Strade di Siena > Horseback on the Via Francigena |

Horseback on the Via Francigena like the ancient pilgrims

It is said that all roads lead to Rome and this certainly happens if you walk along the Vie Romee, that bundle of roads that in the Middle Ages guided pilgrims to one of the main destinations of Christianity, together with Jerusalem and Santiago de Compostela. The Via Francigena is the most famous of these roads and thanks to the writings of the Bishop of Canterbury found in the 80s, we were able to identify and codify the original stretches of this ancient path, a scenario of stories, fatigue and hope for the many pilgrims who crossed it.

Tuscany includes 15 stretches of the Via Francigena, for a total of about 380 km of marked and safe route, dotted with accommodation facilities, beautiful views, cities, villages, food and wine excellences. Riding this historic itinerary creates an experience within an experience. It is a slow adventure on dedicated bridleways, where the relationship with the animal is built while traditions, historic villages and unexpected landscapes meet.
Scattered along the route, there is no shortage of stopping points to rest the horse and to discover the welcome of those who live in these lands. In addition, these references are important points of exchange and sociality, and an extra security for assistance and various needs.

From stables to stables, alone or in the company of other riders and amazons, you cross the gentle forms that wind from the extreme northern outskirts of the Province of Siena to the slopes of Monte Amiata and the border with Lazio. From the edges of the Florentine territory, Gambassi Terme, you go down through this wonderful horse trail towards the suggestive San Gimignano and then head towards Siena crossing Strove, Abbadia Isola and the beautiful Monteriggioni Castle. Whether you choose to continue on the Montagnola Senese with the San Rocco a Pilli – More di Cuna variant, or continue towards the Crete Senesi and Val d’Orcia heading towards More di Cuna – Buonconvento – San Quirico d’Orcia – Radicofani – Celle sul Rigo, a journey on horseback on the Via Francigena will remain one of those experiences to be painted slowly within oneself and which will remain indelible in the heart.

Crossed areas

Montagnola Senese

Strongly naturalistic area that laps the city of Siena and extends into the municipalities of Casole d’Elsa, Monteriggioni and Sovicille. Woods and Mediterranean scrub are home to unique animal species and alternate with rivers, aquifers, karst caves and deposits of “torre stone” (the Sienese yellow marble). Place of origin of the Cinta Senese and crossed by the Via Francigena, the Montagnola Senese accompanies the visitor among its numerous castles, parish churches and hermitages.


One of the most incredible and characteristic cities of art, with intact medieval beauty and unquestionable charm. Siena is identified above all with the unmistakable Piazza del Campo, the Piazza del Palio, which suddenly reveals itself in the alleys of the center, dominated by the imposing Torre del Mangia. Siena is art, tradition and food and wine, it is a slow stroll among the buildings and palaces that characterize each “Contrada”. It is an experience to be done slowly and to be discovered step by step.


It is no coincidence that in Dante’s Divine Comedy there was a “round circle” that “crowns itself with towers”: Monteriggioni is a typical intact medieval castle, where time seems to have stopped. Suggestive from the outside, delightful inside, with shops and shops, small houses, surrounded by thick walls and 15 fortified towers. A blast from the past a stone’s throw from Siena.


Place of origin of the Tolomei family and castle of the Municipality of Siena, Strove is a small and charming town that still maintains the typical appearance of a medieval town.

Abbadia a Isola

Along the Via Francigena, at the foot of Monteriggioni, the small and ancient settlement of Abbadia Isola owes its name to its ancient appearance, which resembled an island in the middle of the swamp in which it was immersed (now reclaimed). The beautiful church and monastery, which has always been a place of welcome for pilgrims, are worth visiting.


The territory of Sovicille has the typical aspect of the area that hosts it: on the slopes of the Montagnola Senese and north of the natural reserve of the Merse river, this small village is located in the center of a network of ancient satellite centers, castles and parish churches, in an area completely surrounded by nature.

Val d’Arbia

Intersected largely with the Crete Senesi territory, the Val d’Arbia is a limited area that extends from the gates of Siena, along the Via Francigena, following the Arbia river. Many inhabited centers along the route alternate with small hidden gems, such as the characteristic village of Lucignano d’Arbia.

More di Cuna

More di Cuna is the most “modern” part of the ancient Cuna locality. As in the nearby Monteroni d’Arbia, this was also an area that was characterized by the hospitality given to the pilgrims of the Via Francigena.

Val di Merse

The Val di Merse is today almost completely a nature reserve, but since the Middle Ages it has been a fundamental land in the production of flour in the Sienese area thanks to its numerous waterways that fed the many mills. Chiusdino, Murlo, Sovicille and Monticiano are the municipalities that delimit the basin of the river Merse and the tributary Farma, up to the first metalliferous hills. Among the various splendid, small villages of this territory, the majestic Abbey of San Galgano stands out, with its sword in the stone.


The territory of Sovicille has the typical aspect of the area that hosts it: on the slopes of the Montagnola Senese and north of the natural reserve of the Merse river, this small village is located in the center of a network of ancient satellite centers, castles and parish churches, in an area completely surrounded by nature.

San Rocco a Pilli

The village of San Rocco a Pilli is located within an area that in the past included three churches and some small villages. Over time the inhabitants have increased and it is currently one of the most populated hamlets in the municipality of Sovicille.

Val d’Orcia

UNESCO heritage since 2004, the Val d’Orcia territory and its landscapes immediately refer to Tuscany in the collective imagination and so much beauty has often been chosen as the set of important films. The territory is vast and extends in the south of the province of Siena, bordering Monte Amiata and Umbria. Purely agricultural in nature (Brunello di Montalcino and pecorino di Pienza are among the top products), the Val d’Orcia owes its nature and appearance to the medieval history that characterized it.

San Quirico d’Orcia

San Quirico d’Orcia is one of the most important villages in the Val d’Orcia, with remarkable urban works and an Italian garden that overlooks the main square. Around the village you can admire postcard landscapes, such as the famous circle of cypresses. The nearby hamlet of Bagno Vignoni is a renowned spa, with a typical and unmistakable architecture with its main square entirely occupied by a tub full of water.

Campiglia d’Orcia

Small jewel perched on the edge of the Val d’Orcia, from which to enjoy an unforgettable panorama. Very close to the thermal waters of Bagni San Filippo, Campiglia d’Orcia is also famous for its brown, typical of the whole Monte Amiata area.


In a dominant position, from the tower that overlooks the fortress of Radicofani you can look out over a vast territory that goes from Lake Trasimeno to Lake Bolsena, from the Apennines to the coast. Once a control garrison between the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Papal State, today in Radicofani it is possible to visit this suggestive and wonderful building, together with the village with its characteristic buildings and the surrounding wood.

Celle sul Rigo

In the extreme south of Tuscany, the hamlet of Celle sul Rigo is a very small inhabited center characterized by a square that is almost disproportionate for its size. Typical of this village are the hand-made “pici”, which seem to have originated in this very place.

San Gimignano

“San Gimignano with beautiful towers” or “Manhattan” of the Middle Ages: perched on the hills north of the city of Siena, it is impossible not to notice the characteristic profile of one of the most visited medieval Tuscan villages. UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for the Vernaccia white wine and saffron, for the countless works of architecture perfectly preserved and above all for its fifteen towers (of the original 72), which make this small and ancient town unmistakable.