The Val d'Elsa heads northwest from Siena towards Empoli where the River Elsa meets the River Arno, itself flowing east from Florence.
The main towns and hamlets on the way are Monteriggioni, Poggibonsi, Certaldo and Castelfiorentino. San Gimignano also overlooks the valley.
The route in medievel times formed part of the Via Francigena which guided pilgrims to Rome, Santiago and Jerusalem.
Today, 68.8km of the via Francigena in Val d'Elsa can easily be followed by excursionists and walkers over 4 days.
A slow ramble compared to the original pilgrims who would cover the same distance in a day and a half.
The route follows that of Sigerico, the Archbishop of Canterbury in 990 and, apart from the odd brigand, the experience is very much as it was at the time.
This certainly applies to the town of Monteriggioni, a sublime hill top town surrounded by a still intact turreted defensive wall and dating from the 13th century.
It is such a stunning sight that even Dante mentions it in the 31st verse of his Inferno.
A little further down the valley is Strove and nearby Badia a Isola. The two complexes were part of a wedding present from a certain Tegrimo to his bride Sinderada in 994. Left out of the declaration was the Church of San Martino.
It seems Badia a Isola anticipated the arrival of Sigerico as the borgo was finished just as he arrived. He referred to the spot as 'Burgenove' and it remains as it was a thousand years ago.
Keep in in mind that today's fields surrounding Badia a Isola were once a large lake which received rain water from Monte Maggio. 'Isola' refers to an island or the only solid bit of land on which the original borgo was built.