May 12 – May 23
In the middle of May we’re going to embark on a journey to Rome along the historical pilgrimage route – Via Francigena. We will start from the Southern edge of Tuscany – Radicofani, and walk for 9 days admiring the beautiful Italian landscape.
Via Francigena is the common name of an ancient road and pilgrim route running from France to Rome and Apulia, where there were the ports of embarkation for the Holy Land, though it is usually considered to have its starting point on the other side of the English Channel, in the cathedral city of Canterbury. As such, the route passes through England, France, Switzerland and Italy. The route was known in Italy as Via Francigena (the road that comes from France) or Via Romea Francigena (the road to Rome that comes from France). In medieval times it was an important road and pilgrimage route for those wishing to visit the Holy See and the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul.
History of the route: viefrancigene.org
Tuesday, May 12: Travel Day
We will take a 10:35 direct flight to Roma operated by Ryanair, which is expected to arrive at 12:30. Then we’ll go to the train station and take the train to Chiusi. We can spend an afternoon there expolring the old town, visiting the underground city and the cathedral of Chiusi. We will also spend the night here.
More info about Chiusi: discovertuscany.com
Wednesday, May 13: Chiusi – Radicofani (by bus)
In the morning we will take a bus from Chiusi to Radicofani with a connection in Sarteano. Once we get there, we can have lunch and check into our hotel and dedicate the evening to go up to the Fortress of Radicofani. For centuries, the imposing Fortress has been the symbol of defense and control over the Via Francigena, on the border between Tuscany and Lazio. It had a considerable military importance, being a compulsory stopover for pilgrims and both for travelers. In the evening we can rest and start preparing for our first day of walking.
More info about the Fortress of Radicofani
Thursday, May 14: Radicofani – Acquapendente
The descent from Radicofani along the old Via Cassia is one of the most beautiful and exciting stretches of the entire Via Francigena: all around us, as far as the eye can see, a hilly landscape and the silhouette of Mount Amiata in front of us, and behind us – the Stronghold. .
Once in Ponte a Rigo we will walk along the valley floor of Paglia river, following the route of the Via Cassia up to Ponte Gregoriano, before facing the last short climb to Acquapendente.
Total length: 23.9km
Friday, May 15: Acquapendente – Bolsena
After visiting the Basilica de Santo Sepolcro (its splendid crypt was built based on the church of the same name in the Holy Land), the route continues with no difficulties till San Lorenzo Nuovo, where we can admire a beautiful view of Lake Bolsena.
Descending into the volcanic crater, we can walk along a pleasant route along excavated streets leading to Bolsena, going up and down among olive groves, meadows and woods, with the beautiful views of the lake in the background.
Total length: 22.9 km
Saturday, May 16: Bolsena – Montefiascone
Among olive groves and scrubland, the trail moves away from Bolsena and goes on with continuous ups and downs and splendid views of the lake. The 360° view that can be contemplated upon arrival at Montefiascone from Torre del Pellegrini is breathtaking.
Total length: 18.2 km
Sunday, May 17: Montefiascone – Viterbo
The first section of the route is spectacular, walking along the ancient paving of Via Cassia, still in good condition. We then cross a hilly stretch, with beautiful views of Montefiascone and Viterbo. Descending into the plain we can relax at the Bagnaccio spa, a series of hot water pools, always frequented by pilgrims passing along the Via Francigena. Once in Viterbo, the historical centre and San Pellegrino district are the main points of interest.
Total length: 17.8 km
Monday, May 18: Viterbo – Vetralla
At the gates of Viterbo, making a small detour, we can visit the ruins of Ponte Camillario, an ancient Roman artifact. The route is a series of ups and downs between fields and woods, made somehwhat challenging only by the total lack of water and refreshment points along the route.
At the gates of Vetralla, with a small detour we can visit the ruins of the Pieve di S. Maria di Forcassi.
Total length: 16.9 km
Tuesday, May 19: Vetralla – Sutri
After leaving Vetralla, we will walk along a beautiful stretch in a thick forest, before reaching the little church of Madonna di Loreto. From here we’ll cross an immense hazelnut grove and walk along some monumental oaks, before arriving at the Torri d’Orlando – ruins of an ancient monastery.
We’ll continue towards the delightful village of Capranica, and then towards Sutri, a semi-unknown pearl along the Francigena, with its Amphitheater carved into the tuff, the Mithraeum and the beautiful historic center.
Total length: 23.6 km
Wednesday, May 20: Sutri – Campagnano
The first part of the stage crosses the countryside up to Monterosi.
We’ll continue our journey through the fields, up to the Monte Gelato waterfalls, in the territory of Mazzano Romano, a park area where we can rest. We then enter the Parco di Veio, and walk along a panoramic dirt road, which leads us to the gates of Campagnano.
Total length: 23.8 km
Thursday, May 21: Campagnano – La Storta
Leaving Campagnano we can adimire the enchanting views of Latium countryside, before coming to Veio Park, where we’ll flank the Church of Madonna del Sorbo. Then we’ll cross the inhabited area of Formello, where there is a wonderful hostel in the historical Palazzo Chigi, in order to undertake a long track later till Isola Farnese and La Storta.
Total length: 23.0 km
Friday, May 22: La Storta – Roma
The last leg starts with a long segment along the sidewalk of the Via Cassia, with quite a lot of traffic. Once we’ll pass Grande Raccordo Anulare (the Great Ring Junction) the path enters green Insugherata Park, a wild oasis in the outskirts of Rome. Then we enter once again in the traffic of Via Trionfale, followed by Monte Mario park.
The view from the lookout point of “Mont Gaudii” (the happiness’ Mount) will let us forget all the walking along the road. Finally, we’ll descend to St. Peter’ square – our destination.
Total length: 19.0 km
Saturday, May 23: Exploring Rome
We will dedicate the final day to fully explore Rome: the Colosseum, St. Peter’s square and the cathedral and simply walking around the historic centre and admiring the architecture.
In the evening we’ll take a 19:40 direct Vueling flight to Valencia which is expected to arrive at the airport at 21:50.