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Pieve di Cèllole in San Gimignano

Via Francigena Leg 9: from Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano

Discover the castles and abbeys that dot the Val d'Elsa along the ninth leg of the Via Francigena

This 13.4 km leg begins in Gambassi Terme and takes 3 hours to complete. It is a brief itinerary that however shows the beauty of the ridges of the Val d'Elsa, which is dotted with the castles and abbeys that were born thanks to the passage of the Via Francigena in the area.

You can visit the Sanctuary of Pancole, before going uphill towards the village of Collemucioli, along a stretch of dirt road from the Middle Ages; from there you can reach the church of Cellole.

Climb up the hill to view the spectacular 15 towers of San Gimignano, one of the most popular destinations of Tuscany; its profile in the horizon is a must see!
Water supplies are available in Pancole; there are no eateries along this itinerary.

Total length (km): 13.4
Accessibility: on foot or with mountain bike
Time on foot (h: min): 3.00
Climb in ascent (m): 344
Climb in descent (m): 329
Maximum altitude (m): 388
Difficulty: easy
Paved roads: 40%
Unpaved roads and driveways: 54%
Mule-tracks and trails: 6%
Cyclability: 97%
How to get to the departure point: SITA (055 483651) from Certaldo, Castelfiorentino, Empoli, Florence, Volterra.

Gambassi Terme - In ancient times, this town was land of crossroads for the Etruscans, on the road for Volterra, as well as for the Romans travelling between Siena and Lucca; in the Middle Ages, it became particularly important for the pilgrims along the Via Francigena (Sigeric as archbishop of Canterbury, whose journey through Italy remembers, before 994, the Parish of Chianni). An ancient hospital here is already mentioned in the thirteenth century. In Gambassi Terme today, you can visit the permanent exhibition of glassworks that displays about 3000 local and Italian archaeological finds dating from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, and includes historical and archaeological studies on the ancient production of glass in Val d'Elsa. This activity, documented since the thirteenth century, has now disappeared but it was for centuries a hallmark for the entire territory, whose fame extended far beyond the narrow geographical area. For those seeking well-being, they can find the healing waters of the local spa.

San Gimignano - A city known for its numerous towers and Vernaccia wine. Something to see are the walls of the council room of City Hall, which were painted between 1289 and 1299, and feature figures and chivalry scenes to celebrate Charles II of Angiò, the king that was crowned May 29, 1289 and who strengthened alliances among Tuscan Guelph towns, including San Gimignano. On the wall opposite the figuration of the king,there is a gigantic figure of St. Christopher carrying the Baby Jesus on his shoulders; the presence and size of the image of the saint, the patron saint of pilgrims and travelers, corresponds to the nearby Via Francigena that was traveled by Sigeric of Canterbury.
Francigena and Spiritual Routes