Atlas of Paths is born in Tuscany: 7 itineraries under the banner of slow and sustainable

Promoted by Toscana Promozione Turistica and presented on the occasion of BIT, Borsa Internazionale del Turismo, the Atlas of the Cammini enhances slow tourism, among cities of art, small villages and natural landscapes. To be discovered on VisitTuscany.Com.

Seven itineraries, 72 stages, 119 municipalities, 7 provinces, 20 tourist areas for a total of 1,369 km. These are the numbers of the Atlas of the Paths, the new project promoted by Toscana Promozione Turistica and presented on the occasion of the BIT - International Tourism Exchange -, which aims to be a tool able to unite, for the first time and together, the offer of Tuscan slow tourism, promoting in a unified way all experiences attentive to slow and sustainable. An integrated system that, thanks to a uniform information structure for all routes, provides the visitor with a detailed description of each route, with geographic indications, hospitality and services, along with a narrative capable of offering travel cues and curiosities about the many places that can be reached in the regional network. Each tab also provides suggestions for food and wine experiences, outdoor activities, with proposals linked to the complete offerings of the area. Visit Tuscany thus offers a revamp of the slow tourism section with the new Atlas pages, making all information available online (VisitTuscany.Com)

What can be found along the itineraries

Along the itineraries one can find the Apennine passes of Radici, Cisa, Alpe Serra and Croce Arcana, indicating the evocative entrance to this world where time is marked by the sound of one’s steps and follows the rhythm dictated by the pleasure of walking. The parks of the Apuan Alps and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines are just two of the many natural areas touched by the routes. The routes lead to six World Heritage sites in Tuscany. Siena, Florence, Arezzo and Lucca are cities of art that become hubs of exchange between one route and another, nerve points of a system that connects stories, people and emotions. And then there is that small ancient world of villages that tells of eras and traditions, revealing the secrets enclosed in churches, displayed in museums and scattered across the countryside, allowing us to get to know Tuscany in a different, personal and sustainable way.

The paths included in the Atlas

Via Francigena.The great European cultural route meets the landscapes and history of Tuscany.

It is a major cultural itinerary linking Canterbury and Rome that continues to excite those who continue to tread traces left over the centuries through unspoiled landscapes and historical-artistic beauty.This historic European route, which crosses Tuscany, represents a unique opportunity to discover for almost 400 km (divided into 16 stages) the ancient route taken by pilgrims, merchants, travelers, through forests, hills and medieval villages, among history, art and food and wine. A route that reveals from the north to the south of Tuscany a beauty made up of a thousand faces: From the wooded Lunigiana, which holds treasures such as Pontremoli, villages, parish churches and castles, to Pietrasanta, then down the valley to Lucca, up from San Miniato and through the hills to see the towers of San Gimignano, past Monteriggioni, into Siena and then on to the Amiata and Val D’Orcia, climbing up to Radicofani.

Way of Francis in Tuscany. The naturally spiritual paths, among the works of art and places of Francis of Assisi

It is a set of paths that connects the many places associated with the life of St. Francis of Assisi in Tuscany. From Florence, particularly from the Basilica of Santa Croce, one of the most important Franciscan basilicas in Italy, today’s walkers can reach the renowned Verna Sanctuary. Here, Francis spent several periods of his life and, in September 1224, received the stigmata. The itinerary then crosses the Tuscan Valtiberina, which boasts places inextricably linked to Francis’ life such as the hermitages of Cerbaiolo and Montecasale and the castle of Montauto. From La Verna, two routes reach Anghiari, one route pushes west to Sasso di Simone, and yet another rejoins the route to Assisi, passing through Monterchi. From Anghiari the route heads further south and leads pilgrims into the heart of Arezzo, where the Basilica of St. Francis is located. Through the Valdichiana Aretina it continues to Cortona, another place St. Francis of Assisi was very fond of, and where he founded the fascinating Hermitage Le Celle. In summary, the route system of the Way of Francis in Tuscany can be divided into 3 different, interconnected macro-sections: the Florence-La Verna section, with its two routes (in brown on the map) the paths that cross the Tuscan Valtiberina, namely the two routes of the La Verna-Anghiari section, one passing through Pieve Santo Stefano and Sansepolcro and the other through Caprese Michelangelo (in red on the map); the section connecting the Hermitage of Cerbaiolo to the territories ofBadia Tedaldaand Sestino (in orange) and which connects to the Francis Rimini-La Verna Way; the stretch that passes through Monterchi and rejoins the path to Assisi in Umbria (in green) the Anghiari-Cortona stretch To these stretches are added the final stages of the Francis Rimini-La Verna Way that enter Tuscany from Balze and Pennabilli, in Emilia Romagna.

Tuscany’s Via Lauretana. from Siena’s World Heritage Site to Cortona’s Etruscan treasures, the road of artists, merchants and pilgrims

This insists on an Etruscan-Roman route that also had great fortune in medieval times, connecting the Sienese territory with the Valdichiana and then the Umbrian-Marchigiana area. Later, it connoted itself more and more as a pilgrimage route, linking Siena, and thus the Via Francigena, to Cortona, through the territories of Asciano, Rapolano Terme, Sinalunga, Torrita di Siena, and Montepulciano. It then continued into Umbria, arriving at the Holy House of Loreto, in the Marche region. Hence the name Via Lauretana. The Lauretana was an incredible road, populated by artists, merchants and pilgrims, who traveled it for centuries, transporting goods, conveying ideas, stopping at the various churches, chapels and Marian shrines that dot the entire route. The Tuscan route is an impressive 114.6 km long, to be covered in 5 days, or in 4 days for more experienced hikers.

