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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

Italy...Via Francigena or Way of St. Francis?

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#1
My Camino wheels are turning for ideas in the Spring 2019. I'm actually "all over the place" thinking of routes in Portugal, Spain and Italy.
But for now, I'd like some opinions regarding/comparing these two routes in Italy from those who have possibly walked both...the Via Francigena (the section from Lucca to Rome) and the Way of St. Francis (Florence to Rome). I'm interested in the basic comparisons of trail waymarking and difficulty, infrastructure of food and lodging, and natural beauty. I know both will have historical interest and charming villages. I have toured Italy before, so am somewhat familiar with the country, but have never walked there...and I do not know Italian. :)

In what little research I've done, I am confused on which route I would possibly appreciate more...can't do them both!
Thanks for any advise tossed my way!
 

AML

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2013
Norte/Primitivo May/June 2014
Vasco del Interior/ Burgos - Leon/Del Salvador/Primitivo May/June 2015
Ourense - Santiago Sept 2015
Camino Ingles Sept 2015
Porto-SDC Sept/Oct 2016
#2
Hi Chris,

Last Sept/early Oct I walked a route Cammino di Assisi. It started in a small village called Dovadola which is near Forli and close to Bologna. It took 13 days to reach Assisi. Accommodation is limited on the route so you have to register in advance with Cammino di Assisi association. The first week walking is quite mountainous, lots of up and down daily, very remote, very peaceful and beautiful.

After La Verna the route intersects frequently with other paths, way marking is excellent though. I highly recommend staying at Sanctuary la Verna, necessary to reserve in advance. Its a very special place.
Accommodation throughout is very good and meals are provided at some also.
I walked to arrive in Assisi for 4 october, Saint Francis feast day. It was quite busy.
The route l thought lacked the camaraderie which can be found on Camino de Santiago, but i suppose it depends if other pilgrims are beginning on the same day at Dovadola. After La Verna there were more pilgrims.
I attach a link to the Cammino di Assisi Association.
http://www.camminodiassisi.it/EN/

Hope this helps

Aidan
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#3
Thank you, AML, for your reply. I just looked up Dovadola. Another question would be whether to start in Florence or Dovadola. Does the Camini Asissi share the same path with the Way of St. Francis? Hmmm, lot's to ponder.
I would also plan to continue the route from Asissi to Rome.
 

AML

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2013
Norte/Primitivo May/June 2014
Vasco del Interior/ Burgos - Leon/Del Salvador/Primitivo May/June 2015
Ourense - Santiago Sept 2015
Camino Ingles Sept 2015
Porto-SDC Sept/Oct 2016
#4
Thank you, AML, for your reply. I just looked up Dovadola. Another question would be whether to start in Florence or Dovadola. Does the Camini Asissi share the same path with the Way of St. Francis? Hmmm, lot's to ponder.
I would also plan to continue the route from Asissi to Rome.
The route from Florence and the route from Dovadola may intersect even before La Verna. After La Verna i definitely remember seeing the Blue/Yellow waymarkings of Via de Francesco and also Via di Roma i believe.
I looked into this route also which continues to Poggio Bustone, http://www.diquipassofrancesco.it,
Lots of options, all will be great i'm sure.

When i arrived at Dovadola to begin the camino i was given maps for each day, credential and accommodation list....all very well organised.
 

AML

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2013
Norte/Primitivo May/June 2014
Vasco del Interior/ Burgos - Leon/Del Salvador/Primitivo May/June 2015
Ourense - Santiago Sept 2015
Camino Ingles Sept 2015
Porto-SDC Sept/Oct 2016

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#7
My Camino wheels are turning for ideas in the Spring 2019. I'm actually "all over the place" thinking of routes in Portugal, Spain and Italy.
Hi Camino Chris, I'm fluctuating between one of the Italia routes and the VdLP in Spain for next spring. Interested to hear what you decide. Jill
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#8
Hi Jill, I've not made any definate decisions yet, but will surely post my final itinerary in the coming months. I always plan to take 4-6 weeks to walk. Good luck with your decision, whatever you end up choosing.
 

