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Via Francigena guide books

2020 Camino Guides

Stephen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Twice walked from St Jean to Estella and once from Sarria to Santiago. Maybe someday I'll find the time to do the entire walk.
I've found the time. Just completed SJPP to Santiago. 25 Aug to 1st Oct, 2016.
And now the Portuguese from Lisbon.
Anyone recommend a guide book for this pilgrimage?
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
Hi Stephen,
I had the Alison Raju one for the Canterbury to Besançon section. I didn't like it much mainly because it was already very outdated (and I had bought the latest version).
For my next stretch, Grand Saint Bernard to Rome, I have bought the guide from Roberta Ferraris. Looks good (to me) but doesn't cover the whole Via Francigena if that is what you need. I also have - as ebooks - the lightfoot guides.
Probably overkill but I have a slight tendency to get lost :oops::D
Have you had a look at this website? Plenty of information there. http://www.viefrancigene.org/en/
 

Jotown

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes (11th September 2014) via Piedmont to SJPP,
then Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela

Via Francigena, Ramsgate,Canterbury ,England to Rome,
via France,Switzerland and Italy. April to July 2016
Last year I used the (3) Lightfoot guides, and found them to be the best ...
Now I understand you can even download them as ebooks, and download the tracks to superimpose on a digital map- which would have been my preferred option ...

Dependent on which sections you walk, will depend on what you get ...

In Italy you don't need one , you can use the readily available material from pilgrim hostels..and therwebsite as indicated by domigee

Besoncon to GSB pass , I would use a guide book...

Canterbury to Besoncon, you ( in my opinion) definitely need a guide book !!

I also had Alison Raju's book , which I found to be far too little detail.. in parts of France there is little waymarking....
 

Doogman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
?
I will be walking Canterbury to Arras in July/August. I have the Alison Raju book, and I have the route traced out on MAPS.ME. I hope that will be sufficient. I did not need to use it very much, but I had the Alison Raju books on the Le Puy route, and I thought the route description was very detailed, so I figured I would go with the same on the VF. However the maps in the Raju books are not very useful IMHO.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
If anyone is wondering what is "unhelpful" about the Rakhi/Cicerone maps - only the actual route is recorded. No side streets or other features which is fine only if you don't veer off course or wonder if you're in the right spot. And there are no elevations.
Photo attached for comparison (I assume the Lightfoot books have the same maps, which are far more useful)
 

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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
You can get it from the Via Francigena website but the p&p to the UK was horrendous, £20. I ordered it from Amazon as it was free....
 
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William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
The Monica D'Atti book only covers the Via Francigena in Italy.

The AEVF website also has good maps though the French section seems in complete.

The Lightfoot (3 books) and Cicerone (2 books) Guides are AFAIK the only paper guide books which cover the whole route.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
For those of you who are thinking of walking the Italian part: download the Sloways App. from the via francigena website. (It's free)
I am using it at the moment and it is great, you know straight away if you are on the right track (or not!).
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
I had the Alison Raju one for the Canterbury to Besançon section. I didn't like it much mainly because it was already very outdated (and I had bought the latest version). For my next stretch, Grand Saint Bernard to Rome, I have bought the guide from Roberta Ferraris....... I also have - as ebooks - the lightfoot guides./en/
Hi Domigee. I am wildly off-topic, but I have just reconnected with Ivar's forum after quite a few months absence on other travel. I am still getting oriented.

I was unable to follow your progress on the VF because I was on Jakobsweg when you hoped to start the VF and then on other travel.

How did it all go?

Finally: May I wish everyone who has walked (or hopes to walk) the VF, all the very best for the Festive Season and for 2018.

Regards

Bob M
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
Hi Domigee. I am wildly off-topic, but I have just reconnected with Ivar's forum after quite a few months absence on other travel. I am still getting oriented.

I was unable to follow your progress on the VF because I was on Jakobsweg when you hoped to start the VF and then on other travel.

How did it all go?

Finally: May I wish everyone who has walked (or hopes to walk) the VF, all the very best for the Festive Season and for 2018.

Regards

Bob M
Hi Bob! Nice to hear from you especially as I am re-reading your book at the moment! (The long walk).
I only did the section between the Grand St Bernard pass and Rome, wrote a few thoughts about it somewhere else in the forum... It was great!
Hard but great!
Want to hear all about your Jacobsweg, too! :)

All the best to you too.
D
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
. . . .
Want to hear all about your Jacobsweg, too! :)
D
The descent from the Pass is certainly exhilarating, but tough on the legs. And the route onwards to Rome has its challenges as well. All those beautiful Tuscan towns are built on hilltops and it is not fun to struggle uphill to your accommodation at the end of a tiring day. But the first sight of the Dome of St Peters and then Rome unfolding before you as you walk through that large park is one of the great moments on the VF.

