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 last section of the trail through to Rome, passing by ancient relics and hill top towns. If you have walked the previous section from Siena you will start in Acquapendente, otherwise you will start in Orvieto. The first walk takes you down to the charming lake town of Bolsena, then passes through medieval town Montefiascone, known for its great wine, and then continues through wooods and by Abbeys as you approach the Eternal City of Rome. En route stay in atmospheric farm houses and small family run hotels, soaking up the fine hospitality that has characterised the route for centuries.
MODERATE – GRADE 3
This is a moderate grade walk along paths that are well defined and clearly marked. There are not many changes to the height walked each day, even when walking on unasphalted roads. Some walks are long but can be shortened if requested in advance. The whole itinerary is well-marked by the official signs of the Via Francigena.
A good level of fitness is required and prior experience is advisable. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, and jogging, three to four times a week for three months prior to your departure.
Today you will need to make your own way to the first hotel in Orvieto. Orvieto is a beautiful town sitting atop a tufaceous cliff 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.
*Alternatively if you are continuing on from the previous section from Siena you will continue walking from Acquapendente, where the Southern Tuscany section finishes.
If you're starting in Orvieto the walk starts from the Duomo and crosses through the whole old town. You'll soon enter the countryside and pass a recently discovered Etruscan necropolis. Some trails are on quiet asphalted roads and will bring you to the other side of an ancient crater with exceptional panoramic views over the whole Bolsena Lake.
If you're starting in Acquapendente you'll walk across a plain to reach the village of San Lorenzo Nuovo, which is located on the edge of a crater that nowadays holds the lake town of Bolsena. Continue the gradual descent towards the charming village of Bolsena.
Whatever your starting point, your destination for today is 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.
Walk from Orvieto: 18km/11mi, 6hrs. Ascent: 505m/1657ft. Descent: 504m/1653ft.
The walk from Acquapendente is 22km/13.5mi and will take between 7-8hrs.
Today you will walk from Bolsena, following along the crest of the hills surrounding the eastern part of the lake. You'll walk along ancient parts of the ancient Roman Via Cassia. This afternoon you will arrive in Montefiascone, a lovely village with a prominent location, where you have a great panoramic view over the lake, the surrounding plain and the Cimini Mountains. The Fortress of the Popes in Montefiascibe is well-worth a visit. Overnight in Montefiascone.
Walk: 18km/11mi, 5hrs. Ascent: 603m/1978ft. Descent: 329m/1079ft.
The route to Viterbo today is along the plain that divides the Bolsena Lake from the Cimini Mountains. You'll be able to see the outline of the hills as you walk, as they border the whole territory. There are no residental areas along the route today but there are some old drinking fountains. When you arrive in Viterbo this afternoon you can take some time to visit the charming old town.
Walk: 18km/11mi, 6hrs. Ascent: 174m/571ft. Descent: 430m/1410ft.
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 Saint Marie di Forcassi, a typical example of the architecture of the area. Overnight in Vetralla.
Walk: 17km/10.5mi, 6hrs. Ascent: 288m/945ft. Descent: 309m/1014ft.
The walk today is quite long so we recommend leaving early. From Vetralla you'll walk along the volcano side of a crater which was once occupied by Lake Vico. You'll continue through Etruscan countryside until you reach the tiny village of Capranica. From here you descend down a tuff gorge, following the stream. This track is very stricking, but can be difficult in places depending on the water level. Finally you'll arrive in Sutri where you can check into your accommodation for the night.
Walk: 24.5km/15mi, 7hrs. Ascent: 469m/1539ft. Descent: 475m/1558ft.
The first section of the walk today takes you across fields until you reach Monterosi and the Monte Gelato waterfalls. You can stop for a rest here or even swim on a warm day. You'll then continue on, walking along a panoramic trail that leads to Campagnano di Roma. It is possible to shorten the walk by prearranging a morning transfer to he picturesque village of Monterosi.
Walk: 24.5km/15mi, 7hrs. Ascent: 376m/1234ft. Descent: 399m/1310ft
Today you'll walk through the Roman countryside, walking on mainly flat dirt roads or country trails. There are a few hills only in the final part of the day. Continue on to Isola Farnese where you will stay overnight.
Walk: 22km/13.5mi, 6hrs. Ascent: 433m/1421ft. Descent: 604m/1982ft.
After breakfast you will set off on the final leg of your pilgrimage. You can choose to reach Rome either by public transport or on foot. Part of the walk today is through the Insugherata park, a beautiful natural reserve just a few steps away from the bustling city. As you approach the eternal city you can stop for a triumphant photograph at the Monte Mario Belvedere. From here you'll catch your first glimpse of the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica. You'll then make your final descent to reach the Piazza San Pietro, your ending point and the ending point for thousands of pilgrims through the centuries.
There is much to do and see in Rome and it can be worth extending your stay to allow you enough time to explore the city.
Walk: 22km/13.5mi, 6hrs. Ascent: 360m/1181ft. Descent: 450m/1476ft.
The trip concludes in Rome this morning, with arrangements ending after breakfast.
Per Person, Twin Share