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VF from Aosta to Rome

shubertj

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2012, 2013, 2018 Portuguese 2014 Ingles 2017 Fin/Mux 17, 19 Invierno 2018
Primitivo 2019
My wife and I completed the CF from St Jean to Santiago last year and thought of returning but have been researching the Via Francigena thru Italy. Our plan is to start in early Sept in Aosta Italy and finish in Rome mid Oct. Any insight on weather, trails, lodging or major differences in hiking Italy versus Spain would be appreciated. We do understand the lack of support resources like albergues and trail markings.

Jack
 
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jirit

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
Hi Jack

Probably the best time to walk the Via Francigena.

There are a number of differences between the Via Francigena as compared to the Camino - maybe too many to list here.

But briefly and in summary for the Via Francigena:
the terrain is hillier especially crossing the Cisa Pass into Tuscany. there is less pilgrim style accommodation, generally more expensive accommodation, you probably won't pilgrim style meals on the menu, the distances can be longer between towns, and the signage good to fair to poor at times.

I would suggest you invest in one of the two English guides on this route and join the yahoo group for one on one advice about specific items.
 
A

AJ

Guest
My wife and I completed the CF from St Jean to Santiago last year and thought of returning but have been researching the Via Francigena thru Italy. Our plan is to start in early Sept in Aosta Italy and finish in Rome mid Oct. Any insight on weather, trails, lodging or major differences in hiking Italy versus Spain would be appreciated. We do understand the lack of support resources like albergues and trail markings.

Jack

The Atti maps are well worth having. The route is waymarked, in 2012 the waymarking between Sarzana and Rome was good. There is accommodation for pilgrims in convents and monasteries, but it is best to phone ahead which is difficult if you don't speak Italian. There are guidebooks in English: Lightfoot and Alison Raju. The maps in these guides are not good, so get the Atti maps which are very good.
 

shubertj

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2012, 2013, 2018 Portuguese 2014 Ingles 2017 Fin/Mux 17, 19 Invierno 2018
Primitivo 2019
The Atti maps are well worth having. The route is waymarked, in 2012 the waymarking between Sarzana and Rome was good. There is accommodation for pilgrims in convents and monasteries, but it is best to phone ahead which is difficult if you don't speak Italian. There are guidebooks in English: Lightfoot and Alison Raju. The maps in these guides are not good, so get the Atti maps which are very good.

Thanks AJ and Jirit for your input
Already found and english version D'atti
Jack
 
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jl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
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)
In 2012 I was very surprised at the quality of signage and the accommodation in Italy. I found it pretty good, certainly much better than I expected, and the accommodation was generally in convents / monasteries etc. Yes more expensive (roughly €15), but generally a room to myself, a few dormitories, but not many. I don't have a phone, so I didn't book ahead, but never had any problems. I tended to eat a coule of courses off a menu, and again, doing that it was not much more expensive than the menu del dia. Occasionally I would splurge on three courses, but usually 2 were more than sufficient, and that left room for a gelati later! Janet
 
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Magnara

Maggie Ramsay
Past OR future Camino
Santiago de Compostela (2005) Via Francigena (2010) Le Puy to St Jean (2014)
My wife and I completed the CF from St Jean to Santiago last year and thought of returning but have been researching the Via Francigena thru Italy. Our plan is to start in early Sept in Aosta Italy and finish in Rome mid Oct. Any insight on weather, trails, lodging or major differences in hiking Italy versus Spain would be appreciated. We do understand the lack of support resources like albergues and trail markings.

