Do you remember studying about the Canterbury Tales in high school? In Tuscany, Italy, you can walk part of that route on the Via Francigena. Via Francigena is an ancient pilgrim’s route that connected Canterbury to Rome and the harbors of Apulia during the medieval period. It is important to note that Via Francigena is not a single route. Actually, it is comprised of several possible roads that changed over time. It is historically significant because it used to be an important trade route in the middle ages.
Walking In Tuscany
I was very excited to find out that my Italian language class will be going on a field trip! Our teacher also happens to lead group walking tours around Siena, so she was a great resource on the place’s history and significance. Passegiare, or walking, has many health benefits for the body, the soul, and the mind.
We walked around the area of Monteriggioni, a town 20.4 km away from Siena, Italy. My class had a great time exploring the area near Abbadia A Isola. Read about our walk down the pilgrim’s route one spring morning in Tuscany, Italy.
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All the photographs featured on this blog post were captured by my super talented friend and classmate, Renukha Selvakumaran. Thank you for sharing your photos, Renukha!
Abbadia A Isola: A Church on an Island
First, we visited a place in Monteriggioni called Abbadia A Isola. It has an abbey that was founded in 1001. During that time, the abbey was surrounded by water, which made it seem like it was resting on an island (hence its name). The Abbey of the Saints Salvatore and Cirino is located in the center of Abbadia A Isola. This church also served as a hospice to weary travelers who needed a place of refuge.
For those interested in visiting the abbey, you can park your car at the main entrance of Abbadia A Isola. Address: SP74, 35, 53035, Abbadia A Isola, Italia
Walking On A Dirt Road
After visiting the church, we walked down a road. It was a beautiful spring day- though it was slightly cold, the sun was shining brightly that morning. I think it is best to visit Tuscany in the springtime. Spring is one of my favorite seasons of the year, and it is lovely to visit Italy during that time.
Our teacher pointed out the color of the soil- “burnt sienna”. It is because the land was rich in iron- which made it very fertile.
Some pretty yellow flowers greeted us on our way. In the background, you can see The Castle of Monteriggioni. The supreme poet Dante Alighieri referred to the turrets as “a ring of giants encircling the Infernal abyss”.
The Castle of Monteriggioni
Here you can find a closer view of The Castle of Monteriggioni, often referred to as the Tuscan Jewel in the heart of Via Francigena. Read about my visit to the Castle of Monteriggioni here.
For those interested in visiting the Castle of Monteriggioni, you can go there by foot or by car. Address: Via I° Maggio, 8-10, 53035 Monteriggioni SI.
Finally, we explored the forest areas down the path and found some interesting botanical species. I was delighted to see a Star of Bethlehem up close.
After our walking trip, we headed down to Bar Dell’ Orso for lunch. The portions were huge. We really deserved that big lunch after our long walk. Well, I ordered some delicious tagliatelle pasta with red cabbage and cream. Oh, and their coffee was excellent! Also, their tiramisu was the best one I have ever had. Be sure to drop by that restaurant-bar when you are in Monteriggioni.
Do you enjoy taking long walks? Have you recently explored a place that is off the beaten path? Tell me about your experience in the comments! And please share this post on social media.
This post is part of the Dolce Vita Bloggers Linky. This month’s topic is “My Favorite Season in Italy.” Special thanks to our hosts Jasmine of www.questadolcevita.com, Kristie of www.mammaprada.com, and Kelly of www.italianatheart.com.