 Per Person
Single Supplement:GBP£300  Click for more information
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.