After exploring Siena and Florence it was time to get out into the Tuscan countryside. We looked around for trail information and free maps, the hike we chose was part of the Via Francigena, a pilgrim route from France to Rome that is now part of the hikes to do list.
After getting into the town and trying to find free parking, which is at a premium across Tuscany, we drove out of town to a more remote trail head and dumped the rental car in a random area that looked like a car park and as we couldn’t read the Italian signs we figured we would be okay for a few hours. The trail follows dirt roads that are used by farmers and other village residents but the scenery makes up for the lack of remote footpaths. As we had a few days of rain we were ready with our goretex jackets and pants, plus it was a good opportunity to test it all out for the Turkey hike coming up in two weeks.
We followed the dirt road through a remote village complete with barking dogs through vineyards, albeit vineyards without any grapes, we hiked under the sun, then the cloud then the rain. After trying to shelter from some of the heaviest rain we took the waterproof gear off, then put it on again, then took if off – this sequence occurred most of the day. Just before the midpoint of the hike you can check out one of the old churches that are scattered across Italy, before heading into a small town on top of a hill, Castelnuovo dell’Abate. Per usual Italy store hours and our poor timing the towns store was closed, but the bars are always open so we stopped for a coffee and some food, managing to avoid what would be the last major rain of the day.
The hike to the village did not appear to be all downhill on the way so when we took a slightly different route back we were a little surprised to find out how much steep uphill we had, through sticky wet mud and over slippery wet rock. A good couple of hour hiking in the rain, no leaks in the waterproof gear and some uphill similar to what we are expecting for Turkey, fingers crossed for sun and warm beach weather for that hike.