Jack

The VF is very different, mainly because it is still comparatively almost unknown and the numbers are tiny (although people along the way understand and respect that you are a pilgrim). We walked Sept to the end of Nov from Besancon to Rome. We used a hand-held GPS because we read from Sillydoll's (very interesting) blog that relying on maps and markers can end up with a lot of road walking, which we didn't want. Every pilgrim walk is fantastic in its own special way!
Maggie Ramsay
The Italian Camino (Amazon)
 

shubertj

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2012, 2013, 2018 Portuguese 2014 Ingles 2017 Fin/Mux 17, 19 Invierno 2018
Primitivo 2019
The VF is very different, mainly because it is still comparatively almost unknown and the numbers are tiny (although people along the way understand and respect that you are a pilgrim). We walked Sept to the end of Nov from Besancon to Rome. We used a hand-held GPS because we read from Sillydoll's (very interesting) blog that relying on maps and markers can end up with a lot of road walking, which we didn't want. Every pilgrim walk is fantastic in its own special way!
Maggie Ramsay
The Italian Camino (Amazon)

Any Idea what the best starting point is we can add a few days and start at the Bourg St Pierre? What's the best way to either Bourg St Pierre or Aosta? We could fly into Geneva also is there a place to stay in St Bernard Pass?

Jack
 

Magnara

Maggie Ramsay
Past OR future Camino
Santiago de Compostela (2005) Via Francigena (2010) Le Puy to St Jean (2014)
Any Idea what the best starting point is we can add a few days and start at the Bourg St Pierre? What's the best way to either Bourg St Pierre or Aosta? We could fly into Geneva also is there a place to stay in St Bernard Pass?

Jack
Starting at Bourg St Pierre would add one of the absolute highlights for us - the walk up the Grand St Bernard Pass and staying at the Hospice at the top. Fabulous in every way, the walk (challenging but fine) the stay at the top (full of history and a wonderful place) the scenery, and of course the satisfaction of having done it, cresting that hill at the top...ahhh. Don't know how to get to Bourg S P - we went Paris to Bescancon on the TGV train, but I am sure there must be public transport to Bourg St Pierre.
Maggie
The Italian Camino (Amazon)
 

shubertj

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2012, 2013, 2018 Portuguese 2014 Ingles 2017 Fin/Mux 17, 19 Invierno 2018
Primitivo 2019
Thanks Maggie,
We definitely will look into it.
 
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William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
Don't know how to get to Bourg S P - we went Paris to Bescancon on the TGV train, but I am sure there must be public transport to Bourg St Pierre.
Maggie
The Italian Camino (Amazon)

You can easily get to Bourg St Pierre though Orsierres is even easier. Catch the train from Geneva Airport to Orsierres then a bus to Bourg St Pierre. The whole of the way up from Martigny is worth doing if you have the time.
 

Odem

Member
Past OR future Camino
I
In 2012 I was very surprised at the quality of signage and the accommodation in Italy. I found it pretty good, certainly much better than I expected, and the accommodation was generally in convents / monasteries etc. Yes more expensive (roughly €15), but generally a room to myself, a few dormitories, but not many. I don't have a phone, so I didn't book ahead, but never had any problems. I tended to eat a coule of courses off a menu, and again, doing that it was not much more expensive than the menu del dia. Occasionally I would splurge on three courses, but usually 2 were more than sufficient, and that left room for a gelati later! Janet
Hi Janet, I am planning on doing the Italian section of the Via Francigena next year around May. Do you think this would be a good time weather. Also, how do you find accommodations (convents and monasteries) did you use a guide?
Thanks for your input.
 

evanlow

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
Odem.

For the albergue, I use the resource from this Italian site. Download the latest at:

http://www.viefrancigene.it/

Click on L'ACCOGLIENZA on the center of the page.

Then click on SCARICA LA LISTA DELLE ACCOGLIENZE POVERE IN ITALIA

It is a PDF on all the albergue/B&B in Italy for via Francigena.

Many places are parish/convent and are donation based denoted by OFF.
Some of the church/convent charges denoted by HB.
Bed and Breakfast obviously BB.

They all have addresses and phone numbers. If you are like me with limited Italian language capability, then the address is more important.

Save lots of time finding it by getting a local SIM card in Italy. 20 Euros for a SIM card from TIM with 2 GB internet data (April 2014). Put it on a Smartphone (iPhone or Android). Available at any mobile shop in the city, near train station or giant supermarket with other small shops (one or two of them are always a mobile shop).