micamino73

Active Member
#9
My Camino wheels are turning for ideas in the Spring 2019. I'm actually "all over the place" thinking of routes in Portugal, Spain and Italy.
But for now, I'd like some opinions regarding/comparing these two routes in Italy from those who have possibly walked both...the Via Francigena (the section from Lucca to Rome) and the Way of St. Francis (Florence to Rome). I'm interested in the basic comparisons of trail waymarking and difficulty, infrastructure of food and lodging, and natural beauty. I know both will have historical interest and charming villages. I have toured Italy before, so am somewhat familiar with the country, but have never walked there...and I do not know Italian. :)

In what little research I've done, I am confused on which route I would possibly appreciate more...can't do them both!
Thanks for any advise tossed my way!
The Via Francigena is nowhere near as developed or serviced as the Camino de Santiago. Also the accommodation offered is more expensive.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#10
The Via Francigena is nowhere near as developed or serviced as the Camino de Santiago. Also the accommodation offered is more expensive.
I have already walked the Camino de Santiago twice, the Norte/Primitivo combination and I've just returned three weeks ago from walking the Le Puy route in France as far as Auvillar. I am aware of the cost difference in Italy, but just trying to compare the infrastructure, etc. of the two Italian routes I'd mentioned.
Thank you for your input.
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
#11
I have walked the VF and also the Cammino diAssisi from Davadola. To throw the cat among the pigeons you have several other options in Italy too. The Cammino di Sant'Anotonio begins in Padova and connects with the Assisi route in Davadola - also interesting, but a little more "wild", or rather off the beaten track - very much a road less travelled. I used this route to link with the Cammino di Assisi from Bologna. The other option is the Via Romea Germanica which begins in North Germany, but the Italian leg begins at the Brenner Pass. some of it is quite arduous, other parts quite easy. Some of it is not as easy to follow as the other paths, and in several places is quite overgrown. This too is a beautiful way. It crosses the Cammino di Assisi in la Verna, and joins with the VF for the last few days. More expensive as there is not a lot of pilgrim accomodation and some of it goes through touristy places like Padova, Ravenna and Ferrara. I have just finished my blog of this route if it is of any interest:- http://wanderingyetagain.blogspot.com
there are links to my other blogs which includes the Cammino di Assisi, but you will have to scroll through that one:- http://janetthehappywanderer.blogspot.com
Unfortunately I didn't do a blog of my VF experience. There are certainly more pilgrim refuges on that one compared to the others, though the Assisi / Francesco is getting more infrastructure all the time.

By the way by registering and walking the Cammino di Assisi you can pick up an Assisiana at Assisi, and if you coninue on from la Verna the route is managed by a different group and is called the Cammino di Francesco. In Rieti you can pick up a certificate type document from the tourist office, and in Rome you now collect a Testimonium from the piglrim offce near the Piazza San Pietro.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#12
Hi jl,
I appreciate your detailed report. Thank you for taking the time to share your observations. I am wondering if you speak much Italian, and if not, did you find it difficult to communicate your needs.
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
#13
I am hopeless at languages Camino Chris. I have a reasonable knowledge of musical Italian, and a few basic words like hello, thank you, hot etc. and that is about it! A smile is the universal language, and as a general rule pidgeon english / pidgeon italian and gestures got me through. There were a couple of situations that I really needed to explain myself better, and so got my tablet out and used good old google translate. I had the added advantage of being a solo woman, of a senior age, who had travelled from Australia to walk through their country. That also meant that suddenly, instead of having no english they had a dozen or so words, and that combined with my dozen or so meant we could usually communicate. Of course in northern Italy the language is more often than not German as it is in the Tyrol, which just adds to my confusion when I am greeting people etc. In places like the tourist offices there was generally a fluent English speaker. I quite frequently used them to find out where there might be accomodation. With just a couple of exceptions they were very helpful.

