Thursday, December 23, 2010



The President Massimo Tedeschi AEVF awarded honorary citizenship of Canterbury. The event was held at the presentation of the twelfth edition of the journal ViaFrancigena

On the route:
Although not located along the official route, we note that the bridge over the Po in San Rocco al Porto (Lodi) is broken. For Orio Litta (Lodi) pilgrims in St. Andrew's Court to direct bicycle do not have access embankment.
Coming to Bicester, the ford of the river Stirone is no longer passable, but you can use the road bridge Sigerico and, pending the new official surveys, indicate an alternative route to cross the river and rejoin the path Stirone ministry. After the village of Bastelli, turn left and go straight for about 1,200 m, then turn immediately right towards Bicester, on a bridge in excess of the A1. After about 1,500 meters, turn left and walk along the bridge Sigerico. We descend, turn right towards compulsory and pass under the bypass and then get behind the cemetery and find the location of Bicester ministry. In an annex to the photo and the map shows in red the alternative route that is temporarily advised to follow.

The section of trail that leads to the Pieve di San Miniato Coiano Castelfiorentino is interrupted for landslide and also precluded the pedestrians. Due to reports of a pilgrim, we suggest an alternative route: via the intersection of Mellicciano, because of Poggiarella Meleto and so, due to take Meleto, to our left. From here you reach a paved country road, where you must go right, towards the local customs and then to Castelfiorentino. Before entering the country, at the roundabout, continue for Gambassi Terme and from there take the Via Francigena.

About the French section of the Via Francigena may be required to the Association des Pèlerins de Compostella et de Rome, to the email address ass-pè

You can download the GPS tracks of the section that crosses the French Champagne-Ardenne on the following link:

A variation on the section from Fidenza to Bastelli

Accommodation Guide updated on 3 December 2010-12-20

14 and 15 January 2011 Novoli (LE) :  ViaFrancigena. Journey of faith and cultural tourism
"Via Francigena. Journey of faith and cultural tourism "is the title of the workshop offering the Department of Heritage, Arts and History at the University of Salento, the City of Novoli Association Vie Francigena Pugliese. The aim is to promote a project whose purpose is to recover the ancient historical role of an ancient path of a religious nature, which represents an important opportunity for knowledge of the area.  Will be involved in the agro-food and local crafts, there are a panel discussion on the possibility of enjoying ViaFrancigena and a guided walk along the stretch of the Adriatic ViaFrancigena Salento.

Download the application form.
Fees for requests from abroad
A credential: € 7.05 - 11 x 23 cm bag
2 or 3 credentials: € 7.65 - 11 x 23 cm bag
up to 8 Credentials: € 9.15 - 23 x 33 cm bag
up to 10 credentials: € 10.15 - 23 cm x 33 envelope
more than 10 credentials: € 13.65 - 23 x 33 envelope or larger
Post it to Piazza Duomo, 16-43036 Bicester (Pr) a letter containing the request form, duly completed, including a pre-paid envelope with a quantity of stamps corresponding to 5.35 €. This amount, in fact, it is necessary to cover the shipping cost A / R (+ registered return receipt) for a credential

Other organizations distribute their credentials: Theubilantes, Brotherhood of Romei, ViaFrancigena Association, Confraternity of St James of Compostela, Eurovia, Ad Limina Petri.
In France, the credentials can be requested to the Association des Pèlerins de Compostella et de Rome: ass-pè

The Magazine Via Francigena
Order from the website:
Read a summary of the latest edition;
The Way of Art now on line
Art is now a constant presence in our walk, so we decided to dedicate a website to CamminArtisti and CamminAttori.
The project began through the work of Blessed herbicides, the communicator of our environmental journey Ge-Mi-To through the industrial triangle, and the financing of Farework, a project of the Province of Milan, which was intended to accompany the artistic talents in via entrepreneurship.
Benedict played the key work in media, publishing on the site videos that tell the artistic realities encountered during our trip, as well as photographs, music, paintings, travel notebooks of artists that we accompanied it.
This is just the start again next year we will organize "travel artist", as we believe that the arts can be a powerful vehicle to communicate the beauty of a slow journey. The site will be enhanced, also expect your contributions!
Alberto Conte

Seminar on the integration of data paths Bicitalia
Saturday, December 11 the tale at its headquarters in Milan offers a training meeting in view of the mapping of over 16,000 km of paths Bicitalia. We discuss techniques for data entry. Participation, Fiab reserved for members is free but places limited. Reservations are recommended.