Two major uses other keeping in touch with love ones on the net.

1. When you are near the town plug in the address of the parish/convent/b&B on Google Maps and have it route it for you (walking, not driving).
2. When you lost the markings along the way, just plug in the next town's name (again walking, not driving) and it should route a nice path for you to the next town. Plus most of the time, you will more often than not end up back on the proper trail further down the path. No more having to backtrack (hated that), loosing time, moral and adding distance.

 
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Odem

Member
Past OR future Camino
I
Odem.

For the albergue, I use the resource from this Italian site. Download the latest at:

http://www.viefrancigene.it/

Click on L'ACCOGLIENZA on the center of the page.

Then click on SCARICA LA LISTA DELLE ACCOGLIENZE POVERE IN ITALIA

It is a PDF on all the albergue/B&B in Italy for via Francigena.

Many places are parish/convent and are donation based denoted by OFF.
Some of the church/convent charges denoted by HB.
Bed and Breakfast obviously BB.

They all have addresses and phone numbers. If you are like me with limited Italian language capability, then the address is more important.

Save lots of time finding it by getting a local SIM card in Italy. 20 Euros for a SIM card from TIM with 2 GB internet data (April 2014). Put it on a Smartphone (iPhone or Android). Available at any mobile shop in the city, near train station or giant supermarket with other small shops (one or two of them are always a mobile shop).

Two major uses other keeping in touch with love ones on the net.

1. When you are near the town plug in the address of the parish/convent/b&B on Google Maps and have it route it for you (walking, not driving).
2. When you lost the markings along the way, just plug in the next town's name (again walking, not driving) and it should route a nice path for you to the next town. Plus most of the time, you will more often than not end up back on the proper trail further down the path. No more having to backtrack (hated that), loosing time, moral and adding distance.
Thank you so much. I will do that. While doing the Camino de Santiago May this year I was saved from getting lost a couple of times by my phone. I entered the next town and realized I was going in the opposite direction. I do not speak Italian so doing as you suggest will help me find a place to sleep. I will be by myself but hope to find some company for at least part of the way. When did you go? I am trying to avoid extreme weather. Thinking on starting Late April - May.

Thanks again.
 

evanlow

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
Hi Odem,

From my profile you will see it is in April (early) on a bicycle. Basically I stayed only about a third less less places than by walking from Milan (Pavia) to Rome.

Most of time I am alone, even though I see walkers in the day but unless it is late in the day I would not see them in the evening.

Food is better than Spain, be it pasta or pizza (the default power food). Zucchini, and even a well balanced four seasons (quattro stagoni) will put the energy back.

The language isn't much of an issue otherwise as this is Italy and somehow they are more used to foreign tourists. Still it didn't stopped the mayor and hospiteleros in Orio Litta from be smitten that someone from Asia is there in his small town (wonderful albergue).

Passed the flat Lombards it is up the mountains.

The Apennine mountain will probably take 3 days for a walker to cross, as I had a nice lunch at the private albergue in CISSA. Aulla had a museum/albergue on the via Francigena.

Tuscany is nice but seems more expensive probably due to the tourists. Lucca's walled town is beautiful and you feel it as a working town.

Latio is great until one gets close to Rome with the busy roads. But surprisingly, the last town Fromello is so quaint and albergue so good one wouldn't imagine Rome is just day's walk away. The albergue hostel has steps leading up to the tower and each step is a place name (from Canterbury to Rome).

Rome is actually an anti-climax for me. My testamonium from tourist office just outside St. Pete's square to The seas of tourists.

This is more a journey to Rome (by Siegfried) than a pilgrimage, and very old Roman road that becomes very pronounce as far back as the Roman gate in Siena.