I didn't mention in my last post another option - you could begin in Rome and walk towards Santiago. You don't have to get there in one go, and if you take a few years you may well be ready to go through Spain again. I met 2 lots of 2 pilgrims walking that way. There are numerous options for that route too. You could walk the VF in reverse and go around the coast and connect with the Arles route, or go across the Grand San Bernard Pass and head towards le Puy, or you could go up to Lake Constance and go down through Paris, just to name a few. Many, many options.
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
#14
Camino(s) past & future
Portugese (2012) frances (2013 &2014) Via de la Plata(2015)
#16
My Camino wheels are turning for ideas in the Spring 2019. I'm actually "all over the place" thinking of routes in Portugal, Spain and Italy.
But for now, I'd like some opinions regarding/comparing these two routes in Italy from those who have possibly walked both...the Via Francigena (the section from Lucca to Rome) and the Way of St. Francis (Florence to Rome). I'm interested in the basic comparisons of trail waymarking and difficulty, infrastructure of food and lodging, and natural beauty. I know both will have historical interest and charming villages. I have toured Italy before, so am somewhat familiar with the country, but have never walked there...and I do not know Italian. :)

In what little research I've done, I am confused on which route I would possibly appreciate more...can't do them both!
Thanks for any advise tossed my way!
I have done 5 Caminos basically 4 weeks of various ones in Spain loved all, and this year will walk Via Francigena from Lucca to Rome.Coming from Australia I find it hard to get more than 4 weeks walking in as I spend a week travelling to get there and back. I was keen to do the way of St Francis but I don't feel confident with the infrastructure on that route yet.
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
#17
Hi Marg, I have sent you a pm. I am currently sitting in Changi airport wating for my flight bac to Aust. from Italy.
 

sharon w

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007
Camino Portugues 2009
Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
Cammino di Assisi 2014
Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
Aussie Camino 2016
#18
We walked only 5 stages from Gubbio to Spoleto using Angela Seracchioli’s guidebook. Once we were lost due to lack of signage, another time the route was hard to distinguish as there were arrows everywhere. Still, the walk was beautiful and our time in Assisi was excellent. We prebooked accommodation from Australia.
Have done the VDLP and would recommend it for the next walk. It was wonderful.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#19
I also plan to walk part of the Via Francigena, but don't have a clue what to expect. I heard rumors that accommodation is not easy to find as is on the Camino in Spain. There is also the part that they call the Tuscany route, which ends in Siena and seems better, I am not sure. My actual plan is to visit, Siena, Rome and Florence, but maybe I can walk to Siena and then take a bus to the other two places. I really want more info in connection
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#20
I also plan to walk part of the Via Francigena, in May 2019, but don't have a clue what to expect. I heard rumors that accommodation is not easy to find as is on the Camino in Spain. There is also the part that they call the Tuscany route, which ends in Siena and seems better, I am not sure. My actual plan is to visit, Siena, Rome and Florence, but maybe I can walk to Siena and then take a bus to the other two places. I really want more info in connection on safety, accommodation like Albergues or Hostels etc??
 
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
#21
The Via Francigena is nowhere near as developed or serviced as the Camino de Santiago. Also the accommodation offered is more expensive.
That is certainly true generally of the VF - I have just recently returned from walking from Canterbury to Rome, but the OP mentions specifically the section from Lucca to Rome and I would say that the infrastructure and accommodation for this section is not unlike the CF. The path is certainly well waymarked and it is quite possible to navigate without a guide, although most people use the free Sloways gps app or very similar 'official' one (which I found wouldn't work well on my iphone).
And for this stage of the walk there is a very reliable provision of parish/convent/monastery accommodation, (quite often still donativo) in nearly all the 'obvious' places to stay. It is always worth ringing the day before to check that a place is open - with much smaller numbers of pilgrims, even in Tuscany, there is not guarantee that someone will be sitting in every ostello waiting on the offchance that someone will come. I walked Lucca to Rome in June of this year and had no problem with overcrowding.
The French section VERY different to the CF in terms of waymarking and accommodation, but at the end of the day I found somewhere to stay for 89 consecutive nights!!
 

