What should I pack for my route in the Via Francigena?
This is with no doubt one of the most frequent questions among the pilgrims who want to walk one of the itineraries that cross Italy along the ancient Via Romea.
If you want to know what you CAN’T forget when preparing your bag, keep reading.
Let’s clarify your doubts about what is essential and what you can leave at home. Moreover, at the end you will find a list to print that will make your life easier!
The essential to bring to the Via Francigena
- 1 The essential to bring to the Via Francigena
- 2 What should I pack for the Via Francigena?
- 3 What else is recommendable to pack for the Via Francigena?
First, remember that the backpack will be a very important object for you during your walk. In fact, during one or two weeks (sometimes even for a month) you will have all your world inside. For this reason, we suggest you to choose a high quality backpack, not too heavy and that could bring many things in it.
During your way, is also important that the backpack always keeps dry. Even if the majority of the pilgrims walk during summer time, in the hottest months, it is possible to find some rains and is not bad to preview this possibility.
For this reason, it will be very useful a water resistant backpack. Cheaper and very practical would be to bring with you a waterproof cover for you bag.
Remember that to allow you to live a carefree route along the Via Francigena, we offer a luggage transfer service between stages.
However, for those who do not want the transfer, we suggest to not charge more than the 10% of their body weight and that they will choose a backpack with hip straps to redistribute better the weight across the back without overloading your shoulders.
This is probably the thing you’ll have to choose with more care.
The difference between living a pleasant experience or an itinerant torture, mainly depends on the type of shoes that you will choose.
We all have have seen pilgrims stopped in the middle of the route, taking off their shoes, giving a massage to their painful feet with a suffering face.
Nobody wants to experience that, so our advice is to never wear for the first time new shoes for walking the Via Francigena. Also, is advisable to find shoes that will adapt well to your feet, comfortable and suitable for the route and the time you will walk.
Ask professional advise and above all, try them out before to see how they fit.
Eventually, get ready for the worst, it might happen to find some rainy days and it’s fundamental to get sure that your shoes will be waterproof. Walking with wet feet is NOT an option!
Gore-Tex shoes or others made with water resistant materials are the best choice. Also, we suggest you to bring with you extra laces, they do not weight anything but they could be very useful.
Last but not least, remember to bring flip-flops with you for the shower. It might be nice also to walk with a different (and lighter) pair of shoes after your daily stage, on the second part of the day.
What should I pack for the Via Francigena?
Right, here starts the funniest part! When we have to prepare our luggage, for any trip, the majority of us starts to panic. We all think: “Will this be enough?” “And, if it rains or if it’s too hot?”
The final result is usually that we come back home thinking that we brought too many things with us and that we could have survived with the half of the things we brought.
Now, let’s help you to prepare your luggage with the essential for the Via Francigena.
In this section, we want to talk to you tells about the socks, almost important as the shoes. If you will choose good what will protect your feet, you will have a happier route.
Choose wool high quality socks or of another technical material that are comfortable and get dry quickly, washing them every day. Today, we have a big quantity of synthetic textiles to choose among and the price is quite moderate.
They can really make the difference, while walking so many kms/ day.
We also suggest to wear two pairs of socks, one lighter under and one above a bit thicker.
Not making a big difference in terms of additional weight, its wise to bring two pairs of each to be sure to always have a pair clean and dry available.
Your clothes, as your socks, must be light, so you need to pack breathable and easy to dry clothes for your route.
It’s really important that neither the wind or the water will get in but that your skin will be able to breath during the walk.
Thus, in the routes along the la Via Francigena is very useful to get dress with layers.
On one hand, in the morning you could be cold, but on the other hand the temperatures increase quite quickly and you might want to take off some clothes during your walk. It’s ideal to wear a thermic t-shirt underneath because this will keep you warm, using your body heat.
Indeed, the best option is to pack two changes of clothes, and that you’ll wash every night what you used during the day to interchange them and always having clean clothes on the next morning.
Since most of the pilgrims book the luggage transfer between stages, this helps to bring a bit more clothes, but our suggestion is to not exaggerate with that.
Fundamental, do not forget your clothes for the rain…
Again, the waterproof clothes could save your day. That’s why we do suggest to NEVER avoid to put a raincoat in your bag.
Italy is sunny, and you’ll probably walk in the hottest months but an unexpected rain could surprise you.
And…how about sun?
Remember that in Italy the sun is very strong and you could get burned if you stay outside too long without solar protection. A good cream (to use also when the sky looks cloudy), a hat and sunglasses are useful accessories for your route.
