The southern variant of the Via Francigena
Variante ciclistica sud o del Monte Pisano e Padule
The southern variant of the Via Francigena twists and turns along the famous Monumental Aqueduct of Lorenzo Nottolini, that with more than 3 km of high arches still gives the good water of Monte Pisano to the fountains of Lucca.
The route crosses the village of Badia di Cantignano with its interesting church, and reaches Vorno and its parish church. In Vorno you can find Rio di Vorno, a tourist reception point with a restaurant and rooms for the night.
From the parish church it is possible to reach the Astronomical Observatory and move on futher to the Compitese area, famous for the centuries old camellias and the water springrs.
It is worth noting that in Sant’Andrea di Compito there is a medieval lookout tower recently restored.
Tour of the Villas – southern itinerary
As for the northern variant, it possible to admire villas and chiuse on this side of the plain as well.
The path stretches in and around Vorno and is made of three rings of around 5 km in lenght, not counting the occasional short detours.
‘The peculiarity of Vorno is within the urban fabric of ‘chiuse’ and villas, created between the sixteenth and the eighteenth century. The chiusa is surronded by stone walls and has well defined spaces: the garden, the vegetable garde, the orchard, the lemon house, the stables, the wine cellars, the warehouse. At the centre there is the villa, that has relatively modest volumes and archtectural elements. On the other hand, the access to the villa and the gardens are more ornated’ (G.Massoni).
The tourist information point ‘Rio di Vorno’ is along the circuit and offers information material but also accomodation and food.