Way and art along "paths of Monet Bordighera
On the occasion of the exhibition "Mediterranean from Courbet to Monet to Matisse" (Palazzo Ducale, Genoa), the Coop Liguria Roads to Discover invites us all to Bordighera, to participate in a series of guided walks. Every Saturday will be organized between escurisioni landscapes, exotic gardens, and forests that are illuminated by the intense Mediterranean light inspired many artists and painters during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Gianluca Bonazzi presents his travel diary in San Benigno Canavese

L 'Association Smile, sponsored by the City of San Benigno Canavese organized a series of "Meet the Author" and Friday, December 17, at 21:00, at the Library "Pierre Octave Fasani, Gianluca Bonazzi will talk about his travel diary born after the trip-event that brought him groan to walk along three sides of the industrial triangle Genoa-Milan-Turin.

Read all news
The blog
Stop the killing!, Alberto Conte
Once again it comes to the safety of cyclists and users 'weak' of the road just after a serious car accident. Seven deaths together is an enormous, as they were three years ago, the seven deaths on the work of Thyssen ...

Pellegrini becomes, Carla de Bernardi
On foot? These are crazy, it was my first thought. And then? On July 31? A month of walking? Come on ... On second thought was .... But I went with them. And so one morning I left the house ...

Winter in the Celtic huts Apennines, Gianfranco Bracci
After leaving behind the beautiful refuge of the Celtic huts, am going to walk alone, "the costume and I" (me and my jacket), as they said when they wanted to emphasize the old Tuscan to be his alone ...

Proposal for a co-housing on the Frankish Road of Courage Immaculate
We would like to create a co-housing/eco village along a path (preferably along the Via Francigena Lake Bolsena) which converge in the satisfaction of various needs / desideri.Ci seems important that arise along the way ...

Read all articles in the blog
Traveling slowly along the ancient roads

Discovering Via Francigena - second meeting of pilgrims Aulla
In the marvelous Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, Saturday 11 and Sunday, December 12 will be held the second in a series of meetings among the pilgrims. A meeting for all lovers of the "way" to know, "walk" and discuss the problems and opportunities for intervention on the route of the Via Francigena.

Monteriggioni - new project of "poor reception" for the pilgrims
The municipality of Monteriggioni decided to create a new hostel in the service of pilgrims. A small guest house "low-cost" (8 / 10 beds) inspired by the ancient hospitable, allowing for modern pilgrims to stay overnight in comfort at low cost, simply by showing the credentials of the sections covered.

Interview with Renato Trap, a great lover of ViaFrancigena
Between Bolsena and Montefiascone the ViaFrancigena flows between olive groves and patches of woodland, with a path of ups and downs and stunning views of the lake, which covers some features in basalt of the ancient Via Cassia. Upon arrival we met Renato Trap, a great lover of Via Cassia, tells us his views on the current path and the qualities that in his opinion less considered are the value added of the Central European pilgrimage.

Watch the video and download the road book of the stage
Follow the advice of CamminaFrancigena videoracconti and 2010 on and subscribe to the group on Facebook "ViaFrancigena in Lazio to share photos and information regarding treatment of Lazio ViaFrancigena.

Subscribe to "CamminaFrancigena" to keep you informed about news of the great cultural itinerary!

The slow movement in social networks

Join our community on Facebook, join us and write on the board of the Movement Slow your comments.

We provide all lovers of walking and cycling trip to a place where to meet and talk about their experiences.

Become our friend also on Twitter ! Visit our website to read more news, articles and itineraries for those traveling slowly.

A couple set off from Canterbury on 2 August and arrived in Rome on 3 November.
Read about it here:


La Via Francigena di San Francesco


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Italian Odyssey: One Couple's Culinary and Cultural Pilgrimage: Julie Burk & Neville Tencer

A couple of years ago I sent Neville and Julie a CD with maps, our daily guides translated from the Italian AEVF website and copies of our daily info sheets compiled for our walk on the VF in 2006.  Many of the maps had been sent to me by another VF Pilgrim, Jeff  McDonald, who walked the VF in 2004.  The others were downloaded from the AEVF website.  Neville and Julie were planning their walk on the VF from Martingy to Rome. 
In August 2010, Neville announced the release of a book about their VF adventure - "An Italian Odyssey: One Couple's Culinary and Cultural Pilgrimage".  I couldn't wait to read it!  We had blogged about our walk and Val had written a whole section about food on the blog. 
Neville very kindly sent me a copy of the book and asked if I would write a review.

