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Walking Holidays In Italy

Italy - The Via Francigena

'All roads lead to Rome' (Omnes viae Romam perducunt) - once upon a time this was not so far from the truth. In the Middle Ages pilgrims converged on the spiritual home of European christianity from all over the continent, upon arrival in Italy following the route that linked Rome with Canterbury - the Via Francigena, which, together with the Camino de Santiago, was the principal spiritual route of the great era of pilgrimage. We offer the entire route in eight manageable self-guided sections, each a week long. Guided group departures also available.

WEEK 1: SAN BERNARDINO PASS to PONT SAINT MARTIN

The first week of the Via Francigena is probably the most fascinating from the landscape point of view. Spectacular alpine scenery and the Colle del San Bernardo, the highest point of the whole Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome. The itinerary crosses the Valle d’Aosta from north to south-east and passes through villages and towns founded during the Roman Empire and castles and fortresses, like Castle Verrès and Castle Fènis, constructed as defence against invaders. 7 nights.

Total distance: 115 kms/72 miles.

Highlights: mountain scenery, villages and castles of the Valle d'Aosta.

Terrain: paths 40%, white roads 30%, secondary asphalted roads 30%

Trekking altitude: between 345 and 2,500 m, average daily times 4h to 7h30m. Positive difference in height between 35 and 850 mt per day.

Departures: Any day of the week.

Number of participants: minimum 2

Price: £660 per person based on 2 people sharing. Single supplement: £115. Solo Traveller addition: £100.00

Included: accommodation in hotel**/***, hostels and agriturismo in double rooms with private facilities; bed & breakfast service; 5 dinners; luggage transfer; eventual transfer as described in the program; detailed description of the route and informative material.

GETTING TO BOURG ST. PIERRE: Nearest airport (160 kms) - Geneva.

Nearest train station: Orsieres (14 km from Bourg St Pierre). Bus takes 30 minutes. Time tables at www.sbb.ch/fr/.

DEPARTURE FROM POINT SAINT MARTIN: Nearest train station: Point Saint Martin

Nearest airport: Turin (68 km), Milano Malpensa (121 km), Milano Linate (155 km)

ITINERARY (WEEK ONE)

Day 1: BOURG SAINT PIERRE

The starting point of the tour is Bourg-St-Pierre, a Swiss village that is at the door of Italy and rich in history as the ancient buildings, restored mill and numerous traces of the passage of the travellers testify. History and legend join in this place where it is easy to imagine the troops of the Roman Empire and later the troops of Napoleon that passed from the Colle del San Bernardo.

Altitude at departure: 1.632 m above sea level

Day 2: BOURG SAINT PIERRE – COLLE DEL SAN BERNARDO

This stage has a mainly symbolic nature as it will lead you to the Colle del San Bernardo, the highest point between Canterbury and Rome therefore of the whole Via Francigena. Mule tracks and paths bring you to the famous Hospice at on the Colle del Gran San Bernardo where San Bernardo di Mentone laid, more than 1000 years ago, the first stone.

Altitude at arrival: 2473 m above sea level – 11.50 KM – 5 h

Day 3: COLLE DEL SAN BERNARDO – ETROUBLES

Today's stage begins among the amazing mountain scenery of the Colle del Gran San Bernardo, and runs almost completely on a path that crosses St. Rhémy en Bosses, where the valuable raw ham of Bosses is produced, before arriving, between fields and woods, at the village of Etroubles, the former capital of the Gran S. Bernardo Valley in ancient times. It was the winter residence of the border garrison and is where Napoleon stopped during his descent into Italy.

Altitude at arrival: 1270 m above sea level – 13 KM – 4 h

Day 4: ETROUBLES – AOSTA

The leitmotif of this stage are the 'Rus', water canals that decisively contributed to the development of agriculture in these areas. Walk along these canals before the steep descent towards the city of Aosta, which has many legacies of its Roman past the Porta Praetoria, the Theatre and some stretches of the walls. The medieval cathedral rise on the remains of a IV century Domus Ecclesiae.

Altitude at at arrival: 580 m above sea level – 16 KM – 4h30

Day 5: AOSTA – CHAMBAVE

From Aosta the itinerary continues up the Valley, between wine groves and castles, across the Chemins de Vignobles. Following an irrigation canal you arrive at the XII century Castel' Quart and then Castel' Nus, while in the valley bottom you can see the Castel' Fénis, residence of the Challant family. Arrive for overnight at Chambave, a little town of the Mountain Community of Monte Cervino. Notable are the Church of San Lorenzo with Romanesque bell tower and all around the renowned Muscat wine groves.

