The way of San Jacopo in Tuscany Pilgrimage from Florence to Livorno

The way of San Jacopo in Tuscany

Pilgrimage from Florence to Livorno

go to the guides

The Cammino di San Jacopo in Tuscany is an ancient pilgrimage route that, in about 170 km that can be covered in 6 days, joins Florence to Livorno. It is a simple route, suitable for everyone and can be walked at any time of year. It follows the route of the ancient Roman road Cassia Clodia that joined the Tuscan capital to Lucca, passing through Prato, Pescia and Pistoia, then continuing on to Pisa and Livorno, where pilgrims once embarked in the direction of Santiago or Jerusalem.

The route has always been a crossroads for pilgrims, who from Florence arrived in Lucca to continue their journey along the Via Francigena to Rome or continued on to Santiago de Compostela along the Via della Costa in Liguria, or reached Livorno, where they embarked in the direction of Santiago or Jerusalem. One of the iconic places along this route is the city of Pistoia, known as 'little Santiago', which became famous in the late Middle Ages for the cult of the relic of San Jacopo, kept in the Cathedral of San Zeno in Piazza Duomo.

The ancient friendship between Pistoia and Santiago de Compostela was recently renewed (November 2019) with the donation of a cippus from the Xunta de Galicia on which the distance from Pistoia to Santiago is indicated.

Pistoia is therefore part of the international network of pilgrim routes: in fact, "the Way of San Jacopo accompanies the pilgrim to the Via Francigena, to continue along the Via della Costa in Liguria, in the south of France, and to enter the Pyrenees on the French Way".

Map of The way of San Jacopo in Tuscany

Download the map of The way of San Jacopo in Tuscany

The San Jacopo itinerary begins in the historic centre of Florence, where you can admire some of the city's most beautiful monuments: the Duomo, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Basilica of San Lorenzo.

Leaving the historical centre behind, we pass through Porta S.Gallo, in Piazza della Libertà, the ancient gate for pilgrims entering the city, to reach the beautiful Orticultura Gardens, from where we can enjoy a spectacular view of the city.

Walking along the "walled" streets, we reach the quiet Careggi district, an area rich in Medici villas: Villa La Petraia and Villa Reale di Castello, home to the Accademia della Crusca.

Also worth a visit is the church of San Michele a Castello, whose parish priest, Don Lorenzo, walked the Cammino di S. Jacopo on his way to Santiago de Compostela in 1472, recording his experiences in a diary and providing practical information for pilgrims.

After passing through Castello, we reach Quarto and Quinto Alto, where the well-preserved Etruscan tombs of Mula and Montagnola are located.

Then we reach Sesto, with the beautiful church of Querceto, dedicated to San Jacopo, and the castle of Calenzano. From here we reach the gates of Prato, a pretty Tuscan town famous not only for its works of art but also for its textile production.

You can visit the Textile Museum, dedicated to the art and development of weaving from antiquity to the present day.

Also worth a visit is the beautiful Duomo with the relic of the Holy Girdle of the Virgin Mary and frescoes by Filippo Lippi.

Leaving Prato behind, we enter the Monteferrato nature reserve, famous for its green serpentinite, the stone used to decorate all the Pisan monuments in Pistoia, as well as the cathedrals of Prato and Florence.

We then reach the Rocca di Montemurlo, which belonged to the Counts Guidi, and after crossing the Agna stream we reach the province of Montale with its beautiful Abbey of San Salvatore in Agna.

Beyond the town of Montale, we plunge into the landscape of Pistoia's nurseries until we come to the 18th-century Villa di Celle, famous for the important collections of contemporary art it houses.

We arrive in Pistoia, called "Little Santiago" thanks to the cult of the relic of San Jacopo, which arrived in the city in 1144 and is kept in the Cathedral of San Zeno in Piazza Duomo. The ancient friendship between Pistoia and Santiago de Compostela has recently been renewed (November 2019) with the donation by the Xunta de Galicia of a cippus showing the distance from Pistoia to Santiago.

Pistoia is therefore part of the international network of pilgrim routes, in fact "the Way of St James accompanies the pilgrim to the Via Francigena and then continues along the Via della Costa in Liguria, southern France, and enters the Pyrenees on the French Way".

Leaving the city along the ancient Via Cassia, we cross the Ombrone river and come to the Pieve di San Michele in Groppoli, a 12th century parish church dedicated to St Michael the Archangel. Through cultivated fields we reach Serravalle Pistoiese, the border between the Val di Nievole and the territory of Pistoia, where we can still see the remains of the Longobard Tower and the Rocca Nuova.

This brings us to Montecatini, where we can admire the splendid park of Terme Tettuccio, famous not only for its curative waters but also for its imposing Liberty-style architecture, set in a suggestive park of sequoias, cedars and palm trees, enriched with statues, columns and fountains that reveal the splendour of a bygone era.

After a well-deserved visit to the park, we continue our walk towards Buggiano Castello, a village rich in citrus trees and Mediterranean flora, and then towards the fortified village of Uzzano, on the top of which stands the Romanesque church of Santi Jacopo e Martino, from which it is possible to admire a beautiful panorama of the entire Valdinievole valley.

Walking along the ancient pavements, you can reach the historic town of Pescia, rich in churches and convents. The Cathedral, which houses the remains of Saint Allucio, the patron saint and protector of pilgrims, is well worth a visit.