edandjoan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
St. Gallen to Muxia
2012-2018
#22
I think we will be walking in Italy next year as well. Probably mid May and June. We are currently reading and gleaning information from here as well as various websites. I look forward to taking a look at jl's links.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#23
That is certainly true generally of the VF - I have just recently returned from walking from Canterbury to Rome, but the OP mentions specifically the section from Lucca to Rome and I would say that the infrastructure and accommodation for this section is not unlike the CF. The path is certainly well waymarked and it is quite possible to navigate without a guide, although most people use the free Sloways gps app or very similar 'official' one (which I found wouldn't work well on my iphone).
And for this stage of the walk there is a very reliable provision of parish/convent/monastery accommodation, (quite often still donativo) in nearly all the 'obvious' places to stay. It is always worth ringing the day before to check that a place is open - with much smaller numbers of pilgrims, even in Tuscany, there is not guarantee that someone will be sitting in every ostello waiting on the offchance that someone will come. I walked Lucca to Rome in June of this year and had no problem with overcrowding.
The French section VERY different to the CF in terms of waymarking and accommodation, but at the end of the day I found somewhere to stay for 89 consecutive nights!!
Thank you, @timr, this is very encouraging information to hear!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#24
Thanks @timr, this will be a tough choice, Luka to Rome, or Florence to Rome or the tuscany route to Siena. One last question, is it safe to walk as a woman alone? I hope more people will come up with suggestions and even more info.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many more in the future (hopefully)
#25
Congratulations @timr! Canterbury to Rome is quite an accomplishment! I have recently returned from completing the Siena to Rome section of the VF. I note your comments regarding the GPS on the "official" app and that you had problems with it on your iphone. I also had problems with that app on my iphone, whereas my friend had no issues at all using his Samsung phone. So just a word of caution to anyone planning on relying on that GPS app for guidance: you may want to have a backup plan in case it does not work well.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
#26
Congratulations @timr! Canterbury to Rome is quite an accomplishment! I have recently returned from completing the Siena to Rome section of the VF. I note your comments regarding the GPS on the "official" app and that you had problems with it on your iphone. I also had problems with that app on my iphone, whereas my friend had no issues at all using his Samsung phone. So just a word of caution to anyone planning on relying on that GPS app for guidance: you may want to have a backup plan in case it does not work well.
Ah that's interesting! But the Sloways app worked perfectly on my iPhone. They are very very similar. I don't particularly like following GPS tracks, but.....up around the paddy fields of Vercelli for four days it was extremely useful. And it is not necessary to be tied to it and I would certainly use it again.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
#27
Thanks @timr, this will be a tough choice, Luka to Rome, or Florence to Rome or the tuscany route to Siena. One last question, is it safe to walk as a woman alone? I hope more people will come up with suggestions and even more info.
I'm not fully qualified to comment on the safety of the road for a lone woman . But I would say I don't think any problems. Even in June the route was fairly solitary for significant stretches. Conceivably that could be a problem for anybody, if you had a fall for instance. But not a problem I found myself worrying about a lot.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#28
Doogman, How was the Route from Siena to Rome? Enough places to sleep and what was the average price for, their, is it Oseros, or what do they call the Albergues? How was the route, flat, uphill etc?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many more in the future (hopefully)
#29
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#30
Hi Doogman, I really enjoyed the info that you wrote about your trip. Answers a lot of questions. Just one last question. What was the average price per person in euro for the Ostellos or Hostels etc?
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#31
Is there anyone who walked the Tuscany part recently? I think it is more or less the 153km up to Siena. Also, which is the closest airport to perhaps Siena or are there enough busses to reach the camino ways in Italy?
 

caminka

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
see signature
#32
I've just recently finished the accommodation part of the research of the VF in italy and posted a list in the resources section: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...t-for-the-italian-part-of-via-francigena.672/.

a few comments have already come up:
- the parish in aosta apparently doesn't acceprt pilgrims anymore
- the distance from aulla to sarzana is 18.1km (not 7.7km)