Altitude at the arrival: 470 m above sea level – 27.50 km – 7h30

Day 6: CHAMBAVE – VERRES

Walking along a panoramic path you pass over the basins of Chatillon and Saint-Vincent to reach Verrès, located on the banks of the Evançon. The Castel' Verrès is an example of gothic fortress, cubic in shape and with walls two metres thick, reachable only on foot and along a mule track.

Altitude at arrival: 370 m above sea level – 27 km – 7h15

Day 7: VERRES – PONT SAINT MARTIN

This last stage is rich in fascinating items: the XI century Benedictine Church of San Martino at Arnad; the splendid XVIII century bridge of Echallod and the medieval bridge and the huge Fortress of Bard. Finally, the Strada delle Gallie (street of Gauls), with much of its original paving, and the Roman bridge of Pont St. Martin.

Altitude at arrival: 345 m above sea level – 20 km – 6h30

Day 8: END OF THE TOUR

Ater breakfast end of the tour or continuation to Ivrea if you have booked one more week tour.

WEEK 2: PONT SAINT MARTIN to GARLASCO

The second week crosses the north of Piedmont and finishes in Lombardy, from the Alps to the Pavese plain. There are contrasting landscapes: the Alps above Ivrea, the hills around Vercelli and the wide plain before it. Towns rich in history with ancient medieval towers, basilicas and Renaissance buildings, alternate with the likes of Lake Viverone. Finally, the Sanctuary of Madonna della Bozzola, consecrated to the blessed Virgin Mary and a destination for pilgrims. 7 nights.

Total distance: 113 kms/71 miles.

Highlights: Ivrea and Vercelli, Lake Viverone, Piverone Bell Tower, Sanctuary of Madonna della Bozzola.

Terrain characteristics: paths, white roads and secondary asphalted roads.

Trekking altitude: between 0 and 345 m, average duration of the stages between 4h and 6h30. Positive difference in height between 0 and 150 m per day.

Departures: Any day of the week.

Number of participants: minimum 1

PRICE: £660 per person based on 2 people sharing. Single room supplement: £115. Solo Traveller addition: £100.00

INCLUDED: accommodation in hotel**/***, and agriturismo in double rooms with private facilities; bed & breakfast service; 5 dinners; luggage transfer; transfers if  described in the programme; detailed description of the route with GPS maps and informative material.

GETTING TO PONT ST. MARTIN: Nearest airport Turin – Caselle (68 km), Milano Malpensa (121 km), Milano Linate (155 km). Nearest train station: Pont St. Martin

DEPARTURE FROM GARLASCO: Nearest train station: Garlasco Nearest airport: Milano Linate (57 km), Milano Malpensa (91 km), Bergamo – Orio al Serio (104 km), Turin – Caselle (164 km)

ITINERARY (WEEK TWO)

Day 1: PONT SAINT MARTIN

The departure point of the first stage is Pont Saint Martin, the little village located on the frontier between Valle d’Aosta and Piedmont, which owes its name to the Roman bridge dating back to the 1st century B.C.

Height at departure: 345 m a.s.l.

Day 2: PONT SAINT MARTIN – IVREA

Crossing the Canavese brings you into Piedmont, winding among countryside areas, hamlets and woods. From the hills located north of Ivrea, you will see distant Montalto castle, a huge fortress with high towers dating back to 1300. Arrive in Ivrea, located on the banks of the river Dora Baltea, in an area which is rich in environmental and geological features, and surrounded by five glacial lakes. You may visit Conte Verde’s Castle located in the city’s historical centre, close to the Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace. San Bernardino’s church has ancient origins and houses a precious collection of frescos representing the life of Christ, painted by Martino Spanzotti.

Height at arrival: 253 m a.s.l. – 20.6 KM – 6 h

Day 3: IVREA – VIVERONE

The first part of the today’s stage wanders through the countryside and then across hills with good views over the valley. Continue to Lake Viverone, with crystalline water and rich in uncontaminated plant and wild life. Nearby is the village of Piverone, with an interesting Bell Tower. This village was founded in 1200 and it was completely fortified with walls and defensive towers.

Height at arrival: 287 m a.s.l – 18.3 KM – 5h20

Day 4: VIVERONE – SANTHIA

After a quiet walk beside Lake Viverone, continue through woodland to cross one of the last hills before reaching the plain. The first village you meet during the long passage across the Padana plain is Santhià, an agricultural centre where two branches of the Francigena Way join: one towards the Gran San Bernardo Pass and the other one towards the Susa Valley. Worth seeing here is the neoclassical public palace and the Church of S.Agata dating back to the X sec.

