Via Francigena

A unique experience that combines history, culture and adventure in a transformative journey.

The Via Francigena is a historic pilgrimage route connecting Canterbury, England, with Rome, Italy. More and more pilgrims are choosing to follow in the footsteps of fellow travellers in the Middle Ages.

Popular Tours to do the Via Francigena

Via Francigena de Lucca a Siena
134 Km
6 Stages
7 Nights
from 795 €
See Tour
Via Francigena de Viterbo a Roma
108 Km
5 Stages
6 Nights
from 645 €
See Tour

Where to start Via Francigena ?

What is the Via Francigena?

The Via Francigena is a route that begins in Canterbury and crosses 4 countries (United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and Italy) before ending in Rome. It is about 2000 km long. It is also known as the route of the Franks. This itinerary is a wonderful opportunity to meet many people, visit beautiful places and learn about the history of each country, in a deeper way.

This pilgrimage is less known than other more popular ones (such as the Way of Saint James), but it has an enormous historical and traditional value. It is very interesting to see the different meanings that this route has had over the centuries. Over the years, it was not only used by pilgrims. In fact, many merchants and military used this route as well.

For modern pilgrims, the Via Francigena is a unique experience that will allow to discover incredible sites, but also for self-awareness and a deeper contact with the nature.

134 Km 6 Etapas 7 Noches 2/5 Lucca

Lucca on the Via Francigena
Lucca, a Tuscan jewel of medieval architecture blended with Roman and Renaissance elements.

Located in Tuscany, the city of Lucca is remarkable for its perflectly preserved 16th century walls and its many valuable monuments that reveal its past as the most important city of the Italian Middle Ages.

It is populary known as the “City of 100 towers and 100 churches”, a nickname that describes its silhouette, where towers rise above the rooftops.

108 Km 5 Etapas 6 Noches 3/5 Viterbo

Viterbo on the Via Francigena
The city of Viterbo has one of the best-preserved medieval ensembles in central Italy.

Also known as “The City of Popes” for being the temporary seat of several popes during the 13th century, traces of Etruscan civilisation intertwine with a picturesque medieval layout and therapeutic thermal waters.

Viterbo has a beautiful historic centre that preserves its medieval structure. Its narrow cobbled streets and aquares create an authentic atmosphere that takes visitors back in time.

Route map Via Francigena

Stages Via Francigena

Stage 69
19 km
Stage 70
29 km
Stage 71
24 km
Stage 72
14 km
Stage 73
31 km
Stage 74
21 km
Stage 82
18 km
Stage 83
24 km
Stage 84
27 km
Stage 85
24 km
Stage 86
18 km

Difficulty level Via Francigena

The Via Francigena is an itinerary considered to be of medium difficulty, characterised by numerous ascents and descents. Please note that the level of difficulty of this route may vary depending on how you decide to divide the stages, your physical condition and the weather conditions at the time of the trip.


The entire Via Francigena is over 20,000 km long from Canterbury to Rome. You can start the route in Lucca or Sienna, with a duration of 134 km; or from Viterbo with 180 km to Rome. The distance travelled each day can affect how difficult it feels, so it is important to plan stages to suit your fitness level.


The Via Francigena traverses a wide variety of terrain as it crosses different countries and regions, from country roads to mountain trails. In England, there are plenty of paths through fields and forests, and paved sections through urban areas. In France and Switzerland, the terrain starts to become mountainous, especially in the alpine regions of Switzerland, and in Italy the terrain runs mainly between hills, plains and urban sections.


Along the Via Francigena, the altitude varies significantly depending on the region. The stages in England are generally flat, but in France you will encounter hills and more undulating terrain. In Italy, the gradients are steeper in Tuscany and the Lazio and Campania region.