Jakobsweg was experimental for me; only a week, and I had my baggage transferred each day so I could carry only a small daypack. I met another Pilgrim who started in Vienna and planned to go all the way to Santiago.

Anyway I was able to post daily reports at:
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/one-week-on-st-jacobs-way-jacobsweg.49136/

I hope to do another walk next year, possibly the Nakasendo Way (Japan) in cherry blossom time (April) but apparently the walk at that time is unbelievably crowded, so it is difficult to find places to stay.

Sorry, everyone, for being so off-topic.

Bob M
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Hello @mspath I hope you are well?
I am going to sound like an elderly curmudgeon, probably because I am an elderly curmudgeon.🤷🏼‍♂️ I am just a little bit underwhelmed by an all-embracing article about the VF written by someone who walked for 5 days of it. It is a nice article, and she has done some research, but meh!
I would defend to the (my) death the right of anyone to walk any part, even one day, of any pilgrimage route anywhere, and I don't mind whether people have their bags carried or stay only in paradores or equivalent or bring a donkey or even a unicorn 🦄or have stylish wardrobe like Melania on safari🦁. I am a libertarian curmudgeon😃
But this was a bit less than inspiring. Maybe the frost outside and a touch of sinusitits has made me grumpy....
But maybe I don't understand modern journalism either.
And genuine thanks for signalling the article! 😁
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
Hello @mspath I hope you are well?
I am going to sound like an elderly curmudgeon, probably because I am an elderly curmudgeon.🤷🏼‍♂️ I am just a little bit underwhelmed by an all-embracing article about the VF written by someone who walked for 5 days of it. It is a nice article, and she has done some research, but meh!
I would defend to the (my) death the right of anyone to walk any part, even one day, of any pilgrimage route anywhere, and I don't mind whether people have their bags carried or stay only in paradores or equivalent or bring a donkey or even a unicorn 🦄or have stylish wardrobe like Melania on safari🦁. I am a libertarian curmudgeon😃
But this was a bit less than inspiring. Maybe the frost outside and a touch of sinusitits has made me grumpy....
But maybe I don't understand modern journalism either.
And genuine thanks for signalling the article! 😁
You are an elderly curmudgeon (love that word!) and so am I. And I’m grumpy too :eek:
And yes, I met NO other pilgrim on the stretch from Canterbury to Besançon.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
The descent from the Pass is certainly exhilarating, but tough on the legs. And the route onwards to Rome has its challenges as well. All those beautiful Tuscan towns are built on hilltops and it is not fun to struggle uphill to your accommodation at the end of a tiring day. But the first sight of the Dome of St Peters and then Rome unfolding before you as you walk through that large park is one of the great moments on the VF.

Jakobsweg was experimental for me; only a week, and I had my baggage transferred each day so I could carry only a small daypack. I met another Pilgrim who started in Vienna and planned to go all the way to Santiago.

Anyway I was able to post daily reports at:
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/one-week-on-st-jacobs-way-jacobsweg.49136/

I hope to do another walk next year, possibly the Nakasendo Way (Japan) in cherry blossom time (April) but apparently the walk at that time is unbelievably crowded, so it is difficult to find places to stay.

Sorry, everyone, for being so off-topic.

Bob M
Sorry Bob, I actually never saw your post until a new one was posted :-( I’ll readthe thread you posted. What is next for you? :cool:
 

kiwiDavid

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - SJPP-Finisterre
I was attracted by the Heading of this thread and thought I'd plonk this 2 cents in here.
Even in this day of electronics I do like a physical guidebook - loved the Brierley for the Frances but he doesn't do one for the VF. 🙁
I'm hoping to have a go at part of the VF next year and have compiled a route from the official GPX downloads that can be imposed onto Google earth as a red line overlay - if the Lightfoot GPX waypoints are also added you get a chance to compare both routes.They generally are the same with occasional detours by one or the other.Either one can be turned off and on in Google earth and can be accessed by mobile phone 'on the hoof' and your phones GPX capability will place you on the terrain/trail in real time.
The files are on this forum (KMZ files for Google earth) and are for Besancon to Rome.
I will take the Lightfoot Besancon - Vercelli guidebook as well and may take the Lightfoot Vercelli-Rome section as an e-book (weight).
A friend from Brisbane (Gerard Carey) is heading over to do Lausanne - Aosta (among other things) next week and has taken the files (but no guidebook) for that section with him so I'm hoping for some feedback when he returns.