Last week, I posted this review on the Amazon website. 

"To be honest, I found it difficult to review this book objectively. Not because it isn't well written - it is. It is fast moving, with lots of interesting history and delicious food reports thrown in. It makes fascinating reading, especially for anyone contemplating walking the Via Francigena through Italy. The authors took more time out to visit places of historic interest than most pilgrims do and delighted in sharing their enjoyment of regional foods and delicacies. However, Neville and Julie's experience was so different from my Via Francigena trek that I found it hard to identify with their tales of hardships and their constant bickering and squabbling brought on by getting lost, searching for places to stay, often blamed on demons and trickery. When the going turned tough, the tough turned on each other!
Unlike them, we climbed up to the Gr St Bernard in beautiful June sunshine and although it wasn't easy traversing melting glaciers and detouring around large banks of snow, we managed the 11 hour haul to the pass with no dramas or extreme physical challenges and no fall-out.
I must admit that in 2006 when I and four friends walked the Via Francigena from Lake Leman in Switzerland to Rome, we were often bemused and confused by the signs and directions but we never  actually got lost, not once.
Perhaps this is because we listened to experienced pilgrims' advice and skipped a 200km section in the north and took a train from Ivrea to Parma.
We booked every night's accommodation ahead and, amazingly for 5 very different women walking together, we didn't have any heated disagreements or arguments even when the going got tough. I loved their idea of writing the story from a cultural and culinary perspective. This sets the book apart from scores of similar pilgrimage tales, which by their very nature, are often merely day to day accounts of getting up, packing the back pack, walking all day, arriving, eating and sleeping. This book is much more than that. In Julie's words, theirs was "an extraordinary experience with a bitter undertone but with time, sweet, spicy and delicious."
PS: I've been asked about the 3 Star rating. I don't like fights, especially between couples and when they nearly gave up walking because of them, I nearly gave up on the book. I'm glad I didn't because as the terrain inproved so did their disposition and the story!"

Neville explained to me that the worst part of the VF through Italy is the section we skipped - the section from Ivrea to Fidenza.  It is this tough, difficult section that is a source of grief for many. While there are other locations along the VF that could be improved, this ± 200km section was a source of lot of pain for them and hence represented their “hell” of a Dante 3-act play. They did not want to sugar coat their experience and hence the second section of the book focuses on the hellish experiences of this stage of the walk.  I take his point.  We followed the advice of Joe Paterson and Andrew and Carol Walsh who walked the VF the year before me and skipped that section altogether.
Another source of aggravation for almost everyone who has walked the VF is finding accommodation. As far back as 2003 when I was researching the Via for our planned walk, the only written accounts were Veronica O'Connors short diary of her walk in 2002, Brandon Wilson's diary of his walk from the Gr St Bernard to Rome and Jeff McDonald's diary of his walk in 2004. 
Jeff often referred to his frustration in trying to find a hotel at the end of a day.  His diary gives the time taken for each stage, and in it he writes:  'The times include finding accommodation each day, sometimes that could take an hour or so.'
My friend John, who is a seasoned pilgrimage walker, walked the VF in 2005 and on his return said that he would never recommend it to anyone. He struggled to find accommodation, sometimes having to sleep on a park bench, in a cardboard box, on the portico of a church and one night, in a police station.  He also got hopelessly lost on numerous occasions and said that he felt he was committing suicide walking on some of the busy roads with huge trucks and heavy traffic hurtling down on him.
Because of these tales of woe, we decided not to risk trying to find beds at night for five middle-aged women so I laboriously booked beds for every night before we left South Africa.  And, we were so pleased we'd done that.  No matter how far we had to walk; no matter how tired we were; no matter how incorrect the mileages were (some days we thought we'd be walking 23km and ended up walking over 30km) we always knew that there was a hot shower and a clean bed waiting for us at the end of the day.  It took the anxiety and panic out of the walk and gave us the lee-way to take our time, enjoy the scenery and interact with the locals.
The Via Francigena today is probably what the Camino was like 30 years ago.  We only met two pilgrims.  One at the Gr St Bernard hospice who was not walking to Rome, and a couple of cyclists in Sienna.  We bundu-bashed our way through ploughed fields, tall rows of corn, over dry stone walls and waded through rivers where the bridges had fallen down.  It was tough.  It was hot - sometimes over 40oC in the shade.  And, there was very little pilgrim accommodation - only two albergues which were not only for pilgrims.