I think that, with prices of albergues on CF going up this year (a girl that returned in june said that it was quite difficult to get an albergue for under €10), VF is now only a little bit more expensive then CF, with a good more (still) donativo ostellos. certainly less expensive then france.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many more in the future (hopefully)
#33
Hi Doogman, I really enjoyed the info that you wrote about your trip. Answers a lot of questions. Just one last question. What was the average price per person in euro for the Ostellos or Hostels etc?
Hi: Sorry - I can't really help out there, as we used a tour company that booked all of the accommodation for us. We were staying in hotels, not the ostellos. It looks like there is some good info on this in the above post from @caminka.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#36
Thanks Timr, can one also just walk in May for instance without booking as I did last year on the via della Plata in Spain? We did not book beforehand and 99% there was a bed available.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
#37
@Marietjie . I started Canterbury on April 1st and crossed into Italy second week in May and finished June 28 in Rome. I didn't ever stay anywhere that was full, and quite often was by myself - probably more than half the time.
You don't need to book BUT it is definitely worth ringing the evening before to make sure the place you want to go to is open. And this is more reliable I think than email. There is not going to be someone sitting in an ostello waiting on the off chance that a pilgrim will come. (This applied more further from Rome.) But although I did always ring, I only three times found, helpfully, that I wouldn't be able to stay the next night for some reason. It is not QUITE like Camino in Spain where you can generally be sure at least that municipal albergue will always be open.
But really, cheap accommodation not really a problem. I think this has obviously developed quite a bit over the past few years, as numbers increase.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#39

Sainttam

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sarria to Santiago, march 2017), Portuguese (Valenca to SDC September 2017).
#41
In April I walked part of the VF from Pietrasanta to Monteriggioni, got lots of blisters the first day, got lost several times too. Scenery is amazing and as folk have said accommodation (I stayed in guest houses), is much more expensive than in Spain. Pilgrim accommodation is not as abundant as in Spain and I do know of people with bookings for hostels being turned away as they were full.

Heading back at start of September to walk from Monteriggioni to Rome.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2012), VdLP (2014), CF (2017), Rota Vincentina (2018), Cammino di Assisi (2019)
#42
@Marietjie
@caminka 's list is very useful. I would agree most places from Aosta downward have accommodation very comparable in cost to that on the CF. And more donativos survive in Italy, at the moment, than in Spain!
Thanks Timr. I looked up Aosta and it's in northern Italy. That means the cost to walk from Dovadola to Rome (Cammino di Assisi & Via di Roma) should be comparable to the CF. That's great news. Thanks again.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#43
Hi Jill, what a surprise! A friend and I did part of the VdP last year. A beautiful route, lots of woods and enough Albergues along route, maybe more of a nature route as history and things to see. Next year another friend and I plan to walk in Italy, but I am now almost sure we will do the part in Tuscany. Infor is the only problem, where to get your credential and if it is possible to get it in SA to help you to get hold of your Visum as with the Spain credential. Then where to fly to, is it Florence....?
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#44
Hi: Sorry - I can't really help out there, as we used a tour company that booked all of the accommodation for us. We were staying in hotels, not the ostellos. It looks like there is some good info on this in the above post from @caminka.
Which tour company did you use, is it an international one?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#45
Infor is the only problem, where to get your credential and if it is possible to get it in SA to help you to get hold of your Visum as with the Spain credential. Then where to fly to, is it Florence....?
Hi Marietjie, probably cheapest to get a return flight to Rome, and then a bus or train from Rome to the start of your walk. But check out https://www.rome2rio.com/ for other options.

Regarding a Schengen Visa, I suggest you start a new thread about that, so South Africans who have already walked the Via Francigena can help you out with that one.

Jill
P.S. How are your new poles? Have you discovered where one was mended yet?!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#46
Hi Marietjie, probably cheapest to get a return flight to Rome, and then a bus or train from Rome to the start of your walk. But check out https://www.rome2rio.com/ for other options.

Regarding a Schengen Visa, I suggest you start a new thread about that, so South Africans who have already walked the Via Francigena can help you out with that one.

Jill
P.S. How are your new poles? Have you discovered where one was mended yet?!
You won't believe me but I still don't know where it was mended. I tried everything and looked everywhere, but nothing. In the meanwhile, a friend of mine visited her friend in Madrid and brought back the exact poles, remember, the Bonsai ones. I am still glad that I have both pairs, as my husband use now one of the pairs. He is not a hiker at all, but use it here in our neighbourhood as we have lots of ups and downs and I still have the option to travel with the more collapsable ones. No, your husband is a genius!!

