A spiritual route that runs through Siena and has led to Loreto for centuries…
Via Lauretana traces an Etruscan-Roman route that later became an important pilgrimage route towards the Holy House of Loreto.
For centuries it was a heavily travelled road, which in its Sienese section branched off from the Via Francigena, passing through Asciano, Sinalunga, Torrita di Siena and Montepulciano before reaching the castle of Valiano and Camucia, at the foot of Cortona. Then, it continues into Umbria and crosses the Apennines before arriving in Loreto, in the Marche region.
Unlike the neighbouring Via Francigena, which has continued to be travelled even in modern times by those on their way to Rome, the strongly devotional senese-aretina Via Lauretana lost long-distance travellers and pilgrims over the centuries as they chose new routes to reach their destination.
It was restored under the Grand Duchy of Pietro Leopoldo in the second half of the 18th century. Then, it was abandoned and it was restored again and made safe only recently thanks to the Region of Tuscany and the municipalities the route passes through.
Walking or cycling along the Sienese section of Via Lauretana, perhaps in several stages, means embarking on a journey of exploration of an area that has been skilfully constructed and protected over time by man.Boundless landscapes, authentic medieval villages, works of art and archaeological routes, but also laborious and careful preservation of local crops have contributed to shaping this landscape that we can wonder through today, celebrating slowness, an ancient metaphor for human existence.
In the section that connects Siena to Cortona, Via Lauretana passes through landscapes of rare beauty and places rich in history, offering thrilling surprises to those who travel it. Leaving Siena, you will find yourself in the clay sea of the Crete Senesi, among hills that change colour with the seasons as far as the eye can see. In this landscape, you will stumble upon surprising and striking modern installations, ancient fortresses and monasteries.
Next, you will come into Val di Chiana valley,adjacent to Val d’Orcia, where you will be immersed in natural oases and engineering works that changed the landscape and economy of these lands. The potential of these valleys was already recognised by fascinating and mysterious people like the Etruscans, of whom you will encounter traces along the way.
Walking or cycling on the Lauretana, through Siena, Asciano, Rapolano Terme, Sinalunga, Torrita di Siena, Montepulciano and Cortona, will be an exciting journey full of discoveries and surrounded by beauty.
If you would like to embark on this journey of scenic and spiritual beauty, you will find all the information about the routes and where to stay along the way at www.stradedisiena.it.