It was 994 when Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, recorded the pilgrimage route in his diary. Just like today, it started in the south of England and crossed whole central Europe to Rome. Over the centuries, countless people overcame lots of difficulties at the cost of great sacrifice to reach the eternal city along this route. In the course of time, magnificent churches, monasteries, castles, and picturesque settlements were built to enhance the landscape. After decades of neglect the route is now enjoying a sort of renaissance. You are not necessarily supposed to have a religious belief to walk the Via Francigena. Its natural and cultural landscapes are a good reason for everyone. This is probably why the Via Francigena was recognised European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in 1994.
Just a few minutes’ walk from ADLER Thermae lies an extraordinary jewel: the thermal village of Bagno Vignoni with its large thermal pool. Already used by the Etruscans and Romans it became a place of wellbeing and wellness for pilgrims travelling along the Via Francigena. Thanks to the benefits of its thermal springs, pilgrims reached the eternal city purified and invigorated.
On our guided walking and e-bike tours along the Via Francigena, we usually leave the main route and take the picturesque side trails to reach the most beautiful sights of the area. These include the tiny village of Vignoni Alto with its typical stone houses, the old walls of San Quirico and the imposing fortress of Ripa d'Orcia. Every corner of the landscape is a fascinating postcard in autumn. vineyards, cypress hills, forests, and fields shimmer in all the shades of mustard and caramel. The activity outdoor programme also includes Castiglione with the spectacular castle of Rocca d'Orcia. And Pienza: an authentic jewel that we recommend exploring by bike. The origin of this town dates back to Pope Pius II, who transformed his birthplace into the ideal city of Renaissance. Those in good physical condition should not miss the church of Sant'Antimo. This Romanesque church, surrounded by nature and silence, rises to the sky, and shines a dazzling white.
Sometimes along the Via Francigena it feels like going back in time. But unlike pilgrims, ADLER guests don't have to sacrifice anything. Back from the excursions, you can indulge in total relaxation in our wellness oasis. Then, instead of a simple soup, a sophisticated five-course menu awaits you. Finally, you can lie down not on straw, but soft feathers.