This is a very short snapshot. Have a great time on the via Francigena.
 

smj6

Siempre hay que ver el positivo
Past OR future Camino
Oct/Nov 2016 (Via Podensis/ Frances)
Oct 2018 (Via Francigena stage)
.. What's the best way to either Bourg St Pierre or Aosta? We could fly into Geneva....
Check out www.sbb.ch for trains to Bourg St Pierre, eg train from Geneva airport takes around 3 hours by train with the last bit by bus.
Check out www.wanderland.ch for hiking routes in Switzerland.
Also you might be interested in looking at Hiking through the St Bernard Pass which is on the Telegraph website (www.telegraph.co.uk › Travel › Activity and adventure) and was posted on 18 May 2009.
Suzanne
 
Last edited:

michryan

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Del Norte 2011,Portuguese 2014, many different hikes throughout the world,Via Francegena 2015.
Thank you so much. I will do that. While doing the Camino de Santiago May this year I was saved from getting lost a couple of times by my phone. I entered the next town and realized I was going in the opposite direction. I do not speak Italian so doing as you suggest will help me find a place to sleep. I will be by myself but hope to find some company for at least part of the way. When did you go? I am trying to avoid extreme weather. Thinking on starting Late April - May.

Thanks again.
Hi Odem. Both my husband and I will be walking in May 2015 starting from Aosta to Rome. Never know might just see you out there.
 

Odem

Member
Past OR future Camino
I
Hi Odem. Both my husband and I will be walking in May 2015 starting from Aosta to Rome. Never know might just see you out there.
Fantastic. If possible I would like to know more about your plans. I see you are in Australia. I am in Houston, Texas. Since I am going by myself, it would be great to meet at Aosta. I have been taking an Italian course. Hopefully I can ask where the next town is! Please let me know if this is convenient to you.
Thank you.
 
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michryan

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Del Norte 2011,Portuguese 2014, many different hikes throughout the world,Via Francegena 2015.
Fantastic. If possible I would like to know more about your plans. I see you are in Australia. I am in Houston, Texas. Since I am going by myself, it would be great to meet at Aosta. I have been taking an Italian course. Hopefully I can ask where the next town is! Please let me know if this is convenient to you.
Thank you.
Sure thing Odem. I just booked our flights that leave on the 1st May to fly into Milan then we will head up to Aosta the following day and stay the night there then begin walking the following day. I haven't sat down and really looked too hard at the trail just been gathering as much info. I have only just returned from walking the Portuguese way from Lisbon. I will keep you informed over the coming weeks of our plans. In return feel free to message me anytime. :)
 

Odem

Member
Past OR future Camino
I
Sure thing Odem. I just booked our flights that leave on the 1st May to fly into Milan then we will head up to Aosta the following day and stay the night there then begin walking the following day. I haven't sat down and really looked too hard at the trail just been gathering as much info. I have only just returned from walking the Portuguese way from Lisbon. I will keep you informed over the coming weeks of our plans. In return feel free to message me anytime. :)

Thank you so much. Please keep me posted. It will be great to have some company at least for part of the way. I have been doing some research too. It looks like there are different routes. My main concern is to find places to spend the night. When I did the Camino Frances from Saint Jean to Santiago May this year it was relatively easy to get a bed. Thanks again. I will work on my reservations.
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
My wife and I completed the CF from St Jean to Santiago last year and thought of returning but have been researching the Via Francigena thru Italy. Our plan is to start in early Sept in Aosta Italy and finish in Rome mid Oct. Any insight on weather, trails, lodging or major differences in hiking Italy versus Spain would be appreciated. We do understand the lack of support resources like albergues and trail markings.

Jack
I walked from Aosta to Rome in 2019 and started in September. Towards the end of October it gets wet. You will walk through lots of muddy trail. The ostellos are fewer and farther in between. Lots of them are closed in October so you might have to call to find one open. I had to walk 35 km one rainy day to finally get to an open ostello. The people along the Via Francigena are not as tuned in to Pilgrim traffic as they are in Spain. You might find yourselves walkng for days without seeing another Pilgrim. Out of the 6 weeks I was on the Via Francigena I probably walked 7 days with another Pilgrim. The Via Francigena is more expensive, averaging 20 euros per night, sometimes with food, but most without. The good side is that the ostellos will not be full like they are in the Summer. But the coffee in Italy is SO GOOD! Don't depend on The Franciscans to put you up. I found them to be much less than hospitable. I am not sure they follow the teachings of the same St. Francis that I read about!!! Buen Camino and ciao!
 
