The ancient route will be travelled by pilgrims on 12th and 13th October with the World Francigena UltraMarathon. A non-competitive 120km trekking and Nordic walking hike, which offers five different tracks you can choose from.
The event, organised by the Tourism Department of the Municipality of Siena and by the Department of Sport and Tourism of Acquapendente, with the patronage of the European Association of Via Francigena Ways, the region of Tuscany and the region of Lazio, and the collaboration of the Municipalities of Monteroni d’Arbia, Buonconvento, Montalcino, San Quirico d’Orcia, Castiglione d’Orcia, Radicofani, San Casciano dei Bagni and Proceno. They aim is to bring the route to life, in a perspective of slow and green tourism, a territory rich in natural and artistic beauty that represents the historical-cultural and environmental heritage of the ten Municipalities involved in the initiative between Tuscany and Lazio.
“This demonstration – said Tourism Councillor, Alberto Tirelli, today at the press conference – is a real enhancement for the Via Francigena, especially in terms of maintenance with constant control, and thanks to the work with the municipalities and the associations involved, like the Sienese Trekking Group that monitors the network of dirt roads covering it all year round“. In underlining the novelties of this year: “the increase of short routes for a wider offer, the decision to establish a maximum threshold of participants to ensure greater safety during the event and an increase in gourmet refreshment points with sponsor of the territory (Conad, Coldiretti, Menchetti, the Fabbrica del Panforte Siena), to continue the promotion of local excellence“, the councilor anticipated the administration’s intention to organise in Siena “a party, in the evening before 12 October, to welcome the participants“.
As Angelo Ghinassi, mayor of Acquapendente, recalled: “this Ultramarathon is inspired by the most historic “Francigena Marathon”, with the intention of reviving our small town, cut off from the flow of potential tourists after the opening in 1964 of the ‘Autostrada del Sole. It is a project of visibility aimed at rediscovering the most, a jewel of Italy capable of preserving important treasures such as the Holy Sepulcher, a singular reproduction faithful to the original of Jerusalem”. In conclusion he hoped to be able to see in the next edition “a segment of the morning route that crosses the Val d’Orcia, cradle of spectacular landscapes to be enjoyed also during the day“.
“The development of the territory for a different tourism, not only cultural-artistic, but also naturalistic, also passes through the safeguard of the environment“: it is the thought of the councilor for Sport and Environment Silvia Buzzichelli that in remembering the last case of abandonment of waste right next to the historic Via, reiterated how “the green approach is fundamental to enhance the beauty of a place. This is why the organization of events like this, with constant control of dirt roads, allows us to limit the damage and better control the situation“.
“Five itineraries available – as Daniele Bibbiani, of the Sienese Trekking Group, recalled – designed according to the needs and training of the participants, but all ready to tell the beauty of one of the most famous historical routes in Europe , and thus relive the magic of walking. Reason for which, this year, we have introduced some variants: such as the passage from Renaccino and Strada di Radi (on the path initially traced by the Via Francogena), along a splendid ridge overlooking Siena, thus avoiding the industrial area of Isola d ‘Arbia; and again, in Radicofani, where we have eliminated a piece of paved road to pass in more suggestive tracks. Also the introduction of a night-time, Buonconvento-San Quirico d’Orcia, which will allow you to see Montalcino and the Val d’Orcia illuminated at night“.
A show for the eyes and the mind and “an occasion – as the deputy mayor of Buonconvento said Elisabetta Borgogni – of participation, even for those who live these small realities, in a continuous exchange between those who stay and those who pass by always remembering how much it is important to preserve, care for and enhance these places of history and fascination“.
Siena-Acquapendente: the most challenging route, of 120 km, starts on October 12 at 10 am from Piazza Duomo with the bib collection (in vicolo San Girolamo, 4), from 16 to 20 on 11 October and from 8 to 9.30 del 12. Along the white roads of the Val d’Arbia, with views immersed in the most intact countryside of the Siena area that from the city of the Palio moves towards the Grancia di Cuna, the ancient fortified farm that was part of the Spedale Santa Maria della Scala, touches Monteroni d’Arbia and arrives in Quinciano. From here, it is possible to see the fortified village of Lucignano d’Arbia, with the Romanesque parish church of San Giovanni Battista. After a stretch along the railway line, it is the turn of Ponte d’Arbia and subsequently of Buonconvento, stage arrival of the route. Then continue climbing towards the Ombrone valley, following a stretch of the Cassia towards Montalcino, with the view of hills covered with vineyards from which the famous Brunello is born. Along the dirt roads you reach Torrenieri, with the church of Santa Maria Maddalena, mentioned by Sigerico. From here you enter the views of the Val d’Orcia with an uphill section until you reach the collegiate church of San Quirico D’Orcia. Continue from San Quirico d’Orcia with a challenging stage with climbs and descents along barren hills. You reach the small fortified village of Vignoni, with its view that sweeps over the Val d’Orcia and descends to Bagno Vignoni, famous for its monumental thermal pool. A long up and down stretch in the valleys of the Orcia and Paglia rivers leads the participants to the ancient hospitable Le Briccole in the municipality of Castiglione D’Orcia. From here begins a hard climb to the stage point at Radicofani at 790 meters above sea level. After a descent of 8 km along the ridge, with hills as far as the eye can see and Mount Amiata, behind the Rocca di Radicofani, we reach Ponte a Rigo, a hamlet of San Casciano dei Bagni. After a few kilometers you enter Lazio, and then along a dirt road with views of the Paglia river valley, you arrive in Proceno. Descend to Ponte Gregoriano, before tackling the last steep climb to the Porta della Ripa, entrance to the City of Acquapendente (La Gerusalemme D’Europa).
Siena-Buonconvento: it is a 35 km itinerary that, again on October 12th at 10 am from Piazza Duomo, (collection of bibs in vicolo San Girolamo, 4, from 16 to 20 on 11 October and from 8 to 9.30 on 12) retraces the key places of the first part of the Ultramarathon in the Val d’Arbia.
Buonconvento-San Quirico d’Orcia: is the shortest route of this edition: 20 km from one of the most beautiful villages in the province of Siena, Buonconvento, arrives at the gates of the Val d’Orcia, Unesco heritage: San Quirico d’Orcia . The departure is October 12th at 3pm in Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi in Buonconvento before having collected the bib from 2pm to 3pm at the Pro Loco stand.
San Quirico d’Orcia-Acquapendente: 65 km that cross the heart of the Val d’Orcia, to arrive in Lazio between fortified villages, endless panoramas, thermal places, valleys and rivers. Starts Saturday, October 12 at night (at 21) from San Quirico d’Orcia (Piazza Chigi). Same place for collecting bibs, but in 20-21 hours.
Radicofani-Acquapendente: it is the conclusion of an experience that is not only sports (32 Km), which traces the last stretch of the more complex World Francigena UltraMarathon. The appointment is on Sunday the 13th at 9am in Piazza San Pietro in Radicofani, where bibs can also be collected from 7.30am to 8.45am.
Registrations for all journeys, with a financial contribution that varies according to the chosen route to be specified when registering (65 euros for the 120 km of the Ultramarathon; 55 euros for 65 km San Quirico-Acquapendente; 20 euros for Siena- Buonconvento of 35 km; 25 euro for 20 km from Buonconvento to San Quirico and 20 euro for the 32 km from Radicofani to Acquapendente), can be made online until 1 October, or when reaching 1000 participants, on the website www .francigenaultramarathon.it
Source: press release Municipality of Siena