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Tuscan landscape in the surroundings of Monteroni d'Arbia
Photo ©Mirella

Via Francigena Leg 12: Siena to Ponte d'Arbia

Enjoy the view of the Crete Senesi and discover gems such as the ancient Grancia di Cuna

This 28.5 km leg begins in Siena and takes less than 7 hours. A challenging course along the unpaved roads of the Val d'Arbia, with rolling landscapes and views of the skyline of Siena, leading to the Grancia di Cuna, an ancient fortified farm that was owned by the Santa Maria della Scala hospice.

Continuing along the foothills of the Crete Senesi, you pass Monteroni and reach Quinciano. A short distance away is the fortified town of Lucignano d'Arbia, with the Romanesque church of San Giovanni Battista. After a stretch along the railway line you reach the end of this leg in Ponte d'Arbia.
To find a rest stop you must walk away from the route towards Isola d'Arbia, while water (very little) can also be found at the Grancia di Cuna.
Total length (km): 28.5
Accessibility: on foot or with mountain bike
Time on foot (h: min): 6.20
Climb in ascent (m): 234
Climb in descent (m): 408
Maximum height (m): 318
Difficulty: challenging
Paved roads: 30%
Unpaved roads and driveways: 69%
Mule-tracks and trails: 1%
Cyclability: 100%
How to get to the departure point: Empoli-Siena-Grosseto and Siena-Chiusi railway lines, Siena station

Siena - At the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Siena reached dimensions worthy of other major urban centers of Europe at the time. The city offered to pilgrims health care and lodgings at the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, built in the eleventh century; it quickly became one of the largest foundations of its kind, and a large number of hotels and inns were located mostly in the Camollia and San Martino areas, located near the Via Francigena. From Porta Romana, the via Francigena continues south, along a route that largely coincides with highway 2. On this street there are the still ancient hospitals of St. Mary of Bellem, known as the leper house of St. Lazarus, and two others, at Coroncina and on Colle di Malamerenda.

Isola d'Arbia - Here you'll find the Romanesque church of St. Hilary, named after a saint who was venerated in France. The route passes by the Grancia di Cuna fortress, built in the midst of vast properties of the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena.

Monteroni d'Arbia - Monteroni d'Arbia is considered the gateway to the southern province of Siena, a beautiful area crossed by the Via Cassia. It is a small country whose development is linked to the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala. The town of 7,161 inhabitants is 13 km from Siena and was formed in 1810, under Napoleonic rule. Until that moment, in fact, it was part of Buonconvento.Lucignano - Just past the small town of Monteroni d'Arbia is Lucignano. There you'll find two 14th-century gate-towers and a medieval tower converted into a massive tower of the Romanesque church of San Giovanni Battista. The water mill, which appeared in the first century BC, may be considered the first industrial installation of the story.

Ponte d'Arbia - Arbia is the fourteenth leg of the itinerary of Sigeric. It stood at the foot of the Crete Senesi, the ancient desert of Accona, in Ponte d'Arbia. This territory in medieval times was partially submerged with water, and at one surfacing point stood the small Romanesque church of St. Hilary, a place of devotion of the French pilgrims. On the crest of the Creti Senesi is the monastery of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, with a beautiful frescoed cloister.
Francigena and Spiritual Routes