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via francigena question

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Coverbid

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2018
Hi, I am looking for info on Via Francigena. I would like to know more about your experiences or what your ideas are for the future. I am hoping to do the Francigena this year, but my hopes are fading. The biggest concern i have is getting lost on the path leading up to St. Bernards and down to Aosta. Do you have any thoughts about this. Thank you, Mike from Ohio
 
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Hi, I am looking for info on Via Francigena. I would like to know more about your experiences or what your ideas are for the future. I am hoping to do the Francigena this year, but my hopes are fading. The biggest concern i have is getting lost on the path leading up to St. Bernards and down to Aosta. Do you have any thoughts about this. Thank you, Mike from Ohio
Welcome to the forum.

The following resource might answer most of your questions about the Great St. Bernard Pass:

There is a lot of speculation on various threads about when borders will open, when quarantine requirements will be relaxed, when pilgrims will be free to roam etc. but nobody really knows the answers. Even if I knew where you were planning to start from and how you want to do things, I would find it impossible to guess how good a chance you have of walking the VF this year.
 

timr

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Several and counting...
Hello @Coverbid and welcome to the forum. And thanks to @ivar for moving your question to a prime site!
Do feel free to ask questions and people will be very willing to give replies. You will see a link above to my own experience and advice about crossing the GSB.

Strangely, to answer your specific question, getting lost on the path up to the GSB and down to Aosta is "almost impossible" - in good weather. All the way up and all the way down you are on very well waymarked footpaths. So getting lost is not your problem. In the summer season you will be meeting recreational walkers in that area. And also, despite the fact you are heading to the highest point of the whole journey, the climbing as such, will not be a great problem. It is relatively gentle on these stages, perhaps more difficult coming down steeply on the Italian side than ascending on the Swiss side.

The important proviso is the weather as you will see in the above-mentioned thread. If you cross between June and September, you should not have (much) problem with snow, and the authorities will be keeping the road open if it were to snow.

BUT

I think there are many other issues you need to bear in mind. The effects of the pandemic on travel and transport and government regulations and the ongoing requirements for social distancing are I think, and again I say paradoxically, much more of an issue. Very small numbers completed the VF last year and at present I think in simple terms recreational travel in France, Switzerland and Italy are still suspended.

I would very much recommend you to refer to the website of the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome (CPR), as well. The CPR is here. There is a large amount of information on this very active site including this guide to planning. There is in addition a FB group.

This present subforum is also helpful and will usually elicit a quick and helpful reply.

Wishing you success....eventually. Tim
 
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gns

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
First 2016
Latest Camino Frances Jul-Aug 2020
I think this is probably the best online resource for practical info.

 

Jomas

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
VF many times. Monaco-Lindau '15. Assisi-Pietralcina '17. CF '18.
absolutely correct with @timr that it should not be a concern to get lost on the Gran San Bernardo pass but rather the criticality given by the health emergency from Sars cov 2. The Italian territory is in the red and / or orange zone at least until to April 30 (and I am sure you will draw your considerations) but the forecast provides for an extension of the "restrictions".
For months and months (a year?) I have put aside any planning of walks / pilgrimages hoping to do the part and soon to have the opportunity to do it again.
 

Harington

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
Hi, I am looking for info on Via Francigena. I would like to know more about your experiences or what your ideas are for the future. I am hoping to do the Francigena this year, but my hopes are fading. The biggest concern i have is getting lost on the path leading up to St. Bernards and down to Aosta. Do you have any thoughts about this. Thank you, Mike from Ohio
All you will ever need to know: https://pilgrimstorome.org.uk/. Many of our members are from the States, and we have a representative there. I can put you in touch with him, if you like. My name's Mary Kirk, secretary of the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome.
 
