Via Francigena

Via Francigena, Gallicano nel Lazio: Address, Phone Number, Via Francigena Reviews: 4/5

Via Francigena
All roads lead to Rome. The Via Francigena is an ancient road to Rome, passing through England, France Switzerland and finally Italy. In medieval times it was an important road for the pilgrims heading south, and is since 1994 designated as a European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe. The route travels through some of the most stunning scenery in Europe, such as Kent, WWI battlefields, Champagne, Alps, Abruzzo, Umbria, Tuscany, Lazio, with the majority of the walking taking place on off-road tracks and ancient Roman roads.
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The area
Neighbourhood: Vatican / Borgo
Frocked priests, colorful Swiss Guards, insistent souvenir shop owners, flag-waving tour guides, and pilgrims from around the world. This is the Vatican and Borgo, Rome's most recognized neighbourhood which acts as Vatican City's front yard. Aside from the souvenir boutiques and a few food spots, the only business conducted here is papal. In the daytime, the tiny medieval sector bustles with holy activity, as visitors vie for elbow room, or stand in line for a visit. Once the sun sets, the neighbourhood is transformed into a quiet and picturesque hamlet.
Popular mentions

32 reviews
Very good

Gretel Schuck
1 contribution
Via Francigena, hiking in Italy
Sep 2019 • Solo
Amazing experience, hiking in Italy
In 2018, I did 1300 miles along the Italy route-
Amazing- doing it 2020
Written 30 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Dublin, Ireland125 contributions
A beautiful way to see Tuscany
May 2018 • Friends
I recently completed the section of the Via Francigena from Lucca to Siena and although we were not blessed with the best weather (it rained for a few hours nearly every day) we enjoyed nearly every step. The section from Lucca to Altopascio (Day 1 of our walk) is pretty much on roads for at least 60% of the route but walking into Altopascio was beautiful. In my opinion by far the best section was from San Miniato to Gambassi Terme such beautiful scenery. True, it is not as populated with walkers as the Camino but that only enhances the joy of the walk. Absolutely wonderful and I would recommend to everyone and I didn't even go on about the food and wine.
Written 21 May 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

16 contributions
Disappointing walk
Jun 2017 • Couples
After thoroughly enjoying the uplifting Camino de Santiago in Spain we decided to walk on the Via Francigena in Italy (Lucca to Siena). What a disappointment!

We had good written instructions from the company that organised our accommodation and luggage transfer. However we would strongly recommend against walking in summer ie after May. Temperatures were 30+ degrees C and there is very little shade or food/drink stops.

Camino Ways choice of overnight accommodation was often poor and inappropriate. Day 2 we walked 30km to an agriturismo that was unsuitable for walkers. It was kilometers from the nearest town so therefore we had no access to facilities or places of interest. We were told to sit by the pool to wait well over an hour for a very mediocre meal with no choice. After walking 30km in 30 degree heat we just wanted food and bed. Eventually we left the eating area and went to our room, without having the main course, after 10pm.

Accommodation was in another agriturismo on day 7. Luckily we checked our accommodation voucher before the day's walk finished in Monteriggioni and discovered that our accommodation was in fact 3km from Monteriggioni and 1km off the Via Francigena. So once again we felt isolated in the country with no means to access facilities or the sights of Monteriggioni. And again there was no choice for the 2 course meal of pasta with tomato sauce and 2 slices of pork with some fried potato. No salad. Very poor.

In fact the half board option is very hit and miss in Italy. At times we were treated like normal paying guests( which indeed we were!) but at other times especially the agriturismos we felt a nuisance and just given leftovers. Our hotels and meals in San Gimignano, Alto Pascio and Colle Val d'Elsa were excellent.

I would not recommend this pilgrimage but if you really want to do it organise your own accommodation and luggage transfer. Much better to walk in Spain.