What's it like now?  Reading Neville and Julie's book, I don't think much has changed.  There are guide books available in English and more pilgrim accommodation in monasteries and convents.  Perhaps VF pilgrims are no longer the 'pioneers' we were described as by Adelaide Trezzini when we joined the AIVF, but it is still a difficult walk made more so by the lack of infrastructure and accommodation.

(Tarta d' Erbe - made by Nona Norina in Pentremoli)

Thursday, August 26, 2010


News and photos from: Associazione Europea delle Vie Francigene September 2010

Day of Cultural Routes scheduled in Brussels
Vice President of the European Commission, Antonio Tajani, promotes the Council of Europe Cultural Routes

August 2010
Journeying through the Way of St. Olav
A journey of pilgrimage in northern Europe, including Norway, Sweden and Denmark

August 3, 2010

26/08/2010 Canterbury and km zero ViaFrancigena

Pending the official presentation of ViaFrancigena at the European Commission within the day devoted to other Council of Europe Cultural Routes, the ancient path of Sigeric is attracting millions of pilgrims and enthusiasts who have walked this summer - and are still walking - along the Via Francigena.
There has been an increase in the numbers of those starting in the English city of Canterbury, in the heart of Kent, which starts in front of the magnificent cathedral the stone indicating the kilometer zero of the route.   The English section that accompanies the pilgrims to the dramatic cliffs of Dover, where you can sail to the French city of Calais, has finally been fitted with new signs by the Kent County Council. Twenty-eight km route attractive to combine art, history and nature.
This newsletter offers some phtographs of the English course, A whole new signage for the ViaFrancigena English
New signs were placed at the beginning of July

Event - Fidenza From Rome
40 pilgrims on their way :  Those who wish can join the group for short distance

Event -  the Great St. Bernard in Pont-Saint-Martin :  Discovering ViaFrancigena Aosta Valley
Interesting proposals for the 2010 walk

Event - Santiago de Compostela and Le-Puy-En-Velay :  Formal closure of the relay International Europe-Compostela 2010 : The event will take place on 18 and 25 September 2010 the first in Santiago de Compostela and then to Le-Puy-En-Velay

Photogallery:  Canterbury (UK)
See photos of the consecration of the altar dedicated to Saint Anselm
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, blesses the new altar in the Chapel of Sant'Alselmo in Canterbury Cathedral , with the Rev. Jonathan Goodall and Bishop Giuseppe Anfossi of Aosta bishop .

Photogallery:  Canterbury, the English stage of ViaFrancigena :
A visit to the place of Archbishop Sigeric
Photos of the cathedral, the town, the boys choir singing at the inauguration of km zero, of the route between Canterbury and the sea as well as photographs of Dover, the Dover Castle etc.

Photogallery: From Rome to the Great Saint Bernard

Relay-Europe International Compostela 2010

Photogallery: ViaFrancigena Morenic Canavesana;
The ViaFrancigena in Piedmont (Chiesa di Santa Maria Maddalena_Burolo)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Great up-date and comments on the waymarking and signage along the VF

 Copied with permission of Dave Whitson, leader of a group of students on the VF from Montreux to Montjovet and Fidenza to Roma, and Paul Chinn, co-author of the Lightfoot Guides to the Via Francigena

The complete 2010 LightFoot Guide to the via Francigena consists of three books:

Vol. One Canterbury to Besançon

Vol. Two Besançon to Vercelli
Vol. Three Vercelli to Rome

Information provided in each section:
Instruction sheet/s comprising:
Detailed directions corresponding to GPS way point numbers on the maps Distance (in metres) between each way point
Verification Point - additional verification of current position
Compass direction
Maps comprising:
A visual representation of the route with way point numbers and adjacent details

Altitude Profile for the section
Icons indicating places to stay, monuments etc Relevant signs to look out for along the route
Map reference number/s for the section.