The Via Francigena passes through several regions and countries, from England to Italy, and its climate can vary significantly along the route.
England has an oceanic climate with hot summers (25°C-30°C) and cold winters with temperatures close to 0°C. Rainfall is abundant throughout the year, especially in winter. Rainfall is abundant throughout the year, especially in winter.
France and Switzerland have a continental climate. Temperatures exceed 26°C in summer and range between 6°C and 9°C in winter. Rainfall is heaviest in November.
Italy, on the other hand, has a Mediterranean climate and tends to be cool for most of the year. In summer, average temperatures are hot, ranging from 18ºC to 27ºC, while in winter, average temperatures are around 0ºC to approximately 8ºC. At this time of year, rainfall is concentrated, especially in February and November.


The signposting along the Via Francigena varies along the route. Mainly, you will find two types of signposting: signposts indicating the direction accompanied by an illustration of a pilgrim, and pilgrim symbols in black between two red and white stripes, drawn on surfaces such as rocks or walls.
In other regions such as Switzerland or the Val d’Aosta they opted for their own signage in yellow and paint on the ground.
The signposting also varies from area to area. Italy is well signposted, but France and Switzerland are less well signposted, although this will not be a problem for continuing the route.

Vía Francígena signposting
Signpost signage on the Via Francigena

What to see and do in Via Francigena?

Where does the Via Francigena run?

The Via Francigena is an ancient pilgrimage route that runs from northwestern Europe to central Italy, ending in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

At Galiwonders we offer several itineraries on the section of the Via Francigena that runs through Italy. This Way passes through charming regions such as San Gimignano, Siena, Viterbo or Rome.

San Miniato

Situated halfway between Florence and Pisa, San Miniato is located in a strategic historical location on top of three small hills.

Its origins date back to the Middle Ages and it boasts a rich cultural heritage with its walls, built in the 12th century.

Besides being an important artistic town, it is an economic and industrial reference point of the Leather District, a town renowned for its flavours and one of Italy’s places of excellence for the white truffle.

San Gimignano

Known as the medieval Manhattan and located on a hill in Tuscany, is the town of San Gimignano. It preserves a large part of its ancient walls and its historic centre has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its strategic position on the Via Francigena makes it a reference point for pilgrims and travellers in search of an authentic experience.


Nestled in the hills of Tuscany, this medieval jewel is one of the most visited regions in Italy. In its historic centre stands the Torre del Mangia, where every 2 July and 16 August the traditional Palio, an equestrian competition between the different neighbourhoods of the city, is held.

Siena on the Via Francigena
The Mangia Tower, symbol of Siena’s medieval splendour, offers one of the most impressive panoramic views of the city and its surroundings.


Nestled between the Apennines and the Tyrrhenian Sea, Rome, “The Eternal City”, is one of Europe’s most historic capitals and is home to the Vatican State, the most influential religious power in the world.

To walk through the streets of Rome is to walk through its incredible history, spanning more than two millennia. It was the seat of the ancient Roman Empire and preserves numerous ancient monuments and ruins, such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Pantheon, all of which bear witness to its grandiose past.

Rome on the Via Francigena
The Roman Forum is one of the wonders of classical architecture that offers a glimpse of life in ancient Rome.

Not to be missed monuments on the Via Francigena

Gunigi Tower

This medieval tower is more than 700 years old and is one of the symbols of the city of Lucca. What makes it even more special is the presence of a garden at the top. At the top, a small oak forest provides shade and a green oasis in the heart of the city.

Elsa Valley

In the region of Tuscany, between the rivers Elsa and Pesa, lies this magnificent valley known for its natural beauty and rich history. Within the valley, you will find several medieval villages such as San Gimignano, Colle di Val d’Elsa and Monteriggioni.

Castle of Monteriggioni

This castle is one of the jewels of the Via Francigena. It dates back to the 13th century and its main purpose was to serve as a defensive fortification to protect the northern border of the territory of Siena against possible invasions. From its walls, you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, including vineyards, hills and typical Tuscan landscapes.

Alternative places to discover on the Via Francigena

Apuan Alps National Park (Italy)

The Apuan Alps rise to an altitude of almost two thousand metres with the Pisa Mountain and are a true spectacle of nature. Majestic peaks with an incredible view of the sea, deep valleys, spectacular caves and green lakes are the protagonists of this environment which has been part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network since 2011.

