Walks from Siena on the Via Francigena – Part 2

Day 13 – Quinciano – Siena

We headed out of Siena through Porta Romana

We headed out of Siena through Porta Romana

With a forecast of 60% rain, we were all rain-geared up when we left Siena’s walled city through the Porta Romana. For some reason, weather forecasts in Italy are never quite accurate. Not a drop of rain fell the entire day until early evening when we were back in Siena. We should have brought more sunscreen.

Views of the Siena skyline

Views of the Siena skyline

We climbed high today and for miles and miles we could see the skyline of Siena, the Duomo dome, its striped bell tower and Torre del Mangia standing tall and graceful in the morning sun.

Despite a number of markers and cute signs, we still got off the trail and had to retrace our steps.

Despite a number of markers and cute signs, we still got off the trail and had to retrace our steps.

Despite a seemingly well-marked trail, we had a few misadventures that had us and several other pilgrims (we saw 35 pilgrims today) somewhat flustered. With the help of the VF app, Maps.Me and a few retraced steps, we found our way.

The path today was a mixed bag of dirt paths and wild rose lined cart roads. Some seemed to stretch out forever before us.

The path today was a mixed bag of dirt paths and wild rose lined cart roads. Some seemed to stretch out forever before us.

We shared the rest stop with chickens …

We shared the rest stop with chickens …

and one very assertive rooster!

and one very assertive rooster!

We stopped at a pleasant pilgrim rest stop that we shared with several chickens and one honkin’ big rooster. He wasn’t exactly sure he liked our company and jumped on the picnic table and crowed incessantly as if to assert his alpha status. The hens paid him no attention whatsoever.

This time we realized that the bus stop was at the bottom of the hill from Quinciano, a much less stressful return to Siena.

Day 13 – Quinciano – Siena

14.09 miles walked/ 32, 757 steps

Leg distance: 12.7 miles / 1102 miles to Canterbury


Day 14 – Siena – Monteriggioni

Today was more about weather than walking. The forecast was for rain once again, but we’ve learned to take the forecasts with a grain of salt. It was bright and sunny when we left. David went so far as to put on sunscreen before we left … an obvious faux pas on David’s part that Mother Nature did not ignore. Within an hour after departure, we had donned our rain gear. The rain pelted us, the temperatures dropped significantly, the wind howled and the thunder and lightning began. So much for sunscreen.

Huge puddles and a muddy track made for slow progress.

Huge puddles and a muddy track made for slow progress.

The trail, mostly dirt paths, were wet and muddy. Our shoes, heavy with red clay mud, had us slipping and sliding up and down the path very reminiscent of our hike in Theodore Roosevelt National Park last summer. We tried scraping our feet on grass clumps, but as soon as we took another step, our shoes were thick with mud again.

Day13-muddy shoes.JPG

The rain came down harder and harder and the going was slow. Luckily the path finally changed to a gravel/rock path providing a bit more traction and less mud adherence to our shoes. At La Villa, we came across a small pilgrim rest stop that was absolutely wonderful. Hot coffee and biscotti (cookies) were served under a large tent… donations only accepted. The stop also offered a pilgrim stamp, lots of VF information and a welcome respite from the day.

Just down the road from La Villa, we came across Castello della Chiocciola. Even in the rain, it was a beautiful sight to behold.

Just down the road from La Villa, we came across Castello della Chiocciola. Even in the rain, it was a beautiful sight to behold.

Back on the trail again, the temperature had dropped even more to the point where we could see our breaths. Our arrival in Monteriggioni was most welcome and despite the weather, we agreed that it had been a very fine day. We headed back to Siena satisfied that we’d completed one more leg of the Via Francigena.

Day 14 – Siena – Monteriggioni

13.31 miles walked/ 30,964 steps

Leg distance: 12.8 miles/ 1090 miles to Canterbury