Hi Jill,
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 11 - October 10 2014
#49
Would be great to meet up with you all :cool:. IF I make it across France (Santiago to Rome :eek:) I should be in Italy in May / June :D. (I admit that it’s a big IF :rolleyes:).
Jill
I am planning to walk from Florence to Rome starting about June 21I have purchased Sandy Browns guide Trekking the Way of St Francis and downloaded his GPX files so we may meet
Cathy
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 11 - October 10 2014
#50
Thanks @timr, this will be a tough choice, Luka to Rome, or Florence to Rome or the tuscany route to Siena. One last question, is it safe to walk as a woman alone? I hope more people will come up with suggestions and even more info.
Will be walking alone next June 2018 Florence to Rome so hope and trust it will be safe
Cathy
 
#51
My Camino wheels are turning for ideas in the Spring 2019. I'm actually "all over the place" thinking of routes in Portugal, Spain and Italy.
But for now, I'd like some opinions regarding/comparing these two routes in Italy from those who have possibly walked both...the Via Francigena (the section from Lucca to Rome) and the Way of St. Francis (Florence to Rome). I'm interested in the basic comparisons of trail waymarking and difficulty, infrastructure of food and lodging, and natural beauty. I know both will have historical interest and charming villages. I have toured Italy before, so am somewhat familiar with the country, but have never walked there...and I do not know Italian. :)

In what little research I've done, I am confused on which route I would possibly appreciate more...can't do them both!
Thanks for any advise tossed my way!
Hi Chris,

Your timing is pretty good as I have a friend, a professional Photographer, walking the Via Francigena right now. He started on July 15/18 from Canterbury. He does a daily blog of one minute at a time and is updating everyone that way. When he returns with all his photos, videos both land and air, he will create more in-depth episodes.

If you wish to follow him, go to Youtube and find his channel under his name, Efren. His full name is Efren Gonzalez. Here is a link to his Day 1 Blog;


A few new insights may be discovered.... (Loving some of his unique equipment).
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
#53
Thanks @timr, this will be a tough choice, Luka to Rome, or Florence to Rome or the tuscany route to Siena. One last question, is it safe to walk as a woman alone?
Just one comment on this. I am what is known in Australia as a senior, so am not young. Though sometimes I have someone with me, as a general rule I travel alone, and have always felt safe. I do not own a mobile phone, though I do have a tablet with me, and use wifi for this. I do not use GPS (don't know how) but have never had an issue finding my way, sometimes using guides I have downloaded before leaving home or whatever guide book is available. Even in Italian, the maps can be followed, and the list of accomodation in the guide book is very hepful. I too have never had any issue with accomodation. I have just returned from walking the last five days of the VF (late July), prior to that being on the Via Romea (they join up at Montefiascone) and never had accomodation issues. I also only saw one pilgrim for those five days, though I know there were six others walking each day, I never saw them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#54
Fantastic that there are pelgrims out there who will help us decide by their videos and photos! Next year will be my first Camino in Spring and I hope for not to hot or not to cold in May. Will only a travel sheet do? A friend of mine walked in France in May, she took lovely photos of spring flowers. Will it be the same in Italy?
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#58
Thanks Doogman, I follow Camino Ways and thought of booking through them if I walk on my one next year! But together with a friend, I'm brave enough to try anything:Dany uncertainty gives me a kick!
 

DLJ

Member
Camino(s) past & future
(4/2012) St.Jean to Santiago; (9/2013) Geneva to Le Puy-en-Velay and beyond
#59
Thank you, AML, for your reply. I just looked up Dovadola. Another question would be whether to start in Florence or Dovadola. Does the Camini Asissi share the same path with the Way of St. Francis? Hmmm, lot's to ponder.
I would also plan to continue the route from Asissi to Rome.
Three years ago, my wife and I walked from Dovadola (Don't miss the Volcano), we only had the company of one French Pilgrim until we got to La Verna. In the Refuges, the Frenchman had a dorm and shower, and we had a dorm and shower (private suites?). It is strenuous to La Verna, but we enjoyed the solitude & beauty. The people were great, even though we don't speak Italian. We also arrived in Assisi on the Feast Day of St. Francis, and got the certificate at the Cathedral - a special day. Hiked down to San Damiano, and took bus to Santa Maria de Angelia and back, then walked on to Rieti and then Rome.
 
