From Canterbury in England to Rome in Italy, the 1900km "Francigena Way" dates back to the 11th century when pilgrims travelled across Europe on foot to visit the site of Martyrdom of St Peter and St Paul in Rome. With the modernisation of Europe and the shifting of borders the route became obsolete, until a recent revival of the pilgrimage, making it one of the most exciting pilgrimage trails in Europe today. This trip takes in the section of the trail from Orvieto in Umbria through the region of Lazio to Rome, passing by ancient relics and hill top towns. En route, stay in atmospheric farm houses and small family run hotels, soaking up the fine hospitality that has characterised the route for centuries.
This trip involves 8 days walking, with daily walks between 4.5 to 7 hours and distance from 17.5 to 24.8km or 27km along well marked paths which are often paved. The walking times are provided as a guide only and do not take into account rest stops. The trip requires a good level of fitness to fully participate in this adventure. During the walking stages you will need to carry your daily requirements in day pack such as water bottle, mobile phone, camera, waterproofs and lunch.
It is possible to shorten some stages by taxi or public transport, eg Cotral buses on days 6-8, see http://servizi.cotralspa.it/Orari
On arrival in Orvieto, make your own way to your hotel. Orvieto rises on a tufaceous hill in the middle of the Umbrian countryside. There are many interesting sites to visit including the impressive Cathedral or Duomo, a work of architecture and religious harmony considered to be among the most important in Italy. The medieval town centre is well-preserved and the underground city set deep in the tufa (volcanic rock) can be visited with a guide. The multitude of secret passageways and tunnels will remind you of the vast history of this town. Overnight in B&B in Orvieto.
Leaving the valley surrounding Orvieto, you head towards Bolsena and its lake. Through woods of oak and wild boars, hills and fields, the trail reaches the old town of Bolsena and its castle. Known for the miracle of Corpus Domini, the town developed on the banks of the beautiful lake of volcanic origin. Dinner and overnight in hotel in Bolsena.
Distance: 17.5km/10.8mi, ascent +534m/1752ft, descent -189m/620ft
Today you will walk towards Montefiascone, city of Popes and excellent wine. With a route along the ridge overlooking the lake, you follow the stretch of the ancient Roman Via Cassia, crossing roads paved in the original path. The town is a real gem, with arches, alleys and artisans retaining the flavour of yesteryear. You are now in the beautiful Tuscia of Lazio region. Dinner in a typical restaurant and overnight in hotel in Montefiascone.
Distance: 18km/11.2mi, ascent +672m/2205ft, descent -374m/1227ft
From the Rocca dei Papi Montefiascone, the walk takes you between orchards and vineyards. Continue past farmhouses, cypress and olive trees to arrive at the thermal baths of Bagnaccio, pools of warm water where pilgrims once rested. Above you rises Viterbo, the fortified town at the foot of the chain of the green Monti Cimini. Overnight in B&B in Viterbo.
Distance: 17.8km/11mi, ascent +168m/551ft, descent -467m/1532ft
The medieval walls, the seven entrances to the old town, the neighborhoods, the churches and the aristocratic palaces of Viterbo are a must to be visited before returning to the path. Through the countryside and forests, you pass an Etruscan underground tomb before reaching the gates of Vetralla, where you can visit the ruins of the Pieve of S. Marie di Forcassi, a typical example of the architecture of the area. Dinner and overnight in a charming hotel in the countryside of Vetralla.
Distance: 18.3km/11.4mi, ascent +289m/948ft, descent –323m/1060ft
Vetralla overlooks the countryside and the hills of Latium. Once out of the medieval town centre, the trail continues across fields and hazelnut trees before reaching the Towers of Orlando, the ruins of an ancient monastery. The route meanders past Capranica and its elegant boulevards to Sutri, a settlement of rare beauty, which has a Roman amphitheatre and an Etruscan necropolis excavated in the tufa. This afternoon you will be transferred to your accommodation on the outskirts of Sutri.
Distance: 24.8km/15.4mi, ascent +517m/1696ft, descent –559m/1834ft
Option: if you prefer to walk all the way to Rome without any transfers, you can stay in Sutri in a B&B without dinner included (7hrs, distance 27km/16.7mi). On Day 7, you'll start walking from Sutri amphitheatre.
Please let us know your preference at the time of booking.
Walk today almost entirely through fields, woods, lakes and past waterfalls. The area around Campagnano is predominantly agricultural and encompasses the town of Monterosi and the nearby lake with lotus flowers. This is the largest lake of Bracciano and Veio Natural Park, a protected nature reserve. Dinner and overnight in hotel in Campagnano.
Distance: 21km/13mi, ascent +350m/1148ft, descent –325m/1066ft
Today's walk takes you through the lovely village of Formello and the Veio Natural Park to the north of Rome. Homeland of the Etruscan civilization, the park is made up of tufa hills and a well-preserved riverside environment. Overnight in La Storta, near Rome.
Distance: 24.5km/15.2mi, ascent +555m/1821ft, descent –660m/2165ft
There is an option to shorten today's walk, ie walk to Formello only then private transfer to La Storta. This needs to be pre-booked and is payable locally (cost: for 1-3 people, 55€ or for 4-6 people, 70€, subject to change).
The last day is a rich experience, walking through history towards the Vatican and the end of the Francigena Way. The route takes you across the city of Rome, avoiding traffic. On arrival at St Peter’s Cathedral you are free to visit some of the
most important monuments of the city before making your way to your hotel. Overnight in hotel/B&B in Rome.
Distance: 22.7km/14.1mi, ascent +511m/1676ft, descent –646m/2119ft
The trip concludes after breakfast.
The walk was amazing, we would be greeted by the locals, we ate from the fields and experienced the true Italian countryside.
H. Anderiesen., Fairlight, NSW, Australia
The guide was outstanding. The maps for the most part were great. The 3 part map detail for the Sutri to Campagnano leg was excellent, showing even buildings and field entrances. (Details that I checked off as I passed them.) This is definitely a great alternative for seeing Europe at eye-level without stepping way far off the beaten path.
Thomas Nording, Kansas City, USA, 03 Dec 2016
Per Person, Twin Share