The official Francigena followed ancient Roman roads and so pilgrims walked along the Aurelia. Unfortunately, nowadays this has turned into one of the most traffic ridden roads in Italy. Therefore, after crossing the last part of the Appennino mountains, and within view of the sea, we leave the official route and, from Sarzana, walk slightly to the east on trails and secondary routes on the hills that overlook the Mediterranean.
This is the fifth stage of the Via Francigena, the Pilgrim Route to Rome.The official Francigena followed ancient Roman roads and so pilgrims walked along the Aurelia. Unfortunately, nowadays this has turned into one of the most traffic ridden roads in Italy. Therefore, after crossing the last part of the Appennino mountains, and within view of the sea, we leave the official route and, from Sarzana, walk slightly to the east on trails and secondary routes on the hills that overlook the Mediterranean. We pass near to Massa and Camaiore to reach Lucca. The week will end in the lovely village of San Miniato, the closest point to Florence. 7 nights.
Price: £650.00 per person based on 2 people sharing.
Single supplement: £135.00. Solo walker £70.00
Dinner on 5 nights £130.00 per person
Luggage transfers £160.00 (2 bags, not weighing more than 20 kilo per bag).
Highlights: Appennine Mountains. – first glimpse of the sea – historic Lucca – San Miniato.
Departures Daily departures April to November.
Total distance: 120 kms (average of 20 each day).
Day 1: Aulla and overnight
You can reach Aulla by train from La Spezia with a change in Sarzana. It is possible to spend 2 nights in Sarzana and catch a train for a 30 mn ride in the morning to Aulla (Sarzana being a nicer place to stay) where you will start your walk. Wherever you elect to spend the first night a package will be waiting for you containing all the material you need for the week: hotel and meals vouchers – detailed route notes and waterproof GPS maps with a container and a map holder for the route. The hotel owner will tell you who to contact if you require a benediction by a priest before you set out.
Day 2: Aulla – Sarzana.
17 km. Up: 605m – down: 660m. High point: 590m Castello di Bibola – Vecchietto – Ponzano Superiore – Castello della Brina (ruins) – SarzanaLeaving Aulla, in the shadow of imposing Brunella fortress, walk the last slopes of the Appennine mountains for a first glimpse of the sea. It is not an easy day as we are still in the mountains. Bibola is our first stop, then the ruins of the Brina castle before starting the descent towards Sarzana.
NOTES: Trails and unpaved roads on the Mt Porro slopes and on Mt Grosso . 30% secondary asphalt. Wide views over the river Magra gorges.
Day 3: Sarzana – Carrara.
Distance: 24 kmDetails: Sarzana – Castruccio Castracani Fortress – Sarzanello – Villa Malaspina – Castelnuovo di Magra –Ortonovo – Carrara – Bargana – Pasquilio (hotel)NOTE: Partly secondary asphalt, partly trails.
TO SEE : The “Cittadella Medicea” (XV sec.) built by di Lorenzo the Magnificent on the ruins of an earlier fortress. In MASSA: San Pietro cathedralDay 4: Carrara – Camaiore. Distance: 24kmDetails: Pasquilio (hotel) – Monte Folgorito – Cerreta San Nicola – Monte Canala – Seravezza – Gallena – Case di M. Ornato – Foce di Sant’Anna – Culla – Montebello – Camaiore
NOTE: Partly secondary asphalt, partly trails.
TO SEE: CAMAIORE: benedictine abbey
Day 5: Camaiore – Lucca.
Distance: 29km (or 21km by using public bus) – highest point 228maltitude up: 383 – down: 403mDetails: Camaiore – Salapreti – Pieve – Valpromaro – Piazzano – San Macario in Monte – San Macario in Piano – Parco fluviale del Serchio – Monte San Quirico bridge – LuccaNOTE: Partly secondary asphalt, partly trails.
TO SEE: Beautiful Lucca
Day 6: Lucca – Altopascio.
Today’s route goes through a very densely inhabited area. For those who prefer to avoid this, we advise you to spend a longer time in Lucca and catch a train (only 15 minutes ride) to Altopascio.Distance: 18kmDetails: No altitude gains, the highest point is 30m. Pass the Capannori and the Badia di Pozzeveri
NOTE: Mostly on secondary asphalt, partly unpaved
Day 7: Altopascio – San Miniato via Ponte a Cappiano.
29 km – Highest point 135mDetails: Altopascio – Galleno – Ponte a Cappiano – Fucecchio – San Miniato Alto
NOTE: a short part on original medieval pavement, half trail and half on secondary asphalt.To see: Ponte a Cappiano (bridge built by Cosimo de’ Medici, XVI sec.) – San Miniato Alto
Day 8: Departure
Sample Hotel list
Aulla Demy Hotel www.demyhotel.it/
Sarzanza Vecchia Locanda www.vecchia-locanda.it
Massa Hotel Carrara www.hotelcarrara.eu
Camaiore Locanda Le Monache- 3 stars www.lemonache.com
Lucca Hotel Luna www.hotellaluna.it
Altopascio Cavalieri del Tau www.cavalierideltau.it
San Miniato Hotel S Miniato www.hotelsanminiato.com