Mont Saint-Michel (France)

Perched on a rock rising out of a wide bay in Normandy is this medieval walled complex. The site includes a small village and a Benedictine abbey, which in the Middle Ages became an important centre of culture and pilgrimage.
It is one of the most visited places in France and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Mont Saint-Michel on the Via Francigena
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mont Saint-Michel preserves an impressive medieval abbey, with Gothic and Romanesque architecture.

Chianti Hills

Located between the cities of Florence and Siena, these hills present splendid landscapes of vineyards, chestnut and holm oak woods, evocative medieval villages, romantic castles and fascinating colonial palaces. It is also the land where one of the best red wines in the world is produced: Chianti.

The History of Via Francigena

Let’s see now when the Via Francigena began and how it did develop over the centuries. Perhaps not everyone knows that although Italy has a long history, it is actually a very young country, whose borders are quite recent. It has always been a place of continuous struggle because many people wanted to establish their control over these lands. Such a fragmented country, needed routes that would facilitate connections, not only in political-military terms, but also for its commercial transactions.

Although with another name, the Via Francigena finds its origins in the seventh century, due to the controversies between the Longobards and the Byzantines. It was back then when they understood the need to create a route linking the Kingdom of Pavia in the North, in the hands of the Longobards, with the lands further South.

The route was originally called “Via de Monte Bardone” because of the Mons Langobardorum (today Cisa) which was the mountain that had to be crossed. The path then followed through the Magra valley and it was going to the city of Lucca. After crossing the Arno river, it continued through the valley of its tributary, the Elsa river, to reach Siena. There, a simple route through the valleys of Arbia and Orcia allowed travelers to join the ancient Via Cassia, that eventually would led to Rome.

The first information concerning this pilgrimage dates back to the 9th century, describing part of the route in the area of Chiusi, in the province of Siena. The term “Via Francigena” was first reported in 876, on a parchment (Actum Clusio), preserved in the Abbey of San Salvatore on Monte Amiata.

The Francigena Way: evolution of the road under the Carolingian empire

Due to the change of supremacy from the Longobards to the Francs, they also changed the name of the route we know today as Via Francigena. This route was also called “Road belonging to the French” or “Road that departs from France” territory that included the actual France, the Reno valley and the Netherlands.

It was precisely with Charlemagne when the Via Francigena began to receive a greater and more regular traffic, between North and South of Europe. Thanks to the Carolingian administration, its conditions were greatly improved, allowing a huge number of people to pass through, including merchants and pilgrims. The practice of pilgrimages became more and more popular and the preferred religious destinations were, in addition to Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela and Rome.

Sigeric and the Via Francigena in the X century

However, for the Via Francigena to become so well known, it was necessary to wait a little longer. Precisely until 990 when the same abbot Sigerico called the “Serious”, was ordained by Pope John XV Archbishop of Canterbury. Pilgrims from all over the world considered the Francigena pilgrimage as a reference ever since.

After being nominated Archbishop of Canterbury in 991, Sigerico returned home, from Rome, and wrote down all the accommodations and places where he had stopped. This manuscript, now preserved in the British Museum in London, reports in detail on his journey back to Canterbury and the 80 houses where he was able to stay overnight.

In a way, we could consider him as the first travel influencer in history. Thanks to his book, we were able to understand many of the architectural and historical features along the route. In fact, many consider his work to be the most accredited of the Via Francigena’s itinerary. Nowadays, most people want to do the route from Canterbury to Rome (or, rather, only a part of that route due to the length of the itinerary).

The difficulties of the Via Francigena in the past

Obviously, when we talk about the paths at that time, it had little to do with modern routes as we know them. In fact, in many cases, the route could vary according to environmental conditions and different seasons. That’s why, the many pilgrims who managed to complete this route at that time, deserve all our respect! Not only for the long distance they managed to walk but also for the conditions in which they were doing it. Without adequate clothing, they crossed imposing obstacles such as the pass that connects Switzerland and Italy, called Great St Bernard Pass (at an altitude of 2,473 m).