Height at arrival: 183 m a.s.l – 14.7KM – 4h10

Day 5: SANTHIA – VERCELLI

This is the first completely flat stage and it goes for the most part on country tracks in a landscape of fields and farm houses. Reach the city of Vercelli, strategic junction at the cross of two branches of the Francigena Way (Jacob toward Turin and Susa Valley, and Sigeric toward Valle d’Aosta) at the end of this stage - medieval Cavour square is almost surrounded by ancient houses and is overlooked by the medieval Angel Tower. The neoclassical Cathedral is imposing, but most important is the renowned Basilica of Saint Andrew, a masterpiece of the Romanesque-Gothic of North Italy.

Height at arrival: 130 m a.s.l – 24.5 km – 6h30

Day 6: VERCELLI – ROBBIO

After a short walk in the countryside, continue along the banks of the river Sesia. The itinerary becomes wooded as you cross the border between Piedmont and Lombardy. Near Palestro, you will leave the river to reach Robbio, an important agricultural and industrial centre on the Pavese plain.

Height at arrival: 120 a.s.l – 16 km – 4h

Day 7: ROBBIO – GARLASCO

First you continue across the Pavese countryside to Mortara, battleground of the Franks and the Longobards of King Desiderio, and the home of Salame d’Oca (goose salami ). From here you continue by train to Garlasco, one of the main towns of the Lomellina area, and well known for the Sanctuary of Madonna della Bozzola, 4 km far from the town centre and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Maria.

Height at arrival: 93 a.s.l – 19 km – 5h + train Mortara/Garlasco

Day 8: DEPARTURE

After breakfast end of the tour or you can continue towards Pavia if you have booked one more week.

WEEK 3: GARLASCO to FIDENZA

This week takes place entirely on the plain and runs first along the Ticino and then along the Po river crossing the border between Lombardy and Emilia Romagna. This is mainly a rural area rich in medieval abbeys and monasteries and in the beautiful towns of Pavia and Piacenza. In some stretches, now covered in busy roads, it is not possible to follow the original route, but nearby there are many signs of it. 7 nights.

Total distance: 128 kms/80 miles.

Highlights: the historical centres of Pavia, Piacenza and Parma, the natural park of the River Ticino, Chiaravalle Abbey, quiet walks among fields and typical rural houses Terrain characteristics: paths, white roads and secondary roads Trekking altitude: the tour take place in a completely flat area with an altitude a little over the sea level; average duration of each day between 4h and 7h

Departures: Any day of the Week.

Number of participants: minimum 1

PRICE: £660 per person based on 2 people sharing. Single supplement: £160

INCLUDED: accommodation in hotel**/*** , hostels, and agriturismo in double rooms with private facilities; bed & breakfast service;  5 dinners; luggage transfer; eventual transfer as described in the program; detailed description of the route and informative material.

GETTING TO GARLASCO: Nearest airport: Milano Linate (57 km), Milano Malpensa (91 km), Bergamo – Orio al Serio (104 km), Turin – Caselle (164 km)Nearest train station: Garlasco

DEPARTURE FROM PARMA:  Nearest train station: Parma Nearest airport: Parma, Bologna – Marconi (96 km), Milano Linate (125 km), Milano Malpensa (180 km), Bergamo – Orio al Serio (167 km)

ITINERARY (WEEK THREE)

Day 1: Garlasco is one of the main towns of the Lomellina area and it is renowned for the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Bozzola, visited every year by pilgrims and believers. Height at departure: 93 m a.s.l.

Day 2: GARLASCO - PAVIA

Today's stage is in two parts: the first one across the plain and the second along the banks of the Ticino, the river that connects the Lake Maggiore with the river Po. The area, the first regional park in Italy created in 1974, can be visited by foot, by bike, by horse or with a canoe and is an area of monasteries, abbeys, convents and basilicas. The stage ends in Pavia, one of the major halts on the Via Francigena. Much to see here - the Visconteo castle built in 1360; XII century San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro (mentioned in the Divine Comedy); the Cathedral; San Michele Maggiore, a Romanesque Basilica of the XI century; the famous Ponte Coperto (covered bridge) on the river Ticino and the Palazzo Bottigella.

Height at arrival : 77 m a.s.l. – 24.5 KM – 6h30  

Day 3: PAVIA - MINADOLO TERME

Today we follow the river Ticino, that shortly enters the river Po. The itinerary continues parallel to the main road to Cremona, but you may walk across the countryside in the surroundings of Pavia among fields and woods. At Belgioioso, there is Belgioioso Castle, a neo-classical residence built in the XIV century by Gian Galeazzo Visconti.

