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

Safe trail ends. Dangerous part starts. | Day 10 of Via Francigena from Monteriggioni to Siena

It was the 10th day of Via Francigena trail when we hiked around 17 kms from the town Monteriggioni to the city Siena.

The morning started very early for us at 5.30am because we wanted to hike the most of the distance as early as possible.  The weather was promising another crazy hot day and we didn’t want to be stroke by a heat wave.

 At night we didn’t sleep that well and we think we found the reason why it happened the last couple of days. It was because of the hot temperature even during the night it was not less than 20 degrees and no wind at all – in the tent it was getting very stuffy and it was hard to breathe. In such conditions no good sleep was possible unfortunately. The deer were coming to visit us another time that night but we used the flashlight and they ran away frightened by the light.

So we were able to gather all the things up as quickly as possible in around one hour and were out on the trail at 7am. The sun was already up and shining strong.

On the first part of the trail we enjoyed the shadowy forest paths and views over the old castles. And looking at them and all the old buildings and fortified sites in general we were wandering how it was possible to live there. The sunlight wasn’t really getting through the small window openings and the rock walls in combination with huge rooms and high ceilings weren’t cosy at all. And in winter we bet that it would be very cold in these walls with no isolation. So we couldn’t imagine us living in such space at all. But enjoying the beautiful and unusual exterior of these castles was great of course.

The signs were getting confusing at times and we had to look it up in GPS, sometimes locals were directing us too. But overall if you pay attention to the solid rocks with VF sign on them you can always find the right direction.

Then after a nice but really short part in the forest and shadow we had to get out on the car road again. And we noticed that as the way was turning to the car roads there were signs telling that the safe route ends. And it was very strange to see as if they were taking off the responsibility for the dangerous route. We don’t have other alternative to take so we feel like it is very unfair to pilgrims. It would be much better to adapt these bad dangerous parts accordingly with the sidewalks and proper signs to the cars rather than just saying that it’s our own responsibility. This fact was really bad and we were indignant by it very much.

Still having no other option we had to get on the car road and walk on the grass on the side of it most of the time because the cars were passing too fast not caring about the speed limits at all and it had been like this on every car road. Also there was the funny and sad thing we noticed about the drivers of the cars that were passing by is how surprised they were when seeing us on the road. They were like asking us what are you doing here? Why are you walking? And to us that is the sign that people forgot how to walk and even see it like something strange. And that was really a terrible thing to know. Because first we learn how to walk and it should be our first prioritized ability, driving is optional and should not substitute walking.

Then the trail turned away from the car road and started to go closer to the forest which felt like a relief after long sunny part. It was going mostly flat with some gentle uphills and downhills the same as it was during the last days. And if it wasn’t for the hot weather we would call this hike one of the easiest we’ve done.

Coming closer to the city Siena the trail was climbing uphill and all of it was on the car roads. The sun was really high up in the sky already at that time and it took a lot of sweat from us to get to the town. Inside Siena seemed to us quite a dark and gloomy city with the black facades and old narrow streets and buildings. It would be scary for us to walk here at night. So we crossed the main streets of it and visited the central square which was full of sun. We were glad that we are not staying there for more time.

We rushed to the supermarket to buy food supplies for several days and then we had to take the bus to the campsite, which was in 30 kms from the town. We wanted to find some quiet spot to stay for a couple of days and recover our powers to continue the trail. We felt like the hot weather tired us up quite a lot and we were exhausted at that point. We were lucky because this campsite was in a secluded location in the forest far from busy car roads and it didn’t have many people during the week. It was a bit cheaper than most of the other campsites in the high season too. We liked that it had a natural environmental friendly concept with lots of wooden structures, solar power use and open forest. So we really hoped to have a nice and recovering rest there so that we could start with new fresh powers the new adventures and could discover more trails.

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

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