Villages and Culture

Pilgrim, in Garfagnana, along the way of the Holy Face

7 days walking through less famous itineraries and routes to be rediscovered.

On ancient pilgrimage routes, among sanctuaries and symbolic places of the territory, on the footsteps of saints who were born, lived or crossed in those lands. In the footsteps of the saints, we will walk to the discovery of places and figures that have marked the history and the deviation of the territory.

From Pontremoli to Lucca, the Cammino del Volto Santo (Holy Countenance Trail) starts, crossing the Garfagnana and leading to Lucca, where the relic of the Holy Countenance has been venerated since 752: it is one of the many paths that made up the Via Francigena in the Middle Ages.

Our itinerary will be:

  • the Via del Volto Santo in Garfagnana [from Argegna to Lucca, in 5 stages in 5 days]. Today, through places, villages, beautiful landscapes, history, architecture and traditions, cuisine and hospitality, it is once again practicable.

Programme

Arrival in Lucca, by own means. Meeting with the guide. Transfer, by minibus, to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana where the tour begins. Check-In. Accommodation in the reserved rooms. Presentation of the programme by one of our representatives. In the afternoon, visit (exterior only) of the Rocca Ariostesca of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, which dominates the centre of the village and which in the 16th century hosted for three years the poet Ludovico Ariosto, who had been named governor of the province of Garfagnana, at the time under the rule of the Este family. Walk through the streets of the centre of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. Possibility of buying local products in the shops. Typical “Garfagnana” dinner with a tasting of local products. Return to the hotel. Overnight stay.

Stage N.1 : from Argegna to Piazza al Serchio [ 11 KM ].

The itinerary leaves the territory of Lunigiana area and descends into the Garfagnana, a land rich in history and an integral part of the territory of Matilda of Canossa. We arrive at Piazza al Serchio.

  • Departure at: Argegna
  • Arrival at: Piazza al Serchio
  • Distance: 11 km
  • Travel time (without stops): 5 hours
  • Lunch: Lunch Box with sandwich bag menu.

Stage description

In the morning we leave from Argegna, for what will turn out to be the shortest stage of the whole walk. From the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Guardia we enjoy an exciting panorama. Giuncugnano is surrounded by the chestnut, oak and beech trees of the Parco Nazionale dell’Appennino Tosco-Emiliano.Our attention is drawn to the Church of Sant’Antonino, which contains a statue of the Holy Face. 

We continue on our way to Piazza del Serchio, crossing mule tracks, meadows and woods that give us back the primordial image of Garfagnana. We reach Cortia, pass it and reach the end of our mule track in the village of Nicciano. This was a feud that was long in the hands of the Malaspina marquises. We continue our walk. We have now reached the end of our walk, but San Michele, a fief of the Guidi counts, perched on the right-hand side of the Acque Bianche, a tributary of the Serchio, and reach, by crossing a stone bridge ed dating from the 14th century, is well worth a visit. Of particular beauty is the medieval bridge that precedes the entrance to the village. And finally we arrive to Piazza al Serchio, which developed from the historic centre of Borgo di Sala, with the beautiful Pieve di San Pietro and the site of Castelvecchio. Return to the hotel. Dinner. Overnight stay.

Stage n.2 : from Piazza al Serchio to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana [18 KM].

We continue in the heart of Garfagnana from Piazza al Serchio, passing through Verrucole, San Romano in Garfagnana, Pontecosi. We arrive in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana.

  • Departure from: Piazza al Serchio
  • Arrival in: Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
  • Distance: 18 km
  • Travel time (without stops): 8 hours
  • Lunch: Lunch Box with sandwich bag menu.

Stage description

In the morning we leave Piazza al Serchio and head towards Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. We head towards the majestic and superb Fortezza delle Verrucole, one of the most beautiful examples of a medieval Tuscan castle. At the Fortezza delle Verrucole we visit the Archeo Park, which is a living museum offering historical reconstructions. We visit the beautiful historic centre of San Romano in Garfagnana, with its narrow, cobbled streets. Our route continues past beautiful and skilfully maintained villages such as Sambuca, whose church, dedicated to San Pantaleone stands on a rocky spur with which it forms a single unit, and Pontecosi, where we can stop to rest and enjoy the scenery on the lakeside promenade. We are almost at the end of the stage and the nearby

Castelnuovo di Garfagnana awaits us again. Return to the hotel. Dinner. Overnight stay.

Stage N.3: from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to Barga [ 27 KM ].

We continue in the heart of the Garfagnana from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana to Barga and its cathedral.

  • Departure from: Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
  • Arrival in: Barga
  • Distance: 27 kilometres
  • Travelling time (without stops): 9 hours
  • Lunch: Lunch Box with sandwich bag menu.

Stage description

In the morning we set off from Castelnuovo Garfagnana: the town at the intersection with the Matildica route. We admire the Rocca Ariostesca from which the poet Ludovico Ariosto ruled the Garfagnana. After passing the village of Cascio, we reach Gallicano, a junction of the Holy Face Route, thanks to the continuous and secular link with Lucca (the Holy Face appears in the 1450 Statutes of Lucca) and home of Domenico Bertini, who commissioned the Tempietto del Volto Santo in the Cathedral of San Martino. Finally we arrive in Barga, a place known for the sad events of the Second World War. Here the signs of the partisan struggle are recognisable, through the remains of trenches and gravestones. The town, which has an orange flag, is surrounded by a beautiful rural landscape. A long stage, mostly downhill, but with a couple of ups and downs (particularly after Castelnuovo Garfagnana) not to be underestimated. Return to the hotel, after a brief stop at Castelvecchio Pascoli to visit the house where the poet Giovanni Pascoli lived and is buried. Dinner. Overnight stay.