Late Addition:After further research the Lightfoot guides are staying home (though not the GPX waypoints) - have decided to take a closer look at the Official Via Francigene guide book (Terre di Mezzo) - the one Domigee liked the look of - it could be "The One".
 
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BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
. . .
I do like a physical guidebook . . . I have compiled a route from the official GPX downloads that can be imposed onto Google earth . . . if the Lightfoot GPX waypoints are also added you get a chance to compare both routes. . . . I will take the Lightfoot Besancon - Vercelli guidebook as well and may take the Lightfoot Vercelli-Rome section as an e-book.
I walked the entire VF over three years and used Paul Chinn's/Bebette Gallard's Lightfoot guides. He and Babette have written a Companion to the VF which is worth taking as an eBook because it contains interesting background information. The actual guidebooks themselves focus on navigation and accommodation.

I had my guidebooks spiral bound at an office supplies company for only a few dollars per book. It allowed me to fold the book flat at the relevant page in the field (and in a plastic envelope in wet weather). Very convenient.

When I walked the VF I used a Garmin GPS device with the Lightfoot GPX waypoints, but now I use my Galaxy Note and the Locus Map pro app on hikes. The main reason is its excellent offline topographic maps (ie no internet connection required). The maps are very cheap, so cost is not an issue. On the road you can zoom in and out as required by the route: zoom out in open country and zoom right in when you are navigating to your accommodation in towns and want a lot of detail. Paul Chinn's cycling guides to the VF are based on Locus Maps.

Locus Map is only for Android devices. Apple users may want to try Pocket Earth, which is said to be excellent.

There are many other navigating options to supplement a guidebook, eg BackCountry Navigator, Google Maps offline.

Anyway, just a few random thoughts, Yell out if you would like more information.

Bob M
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), VFnS (2020)
I found that a set of eyes and a sense of direction worked best. Operates in all weather conditions, and most types of light. Runs for hours on pasta and vino rosso. No need for batteries, gps or mobile signals.

Certainly faster at responding to visual cues such as the red/white VF markers than a gps.
 

kiwiDavid

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - SJPP-Finisterre
I found that a set of eyes and a sense of direction worked best.
At the end of the day that has to be the bottom line Galloglaigh though I notice you've got a https:ridewithgps.com thing going on there.
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
. . . . Runs for hours on pasta and vino rosso. . . . Certainly faster at responding to visual cues such as the red/white VF markers than a gps.
Don't you find that the vino rosso confuses your visual cues after a while? 🤔

BTW, I have given up my gourd for a plastic water bottle (refillable, naturally 🌿🌿), and my woollen smock for lightweight tech fabrics. Have I made a big mistake?😟

Bob M
 

kiwiDavid

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - SJPP-Finisterre
and my woollen smock for lightweight tech fabrics.
Funny you should say that Bob - I remember coming down from Col de Lepoeder to Roncesvalles in 2012 and was overtaken in the beech wood by a guy with a big black beard in a tunic,leather sandels,small shoulder satchel,actual water gourd and wooden staff.He had some sort of religious symbol on his tunic and was going hell for leather.
Didn't appear to have anything else with him - no change of clothes,nothing.It was like stepping back 500 years.
Had a friend with me and we were a bit gobsmacked actually.
Never saw him again but he looked like a serious Pilgrim.
 

BobM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances; Via Podensis; Via Francigena; Via Portugues; Via Francigena del Sud; Jakobsweg.
Funny you should say that Bob - I remember coming down from Col de Lepoeder to Roncesvalles in 2012 and was overtaken in the beech wood by a guy with a big black beard in a tunic,leather sandels,small shoulder satchel,actual water gourd and wooden staff.He had some sort of religious symbol on his tunic and was going hell for leather.
Didn't appear to have anything else with him - no change of clothes,nothing.It was like stepping back 500 years.
Had a friend with me and we were a bit gobsmacked actually.
Never saw him again but he looked like a serious Pilgrim.
Could it have been the vino rosso, do you think?

Bob M
 

debra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
I took a gps with a loaded route, and a print out of places to stay in 2014 and did alright. if the arrows and my gps didn't agree I went with the arrows. I did sleep rough a few times due to lack of knowledge of places to stay.
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP(2015)
St Olavs Way Norway(2016)
88 Temples Japan(2017)
PWC & VF(2019)
Israel (2020)
I found that a set of eyes and a sense of direction worked best. Operates in all weather conditions, and most types of light. Runs for hours on pasta and vino rosso. No need for batteries, gps or mobile signals.

Certainly faster at responding to visual cues such as the red/white VF markers than a gps.
Don't forget that super-charged 'coffee' either A! 😂
👣 🌏
 

bobbogram

Member
Camino(s) past & future
El Norte San Sebastián to Santiago; Portuguese Lisbon to Porto; Porto to Santiago; Geneva west
Anyone recommend a guide book for this pilgrimage?
Greetings..

