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THE VIA FRANCIGENA  

A walking tour of 1-8 weeks, from the Swiss Alps to Rome

 

The name Via Francigena or Francesca comes from the fact that this route was an ancient way of connection with the Alps , namely  France. In fact, pilgrims came from France from the Via Tolosana, leading to Santiago de Compostela, and from Northern Europe. They crossed the Alps through Monginevro, Moncenisio and the Great St. Bernard Pass(only later they started to use also eastern passes such as the Gotthard, the Simplon and the Brenner); then they went down to the Po Valley, and then crossed (at Parma) the Apennines. From the Pass of Monte Bardone they arrived to Tuscany. After major centres like Lucca, San Gimignano, Siena, Bolsena, Viterbo, they got to the final destination of their pilgrimage: Rome. For many centuries, pilgrims have travelled on paths of faith, looking for relief and spiritual support in the three places, symbols of Christianity and main destinations for pilgrimages: Santiago de Compostela (in the North of Spain), Rome (in Italy) and Jerusalem.  

The route of Pilgrimage towards Rome, or Via Francigena, maintained its identity throughout the Middle Ages. Today, the Via Francigena includes different trails, which have changed over the centuries. As the number of pilgrims travelling to Rome increased, abbeys, monasteries, churches, cathedrals and religious shrines were built, in places where important relics were kept and where miracles or apparitions had happened: in this way, pilgrims were encouraged and supported all along the way.  

Today, in the third millennium, we get the inheritance of our ancestors: it is now possible to walk along the same way travellers used to walk in the middle Ages. You walk along unspoilt paths, following an itinerary with overnights in 2 and 3 star Hotels or B&B, hostels or farm hotels (as an alternative country houses, guesthouses or inns). You can book the whole package B&B or Half board with luggage transportation or just B&B package without luggage transportation. The journey is divided into several weeks, walking trails and itineraries are of medium difficulty: from the Alps, near the Swiss border, then down to the Cinque Terre, through Tuscany and the Apennines up to St. Peter’s square and the Vatican in Rome.  

This wonderful adventure will make you learn more about history and share the joy of pilgrims of the Middle Ages, imagine their efforts and their deep devotion. You can follow different and various paths which connect cities and little villages, great cathedrals, churches and ancient monuments. Fields, endless meadows, fertile valleys, paths along the coast, vineyards, and then the unique landscape of Crete in Tuscany, before you reach magnificent Rome, the eternal city, just like millions of pilgrims did in the past, and the sacred tomb of St. Peter. You will learn that the worldwide famous saying “all roads lead to Rome” is really true.

 

 

 

 THE HISTORY OF THE VIA FRANCIGENA

 The Via di Roma was formerly known as Iter Francorum, later Via Francigena. It was described for the first time in the Actum Clusio, a parchment preserved in the Abbey of San Salvatore on Mount Amiata in 876. At the end of the 10th century, Sigeric, the Bishop of Canterbury, walked the Via Francigena up to Rome to be blessed by the Pope. Sigeric is the first pilgrim we have evidence of and we have several documents witnessing this: when he got back to Canterbury, he wrote a diary, where he described the whole route with several stretches and stops; later the idea of the Via Francigena as an itinerary from Canterbury to Rome has developed. With the proclamation of the Holy Year in 1300, the Via Francigena started to be walked by thousands of pilgrims and wanderers. In the 17th century, the way was not so popular anymore if compared to the St. James Way, which has always been very popular and today it is still a very important pilgrimage route on foot, by bike or on horseback.Today, the official Via Francigena goes faithfully along the steps of Sigeric; however, in the past, pilgrims came from all over Europe, from different directions; many came from Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France and of course from England. Many crossed the border from different passes, such as the St. Bernard pass or the Monginevro, and then they walked through Ventimiglia and Genoa following a trail along the coast. Some of them came from the sea to the harbour of Luni, south of Sarzana, near the Cinque Terre and the Tuscan coast. In 1994 the Via Francigena – just like the St. James Way, which attracts over 200,000 pilgrims, walkers and cyclists a year, was declared as a Cultural European Path by the European Council. Unlike the St. James Way, the Via Francigena is starting now to be discovered: it is the least travelled pilgrimage route; however, the number of pilgrims is gradually increasing. The original Via Francigena follows mostly ancient Roman Routes: the Aurelia and the Cassia, which are now busy roads and highways. Where necessary, there are alternative routes or paths (or quiet secondary roads, when other alternatives are not possible) and even parts of the ancient Via Francigena (before Sigeric), including centres of historic and artistic interest along the way.  