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
#60

JohnMcK

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP to Naverette sept 14
finishing sept/oct 15
#61
I am planning to walk from Florence to Rome starting about June 21I have purchased Sandy Browns guide Trekking the Way of St Francis and downloaded his GPX files so we may meet
Cathy
Hi planning on doing la verna to Rome late sept this year. Have done VF previously
How did you find the accommadation. I would be hoping to use hostels/parish accommadation.
Also I seem to be having problems downloading the GPS routes from Sandy brown site/book.
Any advice comments appreciated
John
 

edandjoan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
St. Gallen to Muxia
2012-2018
#62
Hi planning on doing la verna to Rome late sept this year. Have done VF previously
How did you find the accommadation. I would be hoping to use hostels/parish accommadation.
Also I seem to be having problems downloading the GPS routes from Sandy brown site/book.
Any advice comments appreciated
John
Will you be journaling about your journey? We plan to walk this same part next May/June 2019 and would love to hear about your walk.
I am a bit confused as to who has just walked or will be walking next year. But if anyone has walked this way or will be before next May 2019, we would love to hear about it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#64
Also plan to walk next year (2019) from Luca to Siena. Wonder about food availability en route, cooking facilities at the ostellos, water en route, if anyone can comment on these, please?
 

keli

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 2014. 2015
The Way of St. Francis April 2017
#65
Will you be journaling about your journey? We plan to walk this same part next May/June 2019 and would love to hear about your walk.
I am a bit confused as to who has just walked or will be walking next year. But if anyone has walked this way or will be before next May 2019, we would love to hear about it.
We walked Florence to Rome in April 2017 and loved it. Very different from Spanish caminos in terms of infrastructure, crowds, etc. That being said, we booked all of our accommodation through booking.com and never had any issues finding a place to stay. The signage along the route was very good, and Sandy Brown's guidebook and GPS were really helpful. The route is physically challenging but also very satisfying and the scenery is beautiful. I highly recommend it.
 

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
Nov 2018: Kumano Kodo (partial)
Jul 2019: San Miniato to Bolsena
#66
My Camino wheels are turning for ideas in the Spring 2019. I'm actually "all over the place" thinking of routes...
My wheels have been spinning right along with you.

I've been following a lot of Facebook groups this summer for the Via Francigena and the Via di Francesco, as well as the Tour de Mont Blanc. The impressions I get:

Via Francesco
- Montepaolo Dovadola (the official start) to Chiusi della Verna - very rugged and isolated, long stages, not many towns, very few pilgrims
- Florence to Chiusi della Verna - an alternate suggested by some English guidebooks. Not really an 'official' trail. There's more grumbling online about this section than any other.
- Chiusi della Verna to Assisi - the most popular leg. A lot of posts along the lines of "this was a very hard day but it was so beautiful!'
- Assisi to Rome - I see a lot of posts from people arriving in Rome, but surprisingly few posting on their day to day experiences.

Overall, there are a lot more posts from people on this route who have definite spiritual and religious reasons for walking. There are also more reports of people getting lost, or having serious injuries (like falling off a cliff and breaking bones)

Via Francigena
- Lucca to Rome - there are quite a few posts from people doing this for the second time, also mostly Italian.
- People still talk about hard stages

At least based on social media, it seems like the Francigena has more of a supportive community, more similar to the Spanish and French caminos, albeit with far fewer people. Everyone seems to love it.

TMB
Not a pilgrimage, but people still post a lot about the great fellowship along the trail.

The public groups, if you want to check them out:
Via Francigena. Italian. Very active. 10,035 members. Focuses mostly on the Italian section. Really positive vibe. The posts have lots of heart-emojis.
Via Francigena. English. Active. 5000 members. Has more posts from people doing London- Rome
Via di Francesco. Italian. Active. 3973 members.
Cammino di Assisi. Italian. Moderately active, but fewer day-to-day posts. 4126 members
The Way of St Francis (Official Group). English. Moderately active. 2127 members. More religious bent than the others.
 

caminka

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
see signature
#69
Also plan to walk next year (2019) from Luca to Siena. Wonder about food availability en route, cooking facilities at the ostellos, water en route, if anyone can comment on these, please?
I marked all food stores and cooking facilites I managed to dig up on my accommodation list, see post 32 above or look in the resources.

another budget accommodation has come to my attention in aosta:

Le Foyer (28b, pilgrim price €10-20), via Xavier de Mestre 36, 0165/262 089, female shelter suore s Giuseppe, wm, incl. linen+towel, s €25-35, ®!, all year.
 

