INTRODUCTION OF THE ROUTE
We have tried to enclose in a hundred kilometers places, moments and emotions that can be experienced on the major pilgrimage found in Spain. Here too we find relics of the Apostle, in the beautiful and ancient city of Pistoia. This is the summary of our proposal.
The path starts from the cloister of the convent of the Franciscan friars in Pietrasanta, passes the ancient church of Santa Felicita and climbs up the Cannoreto hill, the first of many short and intense climbs that lead to panoramic points of great beauty. The view sweeps over the plain and the sea. Then there will be countryside, vineyards, olive groves and ancient cities. After Camaiore, a second and more challenging climb awaits us which, instead of to the source of Rolando and the Lepoeder pass, leads to Monte Magno, then to Gualdo and descends to Valpromaro, the new Roncesvalles, with good reason since this is a pilgrim hostel similar, for characteristics, to Grañon, icon of the spirit of the Jacobean path (stage 1)
We will reach Lucca along fragrant paths in sight of infinite valleys, stopping in ancient churches, almost forgotten and far from the tourist hotspots. In Lucca we will meet “il fosso” (the ditch) an artificial canal that carries the waters of the Serchio and that will accompany us, disappearing and reappearing, almost as far as Lammari, where, at the church of San Giacomo, the parish priest Don Giovanni will give us a brotherly welcome (stage 2).
From Lammari we reach the hills and cross the small villages gathered around the ancient churches, to reach Collodi with the feeling that at every bend of the path we will be able to meet a talking cricket or the cat and the fox. We will then be in Pescia, an expanse of greenhouses, a lively town with kids playing ball in the streets in a cheerful disorder (stage 3). Back up to the beautiful villages of Uzzano, Stignano and Buggiano Castello, we go down to Montecatini, the major urban center of this route, admiring the thermal baths, the Kursaal, the historic hotels. After Pieve a Nievole we return to nature, accompanied for a few stretches by the nearby motorway. Serravalle awaits us up there, with its towers, a windy and ancient village where you will want to stop and relax. One of the most interesting points of the journey where you can look back at the journey made and the one still to be covered (stage 4).
The last stretch of the road that crosses Groppoli and the parish church of San Michele to reach the convent of Giaccherino is still in the countryside. Here it is inevitable to think of Monte do Gozo from which you can the tops of the cathedral of Santiago but also of Monte della Gioia in Monte Mario, already in Rome, where the Francigenous pilgrim meets the great dome of St. Peter for the first time. . We then go down the long Via Crucis towards the center of Pistoia where we meet the Galician signpost, the large Piazza del Duomo and finally we enter the chapel dedicated to the Apostle where the relics are kept, in front of an imposing silver altar.
The start of the Way will therefore be in Pietrasanta or Camaiore. The arrival point of the first stage, of course, is our hostel in Valpromaro. Pietrasanta is suitable for those arriving the previous day and can therefore sleep there in the hospitlity areas we indicate. A medium-length stage (19.8 km) awaits them. Camaiore is suitable for those who arrive in the morning and have a limited number of hours of walking available.
In our proposal we have divided the journey into 5 stages. Moreover, almost all the stages are in turn divided into semi-stages. This is the procession:
|Stage 1 - Pietrasanta / Valpromaro||19,7||21.3|
|1.1 Pietrasanta - Camaiore||10,5||10,5|
|1.2 Camaiore - Valpromaro||9,2||with variant Gualdo||10,8|
|Stage 2 - Valpromaro / Lammari||24,5||24.5|
|2.1 Valpromaro - Lucca||16,3||with variant Piazzano||16,3|
|2.2 Lucca - Lammari||8,2||8,2|
|Stage 3 - Lammari / Pescia||17,0||17,0|
|3.1 Lammari - Collodi||13,7|
|3.2 Collodi - Pescia||3,3|
|Stage 4 - Pescia / Serravalle P.||18,9||18,9|
|4.1 Pescia - Montecatini||10,1|
|4.2 Montecatini - Serravalle P.||8,8|
|Stage 5 - Serravalle P. / Pistoia||11,0||11,0|
And this is the elevation profile of the entire walk:
In designing the route we tried to propose stages of lengths that are not excessive, suitable for the legs of most pilgrims. Stages of medium / short length also allow you to have some time for a break, for a digression, for a visit: the places crossed are beautiful both for the landscapes and for the numerous historical and artistic points of interest.
Naturally, it is not a rigid subdivision: according to the places in which to spend the night, each one can modulate his stages to his liking, lengthening or shortening them: in each stage there isinformation regarding places to sleep, which can also be identified easily on the map at the beginning of each stage. Cyclists will naturally have ample room for choice.
For each stage we have tried to offer a wide range of information:
- total and partial distance
- the difference in altitude
- the GPS tracks to download, in GPX format (universal for all apps) and KML (for Google Earth) containing the main route, the variants, the alternative routes for the cyclists. The tracks contain numerous waypoints: directions, churches, towns, fountains, shops, post offices, etc.
- a map viewable on Google Maps
- the detailed description of the route
- cards on the main services referring to each inhabited center: where to sleep, transport, health services, others (bars, restaurants, banks, post offices, railway stations, sporting equipment, food, supermarkets, bike repair services)
- cards on the villages, towns and cities you pass through
- cards on artistic and historical points of interest, traditions, particularities, etc.