 

 

Weekly programs in short

Week 1

FROM BOURG ST.PIERRE TO PONT S.MARTIN (from 15 June to 15 September 2017)  

Day 1 Individual arrival at Bourg St. Pierre (CH)

 

Day 2

From Bourg St. Pierre to the del San Bernardo-pass

Distance: 11,4 km; Walking time: 4,5 hrs; Ascent & Descent: +850 m. -100 m

 

Day 3

From San Bernardo to Etroubles

Distance: 13 km; Walking time:  4,5 hr; Ascent & Descent: +35 m. -1232 m.

 

Day 4

From Etroubles to Aosta

Distance: 15,8 km; Walking time:  5 hr; Ascent & Descent: +85 m. -825 m.

 

Day 5

From Aosta to Chambave

Distance: 27,5 km; Walking Time: 8 hr ;Ascent & Descent: +540 m. -590 m.

 

Day 6

From Chatillon a Verres

Distance: 27,1 km; Walking time: 8 hr; Ascent & Descent: +450 m. -550 m.

 

Day 7

From Verres to Pont S. Martin

Distance: 14,5 km; Walking time: 5 hr; Ascent & Descent: +750 m. -800 m.

 

Week 2

FROM PONT S. MARTIN TO GARLASCO (from 15 April to 15 October 2017)
Day 1

Individual arrival at Pont S. Martin (345 m.)  

 

Day 2

From Pont S. Martin to Ivrea (253m)

Distance: 26 km; Walking Time: 7 hr; Ascent & Descent: +368 m. -455 m.

 

Day 3

From Ivrea to Viverone (287m)

Distance: 22,7 km; Walking time: 6 hr; Ascent & Descent: +213 m. -165 m.

 
Day 4  

From Viverone to Santhià (183m)

Distance: 16,7 km; Walking time: 5 hr; Ascent & Descent: +61 m. -183 m. 

 

Day 5

From Santhià to Vercelli (130m)

Distance: 30 km; Walking time: 8 hr; Ascent & Descent: +26 m. -79 m.

 

Day 6

From Vercelli to Robbio (120m)

Distance: 22 km; Walking time: 5 hr + transfer by train from Robbio to Mortara; Ascent & Descent: +38 m. -120 m.

 

Day 7

From Mortara to Garlasco (108m)

Distance: 23,6 km; Walking time: 5,5 hr; Ascent & Descent: +17 m. -34 m.

 

Week 3

FROM GARLASCO TO FIDENZA (from 15 April to 15 October 2017) 
Day 1

Individual arrival at Garlasco (93 M)  

 

Day 2

From Garlasco to Pavia

Distance: 25,4 km; Walking time: about 7 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 17m. -108m

 

Day 3

From Pavia to Miradolo Terme (71m)

Distance: 28 km; Walking time: about 8 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 46m. -42 m.

 

Day 4

From Miradolo Terme to Piacenza

Distance: 20 km; Walking time: about 5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 30m. -32 m.

 

Day 5

From Piacenza to Carpaneto (80m)

Distance: 22.5 km; Walking time: about 5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 44m. -33 m.

 

Day 6

From Carpaneto to Castellarquato (57m)

Distance: 14 km; Walking time: about 4 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 30m. -32 m.

 

Day 7

From Castellarquato to Fidenza

Distance: 20 km; Walking time: about 5,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 24m. -48m.

 

Week 4

FROM FIDENZA TO AULLA (from 1 May al 30 September 2017)
Day 1

Individual arrival at Fidenza

 

Day 2

From Fidenza to Fornovo

Distance: 31,7 km; Walking time: about 8,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 500m -400m

 

Day 3

From Berceto to Montelungo

Distance: 13,4 km; Walking time: about 4,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 650m. -510m

 

Day 4

From Cassio to Berceto

Distance: 10,6 km; Walking time: about 3,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 300m. -250m

 

Day 5

From Berceto a Montelungo

Distance: 13,4 km; Walking time 4,5 hours; Ascent/Descent: +650 m. -510 m.

 

Day 6

From Montelungo to Pontremoli

Distance: 17 km; Walking time: about 5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 250m. -790m

 

Day 7

From Pontremoli to Aulla

Distance: 33 km; Walking time: about 8,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 100m. -200m

 

Week 5

FROM AULLA TO SAN MINIATO (from 15 April to 15 October 2017)
Day 1

Individual arrival at Aulla

 

Day 2

From Aulla to Sarzana

Distance: 17 km; Walking time: about 5,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 605m. –660m

 

Day 3

From Sarzana to Massa

Distance: 24 km; Walking time: about 7 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 330m. -260m

 

Day 4

From Massa to Camaiore

Distance: 25 km; Walking time: about 7 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 330m. -340m

 