Past OR future Camino
2019
I finished the Via Francigena in late November 2019, just before the Corona Virus hit Italy.. It is very easy to get lost so you will need to get the Via Francigena app on your phone. It is a GPS tracking app that tells you where you are in relation to the Via. The albergues, or ostellos, are fewer and farther in between. Sometimes, I had to make 35 kilometers to reach the next ostello. I did not meet very many pilgrims on the Via so I was by myself for days on end. I would meet other pilgrims at the ostellos and walk with them for a day or two but in the 6 weeks that it took to get from Aosta To Rome I had a travelling companion about 7 days out of the 6 weeks. The Via Francigena is a much more challenging journey than The Camino de Santiago, and more expensive. Ostellos ran between 10 and 20 Euros per night. If you cannot find an ostello and have to stay in a regular pensione, be prepared to spend around 40 Euros! And don't depend on the Franciscans to put you up. They were not very accommodating. I am not sure they have even heard of St. Francis!!!
Now the Corona has goofed everything up, so I don't know how it goes in Italy. I hope it clears up soon.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
And don't depend on the Franciscans to put you up. They were not very accommodating. I am not sure they have even heard of St. Francis!!!
Now the Corona has goofed everything up, so I don't know how it goes in Italy. I hope it clears up soon.

Of course you are entitled to your own opinion but I heard just the opposite of the Franciscans : that they were very hospitable and friendly.
Well, they can't " defend " themselves seeing they most probably will not read this forum.
 
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John R McLean

Member
Past OR future Camino
2016
Hi, I am looking for info on Via Francigena. I would like to know more about your experiences or what your ideas are for the future. I am hoping to do the Francigena this year, but my hopes are fading. The biggest concern i have is getting lost on the path leading up to St. Bernards and down to Aosta. Do you have any thoughts about this. Thank you, Mike from Ohio
No worries getting lost. Very straightforward and well marked. I completed the Via Francigena this past October with no issues. I went over the pass in early September. It's an amazing section of the Via Francigena. Have you checked out the Pilgrims to Rome website? It is a great source of information and support. Feel free to contact me personally for any and all information that I can help with. tartansoul@hotmail.com
Cheers!
John
 

evanscl

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Oct 2016
We walked from canterbury to rome in 2019, it was the experience of a lifetime. Walking up to the st bernard pass was a simple walk and not diffcult to follow in early june but we walked the final stretch on the road as the path was under snow. I had been concerned about it and read @timr's post about it for reassurance and he gives lots of great info. Like most things though, once you get there it is much simpler than you imagine it might be and was far easier than some days in france where signage is almost non existent.
We used the lightfoot guides through france and switzerland and also had actual hard copy IGN maps as we often made our own route instead of the meandering GR route through France. then switched to terre di mezzo guide for italy. You can download the gpx maps for every stage from the viefrancigene.org and these were invaluable in france and a good check system and way of finding your own route too, whch we did in the somme region.
Like others have said the confraternity of pilgrims to rome has accom info but partcularly in france we stayed in some private homes and how that would work in a pandemic is very doubtful. Booking.com was our mainstay plus the confraternity accom list and i found an excellent couple of blogs online which gave details of where they stayed which was useful. Its not at all like the camino, its much more using your own resources and relying on some incredibly warm, helpful and hospitable people , and many days with nowhere to buy food or drinks so planning ahead is essential and knowing if you will be able to get food where you stay , thats what makes it such a wonderful experience, it is more of an adventure but so rewarding.
 
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Past OR future Camino
2019
You "heard" but I know from first hand. I didn't make it up. I fully expected the Franciscans to be hospitable but they were not. I could not believe my ears when the brother told me I was a rich American and go get a hotel rooom. I read 4 books about St. Francis when I got back from The Camino de Santiago. So I was expecting a little better treatment being a pilgrim an all. But I was sorely disappointed. Not Opinion, just fact.

Of course you are entitled to your own opinion but I heard just the opposite of the Franciscans : that they were very hospitable and friendly.
Well, they can't " defend " themselves seeing they most probably will not read this forum.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I fully expected the Franciscans to be hospitable
I’m not sure that I understand. Did these Franciscan monasteries run a hospitality business or had they decided to open a dormitory albergue to accommodate contemporary walkers or did you merely assume that, in the 21st century, every Franciscan or other monastery has a duty to accommodate walkers who have the means to pay for a hotel room?
 
Past OR future Camino
2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
St. Francis was alive more than a few years ago, and no doubt the order has changed a bit since then.
;)
That said, contemporary accounts from back then show that pilgrims have faced this kind of treatment since there were pilgrims.

If we can afford to travel a long way to walk, we might not be rich but we are definitely privileged. And as pilgrims (if we see ourselves as that) gratitude and humility are worth cultivating. Otherwise we'll make ourselves miserable over any number of things people along the way do or say.
 
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When you walk the Camino, and suddenly a pandemic appears
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