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The Routes of Exit

There were several different ways of traveling from the city to Rome, again divided impartially between land and sea. Heading for his new destination, the traveler passed through Tuscany, visiting centers that were beginning to find a place on the itinerary, becoming well-known places in their turn and increasing the fame of the region.

By sea: Livorno-Civitavecchia

The sea route from Livorno to Civitavecchia was the fastest but also the least popular, too exposed as it was not just to the caprices of the weather but also to the danger of attack by pirates. There were not many who chose to put up with these inconveniences in order to enjoy the enchanting sight of the islands of the Tuscan archipelago. One who did, however, was Father Labat (1706), a lover of water who we have already seen making use of river transport on his journey through Tuscany.

By land: Siena

Essentially there were two land routes. One permitted a visit to Siena, the other to Arezzo and Cortona.

The road for Siena «crosses the Greve and goes on to Olmo where it divides in two, offering a choice between the route that passes through San Donato in Poggio, or the one further south through Tavernelle and Poggibonsi» (Tongiorgi, n.d.). After Siena, following the Roman road called the Via Cassia (also known as the Via Francigena), travelers headed through the Val d'Orcia in the direction of Radicofani, the most feared post house on the whole Grand Tour . From here they went on to Acquapendente and then Lake Bolsena. Dupaty (in 1785) described the journey from Tuscany to Rome as a progressive fading of the beauty of nature: «the land grows uneven, the cultivation monotonous, the soil barren, the men rare, the women ugly, the herds thin: the whole of nature, in effect, degenerates».

By land: Arezzo

Then there was an alternative, considered very interesting but actually, despite the bogey of Radicofani, less used than the other since it passed through marshy areas. This was the route that, starting from Arezzo and crossing the Chiana Valley, continued toward Perugia and Foligno. Another reason that it was not often chosen was the fact that the road did not leave directly from Florence but from a place several miles away, Incisa: a deterrent for many.

Those who opted for this solution did so chiefly because they wanted to make a small side trip to Cortona, famous for its archeological finds and the local Etruscan Academy.

From the second half of the 18th century onward, however, following draining of the marshes, the road became less menacing and began to represent a truly competitive alternative to the Via Francigena.


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