During the thirteenth century the Via Francigena, becoming more and more the strategic point of connection for products coming from the East, underwent some modifications. Due to the growth of its commercial role, other alternative routes were added, mainly to include a more direct connection between Florence and Bologna with Rome. The route called “the royal road of Rome” (Bologna-Florence-Siena-Rome) was born and it began to be considered the main route to be used until today.

 What does the Via Francigena mean in modern times?

If we are looking for the meaning of the Via Francigena today, we have to talk about the anthropologist Giovanni Caselli. Researching this itinerary since 1985, Caselli, walked the route that connected the 4 countries: England, France, Switzerland and Italy and reconstructed the complete map. Caselli did a real field research, following the same steps of Sigerico, almost 1000 years later with the help of the technicians of the Italian Military Geographic Institute. His book entitled: “Via Romea, cammino di Dio” (Route of Romea, Way of God) was the first modern guide to the Via Francigena.

In 1994, this route was recognized by the Council of Europe as a “European Cultural Itinerary”.

As for the Camino de Santiago, also this itinerary allows you to receive a certificate at the end of the walk. This certificate is called “Testimonium” and can be given if you show the pilgrim passport correctly stamped after at least 100 km by foot and 200 km by bike along the Via Francigena.

After it was recognized European Cultural Itinerary, the Via Francigena continue to grow and many people started to work on its maintenance to make it easier and more comfortable to walk. The importance of this kind of tourism is growing in Italy in the recent years. Therefore, this is the reason why there are more events related to the Via Francigena. Each region, where this way go through, is improving their services to the pilgrims even if this is still far from what we can find along the Way of Saint James, especially if we talk about the markers on the path.

That’s why we suggest you to book your accommodation along the Via Francigena in advance, getting all the information and maps about the way and avoiding any issues once you are there.

New motivations for modern pilgrims along the Via Francigena

Although the itinerary is the same as it was more than 1000 years ago, the reasons for traveling the Via Francigena today, have changed. A strong connection can be found with new movements such as the Slow Tourism and the increase in the number of pilgrims in different countries. Modern pilgrims, who choose to travel this way, may be looking for mystical or religious answers, but in large part they have other motivations.

For example, to visit historical sites that normally cannot be enjoyed because of the mass tourism. To meet people with whom they can share the same values. To practice a physical activity whose enormous benefits have been demonstrated. Immerse themselves in a unique dimension of peace, away from the stress of daily routine. To be in contact with nature. Getting to know the local people, their culture and traditions. And many more factors that are at the base of this constantly growing trend.

If you also want to know more about the Via Francigena and walk a stretch of this beautiful itinerary, do not hesitate to contact us. At Galiwonders, we will take care of all the logistical aspects and you will be able to enjoy this itinerary in complete peace of mind.

Tips if you are going to do Via Francigena

What is the best time of year to follow the Vía Francígena?

The Via Francigena runs through England, France, part of Switzerland and Italy, so given the difference in these countries, their geographical position and climate will be different. We recommend that you walk the Via Francigena in spring and autumn, as the weather conditions are more favourable at this time of year.

First of all, you need to consider which section of the route you want to walk. If, for example, you decide to walk the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome, you will need more than 3 months. This means that you could start in the second half of June, the ideal time to walk in the UK, and finish at the best time in Italy, September. If, on the other hand, you decide to start the route in Italy, starting in spring, between April and May, and in autumn, between September and October, is the best option.

Tips for doing this route

Doing this route is a manageable experience for everyone if it is properly planned. Even so, there are a few things you should bear in mind before embarking on this adventure:

  • Train physically if you are not used to walking long distances. Take a daily walk 2 or 3 months before starting your pilgrimage.
  • Hydration and nutrition while walking this route is key to maintaining a good state of health and energy. It is advisable to drink water every 15-20 minutes and eat five high-energy, high-protein meals.
  • Don’t load your backpack with unnecessary items, carry only the essentials. This will help you avoid fatigue and stress.
  • As for footwear, we recommend waterproof trekking boots with good cushioning and not wearing new ones to avoid chafing.

