Backpacking,  Camping,  Hiking in Europe,  Hiking in Italy,  Via Francigena

Fall in love with authentic landscapes of Tuscany | Day 6 of Via Francigena from Calenzano to Gambassi Terme

It was the 6th day of Via Francigena trail when we hiked around 20 kms from Calenzano to the town Gambassi Terme.

We had a very quiet and calm night in the fields of Tuscany, it was our 3rd night wild camping and it was the most quiet. Also because we were at the place several hours before the dusk it helped us to rest better.

Feeling refreshed and energized having had our breakfast we were out on the trail. We planned to do 17 kms to the next major village Gambassi Terme that day and we saw on the map that the route was going through the small paths and little villages and were really hoping that the day would be much more interesting and beautiful than previous ones.

We started the day at around 8am and hoped that it would help us to escape the hottest time of the day. The weather that day was really helping us with the sun in the haze of small clouds and some fresh wind coming from North West side was cooling down the body.

The trail from the start was passing through the little forests and the fields and had quite a lot of shadow that we enjoyed a lot. Major agriculture grown in these places were the olive trees and vineyards so they were dominating the landscape together with the moved fields of bright yellow color because of the strong sunlight. Among the fields were located many farmsteads or manor houses that were called hamlets but in reality looked like they were all a private property of one person or family. They all had different names and it was probably like that starting from the old times.

On the way we met quite a lot of signs with directions of Via Francigena and others and we noticed that they became better and appeared more often than the days before. Also we met that day the most amount of pilgrims probably 3 hikers and 5 cyclists and maybe it was a coincidence but we think that is because this area is quite popular. And arguably the most popular of all parts on the way. Also there were quite a lot of picnic tables and benches on the way which was nice as well.

Out of interesting things we met that day was the first aid emergency kit box at one point and the 2019 pilgrim book where everyone could leave their little note. We did it as well and saw that quite a lot of people walking this trail in winter which was probably a wise decision because of how hot the weather conditions were here in summer.

Then the trail began to go under the sun more often and as the sun was getting up on the sky it made it harder to walk. The difficulty of the trail wasn’t challenging at all, having quite a lot of small uphills and downhills that were easy to do. And it would be even easier if it wasn’t that hot. Fortunately there were lots of drinking water fountains like every 3 kms or so on the way where we could always wash our faces and have a fresh cold water to fill in the bottles with. But in such heat we wished there had been even more of them.

We had a little break in the shadow of the Cyprus tree close to some of the houses and noticed that these trees weren’t giving too much of a good shadow so they were probably mostly used for the decoration purposes and the form they look.

So we can consider that day a first authentic day of the Toscana trail when we had a joy to walk on the calm dirt roads away from the traffic and enjoy the typical landscapes. We hoped that the next several days would be similar to that day.

All the last part around 3 kms to the village of Gambassi Terme we had to walk along the car road again unfortunately. But at least there was a sidewalk for pedestrians so it wasn’t that dangerous to walk.

At the entrance of the town we had a break in the shadow of the olive tree close to 12th century old church because we didn’t want to walk under the middle day heat and also had to wait for the supermarket to open so it was very much at a good time.

Then we went to the supermarket to do our usual everyday shopping for some fruit, cereals and veggies and we were out in a search for a camp spot for tonight. We hoped that we won’t have to wander too far away from the Via and would find it quite fast so that we have time to just chill out.

In the end we had to walk along Via Francigena around 3 kms more because at first all we saw were the vineyards and the olive tree fields. And these ones we wanted to avoid because we knew that the chances we got disturbed there are high as most of the works are done there. We found a spot on the mowed field near the forest and hoped to have a good rest there. So with the thoughts of the new upcoming day and what new beautiful landscapes it may bring to us we went to sleep.

Here is the link to Google map to follow the hike:

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