Walks from Siena on the Via Francigena - Part 1

Day 11 – Gallina to Torrenieri

Though we absolutely loved Siena, our mission to walk the Via Francigena has been foremost on our minds. David has managed the logistics so that we walk a couple of legs backwards and a couple forward and it seems to be working out just fine. Note that when we count ‘days’, it’s only the days we actually walk on the Via Francigena.

A bar/tabacchi in Italy serves coffee, morning pastries and also offers alcohol, cigarettes, lotto tickets and bus tickets.

A bar/tabacchi in Italy serves coffee, morning pastries and also offers alcohol, cigarettes, lotto tickets and bus tickets.

We were up early and heading to the bus stop. We missed the hotel brekkie… Italians don’t start their days early. There was no morning bus to Gallina and only one return bus in the afternoon, so we caught a bus to Torrenieri and walked the path backwards once again. It was a brisk 39F when we left the hotel and very foggy. Our first stop was the Funky Bar for a coffee, very near the bus stop. Our new Italian phrase for the day? Un caffe latte da portar via … ‘a coffee to go’.

Another coffee and a croissant (cornetto in Italian) in Torrenieri and we were on the trail by 0900. Though it was clear and sunny where we were, we could see the fog sitting thick and heavy on the Siena skyline.

Morning fog over Siena

Morning fog over Siena

Our VF guide suggested that we stop at the 10th century church, Chiesa di San Rocco, to view the modern sculpture, Monumento al Pelegrino (pilgrim monument). It was a bit of a surprise … a small sculpture of feet (without blisters).

Monumento al pellgrino

Monumento al pellgrino

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Our first stop was in San Quirico, a pretty little town that provided us with a pilgrim stamp at the tourist info office. We stopped at a local bar (not just alcohol in Italy) for another coffee and a rest.

The hills were steep here … 15% grades that took the breath out of us. Though the vistas were great, there was also lots of highway walking… not so great.

Vistas were outstanding

Vistas were outstanding

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Heading across the Ponte Peruzzi on our way to Gallina

Heading across the Ponte Peruzzi on our way to Gallina

We finally arrived at Gallina, had time for a beer at our little country restaurant, Parallelo 43, and caught the bus back to Siena. David, by the way, has loaded the Tiemme Spa app on our phone which makes our bus travel much less complicated. He can check scheds and buy tix on line.

We figured we were on the right path when we saw this sign as we neared Gallina.

We figured we were on the right path when we saw this sign as we neared Gallina.

Day 11 - Gallina – Torrenieri

14.13 miles walked / 32, 868 steps

Leg distance: 11.5 miles / 1130 miles to Canterbury


Day 12 – Torrenieri to Quinciano

We took the same early bus for a 45 minute ride to Torrenieri and stopped at the same Funky Bar for coffee ‘da portar via’. The path, once again following the contour of the land, led us up and down, up and down following small country roads and cart roads. We got lost a few times and ended up walking on the SR2 (major highway) for ½ mile or so, before finding our way back to the VF.

Sometime the VF markers are easy to spot, and sometime not.

Sometime the VF markers are easy to spot, and sometime not.

We passed through a couple small towns of Buonconvento and Ponte d’Arbia and refilled our water bottles.. It was a record day for meeting pilgrims on the path … 64 altogether. They were just coming out of the proverbial VF woodwork.

Some of the path markers are unqiue.

Some of the path markers are unqiue.

The path paralleled the railroad track for several miles to Quinciano. We climbed a steep, steep hill to Quinciano which ended up not being a town but rather just a cluster of buildings with no bus stop or shops or anything. We asked directions only to find that the bus stop was at the bottom of the steep, steep hill. As we descended the hill, we saw the hourly bus whiz by and out of sight. Sigh! We waited a long hour for the next bus and finally made it back to Siena.

Gotta take time to smell the roses!

Gotta take time to smell the roses!

Hungry and tired, we bought ‘kebabs’ (aka shawarmas) piled high with salad veggies and chicken from a tiny shop on the street. Back in our room, they tasted awesomely good with potato chips and beer. Another day, another leg of the Via Francigena walked.

Day 12 – Torrenieri to Quinciano

16.78 miles walked / 39,022 steps

Leg distance: 14.6 miles / 1115 miles to Canterbury