Height at arrival: 71 m a.s.l. – 27 KM – 7 h

Day 4: MINADOLO TERME - CALENDASCO

Leave Corteolona on a good track leading towards Santa Cristina, a ruined abbey. The itinerary continues across fields close to the hills to Chignolo Po Castle, place of rest for pilgrims on the Francigena Way since the Middle Ages. The castle, built in 1200, is impressive as result of numerous refurbishments over the centuries. Finally, Lambrina, a village taking its name from the River Lambro.

Height at arrival: 60 m a.s.l. – 15.5 KM – 4 h

Day 5: CALENDASCO - PIACENZA

Orio Litta is an interesting village that is worth a visit before reaching Corte Sant’Andrea, crossing point for the ferry across the river Po and docks in the same place where Sigerico passed 1000 years ago. If you do not want take the ferry or if the ferry is not available, the itinerary continues along the north bank of the river and arrives at Piacenza. In the centre of Piacenza is a big square, Piazza dei Cavalli, overlooked by the gothic Public Palace, dating back to 1281. Worth visiting is the Romanesque basilica of S. Antonio founded in the IV century, the Romanesque cathedral and the Romanesque Church of San Savino, consecrated in 1107, with wonderful mosaics representing the months of the year and the zodiac.

Height at arrival: 61 m a.s.l. – 21.7 km – 5h30

Day 6: PIACENZA - CARPANETO

To avoid the busy Via Emilia, the itinerary takes you across the relaxing landscape of the plain. Fiorenzuola was a Celtic and Etruscan settlement with much evidence of the numerous “hospitals” for the welcome and assistance to pilgrims on the Francigena Way.

Height at arrival: 80 m a.s.l. – 20.5 km – 4h30

Day 7: CARPANETO - FIDENZA

Pleasant stage on secondary roads and tracks. You pass the wonderful Abbey of Chiaravalle, a Cistercian abbey founded in 1136, the main part of which is the basilica and the beautiful XIV cloister. 

Height at arrival: 57 a.s.l. – 19 km – 5h

Day 8: Departure After breakfast end of the tour or continuation of tour if you have booked one more week.

WEEK 4: FIDENZA to AULLA

This week marks the switch from the Emilia plains, with its fields, wine groves and farmhouses, to the Apennine’s landscape, whose peaks overlook the Tyrrhenian sea. The tour continues through villages and mountain parishes, some of which owe their exostence to the Via Francigena. The Cisa Pass, 1045 m above sea level, marks the border between the two regions: in front of you the steep slopes that descend to Tuscany. 7 nights.

Total distance: 96 kms/60 miles.

Highlights: Pontremoli with its fortress and impOrtant museum; the villages of Cassio, Castellonchio, Berceto, Groppoli, Arzengio; the parish churches of Bardone and Terenzo; the San Caprasio Abbey; spectacular views from the ridge between Emilia and Tuscany Terrain characteristics: 60 % path and 40% secondary roads

Trekking altitude: between 60 and 1.045mt (highest point is the Cisa Pass), average duration of the daily stages between 5h and 6h. Positive difference in height between 100 and 760 m per day.

Departures: Any day of the week. Number of participants: minimum 1

PRICE: £660 per person based on 2 people sharing. Single supplement: £160

INCLUDED: accommodation in hotel**/***, B&Bs and agriturismo in double rooms with private facilities; bed & breakfast service; 5 dinners; luggage transfer; eventual transfer as described in the program; detailed description of the route and informative material.

GETTING TO PARMA: Nearest airport: Parma, Bologna – Marconi (96 km), Milano Linate (125 km), Milano Malpensa (180 km), Bergamo – Orio al Serio (167 km). Nearest train station: Parma

DEPARTURE FROM AULLA:

Nearest train station: Aulla

Nearest airport: Pisa (85 km), Firenze (144 km), Parma (99 km)

ITINERARY (WEEK FOUR)

Day 1: FIDENZA

Arrival Fidenza. 

Altitude at departure: 60 m above sea level

Day 2: FIDENZA – FORNOVO

This slightly hilly stage, among fields, vineyards and farms ends in Fornovo di Taro, an important junction of communication of Celtic origin that became a merchant and religious centre in the Roman era.

