The Via Francigena and other well-known pilgrimage routes aren’t the only ones that wind through Tuscany; indeed, there is also the Cammino di San Bartolomeo, a route nearly 100 km long that links places dedicated to the saint. St. Bartholomew, one of the 12 Apostles, is the patron saint of many cities, including Cutigliano, and there are many churches and traditional festivals dedicated to the man.
The route begins in Fiumalbo (in the province of Modena) and ends in Pistoia; the walk is broken down into five stages, making it doable in five or six days depending on the pilgrim’s hiking abilities.
The Cammino is primarily made up of mule tracks and trails, with very few stretches on asphalt roads, and isn’t very difficult. There are yellow arrows along the route to indicate the way.
The Cammino di San Bartolomeo crosses through places that boast immense natural beauty and rich historical and artistic culture: it’s the perfect journey for those in search of silence and personal reflection.
The Cammino di San Bartolomeo begins in Fiumalbo and continues through Abetone and Rivoreta, a small village at the foot of Libro Aperto and home to the Museum of the Pistoia Apennine People (inside the Montagna Pistoiese EcoMuseum). You next arrive in Cutigliano, where you can visit the Parish Church of San Bartolomeo. From here, the route moves down to Popiglio, followed by the ancient Ponte di Castruccio and Piteglio.
In Prunetta, there was once a historic hospice known as the Spedale della Croce Brandelliana and dedicated to housing wayfarers and pilgrims. Continue to Pontepetri, where you can see the Ghiacciaia della Madonnina, an 18th-century building that was used to conserve ice.
The next stop is Spedaletto, a small mountain hamlet in the municipality of Pistoia. Its name comes from the existence, since the Early Middle Ages, of a building that took in pilgrims and wayfarers, the Pratum Episcopi, documented as early as 1090. Of the centuries-old complex, all that remains are the church dedicated to St. Bartholomew and its beautiful bell tower. The final stop is Pistoia, particularly the Church of San Bartolomeo in Pantano, with a decoration on the façade that inspired the Cammino’s logo.
Here is a summary of the stages:
- First leg: Fiumalbo (province of Modena) - Cutigliano
- Second leg: Cutigliano - Ponte di Castruccio (Piteglio)
- Third leg: Ponte di Castruccio (Piteglio) - Pontepetri
- Fourth leg: Pontepetri - Spedaletto
- Fifth leg: Spedaletto - Pistoia