Nature, history and spirituality combine in Tuscany along the spiritual paths that criss cross the territory, including the area near Arezzo. The via Francigena is nearby, as is a path that links this famous spiritual route to Arezzo. But there’s yet another spiritual hiking opportunity here called the path of San Vicinio. This is a loop that starts and ends at Sarsina in Emilia-Romagna, a neighbouring region of Italy.
Sarsina is a town in the upper Savio valley, where there's a sanctuary dedicated to San Vicinio or Saint Vicinius of Sarsina in English. This saint was originally from Liguria and came to Sarsina during the time of the religious persecution. He is famous for having practised poverty through prayer and fasting and for his rejection of worldly goods.
Nowadays, the itinerary dedicated to him is marked with a chain symbol on the signage. This chain or collar of San Vicinio is the walk’s icon and it has a central role in the cult and tradition of this saint, referring to a relic.
The path, when it hits Tuscany, runs from Camaldoli to Padia Prataglia. The town of Camaldoli, in the territory of Poppi, is in the national park of the Casentinesi Forest. The pilgrim may visit the church of San Salvatore Trasfigurato and the cell dedicated to the silent prayer of San Romualdo, as well as the historic pharmacy which was founded in 1523 and where monks have reconstructed a laboratory with stone mortars and historic recipes in order to distil aromatic liquors.
Further along the path one encounters the following reference points: Casa Pucini, Podere Stradella, Serravalle and Ponte Fosso. Then Tramignone, in order to arrive at Poggio alla Croce, a town near an important cultivation of potatoes.
One continues over the Fosso dell’Acquafredda and to the “curvone Casanova,” where there is a preserved woods of white pine and beech.
Dante refers to Badia Pratiglia as being “between the Tiber and the Arno”. It’s the perfect location for those interested in nature due to the presence of numerous parks and forest reserves, but also for lovers of history thanks to numerous Romanesque churches and a castle (Poppi). It also does not lack religious points of note like the Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta and the small church of Memmenano.
Don’t miss out on sampling the local specialties, this is an area in which one eats well! The woods produce valuable truffle as well as many kinds of mushrooms including porcini; there are also chestnuts which one can easily buy in the area’s stores. Local artisan producers in the area make and sell honey, saffron, wild fruit jams and more.