Altitude at arrival: 158 m above sea level – 31.7 KM – 7.5 h

Day 3: FORNOVO – CASSIO 

Short transfer to Sivizzano from where you start the ascent to the Cisa Pass. This is a fairly strenuous day but there is much to enjoy - the landscape, and the charming parishes of Bardone and Terenzo. Finally, “I salti del Diavolo” ('the leaps of the Devil', outcrops of rocks dated 80 million years) lead to the characteristic village of Cassio. Arrival in Cassio, with its centre paved in local stone and its Church of Maria Assunta among its ancient houses.

Altitude at arrival: 818 m above sea level – 13 KM – 5 h

Day 4: CASSIO – BERCETO

Continue through the Apennines and at about halfway you walk through the little village of Castellonchio, ancient “borgo-strada” (village-street) where little houses were built one next to the other along the Via Francigena. The itinerary continues and ends in Berceto, a little town but important communications centre because it is situated on the Via Romea. The Romanesque Duomo is worth a visit and also the Sanctuary of Madonna delle Grazie in baroque style with neoclassic details.

Altitude at arrival: 808 m above sea level – 17 KM – 5 h

Day 5: BERCETO – MONTELUNGO

Today you leave Emilia Romagna to enter Tuscany. This part of the itinerary gives some of the most beautiful landscapes of the whole Via Francigena and at the top of Mount Valoria, the panorama ranges between the Taro and Magra Valleys. From the Cisa Pass you see Tuscany, down the steep slope covered in beech and chestnuts trees. Overnight in Montelungo.

Altitude at arrival: 821 m above sea level – 10 km – 5h30

Day 6: MONTELUNGO – PONTREMOLI

From Montelungo you reach Cavezzana D’Antena. After the village of Groppoli the itinerary descends to the river Magra, which you cross over a stone bridge “a schiena d’asino” (humpback bridge) from 300 A.D. Walking on, you will note the crosses and carvings that mark the stations of the Via Crucis. After Arzeglio you reach Pontremoli, whose fortress from 1000 AD is the seat of the museum of the mysterious statue-stones.

Altitude at arrival: 244 m above sea level – 17 km – 6h

Day 7: PONTREMOLI – AULLA

Outside Pontremoli come to the Santissima Annunziata, built in the 15th century on the place where the Virgin appeared to a shepherdess. Reach Ponticello and then the Parish Church of Sorano, dating to the XI sec. and built above a Roman temple. From Villafranca in Lunigiana continue toward Virgoletta and through woods and fields you come to Aulla, arising from the abbey of San Caprasio founded in 884.

Altitude at arrival: 64 m above sea level – 19 km – 5h30

Day 8: DEPARTURE After breakfast end of tour.



WEEK 5: AULLA to SAN MINIATO

WEEK 5: Aulla to San Miniato 7 nights.

Total distance: 120 kms (average of 20 each day). Altitude changes.

Highlights: Appennine Mts. - first glimpse of the sea - Lucca - San Miniato

The official Francigena followed ancient Roman roads and so pilgrims walked along the Aurelia. Unfortunately, nowadays this has turned into one of the most traffic ridden roads in Italy. Therefore, after crossing the last part of the Appennino mountains, and within view of the sea, we leave the official route and, from Sarzana, walk slightly to the east on trails and secondary routes on the hills that overlook the Mediterranean. We pass near to Massa and Camaiore to reach Lucca. The week will end in the lovely village of San Miniato, the closest point to Florence.

Departures: Any day of the Week.

Price: £660.00 per person, single room supplement £160

Included in price: 7 nights in hotel **/***, agritourismo and B+Bs, 6 breakfasts, 5 dinners, luggage transfers and maps and route notes.

ITINERARY (WEEK 5)

Day 1: Arrive Aulla for overnight.

Aulla may be reached by train from La Spezia with a change in Sarzana (1 hr. approx.). It is possible to spend 2 nights in Sarzana (Sarzana being a nicer place to stay than Aulla) )and take a train for a 30 minute ride in the morning to Aulla, from where you start your walk. Wherever you elect to spend the first night, at your hotel a package will be waiting for you containing all the material you need for the week: hotel and meal vouchers – detailed route notes and waterproof GPS maps with a container and a map holder for the route. The hotel owner will tell you who to contact if you require a benediction by a priest before you set out.

Day 2: Aulla – Sarzana. 16 km. Uphill: 605m. Downhill: 660m. Highest point: 590m

Leaving Aulla, in the shade of the imposing Brunella fortress, walk through the final slopes of the Appennino mountain for your first glimpse of the sea. It is not an easy day as we are still in the mountains. Bibola, a typical local village is our first stop, followed by Brina castle before starting the descent towards Sarzana – Castello di Bibola – Vecchietto – Ponzano Superiore – Castello della Brina (ruins) - Sarzana

NOTES: Trails and unpaved roads on the Mt Porro slopes and on Mt Grosso (663 m.ridge). 30% secondary asphalt. Wide views over the river Magra gorges.