If you need more detailed information, you can access it here.

Typical dishes on the Via Francigena

First of all, remember that Italian cuisine, famous all over the world, is not just about pasta, pizza and ice cream. Each Italian region offers many typical dishes, very different from each other. The Via Francigena, is a route that begins in Canterbury, (England), pass through France and Switzerland, and crosses more than 1000 km in Italy.

This route is a perfect occasion to get to know the culinary differences in the “Bel Paese”. Today we will discover the traditional Christmas menus in each of the regions it passes through (Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Lazio).

We start from the north: Aosta Valley, Piedmont and Lombardy.

Typical dishes in Northern Italy

Aosta Valley

As in any Italian region, the antipasti, or appetizers, cannot be missing at Christmas. In Valle d’Aosta, among the most typical, we find : Crostini with honey and mocetta (dried salami of beef, sheep or goat meat, flavored with mountain herbs, juniper and garlic), Crostini with fondue cheese and truffle, Alpenballù polenta balls filled with cheese, duck pate with orange and lardo di Arnad, an elaborate and tasty type of bacon, made with cooked and caramelized chestnuts.

As main dishes, after a hot soup with meat and vegetable broth, you can’t miss the Capriolo de Valdostan with polenta (strips of deer meat macerated in red wine with aromas). For dessert the famous and delicious Mont Blanc, named after the mountain that is the symbol of this region. This delicious dessert is made of chestnuts, chocolate and whipped cream that represents the snow.


This is probably the region in which the starters are most numerous and elaborated. Among the most typical ones there are the raw meat salad, the anchovies “al verde”, that is a sauce with oil and parsley, the “electric tomini” a typical preparation of a local cheese, vitel tonnè, salad, vol-au-vent with cheese, peppers in bagna cauda. This is a typical Piedmontese preparation that can be very strong. It is made with oil, anchovies and a lot of garlic, and is served hot with both meat and vegetables.

First we find the Agnolotti (a kind of ravioli) with meat sauce. For main dish it is typical to prepare the fried cod or the brasato al barolo (stewed meat with local wine) and a great variety of desserts where the hazelnuts, typical products of the region, are one of the main ingredients. Piedmont is one of the many Italian regions that stands out for its red wines such as: the Dolcetto, the Barbera, the Barbaresco, the Arneis, the Barolo and the Nebbiolo. Without counting the most famous sparkling wine for the final toast: the Moscato d’Asti.

First christmas dishes on the Vía Francigena


As in every region, there is always a great variety of starters but the Gastronomic Panettone is becoming more and more popular at Christmas lunch. This one, which differs from the traditional Panettone because it is salty, is composed of many layers as if it were a giant sandwich. To stuff it: cooked ham, cheese, salami, tomato, lettuce, tuna, smoked salmon, artichokes in oil, mayonnaise, pink sauce.

The first dish of this, as of many other regions, is the Cappellini in brodo, that is fresh pasta (ravioli or tortellini) with meat filling and served with meat broth. Next, we find another main course very common in all Italy: the stuffed Turkey (with chopped eggs, parmisan cheese, apples, chestnuts and mortadella).

As a dessert you can’t miss the sweet bread that was invented in Milan. This Christmas dessert started to be exported all over the world with great success some years ago: the Panettone.

panettone on the Vía Francigena


Typical dishes in Central Italy

Emilia- Romagna

This region is famous for its cured meats, such as Prosciutto crudo di Parma, the most famous Italian cured ham. So to begin with, at the Christmas table we will find many taglieri, that means dishes with a great offer of cured meats; Parma ham , salami, Bologna ham, culatello, often accompanied by local cheeses. Instead of serving them with bread, in this region it is typical to accompany them with Gnocchi Fritti, a real delicacy. Made with flour, milk, butter and salt, they are fried and served hot to make the cheese and ham fat melt.

