The "Via Francigena" what is it?

Day by day itinerary

Facts and figures

900 km
from San Bernardo pass to Rome

 
8 one-weeks segments
56 nights

Daily
Average mileage: 20 km


La Via Francigena

was the road that led to Rome
from western Europe and England

At the end of the 10th century Sigeric, the Archibishop of Canterbury, travelled to Rome in order to be consecrated by the Pope; on the return journey, he kept the first detailed record of the route and his stops.
In 1985 the Italian archaeologist of roads, Giovanni Caselli, retraced the itinerary as described by Archbishop Sigeric. The eighty stages in Sigeric's itinerary averaged about twenty km a day, covering some 1700 km, from Canterbury to Rome, are  the basis for re-identifying the route today. We deal with the Italian portion of the road, but we can help you find the organisations which can support you should you want to walk the entire route.


.......and now a day ?

 

Now a day, when we speak of the Francigena, we refer to Sigeric itinerary and this is the one we have chosen to follow. Nonetheless, the Via Francigena is not a single "road' in the strict sense of the word. It comprises several possible routes that changed over the centuries as trade and pilgrimages developed or waned, depending on the time of year, political situation, and relative popularity of the shrines of saints along the route or simply the building of a new bridge that permitted an easier crossing of a river. Therefore, though following the official route as designed by the Italian governement, a few times we offer the possibility to sidestep and walk a more interesting route or visit a beautiful place.



The most travelled routes were the ancient Roman roads along which it was easier to find help and protection. Therefore, a major part of the Italian itinerary unfolds along the Via Aurelia and Via Cassia. However, these routes are, now a days, major, traffic ridden routes, not only unpleasant to walk, but even dangerous

For all those reasons, although we tried to follow Sigeric' itinerary as closely as possible, in some places we followed alternative routes which favour dirt roads or trails when possible.

Where do we start ?
The Francigena enters Italy through the San Bernardo Pass


We decided to start from Bourg St Pierre, the last Swiss town before the Pass.
You will therefore be able to cross the Alps!
A very old hostel, built by the Agostinian friars, catered to the needs of the pilgrims who braved the mountains, and still does. Their dogs were famous for rescuing the lost travellers.
The Francigena then descends the Val d'Aosta, meanders along part of the Po valley untill it reaches Fidenza. It crosses the Appennino mountains through the Cisa Pass. The road then follows the coast along the Via Aurelia only to turn inland near Lucca. In Tuscany it follows the Cassia way, touching San Gimignano, Siena, then San Quirico and Radicofani, travelling along the Val d'Orcia. The route exit Tuscany to enter Latium near Bolsena from where it coasts the lake down to Montefiascone. Then goes south to Viterbo, Sutri and finally Rome

.Day by day itinerary

 

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