Day 3: Sarzana – Massa (area of). 22 km.

Sarzana – Castruccio Castracani Fortress – Sarzanello – Villa Malaspina – Castelnuovo di Magra –Ortonovo – Carrara - Bargana – Pasquilio (hotel)

NOTES: Partly secondary asphalt, partly trails. The “Cittadella Medicea” (XV sec.) built by di Lorenzo the magnificent on the ruins of an earlier fortress. In Massa: San Pietro cathedral

Day 4: Massa – Camaiore – 24 km.

Pasquilio (hotel) – Monte Folgorito – Cerreta San Nicola – Monte Canala – Seravezza – Gallena – Case di M. Ornato – Foce di Sant’Anna – Culla – Montebello – CamaioreNOTE: Partly secondary asphalt, partly trails. Worth seeing Camaiore: Benedictine abbey

Day 5: Camaiore – Lucca: 22 km – highest point 228m uphill: 383 - downhill: 403m

Camaiore – Salapreti – Pieve – Valpromaro – Piazzano – San Macario in Monte – San Macario in Piano – Parco fluviale del Serchio – Monte San Quirico bridge – Lucca

NOTE: Partly secondary asphalt, partly trails. To explore – Lucca.

Day 6: Lucca – Altopascio: 18 km - no altitude change, the highest point is 30m.

Although purists may wish to walk, the route is through a very densely inhabited area. You are recommended to spend the day in beautiful Lucca and catch a train (only 15 minutes ride) to Altopascio.NOTE: Mostly on secondary asphalt, partly unpaved. Pass by Capannori and the Badia di Pozzeveri

Day 7: Altopascio – San Miniato (via Ponte a Cappiano). 23,3 km - Highest point 135m. Altopascio – Galleno – Ponte a Cappiano – Fucecchio - San Miniato Alto.

NOTE: a short part on medieval original pavement, half trail and half on secondary asphalt. To see: Ponte a Cappiano (bridge built by Cosimo de’ Medici, XVI sec.) – San Miniato Alto

Day 8: Departure


WEEK 6: SAN MINIATO to SAN QUIRICO D'ORCIA

WEEK 6: San Miniato - San Quirico d'Orcia 7 nights.

Total distance: 125 kms (average of 21 each day). Altitude changes.

Highlights: towers of San Gimignano - walls of Monteriggioni - Siena - La Collegiata

Probably the richest week of the Francigena as far as artistic and historical remains are concerned. It passes through some of the most well known places in Tuscany. Starting in the lovely village of San Miniato, the closest point to Florence, it ends in San Quirico d’Orcia, one of the most interesting stops along the way.

Price: £660 per person sharing a room, £160 single room supplement.

Departures any day of the week.  Minimum of one person.

Included: 7 nights in a mixture of family run hotels, agritourismo and B&Bs in rooms with private bathrooms, 5 dinners, 7 breakfasts, luggage transfers, maps and route notes.



ITINERARY (WEEK 6)



Day 1: Overnight in San Miniato 

You can easily reach the town by train from Florence. At your hotel, a package will be waiting for you containing all the material you need for the week: hotel and meal vouchers – detailed route notes and plasticized GPS maps with a container and a map holder for the route. The hotel owner will tell you who to contact if you would like a benediction by a priest before you set out.


Day 2: San Miniato – Gambassi Terme - 24 km. 

After the first 6 km of trafficless asphalt, the whole itinerary is on unpaved roads or trails. The oak woods of the initial part give away to vineyards in the second part. Along the road you can visit two interesting churches, Pieve di Coiano and S. Maria a Chianni just before arriving in Gambassi. 



Day 3: Gambassi Terme – San Gimignano - 13.7 km.

A short day to allow time in San Gimignano. A detour allows the visit of a very interesting place : the Jerusalem of Tuscany. A group of small chapels are supposed to represent the Holy land and Pilgrims visited this place at a time when the real Jerusalem was dangerous to reach being under Turkish control. Mostly unpaved. 



Day 4: San Gimignano – Monteriggioni via Colle Val D’Elsa - 23 km.