Written 22 June 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Patty A
Helotes36 contributions
Stressful hike
Mar 2017 • Couples
Having enjoyed our pilgrimage hikes on the Portuguese and French Caminos in Spain, we decided to try the Via Francigena in Italy this year. Once again, we used the services of Follow the Camino/One Foot Abroad to book inns and luggage transfers for us. We walked from Assisi to Rome for twelve days and then spent Holy Week in Rome. Unfortunately, this experience is one that we would not recommend. Unlike the Camino, the way is poorly marked and, for long stretches, it is not marked at all. We used the guide by Sandy Brown, The Way of St. Francis from Florence to Assisi and Rome. Mr. Brown’s Guide needs a great deal of updating since distances are often incorrect and way marks (a pink colored house; a grey gravel road) have been changed. In twelve days on the via, we met only four hikers from Latvia, and three from the Netherlands. There were few locals along the way that could offer assistance since most have not even heard of the Via Francigena. Indeed, several people asked us if we were crazy to be walking to Rome; a sad situation since this is one of the oldest, most historic pilgrimage routes. On several occasions we were either walking on the edge of heavily trafficked highways or completely lost in the countryside with no towns/farms nearby. Lost in the hills near Poggio Bustone, in pouring rain, we came upon the Latvian hikers who were also lost since their GPS was not working in the rural areas. Even with GPS, only street routes are shown and not the hiking trail. While Follow the Camino has such excellent service on the Camino Santiago, they have not managed to work out the kinks on the Via. On three occasions, our luggage had not been transferred when we arrived at our destination. This prompted a series of phone calls to the company which is based in Ireland. The Spaniards are familiar with this service but the Italian hotel managers would tell us that this is not a service that is provided in Italy. At two stops, we again called the company because only one room for three people was provided when we had booked two separate rooms and had printed vouchers for two rooms. Our walk was from the last week of March until the second week of April and the temperature was already quite warm with full sun so a summer walk might be uncomfortably hot
We all agreed that we would not do this walk again but would advise that it might be a better plan to take an escorted tour where a tour bus drops passengers off for short, carefully preselected walks along the Via and then picks them up to take them to the next destination. The food and wine in Umbria and Lazio are excellent but pricey.
Written 27 April 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Cat 🐱
46 contributions
Worst trail in the world
Mar 2016 • Couples
Maybe I'm spoiled for choice in the hiking I've done in Australia and UK, but this trail was just shocking. Walking along roads almost all of the time, with the ear-splitting roar of traffic going past (usually trying to run you over, as is their way in Italy) as you walk through industrial slums and fly-tipping hotspots. We were dumbfounded at how anyone would want to walk this. We got about 4 days in and just couldn't stand any more disappointment from the poor quality scenery nor could we stand any longer the rudeness from the racist hotels, which are your only option for accommodation as there's no safe places to camp and there's so few hotels that you're forced to stay in whichever is closest, which is almost always run by a bigoted old man who decides guests who only speak English pay more for a room than an Italian does. It was noisy, it was smelly, it was dirty, it was the opposite of beautiful in terms of scenery, it was dangerous, it was frustrating, it was infuriating, and most of all, it was disappointing. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT BOTHER.
Written 21 April 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Alex T
England752 contributions
Walking the VF from Sarzana to Siena
Aug 2015 • Family
Our route was as follows: Sarzana to Marina di Carrara (Hotel Exclusive)17.5km; Montignoso (Agriturismo Karma) 19.9km; Pietrasanta (Sul Prado) 11.8km; Nocchi (Villa Montecatini) 14.8km; Lucca (Il Seminario) 22.4km; Altopascio (La Loggia) 18.1km; San Miniato (Agriturismo Marrucola) 34.1km; Gambassi Terme (Agriturristica La Torre Antica) 25.2km; San Gimignano (Le Undici Lune) 10.8km; Monteriggioni (Borgo San Luigi) 22.5km and Siena (Castello delle Quattro Torra) 33.1km. We had previously walked from Siena to Rome, and have reviewed that trip and all the accommodation separately.

We walked in August and early September, so it was very hot - we had no rain at all. There are excellent online maps on the VF website.

A Sarzana start provided an opportunity for a couple of days in Portovenere to see something of the Cinque Terre and have a bit of a warm upon Isola Palmaria. The sound of the church bells from the island is beautiful.

The first day's walk was uneventful, apart from a road closure as the VF track approaches the railway and SS1 near Carrara, however the next day the walk is very poorly way-marked after the first off road section beyond Carrara. We went up the hill, and the path became narrower and more overgrown - we eventually descended back onto the main road, and had another attempt to pick the correct track up from further along, but that failed too. The Agriturismo in Montignoso has the advantage that you get most of the climb out of the way before the night stop, along with spectacular views and an excellent evening meal. It is also right on the route.

The maps are not entirely accurate on the way to Pietrasanta, as there are some very well marked new paths which provide a safe and scenic route. Pietrasanta is a really lovely and interesting place to stop, with good rail links. The next day we walked on to Nocchi which was slightly off-route. Again, the way-marking was not particularly clear, and the paths rather overgrown in parts, not long into the walk. We missed a turning and climbed an extra hill, but dropped down to the correct road in the end. There was a further poorly marked section at the top of a wooded hill just before our descent to the church by a football pitch where we left the route to go to our night stop (an amazing country villa).

