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Guidebook to the Via Francigena Pilgrim Route - a Cicerone guidebook

Cover of The Via Francigena Canterbury to Rome - Part 2
2 Mar 2015
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.9cm
1st Published
20 Jan 2014
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The Via Francigena Canterbury to Rome - Part 2

The Great St Bernard Pass to Rome

by Alison Raju
Book published by Cicerone Press

An essential guidebook for anyone planning to walk the Via Francigena pilgrim route from Canterbury to Rome. Part 2 describes 940km of the pilgrimage from the Great St Bernard Pass to Rome. Contains all the planning information you need for your journey, including details of facilities and accommodation along the route.

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The Via Francigena is an almighty 1900km pilgrim trail from Canterbury to Rome. It leads down through relatively flat sections in north-eastern France, then reaches the mountainous Jura, continues through Switzerland and crosses the strenuous Great St Bernard Pass over the Alps, before heading through Italy to arrive at the Eternal City of Rome.

Taking an average of three months to complete on foot, pilgrims have been undertaking the Via Francigena since the 8th century, and it is one of Europe's great pilgrimages. From the halfway point at the Great St Bernard Pass in the Alps, this book splits the second half of the pilgrimage into five sections (with further start points in Vercelli, Passo della Cisa, Lucca and Siena) and concludes by arriving at St Peter's Square in Rome. All five start points are places where pilgrims can easily reach or leave the route by means of public transport, should they wish to tackle the journey in shorter stages.

In general the Via Francigena is well and clearly waymarked in Italy, although the style, design and colour of the signs varies quite a lot. Along much of the way is the red and white adhesive tape of the official route, marked with a black pilgrim silhouette to distinguish it from other long-distance footpaths. In other places are the older markers with either a yellow or a brown and yellow pilgrim carrying a bundle on his back, as well as the yellow and white stickers.

Most people who walk the Via Francigena are not experienced walkers. Walking a pilgrim trail, throughout history, has always been a means to an end and walking a means of transport. This makes the route suitable for all reasonably fit people. It passes through many historic towns and villages, with interesting churches, cathedrals and religious monuments to see and visit along the way.

    •    second 940km of the route described in detail, with colour sketch maps
    •    details of facilities along the route as well as information about all the key sights
    •    Part 2 of a 2-part guide covering the full route. Part 1 describes the trail from Canterbury to the Great St Bernard Pass

  • Seasons
    the Great Saint-Bernard Pass is only accessible from late-May to mid-October so the pilgrim walking the entire route in one go will need to take this into account; the weather can be extremely hot in the summer but in late autumn/winter the daylight hours available for walking are drastically reduced
  • Centres
    this second part of the route goes though Aosta, Ivrea, Pavia, Piacenza, Fidenza, over the Cisa Pass, through Pontremoli, Aulla, Sarzana, Pietrasanta, Lucca, San Gimignano, Siena, Bolsena, Viterbo and Sutri, finishing in Rome
  • Difficulty
    apart from the steep descent from the Great Saint-Bernard pass (2473m), the section over the Cisa Pass (1041m) and the constant ups and downs in Tuscany, this route presents no difficulties for anyone in normal health who is reasonably fit
  • Must See
    a pilgrimage on foot from Canterbury to Rome, starting, in this second volume, at the crossing of the Alps by the Great Saint-Bernard Pass on the border between Switzerland and Italy and finishing in Rome

May 2017

Page 180 Topelecca di Sopra

Taberna Potami- Mongolian Yurt accommodation available offering vegetarian food for 4 - 6 person dinner and B&B.


ph: +39-342-7064227


May 2016

We are grateful to Lennart Agestam for the following update and accommodation recommendation:

Section 5 – Siena to Rome

page 285, 4th paragraph

There is a new short-cut to Isola Farnese, which saves having to ford the Torrente Valchetta:

Turn L onto the Via Monte Michele, following it as it winds its way uphill. After 1km, where the main track swings L to follow the tree-line, turn R onto a broad footpath leading down into the forest. Keep on this path for 2.5km until you come to a T-junction. Turn R onto the Vicolo Formellese, following it R at the next junction. After a further 150m, turn L onto a small gravel road which takes you over the hill, before dropping down to the attractive waterfall, Cascata della Mola, and old water mill. Cross the bridge and follow the road (the Via Riserva Campetti) for about 800m until you reach a junction: turn R here onto the Via Isola Farnese to rejoin the main route (see page 286). 

Both the main route (orange) and the short-cut (pink) are shown on the Via Francigene website:

In Isola Farnese:

Case Nostra Signora (a hotel run by nuns)

1826 Via Cassia,

00123 Olgiata

tel (+39) 06 3089 0863

October 2015

Valpromaro (16km before Lucca)

Casa del Pelligrino, Via Communale 15 (in village, near the church) has pilgrim accommodation with 35 beds, showers, communal dinner, breakfast provided, washing machine.

Open all year and has place for bikes, horses, mules. Tel. (+39) 0584-956028, email: Donation (no fixed price).



Pilgrims through the centuries
Pilgrim saints
Route design and terrain       
Preparing for your journey   
Choosing your companions    
Planning your pilgrimage   
A challenging pilgrim route
Getting there   
Planning the day
Other practical information
Using this guide   

The Route

1    Great St Bernard Pass to Vercelli   
2    Vercelli to the Passo della Cisa        
3    Passo della Cisa to Lucca   
4    Lucca to Siena   
5    Siena to Rome   

Appendix A    Visiting the Sigeric Churches in Rome   
Appendix B    Sigeric stages in Italy   
Appendix C    San Rocco churches and iconography       
Appendix D    Further reading   
Appendix E    Italian–English glossary   
Appendix F    Useful contacts       
Appendix G    Obtaining the Testimonium
Appendix H    Index of maps   
Appendix I      Index of principal place names       
Appendix J     Summary of the route

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