 A fairly long day across a lovely countryside - rolling hills, covered by the Chianti vineyards. Colle di Vald’Elsa is an interesting town where the art of blowing glass is still alive. The XI century San Salvatore church in Abbadia Isola is worth visiting while an ancient military post with its perfectly round walls is a unique sight. Mixed itinerary mostly unpaved (80%) and paved secondary roads. Overnight in Monteriggioni or nearby.


Day 5: Monteriggioni – Siena - 14 km. – 

Again a short segment to allow time in Siena. The route through pleasant countryside is unpaved almost all the way. Stay right in the centre of town a few minutes walk from the Piazza del Campo.


Day 6: Siena - Murlo - 18 km.

You will follow the official route for most of the day only to move slightly to the east toward the end in order to get away from the busy Via Cassia and spend the night in Vescovado di Murlo after visiting ancient Murlo, a lovely hamlet with a very interesting Etruscan museum.



Day 7: Murlo – San Quirico d’Orcia 27 km. – One of the longest days of the whole Francigena with 26 km on easy terrain. The last third of the road is on secondary asphalt and follows the old Cassia. San Quirico was one of the most important stops on the way to Rome and has some of the most interesting buildings in the area with the Collegiata and the remains of an ancient pilgrims hospital. 



Day 8: Departure


WEEK 7: SAN QUIRICO to MONTEFIASCONE

WEEK 7: San Quirico to Montefiascone 7 nights.

Total distance: 121 kms (average of 20 each day). Altitude changes.

Highlights: St. Antimo Abbey - the 'crete' landscape - San Salvatore Abbey - Lago di Bolsena

The official Francigena followed the ancient Roman roads and so pilgrims walked along the route of the current Via Cassia. Although paved parts of it are still pleasant for walking, other parts are too dangerous or unpleasant. Since an earlier version of the road passed by one of the most beautiful abbey of the entire Via Francigena, we have therefore decided to divert via St Antimo Abbey. This makes the route a bit longer, but much more pleasant. We return to the main route at Radicofani and continue to Acquapendente and finally Bolsena and Montefiascone on the lake itself.

Price per person £660.00 per peson sharing a room, single room supplment £160.00

Departures on date and day of choice

Included in price: 7 nights in hotels, agritourismo or B&Bs in rooms with private bathroom, 7 breakfasts, 5 dinners, luggage transfers and maps and route notes..



ITINERARY (WEEK 7)



Day 1: San Quirico. 

You can reach Buonconvento by train from Siena (30 minutes) from where a local bus will take you to San Quirico. At your hotel, a package will be waiting for you containing all the material you need for the week including hotel and meal vouchers, a detailed road books and waterproof GPS maps with a container and a map holder for the route. The hotel owner will tell you who to contact if you would like a benediction by a priest before you start out.


Day 2: San Quirico - Castelnuovo dell’abbate – 14 km 

The route from San Quirico is entirely unpaved and partly on trails. It offers beautiful views of the Ripa d’Orcia castle and of the Orcia gorge. The last stretch climbs steadily among the Brunello vineyards. You spend the night in Castelnuovo and will therefore have enough time to visit the abbey. 



Day 3: San Antimo - Castiglione d’Orcia - 18 km

There are are trails which climb to the ridge overlooking the Orcia valley but - depending on the season - you may prefer the asphalt road as they are muddy and the “crete” mud is a sticky clay. The view is amazing. Castiglione is a nice village and if you feel up to the extra walk you can reach the Rocca and the tiny charming hamlet below. Mixed itinerary secondary paved and unpaved.


Day 4: Castiglione d’Orcia - Radicofani - 23 km 

You have the choice between a shorter route and a longer itinerary which passes by Bagni San Filippo, a very nice thermal spring where you can relax in a hot bath before facing the last climb to Radicofani, one of the most important stops on the Francigena. In the shade of its imposing Tetennano fortress it offers one of the most powerful landscapes of the whole route.Mixed itinerary: trails, secondary paved and unpaved roads



Day 5 : Radicofani – Acquapendente - 29 km

Partly unpaved to Ponte a Rigo partly paved on secondary roads and beautiful landscape. This high road overlooking the Cassia was the official way before the 16th. century when the Bridge over the Paglia river was built.


Day 6: Aquapendente – Bolsena - 22 km

The main interest is the scenery, once you can see the lake. Stop to visit the Basilica del Santo Sepolcro as well as the the St Christina church In Bolsena itinerary: Mostly unpaved or paved on secondary roads and beautiful landscape with views of the lake.


Day 7: Bolsena – Montefiascone - 18 km 

Bolsena is famous for the miracle of the sacred blood which is at the origin of the “Corpus Domini” celebration, and of the construction of the Orvieto Duomo.

