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Big Cities on the VF

kmccue

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015
MY friend and I will be leaving in September from Aigle and heading to Lucca. We both love the small villages of the Caminos and tend to become overwhelmed when we hit "big" cities, often preferring to stay in a smaller town on one side or the other. Asking for advice though...are there any places we definitely ought to make an exception for? Thinking specifically about Aosta, Pavia, Piacenza and Pontremoli? And if we ought to just "go on"...any best bets near but not IN the cities?
 
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roving_rufus

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015) Portugues (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??) Camino from Ireland (2020-??)
Cities can be overwhelming while on camino. Pavia I stayed in a B&B on the far edge of the city meaning I only had a short stretch of city walking in suburbs, but this was more due to accommodation availability as I walked off season. Walking into Pavia is along the river and pleasant but to leave is urban streets, however I did really enjoy the centre of Pavia and spent the afternoon there before heading on.
Piacenza was another matter, after a long walk along a main road into the city I was glad to retreat to were I was staying and didn't really feel like sightseeing. (I was kind of tired after a 40km day the day before due to accommodation availability off season, so that probably didn't help my opinion of Piacenza) However there is pilgrim accommodation on the far edge of the city and if I walked this section over I would have crossed the entire city in one day rather than dividing it in two.
 

Harington

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
MY friend and I will be leaving in September from Aigle and heading to Lucca. We both love the small villages of the Caminos and tend to become overwhelmed when we hit "big" cities, often preferring to stay in a smaller town on one side or the other. Asking for advice though...are there any places we definitely ought to make an exception for? Thinking specifically about Aosta, Pavia, Piacenza and Pontremoli? And if we ought to just "go on"...any best bets near but not IN the cities?
Yes, definitely Aosta, Pavia, Fidenza, Piacenza, and Pontremoli (scarcely a city). They don't really feel like big cities, though the traffic in and out of Piacenza is bad. They are definitely worth it. Head for the old centres.
 

evanscl

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Oct 2016
Aosta was lovely but didnt stay there ( stayed in chatillon) or piacenza, as we divided our days up according to accom and what we felt like. Pontremoli was great,not as a city but you can see the statua steli (standing stone carvings) at the museum there, a highlight for me, plus the labyrinth stone at the modern church ( look it up, cant remember the name). I really liked fidenza . Stayed in pavia but cant remember much except the covered bridge was lovely.
 

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