Via Romea Strata. On the way from the Apennine passes to the lands of Leonardo da Vinci

In the Middle Ages, equipped with a broadsword and saddlebag, pilgrims from Central and Eastern Europe, for example from present-day Poland, Hungary and Croatia, set out for central Italy to join the Via Francigena at Fucecchio and San Miniato in Tuscany. From here, their journey would continue to some holy places: Rome, Santiago de Compostela and Jerusalem, then reachable by sea from ports in southern Italy. Today, it is possible to retrace the footsteps of the pilgrims from central and eastern Europe along the Romea Strata: a set of routes of more than 1,400 km that traces the ancient route system and from northeastern Italy leads modern travelers to the Francigena, initially through Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia. In the lower Veneto, the five main routes come together and the path continues along the section of the Romea Strata known as the Romea Nonantolana-Longobarda, a single route that bisects Emilia Romagna from north to south and enters Tuscany through the Apennines of the Pistoia Mountains. Tuscany is home to the last 108 km of the route, which coincide with the final 6 stages of the Nonantolana-Longobarda: from Cutigliano and the other villages of the Pistoia Mountains, it descends to Pistoia and then heads towards Montalbano and the lands of Leonardo da Vinci. Before reaching Fucecchio and San Miniato, in fact, the Romea Strata will take you to discover Anchiano, Vinci and Cerreto Guidi.

Via Romea Germanica. From the nature of the Apennines to the cities of art, the itinerary of wayfarers and emperors

In the Middle Ages, the Via Romea Germanica was one of the main links between the Germanic world and Central Italy. In fact, Via Romea Germanica refers to the route followed by pilgrims from the Scandinavian peninsula and Central and Eastern Europe on their way to Rome. The current itinerary, traces the one made in 1236 by Abbot Albert of Stade who produced a kind of medieval pilgrim guide written in the form of an amusing dialogue between two fictitious German friars named Tirri and Firri. The two friars discuss which routes are advisable for the northern European pilgrim heading to Rome and the Holy Land. According to the Stade document, the Via Romea Germanica, also formerly called the Via di Stade or Via Romea, enters Italy at the Brenner Pass descends through theAlto Adige and Trentino via Sterzing, Brixen, Bolzano, Trent, crosses Valsugana to Bassano del Grappa (Veneto), and continues through Padua, Rovigo, Ferrara, Ravenna, Forlì, and then enters Tuscany in the Casentino Valley (AR) through the historic Apennine pass of Passo Serra. The Via Romea Germanica in Europe runs about 2,200 kilometers from Stade to Rome, crossing atotal of 3 countries, in 94 stages: 44 in Germany, 4 in Austria and 46 in Italy. In Tuscany it crosses the whole Aretine territory passing through Chitignano, Arezzo to Cortona to enter Umbria passing through the territory of Castiglion del Lago, then through Città della Pieve to Orvieto. It finally enters Lazio, passing through Civita, arrives in Montefiascone and runs the last 6 stages in common with the Via Francigena to Rome. It is 1022 km across northern Italy with 53% artificial roads (many are footpaths) and 47% natural roads. In Tuscany, the Via Romea Germanica runs for 7 stages.

Via Matildica del Volto Santo. The path with Apuane and Apennine views, from the green soul of Garfagnana to Lucca

The Via Matildica and the Via del Volto Santo are two paths united by the same destination: the Cathedral of San Martino in Lucca, home to the wooden statue of the Volto Santo, also known as the “Black Christ of Lucca,” a source of legends and miracles. At Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, the two routes intersect, becoming one path. The Matildica is a route that starts in Mantua, meets the plains of the Po River, the hills of the Apennine National Park, reaches Tuscany at the San Pellegrino Pass, crosses Garfagnana and Media Valle del Serchio, and finally reaches Lucca. The route runs 284 kilometers, passing through 3 regions: Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany. It touches cities of great cultural richness but also beautiful natural places and changing landscapes. It is divided into 3 historical sections: the Via del Preziosissimo Sangue (from Mantua to Reggio Emilia, 3 stages); the Cammino di San Pellegrino (from Reggio Emilia to San Pellegrino in Alpe, 5 stages) and Via del Volto Santo (from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to Lucca, 3 stages). In our itinerary we devote ourselves to describing the section that crosses Tuscany starting from Gazzano, Reggio Emilia. The Via Matildica rejoins the various sites linked to Matilda of Canossa, a powerful feudal lady and deputy queen of Italy in the 11th century. Born in Mantua, she was a great supporter of the papacy and had churches, parish churches and hospitals built along the main routes of the time.

Via Romea Sanese. From the Renaissance in Florence to the Middle Ages in Siena, walking through the rows of Chianti.

For connections with Rome, the Florentines used the Via Sanese: it was the shortest route from the city of Giglio to Siena. The route alternates between stretches on paved back roads and dirt roads, also intersecting the official route of the Via Francigena. Four stages cross the Florentine and Sienese countryside to discover parish churches, abbeys and medieval villages. It is a journey that starts from Piazza della Santissima Annunziata in Florence and touches places steeped in history such as Sant’Andrea in Percussina, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Badia a Passignano, San Donato in Poggio, Castellina in Chianti, until arriving in Siena at the Basilica of San Francesco.

Atlas of Paths is born in Tuscany: 7 itineraries under the banner of slow and sustainable
Atlas of Paths is born in Tuscany: 7 itineraries under the banner of slow and sustainable

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