In this 2010 edition the authors continue to use the official route in Italy, as approved and signed by the Italian Minister of Culture, but also offer dditional opportunities where it is too challenging for one or more groups. This density of information has increased the number of instruction sheets and the decision has been taken to transfer all cultural and historical information to the Companion to the via Francigena

Dave Whitson
My group of 9 successfully completed our pilgrimage on the Via Francigena on August 4. We walked from Montreux to Montjovet, hopped on a train, and then continued walking from Fidenza to Rome. Having skimmed through emails on the list while I was gone, I realize I'm going a little against consensus when I write this, but I remain very positive and excited about waymarking on the VF.
Now, the Lightfoot Guides remain critical, both for the occasional stretches when the WM dry up and for places where the authors' recommended route alternative is superior to the WM one. But, we typically felt very comfortable allowing our students to walk without a teacher-guide, leaving them to find their way along the route.
There are a handful of exceptions worth noting, though. It's possible that these were addressed in the 2010 version of the Lightfoot Guide -  I'm still working out of the 2009 edition.

On the general issue of signing the situation has greatly improved over the years, but there remain provinces, principally in areas of the north which you were lucky to skip, where the situation remains poor.
It seems that you have also encountered the issue of what I think of as the Tower of Babel of signing. The 2009 edition of the book generally follows the "official route" as defined by the Ministry of Culture. The ministry, via the communes intended to fully sign this route, however the work is incomplete, and many of the WM's that you describe relate to other/prior views of the route and can and do conflict with the "official route". Hence some of the angst we have expressed on the issue.

1) On the walk from Villeneuve to St. Maurice, the book instructs you to stay on the canal at 37.14. WM guide you away from it, towards the small town of Chessel. I would follow the WM, as this is your last good chance at a fountain for a while.

Paul:  It is often a tough call between distance and amenity. I think the WMs that you mention must lead to the Rhone and then rejoin our route a couple of waypoints further on. If this is the case it would add about 1500m to the section. Happy to add a comment on this to the next edition, do you recall the style of WM - we are well off the official/70 route at this point?

2) On the walk from Martigny to Orsieres, soon after Chamoille d'Orsieres, yellow arrows will lead you sharply downhill on a footpath, past a house on your right, eventually taking you to the
highway. Ignore these and stay on the flat, paved road. The approach to Orsieres is much more pleasant.

Paul:  Agree. The current edition sticks with the small road.

3) Our students were not pleased with the "official" route from Aosta to Chatillon. The assorted uphills seemed unnecessary and particularly frustrating given the toll the previous two days of walking had taken on their bodies. I would probably follow the authors' alternative in the future.

Paul:   I am afraid this is an example of the challenges that face the route designer. The Ministry, I think, were very insistent on minimizing the amount of tarmac used - perhaps an over simplification of safety concerns. The official route then searches for pathways. In general these are not new paths but ones used by day walkers that are out for a short burst of vigorous exercise, but that also go in the right general direction. We have been lobbying, so far with no great impact, that the official route should reflect the specific needs of the (very) long distance pilgrim - so we come back to having to respect the "official route" but offer alternates.
This situation also applies between the Cisa pass and Pontremoli and around Massa where CAI paths have been subsumed into the VF

4) On the walk from Chatillon to Montjovet, take note on 42.045 the point about ignoring the turn to the R. Insistent yellow arrows will try to convince you to turn R downhill. This route just buys you a
lot of highway walking. Stick with the book.

Paul:  I think this might be an example of the Tower of Babel of signing.

5) Last time, I wrote that the Felegara area had no WM. It is now fully waymarked.

Paul:  The province of Parma have done a great job in signing. However, in Fornovo it seems that their job was too good. The pretty metal signs with the pilgrim have now become souvenirs - we have photos that show the existence of signs 2 years ago where there are no signs now and even a photo of a bracket minus its sign. There is a nice piece of research to be done here on the optimum capital cost/aesthetic/frequency/maintenance interval for signs - I am from the school in favour of cheap,easily maintained, vandal proof(ish), but frequent painted signs. Unfortunately I suspect the ministry would not wish to be associated with graffiti.

Very interestingly the VF route from Montgenevre to Vercelli is generally excellently signed with the painted yellow pilgrim and yellow/white arrows while the many CAI and Italian walking association routes also successfully follow this convention.
6) IMPORTANT - A shiny new WM has been added on the walk from Berceto to Cisa Pass, encouraging you to turn R off the route towards a hostel. This is one place where our students erred and I can easily understand. Without a careful look and knowledge of the route, I would believe the official route went that way. I'm not happy about this marker.

Paul: It does say Ostello on the sign, but it is (shades of the Camino) remarkably like an official route sign. I will try and strengthen the words of warning in the book.
7) The walk from Pietrasanta to Lucca involves some stretches badly overgrown with blackberry / sticker bushes. In particular, right after 59.007 and just before Montemagno are really, really bad.On the latter, I would just follow the road. 

