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Anyone know how much road walking is involved?

TimH

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 2016
Le Puy route May 2017
Camino Norte June 2017
St Francis Way Sept 2018
Hi Everyone
My wife and I are thinking of starting at Saint Bernard in late August 2018 and seeing how far we get before mid October. It doesn't really matter if we get to Rome or not, but it would be nice! However, our feet really don't like too much road walking. Does anyone know how much of the route is on hard pavement? Are there long stretches, say 20km plus, that are just on roads?
Many thanks
 

Harington

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
Hi Everyone
My wife and I are thinking of starting at Saint Bernard in late August 2018 and seeing how far we get before mid October. It doesn't really matter if we get to Rome or not, but it would be nice! However, our feet really don't like too much road walking. Does anyone know how much of the route is on hard pavement? Are there long stretches, say 20km plus, that are just on roads?
Many thanks
It depends which guide you follow. My memory is (2016) that one of the days in the Aosta Valley had quite a bit of road (between Montjovet and Pont St Martin). Later on you can just about avoid a lot of road-walking unless you want to shorten the day's journey by taking a road, which is more direct. If you do, wear something hi-viz, as the driving is a bit scary.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances. 2011
Chemin d'Arles. 2011
Chemin de Vezelay. 2012
Chemin de Le Puy 2010
Chemin de Pyrenees. 2013
Via Francigena. 2014
Via de la Plata 2015
Camino del Norte 2015
We walked that section of the Via Francigena in the Spring of 2014. There was a LOT of road walking at that time but I know there have been attempts to get the route off the roads. A small part, about 5% was on busy, trunk-style highways, which can be very unnerving. We did usually manage to find alternative routes, sometimes involving long detours, or a couple of times cadging rides or buses. It is, however, a fantastic walk and many of the roads are small and very beautiful - especially the "white" roads in Tuscany and through the mountain vineyards in the Aosta Valley. The accommodation is good and the Italians are fantastically welcoming and helpful. Happy to answer any further questions.
 

Carel5

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Mozarabe: Almeria - Merida
2018 Francigena: GSB - Massa
(2019) Francigena: Massa - Roma
For the Italian section of the VF you can find detailed maps on the official website. You can download them on your smartphone.
Here is an example of the first stage.

http://www.viefrancigene.org/static/uploads/vf01-m-gran-san-bernardo-echevennoz.pdf

My impression is that some stages have a lot of road walking, while other stages are largely on footpath or gravel road.
Most road walking is on small roads, only a few parts are on busy through roads.

The search for off road walking means that the VF meanders a lot, and surely is not the route that Sigeric took 1000 years ago. Some pilgrims cut distances by walking small or large sections along highways, but in my opinion this spoils the fun.
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), CP (rebooked) (2020)
There are a lot of videos of the VF route on Youtube. They are mainly in Italian as it is a popular route for them. You can get an idea of the roads, routes and terrain from these. This one also shows some of the accomodation.

 

PapaSmurf76

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept 2016
Hi TimH,
We (wife and I) did four days of the VF this year after doing the Camino Portuguese.
Siena to Bolsena.
There's a fair bit of road walking in that section, not all road though. There are route options onto paths over the hills from memory.
Our ankles started to hurt because of the uneven paths. Not a lot of shade was a problem for us in June.
 

AGagnon

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Francigena (Summer 2017)
I did Aosta-Piacenza and Aulla-Roma.

There is a fair amount of road walking (difficult to give you %), usually small asphalt roads. They alternate almost equally with gravel paths and a quite a few grass/soil paths.

Pavement is inevitable when you go in and out of large cities.

I would say it a balanced way and like others said sometimes there is an option to not go on the road but it is longer.

By memory there was just a few days that I was in pain from too much road : Orio Litta to Piacenza on the cycleway path and after Lucca going to Altopascio, but it will depend if you are tired or not.

I recommend to stretch, not crisping your muscles when walking (when its unnecessary) and start the day slowly to warm up. Rest days are important also !
 
Thread starter OLDER threads on this topic Forum Replies Date
Diana Amendoeira Via Francigena to Rome 16
Doodles Via Francigena to Rome 6

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