La Via Francigena - the Roads to Rome
16-day accompanied walk from Lucca to Rome
We have chosen to start this walk in Siena, a wonderful, not-to-be-missed walled city in the north of Tuscany As some of the official stages are over 30 km we have split them into two, making 16 stages altogether.
One day in Siena, 15 days walking to Rome
[Luggage transfers optional - about €7 per item per stage]
Siena is connected by bus from and or train from Rome (3 hours and €12) You can fly to Florence and take a bus or train from there.
1 Meet in Siena
2 Lucignano d’Arbia 21
3 Buonconvento 16
4 San Quirico 22
5 Bagno san Filippo 22
6 Radicofani 12.5
7 Centeno 20
8 San Lorenzo Nuovo 14
9 Bolsena 13
10 Montefiascone 20
11 Viterbo 22
12 Vetralla 20
13 Sutri 26.5
14 Campagnano di Roma 25.6
15 La Storta 24
16 Rome 21
NB: Depending on reports from the road between Centeno and Acquapendente, we may change the route slightly to Bolsena in 2019
What is included?
You will be given a Credenziale (Pilgrim's Passport), amaWalkers guide booklet, pin-badge and luggage labels.
Accommodation is provided in small hotels, inns, agriturismos rural houses and includes one night in Rome. We do not stay in pilgrim dormitories, nor do we stay in 5 star hotels. On Booking.com or Tripadvisor, all of our accommodation is rated ‘Good’ or above and we stay in 6 Good places : 3 Very good places : 3 Fabulous places and 4 Superb places.
A few single rooms can be booked but if the group is large, we might have to split the group and book rooms in a different establishment.
In Italy many places have ensuite bathrooms in double rooms while single rooms share a bathroom so if you want a single room with ensuite bathroom every night you will have to pay for single occupancy in a double room. In a couple of villages we might stay in an apartment or Agriturismos where bathrooms are shared by the group. We can arrange for a company to transfer your luggage from one town to the next (optional extra - ± €7 per stage)
The walk starts with welcome and orientation get together. An amaWalkers group leader will accompany you for the duration of your trip.
The price does not include flights to Italy, transport to the start, meals or drinks. Luggage transfers are optional ± €7 per stage per item of luggage (Max 15 kg)
In the Middle Ages multitudes of pilgrims, soldiers, merchants and travellers used a system of roads known as the “Via Francigena” – or roads of the Franks - to travel from England and other northern countries to Rome. The archbishops of Canterbury used the road to travel to Rome to receive their pallium or stole of office from the Pope. In 994 AD Archbishop Sigeric’s clerks kept a diary of his return journey entitled 'From Rome to the Channel'. In the 1990s the diary was rediscovered by Italian researchers and is now in the British Museum. The Archbishop's descriptions of places along the route proved to be very accurate and the discovery generated academic research, tourism promotion and restoration of the actual route for modern walkers. In 1994 the Council of Europe designated the Via Francigena as a 'European Cultural Itinerary.' As religious and cultural tourism grows in popularity, modern day pilgrims once again walk the old pilgrim roads to Santiago in Spain, Jerusalem and to Rome.” Quote from ‘La Via Francigena, Five Pilgrims to Rome’
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NB: PLEASE READ THIS INFO BEFORE JOINING
Travel writers always talk about the 'rolling hills' of Tuscany. 'Hills' is the operative word! Many villages are on top of hills and the Via Francigena is a roller-coaster trail going up and down steep hills. If there are no hills for you to train on, use the stairs in your local shopping mall, public buildings, underground or at the gym on treadmill or StairMaster. You need to train on hills!
The difficulty ratings for the stages are taken from the latest Italian Guide book published by the AEVF. There are only 5 'Easy' days (short, flat trails) the rest being 'Medium' to 'Challenging and a couple are 'Medium-Challenging'.
In our experience, the Medium-Challenging stages are long distance days so we have tried to reduce the distance of these stages to lower the difficulty to medium.
Although there is no technical hiking involved, you will need to be reasonably fit and able to walk at least 3km - 4 km per hour on some challenging terrain to cover the average of 20km per day in 5 - 7 hours. Sunrise is around 05h50 which means you should arrive at your destination between 2pm and 3pm each day. The trail is on often on mountain tracks, stones, gravel, riverine trails and asphalt paths, which although not technically difficult require a moderate to high level of fitness.
With this in mind, we have had many people between the ages of 60 and 75 walking to Rome in our groups. Its not an age thing! Its up to you to do the training.
Do not compare this walk with the Camino de Santiago!
If you have walked the Camino de Santiago you shouldn't have any trouble walking the Via Francigena. However, the Via Francigena today is probably like the Camino was 20 years ago. There are often no villages between start and destination, not many places to get water or stop for a coffee or food, very few pilgrims and churches are rarely open. Buses are few and far between and many places don't have taxis so there is no escape if you want to stop walking.
This is a beautiful but challenging walk through stunning countryside on a 1200 year-old trail to Rome and the fitter and more prepared you are, the more you will enjoy it.
The Group Leaders have walked this route. 2006 VF Five Pilgrims to Rome - Kindle
Credenziali (and the new English Ierre di Mezzo guide book)
Lightfoot Guides – Paul Chinn and Babette Gallard
Via Francigena Pilgrim Trail - Alison Raju, Cicerone 2014
Italian (and English edition)
La Via Francigena 1000km a Piedi dal Gran San Bernardo a Roma : 2016