From the centre of Pescia, take via della Fiaba, an ancient white road of medieval origin, which connects the town to Collodi, the town famous for the Pinocchio Park, a magical place where you can immerse yourself in the heroic deeds of the puppet through sculptures and mosaics.

Following today's Via Vecchia Pesciatina, we cross the threshold of the Lucca plain and, along a canal derived from the Serchio river, we arrive at the gates of Lucca and, passing first through Porta San Jacopo and then through Porta San Gervasio, we reach the Cathedral of San Martino, where our itinerary ends.

Inside the cathedral is the venerated Volto Santo, a wooden crucifix that has been a pilgrimage object since the Middle Ages.

The itinerary begins in the city, leaving through Porta Sant'Anna, also known as Porta Vittorio Emanuele, and heads out of the suburbs alongside streets. The route crosses the Ozzeri-Rogio Canal, a double-slope canal, the main drainage system for the Lucca plain, built along the ancient course of the Serchio river.

The route continues along country roads through a foothill area rich in small villages, villas and fascinating early mediaeval churches. The route then climbs the slopes of Monte Pisano, the mountain that separates the plain of Pisa from that of Lucca, along shady paths and paved military roads that lead to ancient hermitages, towers and fortifications.

From there, the route descends from the Rocca di Ripafratta, a mediaeval fortress that dominates the village of Ripafratta in the municipality of San Giuliano Terme, and continues down the plain along canals and cultivated fields. The route then reaches the Ciclopedonale Puccini (Puccini Cycle Route), a cycle route that runs along the banks of the River Serchio as far as Pontasserchio, a hamlet in the municipality of San Giuliano Terme, in the province of Pisa.

After the village, the route continues along roads through the fields towards the Pisa Tower, a bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, a symbol of Pisa and one of Italy's iconic symbols. We arrive at San Jacopo, where the pilgrims' hospice of San Jacopo 'de Podio' once stood, perched high above the surrounding marshes.

Shortly afterwards, the route follows a canal towards the sanctuary of the Madonna dell'Acqua, where the Kings of Savoy used to celebrate mass during their stay at the nearby royal estate of San Rossore.

After passing the imposing Suburban Cemetery, the route quickly crosses the outskirts of the city to reach the city walls. Once behind them, the view opens up to Piazza dei Miracoli, in all its perfect harmony.

Leaving the wonders of Pisa's historic centre behind, we cross the Ponte di Mezzo, a bridge over the Arno that links Piazza Garibaldi to Piazza XX Settembre. Along the southern bank of the Arno we find other priceless works of art, such as the Gothic church of Santa Maria della Spina, a small jewel of Pisan Gothic architecture that once housed the Holy Thorn, and the church of San Paolo in Ripa d'Arno, also known as the Old Cathedral. On the other side of the river we find the Arsenali Medicei, 16th century buildings dedicated to shipbuilding, and the Cittadella.

Going out through the Porta a Mare, a gate in the ancient walls of Pisa, next to the Cittadella bridge, we immediately come to the Sostegno, an elegant hydraulic work that gives access to the old course of the Navicelli canal. This canal, built between 1563 and 1575, connects the Arno to the port of Livorno. We follow the canal along its new course for a few kilometres before turning off through the fields towards the surprising Basilica of San Pietro a Grado.

After an exciting visit to the place where, according to tradition, the Apostle Peter landed in Italy, we begin a long stretch of dirt roads, first through cultivated fields and then through the coastal pine forest. Finally, the sea appears, where we can stop to reflect or take a refreshing swim, before resuming our journey through the coastal pine forest that accompanies us to the port of Livorno.

Once in Livorno, we have to cross the port area before entering the beautiful city. The Dogana d'Acqua, the Fortezza Nuova, the Quartiere Venezia, the Fortezza Vecchia and the Cathedral are just some of the attractions we can visit. But our journey does not end here, because we have to reach our final destination, the Church of San Jacopo in Acquaviva, on the seafront. From here, in the Middle Ages, pilgrims set off for Santiago or Jerusalem... and for some of us, history will repeat itself.

Plan your route with the The way of San Jacopo in Tuscany App

With our guides you will be able to personalize duration and difficulty of the routes based on your own wishes and walking pace. In a few clicks you can create your personalized hiking guides. Choose your starting point, your arrival point and, if you wish, even a middle point where to take a break.

Download or print the PDF guide of The way of San Jacopo in Tuscany

The Forwalk paper guide is an A5 format mini-book with all the information on your chosen paths, the detailed maps, the list of hotels and much more. It is very easy to consult and to carry along during your trip. This guide is completely personalized to your needs and made available to you digitally (Acrobat Reader PDF file), to be accessed through smartphones and tablets or printed by you. You can also order it already printed in color on glossy paper, and delivered to you as a finely bound book.

Download the gpx routes map of The way of San Jacopo in Tuscany

GPX tracks are maps that you can download on GPS device to take with you on your walk. Our GPX tracks include routes with details of places such as shops, restaurants, lodgings, drinking fountains and springs.

Our GPX tracks are tested on the following devices : Garmin ETREX 22x, Garmin eTrex Touch 35, Garmin Oregon 700, Garmin GPS MAP 66