Paul:  59.037? I know that thicket well. Despite having dragged a bike through it and ripped my shins, there were signs of some extra efforts to cut it back and so I had preferred it to the risk of the busy road. I gather that it must not have improved and so will note and offer the road with safety caveats.

8) The WM continue to disagree with the book on the walk from Siena to Isola d'Arbia, turning L instead of R at 64.014 (the WM route goes through Isola d'Arbia while the book's route bypasses it), from Bagno Vignoni to Gallina (the WM lead you past a spa, along a gravel road, and eventually deposit you on the Via Cassia, leading you through Gallina, which the book bypasses), and from Ponte a Rigo to Acquapendente (the book calls for you to turn R on the Via Cassia, while many insistent WM call for a L)
 Paul:  The book route is/was signed with the fancy new ministry signs. The prior route through Isola d'Arbia (where there is a nice watering hole) also involved the crossing of a muddy maize field of which I have other fond memories with the bike. Did you take the book route? Of course no one has taken responsibility to remove the old signs. On the route through Gallina this is a similar story, but I would argue strongly for keeping away from the via Cassia.
Ponte a Rigo to Aquapendente ditto.

9) The WM have changed slightly on the walk from Acquapendente to San Lorenzo, pulling you back to the Via Cassia a little sooner than they used to. The WM from San Lorenzo to Bolsena were unreliable in places. Fortunately, that lake serves as a handy navigational aid.

Paul: The book route, after leaving San Lorenzo, involves just 150m of the Cassia - did you follow the book here?

10) I have now twice tried and failed to find the Strada Sasso San Pellegrino called for on 70.027 on the walk from Viterbo to Vetralla. I've looked really diligently. I find it hard to believe, at this point, that the street exists. Instead, we followed the WM along the Cassia for probably 2km (maybe more) before WM took us L off of the Cassia shortly before arriving in Vetralla.

Paul: Our error the instruction is not clear - there is a bridge over the via Cassia before you take the ramp down to meet the road proper. You need to take the bridge to find Strada Sasso San Pellegrino on the far side. We will put this right in the 2011 edition.

11) The book instructs you to turn L on Via Dante before entering Monterosi, just missing all facilities in town - and getting an ugly walk out of the deal. Instead, walk straight into the center of town. At the central piazza, you'll find WM calling for a L. Proceed along that road, over a bridge, and eventually onto the highway. Very soon after, you'll fork left off of it. Again, soon after, you'll hit an inter-section with WM pointing you both L and straight ahead. Turn L. You'll be on a white road, the same one that the book instructs you to turn L onto at 71.030

Paul:  This stretch of the highway/via Cassia for me is one of the most dangerous parts of the entire journey . We have stuck with the official route to give it the widest possible berth.  

12) IMPORTANT - 71.031 is one of the most important route choices on the walk. WM will instruct you to turn L onto the paved road. This will result in you spending most of the rest of your walk to Campagnano on pavement and often on highway. Ignore these and follow the book, continuing straight on the dirt road. Eventually, WM will start up again. I can't understand why they don't have one at this
pivotal moment.

Paul:  Agreed

13) IMPORTANT - They have, for some unknown and bizarre reason, to add a shiny new WM in the Madonna del Sorbo park, instructing you to turn R off of the dirt road and walk through the park. I followed this last year. It was a near disaster. Maybe they've developed the route and it's nicer now, but it was a total fiasco 9 months ago. This is one of those frustrating VF spots where one group seems to have decided that they know better than everyone else and so they inserted a definitive WM, instead of indicating that both options are possible. Follow the book and continue straight. WM will resume in 100m.

Paul:  As you know we have battling to try and get some rationalization of the signing