Among the main dishes of Emilia-Romagna, we find the Capon and the Cotechino of Modena, with mashed beans and mustard.  The cotechino is a very tender traditional Christmas and New Year’s Eve boiled ham. The mustard prepared in this region is very different from the French mustard and its recipe varies from city to city. It is prepared mainly with candied fruit with a sweet and spicy flavor at the same time, perfect for boiled meat.

typical starters on the Vía Francigena

For dessert, you can’t miss the “pinza natalizia”: a dessert made of flour, apple mustard, honey, cocoa, dark chocolate and dried figs. Very typical is also the “tarta bonissima” (literally the delicious cake)!


Let’s see now another region well known for its wines and the most visited one on the Via Francigena, along its itinerary from Lucca to Siena.

A typical Christmas menu in Tuscany, will have as its starter the classic crostini di fegatelli, made with a chicken liver pate. For first dish the ribollita, a vegetable broth made from cabbage and beans and also homemade ravioli with meat broth. Typical main dishes are duck in orange sauce, capon and baked guinea fowl. But also we can find snails with sauce and, near the sea, soup of seafood and fish.

For dessert we find the typical Pagnottella di Natale made with figs, raisins, nuts and almonds and the Castagnaccio alla Toscana, made with similar ingredients. A real treat!


This is the last region through which the Via Francigena passes, since the route ends in the Eternal City, Rome. Among the starters you cannot miss a good “bruschetta“, (toasted bread with tomato), bread stuffed with mushrooms, meat and bechamel. You will also be able to find eel, fried cod fillets and fried artichokes.

bruschetta italian galiwonders

Among the first dishes, there is the soup with broccoli and clams, tomatoes stuffed with rice and several types of pasta (with cacio and pepe or with tuna). As a main dish you can find, eel, turkey stuffed with chestnuts and sausages, or stewed lamb. To finish among the desserts of the Lazio there is the bread pepato or yellow bread. Both are filled with nuts, raisins and chocolate. Also, honey or sugar is added to sweeten them.

The European Francigena Marathon?

francigena marathon galiwonders

In Galiwonders we love walking and exploring new countries, so we want to inform about this event to all our friends who share our same passion.

Even though the European Francigena Marathon is just a walking at a slow-pace event, who participate still has to walk 42,195 km, so they should be trained to finish it. This is not a competitive race but just a nice occasion to allow people to know this beautiful route and have a unique experience together with hundreds of other participants.

Remember that the registration deadline is the 15 May 2019, so hurry up!

The track will start in Acquapendente (132 km north of Rome) and end in Montefiascone after 42,195 km of walking at a slow-pace along the Francigena.

This is a beautiful initiative to get to know this path whose great historic past is still alive today.

Some of the alternative routes of the marathon are:

  • Acquapendente – San Lorenzo Nuovo: 11,3 km
  • Acquapendente – Bolsena: 23,5 km
  • San Lorenzo Nuovo – Bolsena: 12,2 km
  • San Lorenzo – Montefiascone: 30,9 km
  • Bolsena – Montefiascone: 18,7 km

The track of the Francigena Marathon

The begin of the Francigena Marathon is in the town of Acquapendente, at the border between Umbria and Tuscany.

After leaving the Piazza del Comune (the town hall square), the participants will pass through some of the most emblematic parts of the town and close by the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.

Rocca_dei_Papi-francigena marathon galiwonders jpgHere, inside the crypt, there is the shrine of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, one of the most important examples in Europe.

Later, the itinerary continues to the town of San Lorenzo Nuovo for the first interim arrival (11.3 km). For those who want to proceed until the next stage of Bolsena (23,5 km), the path will lead along the volcanic ridge. Passing near the Basilica of Santa Cristina they will then continue  until Montefiascone (42,195 km). This will be the last and more arduous section of the entire walk. The beauty of the landscape will make the effort a bit more endurable, like passing by the Turona nature reserve or enjoying the view over the Bolsena lake from the top of the historical village of Montefalcone.

At the end of the marathon, the participants will arrive 100 km from the tomb of Peter, and they will be able to admire the Fortress of the Popes. Called Rocca dei Papi in the italian language, it was built by Pope Innocent III during the 13th century and used by many other popes after him. From its gardens the view are simply incredible!