Stage 4: from Barga to Borgo a Mozzano [ 18.0 KM ].

The route continues from Barga, passing the Pieve di Loppia, the ancient Solco track, the village of Ghivizzano and on to Borgo a Mozzano and the famous Devil’s Bridge over the river Serchio.

  • Departure from: Barga
  • Arrival in: Borgo a Mozzano
  • Distance: 17.9 kilometres
  • Estimated time of visiting (without stops): 6 hours
  • Lunch: Lunch Box with sandwich bag menu.

Stage description

In the morning we leave from Barga, recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Visit to the Romanesque cathedral, dedicated to Saint Christopher. We continue our visit with the Church of the Crucifix and then stop in the centre to admire the Renaissance palaces and the Teatro dei Rassicurati. Along the way (suggestive of the beautiful panorama) we find the thousand-year-old Romanesque parish church of Santa Maria a Barga, known as Pieve di Loppia. Ghivizzano welcomes us with its castle. A walk through the village. From Ghivizzano, after a few dirt roads, we cross the Serchio river on the road bridge. Here begins the last effort of the day towards Borgo a Mozzano. Stop to admire the Ponte della Maddalena, known as the Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge): one of the most original constructions in all of Tuscany. A beautiful example of medieval architecture, it connects the two banks of the Serchio River and has inspired numerous artists and made legends bloom about its construction. Return to the hotel. Dinner. Overnight stay.

Stage 5: from Borgo a Mozzano to Lucca [ 29.4KM ].

Towards the end of a great itinerary, walking among the olive trees of the valley floor, visiting the Pieve Matildica of Diecimo and admiring the great views from the hills of Aquilea towards the mountains and Lucca, a city with splendid walls, rich in tradition, culture, spirituality and home to the Volto Santo.

  • Departure from: Borgo a Mozzano
  • Arrival in: Lucca
  • Distance: 29.4 kilometres
  • Estimated time of visiting (without stops): 8 hours
  • Lunch: Lunch Box with sandwich bag menu.

Stage description

The last stage of the Via del Volto Santo. In the morning we leave the village of Borgo a Mozzano, home of the Museo della Memoria (Museum of Memory) and continue in a south-westerly direction towards the hamlet of Diecimo where we find the ancient parish chuch di Santa Maria, built by Matilde di Canossa. After passing the locality of San Donato we head towards Ponte a Moriano. Following the banks of the river Serchio, leaving the mountains behind us, we arrive at the gates of wonderful Lucca, the long-awaited and beautiful final destination of the Via del Volto Santo. The historic walls surround a city of churches such as San Frediano and fascinating squares such as the Amphitheatre. The Cathedral of San Martino houses the Holy Statue. Check-In. Hotel accommodation in the reserved rooms. Dinner. Overnight stay.

Check-Out. In the morning guided tour (only on the outside) of the elegant and refined Lucca, (all entrance fees excluded), a splendid city of art, starting with a pleasant walk along the famous 16th century walls, shaded by large trees, which enclose the ancient city centre. We will also visit the medieval Church of San Francesco, with its large mosaic on the façade dating back to the 13th century, the amazing Piazza Anfiteatro, modelled on the ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre of the 2nd century AD, the Guinigi Tower, the Museum Complex of the Cathedral and Church of San Giovanni, the typical street of antique dealers and the Churches of San Michele in Foro and San Frediano.

Free lunch and return by own means.

Details

Travel notes

This programme may be subject to change, both before and during the trip, depending on the weather, the needs of the travellers and the people hosting the group of travellers. All the visits are guaranteed, but they may be subject to change, on site, respect to the order listed above, at “our” discretion, for the sole purpose to ensure the best success of the tour, but without changing the substance of the visits [ The visits may be reversed depending on the opening times of the museums or for technical reasons, but the programme remains unchanged ].

Special requests

When defining and accepting the travel contract, it is necessary to indicate the presence of people requiring special diets or with reduced mobility in order to be able to verify the services and the possibility of assistance.

These are necessary

For all walking tours, you will need hiking boots, a water bottle of at least one litre, a kway or poncho, a backpack of at least 20/30 litres. Spare socks or T-shirt are recommended, as well as food or energy supplements.

Level of difficulty of walking tours

The trip is suitable for people who can walk, not necessarily trained but in good health. It is not suitable for children.

The price includes

Not included

Methods of payment

  • DEPOSIT: € ___, within 7 days of registration
  • BALANCE: no later than 21 days before the date of departure: € ___, by __________

Cancellation

CANCELLATION BY THE TRAVELLER:

FOR ANY VOLUNTARY CANCELLATIONS THE FOLLOWING PENALTIES WILL APPLY:

  • CANCELLATIONS UP TO 15 DAYS BEFORE DEPARTURE: 50% PENALTY
  • CANCELLATIONS FROM 14 DAYS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE: 100% CANCELLATION FEE

CANCELLATION WITHOUT PENALTY: within___________

Price

FROM

1220 €

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TOUR 7 Days/6 Nights

DEPARTURES

Period 01.05.2021 / 15.10.2021

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