14) IMPORTANT AGAIN - Sorry for three straight importants, but there's a lot going on along these final stretches! A new VF route was just opened in Formello and it's really nice! As you arrive on the edge of town, follow the old VF sign along the steeply descending road into town. Shiny new WM will lead you into the historic center and then out the other side. Purpose-built gravel roads follow, eventually transitioning onto dirt roads. It's a great walk, really pleasant scenery, and it eventually reconnects with the old route at Via Monte Michele. I enthusiastically encourage you to follow this instead of the older approach. 
More than anything, I was struck this time by the incredible level of hospitality offered in many of the stops along the way. My greatest concern with taking my students on the VF instead of the Camino is that they won't get the full sense of the pilgrimage experience with so many fewer pilgrims in Italy. Certainly, we missed the pilgrim community. But, the upshot of a more intimate route is that the level of hospitality offered can potentially be much higher and that it can be much more deeply personal, especially in Tuscany and Lazio. In Altopascio, the mayor actually welcomed us and asked to have his
picture taken with us. In Monteriggioni, Siena, Radicofani, Campagnano, and Rome pilgrim dinners (and sometimes breakfasts) were prepared by the hospitaleros or the community. When our hosts in
Siena and Bolsena learned we were leaving early in the morning, they stayed up and prepared sack breakfasts for the kids. Even in places where the accommodations were very simple, the priests or nuns were often very enthusiastic to have us, extracting all of the conversation they could out of our limited Italian.  On the Camino, quite often the popularity prompts the need for streamlining and efficiency in the albergues. On the VF, we were really touched by just how welcomed we were made to feel.

Paul: Thanks for this. The new route was inaugurated at the end of July and we have written to the municipality for more detail on its routing. If anyone has a GPS trace of this section we would be very grateful to receive it.

I think you have the sense of the VF experience just about right - for us the engagement with the communities en route has been the great joy of the route.

Paul Chinn and Babette Gallard -

Sunday, August 08, 2010


I have added a new post on walking from Santiago de Compostela to Rome
on my Amawalker blog.  You can find it here:

Monday, August 02, 2010


Copied in English with permission:
To view this newsletter in its original Italian, and to see the photos on your browser, click here:

Newsletter for travelers of leisurely walking and cycling

Technology , "tells you "the path

Travel continues to be part of this summer's slow movement, after the conclusion of the Franco Way  two very interesting trips are starting: the first group will walk along an unpublished route between Rome and Assisi , while a second will be on the classic cycling routes - the Road to Santiago .

Again follow the daily adventures of travelers who detect the route with GPS, to make it available to Visitors to our site.

If technology fascinates you and you’d like to try the latest in the field of media guides, do not miss a visit to Introd, in Valle d' Aosta. Visiting the interesting ecomuseum Maison Bruil run Fondation Grand Paradis, you can borrow one of the iPhone GPS guides that will guide you to discover five splendid walks to the gate of the Grand Paradiso National Park . Also you can use the iPhone to "read "the landscape thanks to a software "augmented reality " iPhone display , indicating the names of the mountains and villages at which it is pointed .

Géoguide Grand Paradis:

Augmented Reality iPhone:

Travel Diaries

Occitan quits the ring of " Lou Tsamin Francoprovensal "
After about a month's journey through the paths of the Western Alps "Lou Tsamin Francoprovensal " is back in Susa closing his circle -  Piedmont, Savoy , Upper Savoy, Swiss Valais , Valle d' Aosta. A path of 500 kilometers to discover the genius loci of a territory which in centuries has shaped the spirit of Franco culture. Retrace the stages of the great expedition here:

A new route: "The Way of the Angels "
Put on your boots in St. Peter's Square and start the country roads and paths to discover 500 km of Italy 'Child ', see where pilgrims with the backpack has not yet become familiar. From Rome to Assisi along the sites of origins of Christianity. In his diary Mario Fazion will tell us about his steps along a fascinating historical and cultural journey .

The Pilgrimage by bike

Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela by Mountain Bike. Two Tuscan youths with a passion for travel by bike and interest in the ancient pilgrim paths, we raconter with video and photos illustrating their adventure. As usual post tracks GPS route.

Thoughts of pilgrims along the Via Francigena

Continuing the diary Cristina from Canterbury to start July on the way between the hills and vineyards of France, and through her stories makes us live "her" ViaFrancigena . 27 days of travel pages of her diary have been enriched with images and traces: GPS download. Continue to follow the footsteps of Christina  in her long journey.

Other news

Corsica is a pure joy !

A fascinating trek into the wilderness of the Park of Corsica. From August 9 to 20 a route on High Road in Corsica, the famous GR20, with Gianotti accompanying groups of 25 in Corsica years.

Pianotrip - the ecological piano on two wheels
A young French couple (she is 25 years and a pianist, he is 24 years and a photographer) travel Europe with two bikes and an upright piano of 200kg for towing. Their goal? To launch an ecological message through language of universal music.