The next day we found a new footpath that wasn't marked on the official paths, but was way-marked. This enabled us to avoid a long stretch on a rather fast and dangerous road, but the downside was that it was very overgrown. I wish I'd packed secateurs. I was glad of my walking poles, though, especially for the various descents during the week. We would highly recommend a stop at the Pilgrim Hostel in Valpromaro - we had coffee and watermelen, and enjoyed meeting the staff there.

There is a cafe in Ponte San Pietro, but it's off route before you arrive in the town, at the junction of the SR439 and the SP24. The remaining stretch to Lucca is a pleasant footpath by the river. The Cathedral at Lucca is well worth a visit.

Altopascio is a very pleasant place to stop - and La Loggia is the ideal nightstop. It's right in the centre and has a lovely, well-priced restaurant. The next day's walk looks rather indirect on the maps, but that is because it follows a stretch of Roman Road towards Galleno. There is a new path alongside the SP61, making the walk much safer, and another new path just before Ponte a Cappiano. We didn't find much in the way of food there - even though it was extremely hot, the only option was pasta (the other two restaurants and the shop were closed). A good day for a picnic? The stretch after the historic bridge is very exposed. the next cafe we found was at the hospital in Fucecchio. We stayed in an Agriturismo just after San Miniato, on the route.

The next day's walk offered some great views on both sides. There's a pilgrim rest stop at the church near Castello Coiano. There's also a great restaurant at Borgoforte on the way in to Gambassi Terme. We stayed at an Agriturismo beyond the town, on the route.

We had just a short walk to San Gimignano. We deviated from the official route by following the road version of the VF rather than taking the right turn over the hill to the Pieve di Santa Maria a Cellole. The road is quiet, slightly shorter, and has good views of the town with its towers. San Gimignano was an excellent stop, particularly after the coachloads had left in the evening. Le Unici Lune is THE place to stay, and the climb up the tower in the museum is a must-do activity.

The next day's walk has an alternative route - you need to be careful at the junction of the routes in the forest to take the one you want. We took the main path and it seemed absolutely fine.We stayed at a resort hotel between this point and Monteriggioni, where we stopped for lunch the next day - it was full of tourists!

The waymarking of the last section to Siena was patchy. We lost the route on a cross country section, as did our sons who were travelling separately. In Siena, the Cathedral is spectacular. When we started out from Siena it was the Palio, so it was actually rather nice to see it in a calmer state this time. We used audio guides which were helpful. summary, the way-marking was patchy in a few places, but otherwise clear. You need maps, or access to maps via a mobile phone. Those on the Via Francigena website are very helpful. I would not have been without my walking poles, as there were a few overgrown paths (poles are good for holding back nettles and brambles) and one or two steep sections where they give you stability. It was a quiet walk - we met few fellow pilgrims (perhaps a dozen on foot, and two groups on bicycles). The scenery and towns are beautiful, and we would highly recommend making the trip.

I have uploaded photographs of the types of markers that are used on the route.
Written 20 November 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Norman S
Edmonton, Canada480 contributions
Great Walk, Francigena Ways had a few glitches
Sep 2014 • Friends
A friend and I (in our 60s) walked the Via Francigena from Florence to Assisi to Rome (530 km) in September with hotels, luggage transfers and directions provided by Camino ways. The overall experience was wonderful, exploring the many pilgrimage sites, staying in interesting small towns and enjoying great meals provided by friendly and helpful hoteliers. Unfortunately, a few things were not as represented by the company. The website indicated (for each leg) that accommodation would be in the town centre. While this was often the cash, in about 1/3 of the cases the accommodation was 2 to 8 kilometres from the edge of town which meant additional unplanned walking and limited the opportunity to enjoy and interact with the locals. In one case, they agreed to transport us to town in the morning, for 15 €. There were several errors in the instructions ( some of which the company had been informed of by previous clients) and the altitude gains and losses sited in the instructions were often incorrect (sometimes by hundreds of meters) which created planning problems. On the rain days in the mountains(week 1) several trails were basically running water with tricky and even dangerous footing and several times the trail was obscured by logging. It would have been useful to have an alternate route on passable roads or trails in case of heavy rain. Overall, I would expect that Camino ways would provide excellent support in Spain but would be hesitant to book with them again in Italy.
Written 26 November 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Alex T
England752 contributions
Walking the VF from Siena to Rome
Aug 2014 • Family
In August we walked the Via Francigena from Siena to Rome, booking accommodation en route using a mixture of tripadvisor, and agriturismo websites. Each evening we asked our hotel or B&B to book a taxi to take our luggage to our next stop - the cost ranged from 30 - 60 euros per day for 4 bags, depending on distance with an average cost of about 40 euros.