The Francigena Marathon is not enough for you?

francigena ultra marathon galiwonders

If you think the Francigena Marathon is not challenging enough for you don’t worry, there is something more.

On October 12th you will be able to participate in the World Francigena Ultramarathon in Italy!

Yes, they also thought about the most extreme walkers who want to challenge their limits even more.

The registration to this event is already open… so do you dare to do it?

In case it is too challenging don’t worry, there is a shorter track of “only” 65 Km form San Quirico D’Orcia to Acquapendente.

The route will be of 120 km from Siena to Acquapendente and only people older than 20 can register for it.

Via Francigena for a School Group?

In general, it has been widely demonstrated that playing sports, practicing activities in a natural environment and sharing difficult experiences with others (some sections may require moderate physical effort) decrease stress, increase good moods and strengthen emotional bonds among participants. All of this, undoubtedly contributes to the well-being of those embarking on a journey such as the Via Francigena. In addition, it is an opportunity to deepen the knowledge of local history and culture, integrating the theory learned at school with a more practical approach.

Moreover, in the case of foreign students, this would undoubtedly be a unique opportunity to live a multicultural experience and be able to practice in a foreign language. You can find the description of these benefits in our interview to an American teacher that walked the Camino de Santiago with her a school group.

In fact, the Camino, as Molly (the teacher) explains, allowed them to discover new skills, such as perseverance, flexibility and the importance of the group. According to her, everything they shared on the walk, helped them to better cope with the coronavirus crisis. The students themselves showed immense gratitude for being able to experience this moment together, before they were forced to separate and keep social distance.

At a time like the one we are living, the figure of the student must be more central than ever. The self-confidence and feeling of belonging to a group that can come from an adventure like the Via Francigena is undoubtedly invaluable for students who have been cut off from social relations for so long.

8 british famous personalities walk The Via Francigena

Last Friday, 5th April, at 9 pm on BBC Two, they transmitted the 1st Episode of the Via Francigena Pilgrimage to Rome. The entire experience can be followed on the British channel in different episodes.

The team

This heterogeneous group of walkers was formed by the actors Les Dennis and Lesley Joseph, the professional dancer Brendan Cole, the comedians Stephen K Amos and Katy Brand, the Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford, the Irish Eurovision Song contest winner Dana and the television presenter Mehreen Baig.

The itinerary

These 8 well-known personalities started their trip in the Alps, just before the Swiss-Italian border.

Due to its altitude of 2473 meters, the Great St Bernard Pass stands out for many reasons.

Except for winter, when the pass is covered by almost 15 meters of snow, people cross here the Alps since centuries.

The Great St Bernard Pass, has been known since  the Roman times in the 1st century. Later, in Medieval times was also traveled and reached its busiest moment in the XI century with the pilgrims.

Even though the Via Francigena originally starts in Canterbury, goes through France and Switzerland to continue in Italy, our 8 celebrities “only” had to complete the italian part of the walk for a total of 1000 km.

In order to complete the journey, they only had 15 days .

They arrived in Martigny (Swiss- Italian border) and caught a mountain train until Orsieres.

From there they started to descend Italy, direction Rome.

Therefore, they cross many beautiful cities as Lucca and Siena in Tuscany. Moreover, in the same region they could get some rest in the thermal pool of the Parco dei Molini.

Crossing waterfalls, forests, mountains and hills their walk couldn’t be more complete.

What to pack for the Via Francigena?

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

Backpackbackpacking galiwonders 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.

walking via francigena galiwondersShoes

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.


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    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.


    equipment via francigena galiwonders

    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.

    what to pack via francigena galiwondersClothing

    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!

    Water canteen

    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?kit primer auxilio galiwonders

    • Compeed

    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.

    • Vaseline

    To preview brushes and blisters.

    • Medications

    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.

    Mosquito repellent

    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.

    Swiss knife

    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.Francigena guide galiwonders

    Hiking poles.

    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).

    Power bank

    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.

    A book

    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.

    A diary

    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!

    via Francigena packing list

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