Lepontika - the great trek in the Alps Lepontine

And, from the top of the first edition of Mottarone Lepontika the great hiking in 19 stages connecting the two most beautiful views of the Alps; Mottarone Rigi south and north .

Ciclopoetica - the magic ride on the banks of the Po

The festival begins on August 2 travelling along the route of the River Po, across Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto, combining Cycling and poetry. The meetings and lectures are open to everyone who wishes to participate.

Walking in the legends

Many initiatives among the Dolomites, UNESCO historical, nature trails and guided along the paths of legend. Summer 2010 Dolomites is full of proposals for walkers of all ages.

Read all news:

The blog

One year of rivers , Richard Carnovalini
After crossing the Apennines my new goal was simple living several months in close contact with Italian rivers that the most interesting ...

Before the summit, Roberta Ferraris
When summer flushed the plains is the only appropriate time to climbing at high altitude. In July, the anticyclone of the Azores with his place you can cross ...

New thoughts travellers, G. Bonazzi
Acrostics, thoughts and reflections on walking investigating so ever trivial relationship between the art of walking and modern society in which we find ourselves ...

The engine begins to slow, Nicola Comazzetto
Begin by telling the blog of the slow movement the "Mythical Northeast" that did not exactly slow imaginary connotations Collective...

Read all blog articles L:

The slow movement in social networks
The slow movement spread its ideas and content even in the leading social network where , in addition to staying abreast of initiatives and events , you can share ideas and proposals with us and with all our network of friends.

Become a friend of the slow movement on Facebook and Twitter !
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Every day we publish news, articles and itineraries for travellers who go slowly.

Visit our website to keep you informed:

The slow movement is a cultural initiative organized by route, disclose the journey on foot and by bicycle.
The newsletter goes out without periodicity, is free and reserved for members of the list of the Slow Movement .

Via Francigena 'live' blogs and websites

This is a great blog and I just loved her latest post: 

Part Trois – If it’s Monday, it’s closed

Oz Pilgrim

Cathy’s blog


New Book

Confraternity of Pilgrims to Jerusalem

Monday, March 08, 2010


I came across this great website where you can download the cycle route from London to Rome and Brindisi (EV 5) - part of EuroVelo.

EuroVelo is the European cycle route network, a project of the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lightfoot Guides to the Via Francigena

When we walked the Via Francigena in 2006 there were no guide books in English. 
I bought an Italian guide book and also downloaded daily stages from the AEVF website - which we translated into English using Google translate.  The result was sometimes so cryptic that it wasn't until we actually in the locality that we could work out which way to go. 
The AIVF had a short list of places to stay but no email addresses so I spent hours, weeks, trying to find accommodation along the way.
Pilgrims to Rome have it easier today since Babette Gallard and Paul Chinn started publishing their Lightfoot guides to walking, cycling (or going on horseback) on the Via Francigena.  These books form part of a three volume guide for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders travelling the via Francigena.

Vol. One Canterbury to Besançon
Vol. Two Besançon to Vercelli
Vol. Three Vercelli to Rome

Vol One covers the route from Canterbury to the Summit of the Great St Bernard Pass.

Vol Two covers 453 km from Besançon - the Capital of Franche-Comte - to Vercelli and the intersection with the Road from Santiago.

Vol Three covers 863 kilometres from Vercelli at the intersection with the Road from Santiago to Saint Peter's.

Each volume contains detailed routing instructions, route schematics, listings of accommodation and services and descriptions of the history of key locations along the route. Purchasers of the book are entitled to receive GPS waypoint data and periodic route updates.

NB:  Update from the editors:
"The route has been updated to take into account a number of modifications, and the guides themselves have been stripped down to instructions and route information, with a great deal more detailed historical and cultural information available in a new publication - Companion to the via Francigena. I would advise people who do not need the guides immediately to wait until the 2010 editions are out in March."

Another resource for accommodation in English, is the AEVF list - HOSPITALITY ALONG VIA FRANCIGENA - which can be downloaded from the Cultural Routes of Europe website or from:
(The link to the pdf file is on the right.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"On the streets of Peace"

I received this link from a French pilgrim who walked the journey of St. Francis "On the streets of Peace"

Florence - Assisi - Rome

"I finally finished the descriptions of the stages of my pilgrimage, with more than 200 photos."

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

National Geographic Photos of the VF

Antonio Politano - - provides links to his photogallery - with 60 images - on Via Francigena and 16 pages on National Geographic Italy:

Posted on the by Neville Tencer