Hiking Via Francigena

Day 5: San Gimignano to Gracciano

Distance Walked: 20 km, 6 hours (including breaks)

Accommodations: Gracciano Parrocchia, San Marziale 1, 53034 Gracciano D’Elsa , 6 beds. Very basic. Cost: Donation. 

When preparing for this trip, one of my worries was needing to speak Italian, on the phone, without assistance. That opportunity came last night when I called ahead to book tonight’s stay. At the start of the phone call, I asked (in Italian) if the priest spoke English. I was expecting a cheerful “Why of course” or at least a “un po” (“a little bit”). Instead I received a definite “no”.I panicked, and then quickly forged ahead:

”Sono una Pellegrina in Via Francigena.  Vorrei prenotare due letti per domani.”

To my utter surprise, the priest seemed to understand without hesitation. He took my name, confirmed the reservation and said “A domani” (See you tomorrow). Okay…so maybe it wasn’t quite Rocket Science, but I was immensely proud!

More good news – Richard’s cold is slowly getting better. Even more noteworthy, the overall inflammation that has plagued his joints, muscles and tendons for the past nine months seems to be subsiding. His body has not felt this good since last September. Maybe it’s a coincidence, or perhaps the old saying is true:  “Motion is the Magic Lotion!”

We are currently planning on a very short walking day tomorrow. Here are a few pics from today.

P.S.  No one had mentioned the need to forge over water!

By Retirement Reflections

Prior to retirement, I lived and worked in Beijing China for fourteen years (Middle School Principal/Deputy Director at The Western Academy of Beijing). Leaving international life behind, my husband and I retired to Vancouver Island in June 2015. To document both this transition and our new adventures, ‘Retirement Reflections’ was born. I hope that you enjoy reading these reflections, and will be willing to share your own.

35 replies on “Day 5: San Gimignano to Gracciano”

Glad to read your Italian has paid off, Donna! Impressive! Bummer about Richard’s cold, but so glad he is better. I suppose leisure will heal faster than anything else. Just a not to mention that my surgery went very well yesterday and I am now enjoying some downtime at home. Hate the crutches so I ordered a knee scooter, and my daughter is driving up from San Diego for a few days to lend me a hand. Keep on trekking, the weather looks lovely!


👍 on your Italian…..glad that the cold is slowly getting better and an end to the body aches and pains! Motion is always a healer😎 keep the pictures coming looked like a great experience ❣️

Liked by 1 person

Thank you for helping me learn Italian😂. Since there was no translation for the phrases you used with the non English speaking Padre, I had to do some research and if forced me to work and use my brain. As a teacher, you may have intended that outcome ha ha. Well, i learned something and glad things are going well on this trip.

Warm regards from a cozy couch in California, 😅🌅😅

Susan Grace


Oh well done you! I remember our first trip to Italy, Mike (who is fluent in Italian) made me go into a bank and ask for a cash advance on my credit card. I stood in line practicing over and over the sentences but when I got to the teller I just handed him the credit card and went blank! Fortunately I could converse with Mike’s relatives who were very patient with me. xx


Beautiful scenery. Your Italian training sure is coming n handy.
Amazing about Richard’s muscles – Dennis is wondering who the guy with the whiskers is . 🙂


Hi Donna – good to know Richard is feeling better and that that cold is improving … well done on the Italian conversation/booking – excellent …

PS I love the way you’ve set this all out … with sights along way if one feels so inclined. Excellent – cheers Hilary


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