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Via Lauretana: riding inside Beauty

An important pilgrimage trail that originated on an ancient Etruscan-Roman route

Via Lauretana was a heavily traveled road until the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. From Siena, it broke off from the Via Francigena to reach Camucia, at the foot of Cortona, and then head for Umbria and, crossing the Apennines, arrive at Loreto, in the Marches.

Unlike the nearby via Francigena, which has continued to be traveled even in modern times by those headed for Rome, the stretch of Lauretana in the area of Siena and Arezzo, an essentially devotional journey, has lost wayfarers and long-distance pilgrims over the centuries, who have chosen new paths to reach their destination.

In the stretch joining Siena to Cortona, the Lauretana crosses landscapes of rare beauty and places rich in history: riding a bike through it gives surprises and emotions. Leaving Siena you find yourself in the clay sea of the Crete Senesi, where you ride through a horizon of hills with colors changing with the seasons, and encounter surprising and striking modern installations, ancient fortresses and monasteries.

You then enter the Val di Chiana, passing close to the Val d’Orcia, to find yourself surrounded by natural oases and engineering works that have changed the landscape and economy of these lands, whose potential was already known by the Etruscans, a fascinating and mysterious people whose traces can often be found along the trail.

Riding along the Lauretana, crossing Siena, Asciano, Rapolano Terme, Sinalunga, Torrita di Siena, Montepulciano and Cortona will be an emotional journey, rich in discoveries, always surrounded by beauty.

Today's route of the ancient Via Lauretana bicycle route that from Siena leads as far as Cortona follows a stretch of the hiking trail known as one of the «Cammini Toscani» (Tuscan walkways) and allows you to connect to the via Francigena and to the Sentiero della Bonifica (Reclamation Trail).

The detours, compared to the route of the Via Lauretana "on foot," have been designed to allow cyclists to enjoy this wonderful route to the fullest, along which short paved stretches alternate with stretches of dirt road, some of them quite challenging. In particular, the stretch that leads from Sinalunga to Montepulciano and then heads in the direction of Cortona has been studied in order to avoid car traffic as much as possible.

Six stops are proposed with bike points situated in the most important locations. Although you can make the trip in a single day, we recommend you schedule it in two or three days to make time to enjoy the countless historical and scenic beauties.


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