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Past OR future Camino
2019
I walked from Aosta to Rome in 2019 and started in September. Towards the end of October it gets wet in Italy. You will walk through lots of muddy trail. The ostellos are fewer and farther in between. Lots of them are closed in October so you might have to call to find one open. I had to walk 35 km one rainy day to finally get to an open ostello. The people along the Via Francigena are not as tuned in to Pilgrim traffic as they are in Spain. You might find yourselves walkng for days without seeing another Pilgrim. Out of the 6 weeks I was on the Via Francigena I probably walked 7 days with another Pilgrim. The Via Francigena is more expensive, averaging 20 euros per night, sometimes with food, but most without. The good side is that the ostellos will not be full like they are in the Summer. But the coffee in Italy is SO GOOD! Don't depend on The Franciscans to put you up. I found them to be much less than hospitable. I am not sure they follow the teachings of the same St. Francis that I read about!!! Buen Camino and ciao!
I forgot to add: Make sure to get the Via Francigena app on your phone. There are not a lot of signs at times on the Via to keep you on the right track. Try to cross the Po River by the ferry. The Italian gentleman that runs the boat if a very colorful character!!
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago (french Route) (10/19)
Podiensis (2020)
Hi Jack

Probably the best time to walk the Via Francigena.

There are a number of differences between the Via Francigena as compared to the Camino - maybe too many to list here.

But briefly and in summary for the Via Francigena:
the terrain is hillier especially crossing the Cisa Pass into Tuscany. there is less pilgrim style accommodation, generally more expensive accommodation, you probably won't pilgrim style meals on the menu, the distances can be longer between towns, and the signage good to fair to poor at times.

I would suggest you invest in one of the two English guides on this route and join the yahoo group for one on one advice about specific items.
Thank you for your suggestions. I am also planning on walking the VF beginning in early September, but I am starting at Canterbury. Would you please give me more information so that I can find the yahoo group? I walk long distances every day, so I think 2 1/2 months to do the whole thing (and not hurry) is enough time, even to stop and enjoy certain places? I walked the CF two septembers and did the 600 miles (to fisterre) in a month, even with some days off.
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago (french Route) (10/19)
Podiensis (2020)
Thank you for your suggestions. I am also planning on walking the VF beginning in early September, but I am starting at Canterbury. Would you please give me more information so that I can find the yahoo group? I walk long distances every day, so I think 2 1/2 months to do the whole thing (and not hurry) is enough time, even to stop and enjoy certain places? I walked the CF two septembers and did the 600 miles (to fisterre) in a month, even with some days off.
I meant two September’s ago....I only did it once!!
 

lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
.
Thank you for your suggestions. I am also planning on walking the VF beginning in early September, but I am starting at Canterbury. Would you please give me more information so that I can find the yahoo group? I walk long distances every day, so I think 2 1/2 months to do the whole thing (and not hurry) is enough time, even to stop and enjoy certain places? I walked the CF two septembers and did the 600 miles (to fisterre) in a month, even with some days off.
Hello @Pamelalove
Here's a link to VF conversations on the forum


Happy planning!
Lovingkindness
 

Pilgrim 122

New Member
Past OR future Camino
camino frances 2012
Le puy route 2013
London to Santiago via Camino Norte 2014 , 2015, arriving 2016 (God willing!)
Hi, I walked the VF from home in South London to Rome in 3 week sections over 3 years. I finished last year. Just agreeing with what others have said really. The signage was much better than I expected and I definitely recommend starting before St Bernard's Pass so you can enjoy the experience. I just wanted to add that taking a few Italian lessons really helped me when I was there.
 
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