TimH

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances March-April 2016
Le Puy route April-May 2017
Camino Norte to Bilbao June 2017
#70
We have just finished the Via di Francesco. Due to the time we had we started near La Verna so did not do the leg from Florence. The route was very well marked, although we heard several reports that that is not the case for the made up route between Florence and La Verna. We did not use the guide book at all but found having a GPX track useful. We saw very very few other pilgrims. It is a totally different experience to the Frances or even the Le Puy or Norte routes. We found the walking harder than the Frances but not overly challenging. The countryside and villages were beautiful, but maybe not quite as beautiful as the Le Puy route. But in terms of scenery nothing beats the Tour de Mont Blanc! That is a totally different experience. Very hard walking, but one of the greatest walks in the world!
We speak no Italian and it was not an issue, the people were super friendly.
One caution is about the weather. Apparently it was an abnormally hot September but it was the humidity that sapped our energy ( and I spend a lot of time in tropical North Queensland ). Many of the locals suggested that October is a better month for walking. Otherwise it is a great walk and it has inspired us to look at the Francigena for nex year.
 

Mito

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2011, 2013) Roncesvalles to Belorado
CLeP (2013) - Le Puy to ?
CF (2018) Belorado to Astorga
#71
All of this information about the Italian Camino is very useful! My adult daughter and I are planning to walk in March. Not ideal, I know, but that's our travel window. We have both done the Camino Frances in Spain. Last year I was there in March and I didn't mind the cold and rain. My only complaint was the cold albergues! Not all...but some. So my question is (for those on you who have walked from Siena to Rome, for example), what weather can we expect and will be be able to find accommodation? I would love to hike no more that 20 km/day...less if it's very hilly. I'm a rambler with a pack...not a sprinter.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#72
We have just finished the Via di Francesco. Due to the time we had we started near La Verna so did not do the leg from Florence. The route was very well marked, although we heard several reports that that is not the case for the made up route between Florence and La Verna. We did not use the guide book at all but found having a GPX track useful. We saw very very few other pilgrims. It is a totally different experience to the Frances or even the Le Puy or Norte routes. We found the walking harder than the Frances but not overly challenging. The countryside and villages were beautiful, but maybe not quite as beautiful as the Le Puy route. But in terms of scenery nothing beats the Tour de Mont Blanc! That is a totally different experience. Very hard walking, but one of the greatest walks in the world!
We speak no Italian and it was not an issue, the people were super friendly.
One caution is about the weather. Apparently it was an abnormally hot September but it was the humidity that sapped our energy ( and I spend a lot of time in tropical North Queensland ). Many of the locals suggested that October is a better month for walking. Otherwise it is a great walk and it has inspired us to look at the Francigena for nex year.

Tim, I would like more info on Mont Blanc, as a friend and I wish to hike in May next year. Please reply on my email, as this is a Camino forum and I assume we are not allowed to talk about other hikes?
[ivar edited out e-mail address. Please use Private Message]
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#73
this is a Camino forum and I assume we are not allowed to talk about other hikes?
Hi Marietjie, you are in the "Other Pilgrimage Routes" sub-forum, so we can all talk about it as much as we like :). Feel free to discuss!
Jill
 
Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#74
Hi Jill,
How are you? Glad to hear from you again. Thanks for the information. Although Mont Blanc is not really a pilgrims route so to speak. Maybe all depends on your own experience?!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#75
An old thread, but it's probably worth realising that, like the Camino, "the" Francigena isn't one single route ---

A more complete map is this one :



And even this is a very rough one, as it shows only the most major variants.

See also :



 
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Camino(s) past & future
2010
September 2017
#76
Tim, I would like more info on Mont Blanc, as a friend and I wish to hike in May next year. Please reply on my email, as this is a Camino forum and I assume we are not allowed to talk about other hikes?
[ivar edited out e-mail address. Please use Private Message]
Hi Tim,
Which specific route do you recommend on the Mont Blanc, from where to where? I would like to walk in May (Spring), what do you recommend? What about accommodation en route?
 

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