We took the historical route through Abbadia San Salvatore - the VF was later re-routed via Radicofani which was a path that was easier to defend, and the modern waymarking is for the newer route, Our route was Siena- Lucignano D'Arbia - La Ripolina (farm) - San Quirico D'Orcia - Castiglione D'Orcia - Campiglia D'Orcia - Abbadia San Salvatore - Agriturismo S.Apollinare (farm) - Acquapendente - Bolsena - Montefiascone - Viterbo - Vetralla - Sutri - Campagnano di Roma - Isola Farnese - Rome. We walked between 10 and 30 km per day. Thus part of our route was waymarked, but the stretch from Castiglione to Agriturismo S.Apollinare wasn't.

For maps, I used a variety of sources but then transcribed the route using google maps and printed out a booklet of maps (earth view) for each day. Google maps allows you to calculate walking distances, but isn't that helpful in identifying major uphill sections, or cafes. On the whole this approach worked well, but in a couple of places the signposting of the Via Francigena didn't match anything I had found. This was most notable on the way into Sutri, where the waymarked route follows a riverside path, meandering through a forest - when we walked it was dry, but in wet weather you would definitely need walking poles as in places it was narrow and sloped steeply. On the way out of Sutri we were also diverted onto a longer and not very well marked route, and there were one or two shorter sections that had recent waymarking that differed slightly from the maps and guides.

In the summer you need to make sure you have plenty of water as the paths are quite exposed. On four of our days there were no obvious cafe stops; on another day (a Sunday) all the cafes were shut. You also need effective insect repellent - we were eaten alive on some stretches, particularly where there were forests and standing water.

In terms of terrain, until Isola Farnese it was a mixture of country lanes, Roman roads, gravel roads (the majority were like this) and muddy/grassy tracks.There was only one section with nettles, and we were able to push them back with poles. The walk from Campiglia D'Orcia to Abbadia is entirely on the road, but this has been shut to traffic for some time because of major subsidence. The last stretch into Rome is mainly along busy roads (sometimes without pavements) so bright/high-visibility clothes are advisable.

There were hills - since a lot of medieval towns were in positions that were easy to defend most of our night stops involved a climb at the end of the day, but the reward is spectacular views. We chose to take the more ancient route via Abbadia San Salvatore, a fascinating city with one of the best preserved and largest medieval areas I have ever seen. This area has its own micro-climate, so be prepared for the odd thunderstorm, even in the summer. See review in Via Francigena in Tuscia for photos.
Written 21 September 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sydney, Australia11 contributions
Via Francigena - travelling the pilgrim path
Feb 2012 • Friends
Hi fellow Walkers and Pilgrims,

we had five weeks in which to cover the Via francigena, and spend 7 days in Rome (how could you not?)
So we devised an itinerary which would touch upon the highlights (leaving out France because we had done other walks there): England, Switzerland, Siena (and Assisi) and Acquapendente to Rome. Then all of the pilgrim duties in Rome.

The Via Francigena, once one of the most popular medieval pilgrimages is again regaining its popularity and importance amongst Christian pilgrimages.

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE WALK: Via Francigena Route: Starting from Canterbury, the walk to Dover is relatively flat. Once in France the path traverses some valleys before arriving in Switzerland. The Alps are a bit of a challenge, and then there's the hilly section of Italy.

SOME HIGHLIGHTS: So many historic sites to visit. Canterbury Cathedral, Dover, Calais, the French villages and towns. The Swiss countryside and the Great St Bernard Pass. Italian villages and churches. Lake Bolsena and Montefiascone. Rome's churches and ancient ruins.

WALKING ROUTE PLANNER: The number of days required depends on how fit and how quickly or leisurely you want your walking journey to be. Work out the average number of kilometres you are prepared to do in a day, taking into account the landscape and the town or village in which you will end your day. It's also nice to plan on arriving a little earlier in a village if there are interesting attractions you may like to visit, such as in Viterbo or Assisi. The full walk takes around three months. We did sections of the walk in four weeks.

LUGGAGE TRANSFER: This service is available to guided walkers for some sections of the walk and can be organized through a number of tour operators. Independent walkers will have to take their own packs.

cheers... Almis Simans
Written 30 January 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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