Day 5

From Camaiore to Lucca

Distance: 26 km; Walking time: about 6 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 270m. -300m

 

Day 6

From Lucca to Altopascio

Distance: 16 km; Walking time: about 4,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 15m. -14m

 

Day 7

From Altopascio to San Miniato

Distance: 27 km; Walking time: about 7,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 252m. -116m

 

Week 6

FROM SAN MINIATO TO SAN QUIRICO D’ORCIA (from 15 April to 15 October 2017)
Day 1

Individual arrival at San Miniato

 

Day 2

From San Miniato to Gambassi Terme

Distance: 24 km; Walking time: about 6,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 415m. -232m

 

Day 3

From Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano

Distance: 13,5 km; Walking time: about 3,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 380m. -382m

 

Day 4

From San Gimignano to Monteriggioni

Distance: 29 km; Walking time: about 8 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 462m. -521m

 

Day 5

From Monteriggioni to Siena

Distance: 21 km; Walking time: about 5,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 307m. -257m

 

Day 6

From Siena to Grancia + Transfer to Buonconvento

Distance: 18,2 km; Walking time: about 5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 100m. -30m

 

Day 7

From Buonconvento to San Quirico d’Orcia

Distance: 23,6 km; Walking time: about 6,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 570m. -280m

 

Week 7 FROM SAN QUIRICO D’ORCIA TO MONTEFIASCONE (from 1 April to 20 October 2017)
Day 1

Individual arrival to San Quirico d’Orcia

 

Day 2

From San Quirico d’Orcia to Castelnuovo dell’Abate

Distance: 13,5 km; Walking time: about 4 hours; Ascent / Descent:

 

Day 3

From Castelnuovo dell’Abate to Rocca d’Orcia

Distance: 19 km; Walking time: about 5,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: 

 

Day 4

From Rocca d’Orcia to Radicofani

Distance: 27 km; Walking time: about 7 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 380m. -382m

 

Day 5

From Radicofani to Proceno

Distance: 23,6 km; Walking time: about 6,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 202m. -591m

 

Day 6

From Proceno to Bolsena

Distance: 23 km; Walking time: about 7 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 219m. -291m

 

Day 7

From Bolsena to Montefiascone

Distance: 17,7 km; Walking time: about 5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 583m. -269m

 

Week 8

FROM MONTEFIASCONE TO ROME (from 15 April to 30 October 2017)
Day 1

Individual arrival to Montefiascone

 

Day 2

From Montefiascone to Viterbo

Distance: 17,8 km; Walking time: about 5,5 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 87m. -393m

 

Day 3

From Viterbo to Caprarola

Distance: 18 km; Walking time: about 6 hours; Ascent / Descent:

 

Day 4

From Caprarola to Sutri

Distance: 16,3 km; Walking time: about 5 hours; Ascent / Descent: 

 

Day 5

From Sutri to Campagnano

Distance: 27 km; Walking time: about 7 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 244m. -251m

 

Day 6

From Campagnano to Isola Farnese

Distance: 24 km; Walking time: about 6 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 359m. -466m

 

Day 7

From Isola Farnese to Rome

Distance: 24 km; Walking time: about 7 hours; Ascent / Descent: + 44m. -195m

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Included in the tour of a week:

  • 7 nights with breakfast

  • 5 x dinners if booked for the half board version 

  • Clients assistance

  • Route instructions and maps (in Italian, English, French or German)

  • If booked for this service: luggage transfers 

  • Tour Information

 

Period

Dates vary according to the week (or weeks) you choose. If you wish to walk the whole Via Francigena, dates go from 15th June to 15th September (in other periods mountain trails and passes are closed). Departure day: any. Dates are specified for each week.

Level 2/3/4

From medium to difficult. Daily itineraries vary a lot: routes are on mountains, on hilly areas, on plains, according to the week chosen. For experienced walkers in good physical condition. You walk also on mountain trails Daily distances go from 11 km (minimum) to 31 km (maximum).  

Price p.p 2017

Week 1: In double room € 500 / CHF 540

Week 2: In double room € 500 / CHF 540
Week 3: In double room € 515 / CHF 556
Week 4: In double room   € 515 / CHF 556
Week 5: In double room  € 510 / CHF 550
Week 6: In double room € 500 / CHF 540
Week 7: In double room  € 550 / CHF 540
Week 8: In double room  € 520 / CHF 562

Supplement single room per week  € 130 / CHF 140

Supplement solo traveller per week  € 250 / CHF 270

Half Board supplement (5 dinners per week)  € 110 / CHF 119
Luggage tranportation supplement per week   € 110 / CHF 119

On request

Extra nights, Tracks for Gps

 

 

 

Please contact us if you would like to receive more information !