Possible detour : Civita di Bagnoregio, a spectacular ghost town perched on crumbling high cliff, a UNESCO protected site. Mostly unpaved or paved on secondary roads and beautiful landscape with views of the lake . a large portion is original Francigena cobbled road.



Day 8: Departure



WEEK 8: MONTEFIASCONE to ROME

WEEK 8: Montefiascone - ROME 7 nights.

Total distance: 118 kms (average of 19 each day). Altitude changes.

Highlights: Lakes of Vico and Bracciano - the Cimini Mountains - Sutri Cathedral and archeological park - Veio - Rome.

The last stretch of the Francigena offers some very nice views along the volcanic lakes of Vico and Bracciano, allows you to soak in the steaming pools of thermal water near Viterbo, passes by the lovely little town of Sutri and has a pleasant mountain route to the outskirts of Rome. The arrival in Rome is unpleasant as it takes you through the suburbs of a capital city and heavy traffic. For this reason, although not historically accurate, we offer an alternative way to enter Rome by the Via Appia Antica, one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the world: of course this, too, is a historic route, a Roman road even older than the Via Francigena, but was used by pilgrims en route for Jerusalem.

Price per person sharing a room £715.00.  Single room supplement £180.00

Included in price: 7 nights B+B in family run hotels, agritourismo and B&Bs in rooms with private bathrooms, luggage transfers, 7 breakfasts, 5 dinners, route notes and maps



ITINERARY (WEEK 8)



Day 1: Montefiascone for overnight


Reachable by train from Rome (1 hour approx.) or Viterbo. You can also pass through Orvieto and on the way visit Civita di Bagnoregio. At your hotel, a package will be waiting for you containing all the material you need for the week: hotel and meal vouchers – detailed route notes and plasticized GPS maps with a container and a map holder for the route. The hotel owner will tell you who to contact if you require a benediction by a priest before you set out.


Day 2: Montefiascone - Viterbo 18,8 km


Beautiful views across Bolsena lake, which, being of volcanic origins, is very deep. Near Viterbo you will pass Bagnaccio thermal pools where may like a soak in their milky-green steaming waters. Viterbo is a handsome small town, well off the normal tourist route. Walking is partly on secondary asphalt and partly on unpaved roads. 


Day 3: Viterbo – Sutri via San Martino al Cimino and Lake Vico - 27,6 km


In the Middle Ages this route was taken to avoid unsafe, marshy areas on the plain where Malaria was a real risk. The present Cimini mountains route passes by volcanic Lake Vico and is a vast unspoiled area, whilst Sutri is an unknown treasure. Of Etruscan origins, as indicated by the large necropolis just outside town, its well preserved Roman Theatre is a reminder of conquest by the Romans. Itinerary: mixed dirt and secondary asphalt.


Day 4: Sutri – Lake Martignano - 25 km


Again we disregard the official, crowded route in favour of an alternative mountain road. We walk on a ridge, discovering wide views on both sides. Itinerary: entirely dirt on a ridge with beautiful views.


Day 5: Martignano – Anguillara – Madonna del Sorbo sanctuary 17 km


The route from Martignano to La Storta can be completed in one day, but as it is long so we have divided it into 2 parts. The route is agreeable and passes by the third volcanic lake of the area: Bracciano. Here many Romans come for week-ends to escape Rome heat in summer. Mainly unpaved. 


Day 6: Madonna del Sorbo – La Storta - 15 km


The notable sights of the day are the Madonna del Sorbo Sanctuary and the Etruscan archaeological site of Veio. La Storta is a suburb of Rome.


Day 7: La Storta – Roma (San Pietro) - 14,5 km


There are 3 different ways to enter Rome - the first is the authentic route along the Via Trionfale and via Monte Mario from where pilgrims caught the first glimpse of Rome but we cannot recommend this as it is an unpleasant walk through suburban Rome, with its heavy traffic. Or you simply take the train from La Storta to Rome and walk to your hotel near St Peter's square. Or, best of all, transfer from La Storta to via dell’Aeroscalo (near Ciampino) (supplementary charge) and then walk the Via Appia Antica passing the Colosseum and arriving at San Pietro – not historically correct, but so much better!


Day 8: Departure

additional options: we can also arrange for extra nights along the route - please ask for prices.

To book please visit our booking Information page

T: (44) (0)1242 254353


Pilgrim Walks Italy

Pilgrim Walks Italy

Italy Walking Holidays

Italy Walking Holidays

Italy Walking Holidays 

Italy Walking Holidays

Italy Walking Holidays


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