Moreover, if you get a cotton hat, remember that you can soak it in fresh water to keep your head cool in the hottest hours.
Even if it doesn’t seem, the consequences of a long exposition to the sun can be very dangerous, so be careful during your walk!
We keep following with the essential: a water canteen.
Remember: keeping yourself hydrated along the Via Francigena is of main importance. For this reason, we suggest you to fill up your water bottle any time you can along your route. In addition to that, you will be reducing your carbon footprint and will avoid to produce unnecessary plastic waste.
First aid kit
First of all, we want to reassure you. Along the via Francigena you will pass across many towns and cities well connected and full of services. You will find pharmacies and medical centres, so do not worry! This is just simple precaution for you to be ready for any eventuality along your route.
So, what could be useful for you to bring in your bag?
Compeed this a treatment for blisters that you will be able to find in any italian pharmacy. It can be very helpful while you are walking that’s why is number one in our list.
To preview brushes and blisters.
Obviously, you will have to bring with you any kind of medicine you are supposed to take daily. It’s also useful to have some painkillers with you as ibuprofen, paracetamol, ect, for the muscular pain or for the headache.
Also, we suggest you to include bandages, alcohol, plasters, safety- pins, scissors and tweezers.
Along your route, you will cross many green areas, for fields and paths near the rivers. In Italy, you can find many mosquitos, above all in summer time or after a rainy night. This can be very annoying!
Personal care products
With regard to the personal hygiene products our advise is to bring the necessary minimum because you can buy everything over there. These include gel, shampoo, body spray, cream, tissues.
A swiss knife can be quite useful along your route in the Via Francigena, and in this way you’ll look more like a real adventurer! 🙂
In Italy the voltage is 230 V. The frequency is 50 Hz. The plugs are of type F. Remember to bring an adapter with you if in your country you have different plug or voltage to be able to charge your devices.
Another precaution, again without you having to worry about it. In the Via Francigena, as we said, you will be walking through many villages and cities so you will be finding many ATM. However, not all the places accept credit card so might be useful to have some cash on you all the time.
What else is recommendable to pack for the Via Francigena?
Always, keep in mind that anything you add, will make your backpack heavier. That’s why we suggest you to always think well about those extras that you’ll really need on your way.
Even though it’s true that your camera will allow you to immortalize those amazing landscapes that you will find along your way, nowadays almost every smartphone has a good camera for taking high quality images. Moreover, our advise is to fully live your route without stopping too much for taking pictures.
Maps and guidebook
Although, the Via Francigena is quite well marked is never superfluous to bring with you an official guide with the maps to follow. In these last years, they launched also some apps that can make your life easier.
Now, this topic is quite subjective. In fact the hiking poles can be very useful for some people, whereas other pilgrims regret to have bought them. It’s always advisable to try them before, in other routes and check if this can actually help us or not.
Anyway, it can be uncomfortable to get them on the flight and you can always buy them in Italy at your arrival.
A flashlight can be useful in the first hours of the day o in the evening (although it’s better to not walk after the sunset).
Certainly, this will assure you to keep your batteries charged at any time.
Plastic bag with hermetic closure
To keep food, wet clothes or documents separated from the rest of your belongings.
A spork (fork-spoon)
So, if you want to eat in Italy, we suggest you to go to the restaurant (or “trattoria”) and enjoy any single meal to know the delicious local plates. But in case you need to save some money and buy something in the supermarkets, you can bring your fork and spoon to eat it.
In Italia, you won’t have problems in finding food…that’s for sure! However, we suggest you to always bring with you some snacks (banana, fruit bars, ect…) to give you some energies during your walk and keep your sugar level under control!
Fabric bag or moneybag
In this way, you will be able to bring you easily your things after the morning walk, while wondering for the small villages.
After all, this experience is an occasion to disconnect and relax. For this reason we think that a book is always the best travel mate.
Write down all the amazing things that you’ll live during your adventure. Then, once you’re back home, you’ll be able to read it and live the same feelings again!
Eventually, if you want to read a small guide that we wrote with some suggestions for our pilgrims along the St James Way, it might be useful for you too along the Via Francigena.
In Galiwonders we created the list below to help you decide what to pack for Via Francigena. Anyway, don’t worry if you forget something, surely you’ll be finding what you need once you get there.
If you were looking for a list of things to bring on your italian route, here you have it! Print it out ad get ready for your way!