Currently on Day 3 after starting in Canterbury, learning that after two complete Caminos and an injury interrupted VF coming down from San Bernardo on the non- switchback dirt trail, the difficult lesson of “ Live and Relearn”.

The Canterbury to Dover leg was rainy 90% of the time - surprise. The trail is well marked if not as often as El Norte and Portuguese. Several sudden course changes are curious, so I often deferred to MAPS.ME for a course correction.

The ferry across the Channel was novel for me and an impressive logistical activity. Only P&O takes foot traffic. The departures are often and a Flex ticket will allow them to put you on an earlier ship.

I spent the first night a few miles south of the docks to make the first French leg a few miles shorter. Two six week Caminos taught me to not over extend myself in the beginning. About 15 miles, like today, is about all the fun I can take on mostly flat terrain in good weather.

I passed VF signposts twice today, but not by design. The limiting factors are a lack of French language skills and slim pickings on accommodations. I spent several hours using Bookings.com and MAPS.ME planning the next week’s accommodations, trying to keep them in sequence so I’m not a homeless old guy some night.

One late Insight - have some cash in Euros. Despite the Bookings listing, one proprietor mentioned they require cash, contrary to the listing. I luckily stumbled onto an ATM (French = ATM) going through a small town this afternoon.

I think the pilgrim group is an interesting and adventurous bunch, but as one of seven kids from a modest home, my bunk bed limit has been surpassed and my NOT snoring in YOUR room is my gift. At age 70, a private toilet and hot shower are small luxuries I prefer.

For me, this activity substitutes for a religious retreat, although it’s equally hard on the knees - but I don’t fall asleep.

Grisly.
 

kiwiDavid

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - SJPP-Finisterre
Currently on Day 3 after starting in Canterbury
Thank you for posting Grisly/Bobbogram - please continue your posts as I will be interested in hearing about your Way on the VF.
Is your intended destination Rome ?
 

bobbogram

Member
Camino(s) past & future
El Norte San Sebastián to Santiago; Portuguese Lisbon to Porto; Porto to Santiago; Geneva west
Is your intended destination Rome ?
Eventually, but not on this excursion. I’ll have a better idea after a few weeks. Weather patterns here in France as well as back home in the US have changed. Just a few days into this trek with the wind and rain beating on the window and old legs a bit stiff, it isn’t an optimum time to commit to any goals.

I have another week of accommodations arranged and no “exit strategy” planned as yet. I have a few obligations back home, including one of your fellow Kiwis from Nelson to meet in Georgia in six weeks.

Santiago was a more classic and achievable destination. I’ve been to Rome, Florence, and Sienna a few times already, destinations for vacation purposes. Right now, it’s day by day.

A’biento
 

caminka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
see signature
Anyone recommend a guide book for this pilgrimage?
there is now an english version of terre di mezzo guide from gran san bernardo to rome. I've seen it on sale in aosta's tourist office for €20 and possibly also in pieve di sorano's info office between pontremoli and aulla.
 

bobbogram

Member
Camino(s) past & future
El Norte San Sebastián to Santiago; Portuguese Lisbon to Porto; Porto to Santiago; Geneva west
Just returned home to the US from Paris on Sunday after a few weeks on Via Francigena, Canterbury to Bapaume. Only one day of significant rain but great memories along the way. As anticipated, accommodations became the limiting factor so I’ll return in the future to continue.

One unexpected plus was the P&O ferry ride from Dover to Calais, the only option for foot traffic. Watching the 220 meter long ship disgorge over a thousand trucks, motorcycles, and cars dragging campers then reload seemed like Noah’s ark in reverse order. The logistical choreography was impressive. The White Cliffs were still clearly visible from the dock in Calais.

Another impressive experience was visiting the multitude of World War 1 military cemeteries, so well manicured today,100 years after that war. Local municipalities and individuals voluntarily honor those mostly young servicemen, likely killed nearby with their units from England, Austrailia, America, Canada, and other allied nations. The rows of uniform tombstones reminded me of a proper military formation, now comrades for eternity. Visiting them is a solemn occasion.

The markings on the trail are frequent enough but often not handy for finding a roof or maybe I was just late to the party. I used MAPS.ME most of the time in France, trying to space my stopovers between 10 and 15 miles per day to accommodate a comfortable pace and allow for an occasional break. The iphone APP was great for information and to monitor how far off the formal route I may have strayed.

It’s a bit less developed than the El Norte and Portuguese Caminos but variety is the spice of life.

Monsieur Macabre (Mister Grisly)
 

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