Saturday, September 14, 2013

VF 29: San Miniato to Gambassi Terme

In medieval times, San Miniato was on the via Francigena, which was the main connecting route between northern Europe and Rome. It also sits at the intersection of the Florence-Pisa and the Lucca-Siena roads. Over the centuries San Miniato was therefore exposed to a constant flow of friendly and hostile armies, traders in all manner of goods and services, and other travelers from near and far.
Archaeological evidence indicates that the site of the city and surrounding area has been settled since at least the paleolithic era. It would have been well known to the Etruscans, and certainly to the Romans, for whom it was a military post called "Quarto".
The first day walking the Via Francigena in Toscana was 25 km.  Starting from the Misercordia in San Miniato Basso, the first part was climbing the not-insignificant hill up to San Miniato Alto.  It became clear that this was not an casual stroll very quickly.  The weather was perfect. 
Very sparse settlement until Gambassi Terme.  Above is a ruin near Coiano.  The accomodation for the evening was the ancient Pieve Santa Maria in Chianni.

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