Friday, March 27, 2009

Omnes viae Romam perducunt - All roads lead to Rome

This walking holidays website has some good info on what to see when walking the VF from the Swiss Alps to Roma.
(Picture from the website)

"All roads lead to Rome' (Omnes viae Romam perducunt) - once upon a time this was not so far from the truth. In the Middle Ages pilgrims converged on the spiritual home of European christianity from all over the continent, upon arrival in Italy following the route that linked Rome with Canterbury - the Via Francigena, which, together with the Camino de Santiago, was the principal spiritual route of the great era of pilgrimage. We offer the entire route in eight manageable self-guided sections, each a week long. Guided group departures also available."

Distances for each section is about 120km.

Price: £675 per person based on 2 people sharing. Single supplement: £150

Included: accommodation in hotel**/***, hostels and agriturismo in double rooms with private facilities; bed & breakfast service; 6 dinners; luggage transfer; eventual transfer as described in the program; detailed description of the route and informative material.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Peter Robins posted this update on the Benevento-Monte Sant'Angelo. Details of the inaugural walk along the Cammino dell'Arcangelo on the AEVF site
http://www.associaz ioneviafrancigen asp?s=75& o=6725&c= 0

Pilgrim blessing at the beginning of each day, a simple meal at midday, and what's described as a "spettacolo musicale-teatrale- religioso" each evening organised by the locals. Sounds fun. I'm sure they'd be delighted to welcome people from outside Italy if anyone fancies going along. It seems the website will be www.camminodellarca - watch this space!

PS. The CAI's press release also confirms what Alberto was reporting: that they hope to open the rest of the route Rome-Benevento "in the near future".

Friday, March 20, 2009

Paris and Lyon to Jerusalem

Walking to Jerusalem
François-Xavier de Villemagne
Editions Transboréale
368 pages. 2003

6400 kilometers between Paris and Jerusalem from May to December 2000. This is the story of a journey through Eastern Europe, a path strewn with meetings, travel through time and space, an expedition on foot to Jerusalem .


Un pèlerin raconte...
Edité à compte d'auteur
2ème édition - 128 pages.

Disponible chez l'auteur :
José ROMAN - 5, rue des Bleuets - FR-69720 SAINT-LAURENT-DE-MURE

Aventure de 6 mois de marche de Lyon à Jérusalem d'un pèlerin en compagnie de son chien.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Charity tandem cycle ride to Rome sets off on Friday 13th!
Accountancy student with PEM Sean McCann and Jesus College student Peter Banks set off on their tandem cycle from Cambridge last Friday (13th March) – destination Rome. The pair are raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, East Anglia appeal to build a Teenage Cancer unit at Addenbooke's hospital, Cambridge.

This epic journey will take them approximately three weeks, and their route will take them down to Dover where they will catch the ferry to Calais, cycling through France, over the Swiss Alps and then finally to Rome following the pilgrim route Via Francigena.

Carrying all their camping gear, clothes and provisions on the bike within them, the pair who have been firm friends throughout their school years, will be camping and cooking for themselves while cycling around 80 – 100 miles a day whilst they aim to raise around £15,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust, East Anglia appeal. Following a “Bon Voyage” breakfast laid on by Sean’s employers accountants Peters Elworthy & Moore (PEM), who are sponsoring the boys, the pair were waved off on their journey by around 100 friends, family and colleagues.

Having been diagnosed with and treated for cancer at just 18 years of age, Sean knows only too well how the disease and its treatment affects every inch of life as a teenager. No longer a child, but then again not quite an adult, teenage cancer patients need a very different environment and where they can continue to be … just Teenagers. Says Sean, “It was very difficult both physically and emotionally coping with the disease and the radical treatment needed, but on a ward full of adults I felt isolated and wanted to be around people my own age. I just want to be able to support this fantastic appeal and give future teenage cancer sufferers the opportunity to be treated in a more suitable environment”.

Adds Helen Bearfield Smith of the Teenage Cancer Trust, East Anglia Appeal -“Teenagers are vastly different from children and adults and need to be treated in dedicated wards. A Teenage Cancer Trust unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge will give young people in East Anglia with cancer the support they need to help fight this terrible disease. We were delighted to be invited to Sean’s “bon voyage” breakfast and enlightened to see that Sean and Peter have the backing and full support of family, friends, colleagues and PEM whilst they raise money for this great cause.

Teenage Cancer Trust’s East Anglia Appeal has to raise £1m by the end of 2009 to ensure the project goes ahead and PEM is committed to supporting them in achieving their goal by hosting a variety of events and activities throughout the year. Adds Toni Munro, Head of HR at PEM, “Whilst the care Sean received from the staff at Addenbrooke’s was first class, Sean found himself on wards with older, sometimes terminally ill adults for long periods of time and this is not ideal. Sean has asked PEM to support him in his fundraising efforts so that in the future, teenagers with cancer can spend what is a very difficult time in their lives, in an environment conducive to being a teenager and we are delighted to help.

Peter continues “Seeing my friend suffer from Cancer was obviously very hard for me, so when the idea arose to raise money for a good cause of this nature, I couldn't say no. So now I've been roped into cycling half way across Europe - and I have to give up the beer and crisps!”

If you would like to sponsor Sean or Peter and help them reach their target for Teenage Cancer Trust’s East Anglia Appeal you can go straight to their justgiving page on or via the PEM website at and visit events

Adds Managing Partner Paul Chapman, “We are delighted to be supporting this worthwhile cause and helping Sean to achieve his fundraising goal. We are however a little concerned that when they set off they looked at each other and asked “which way?” and the fact that it is Friday the thirteenth!'


For further information contact Pippa Corbett on 01223 728288 or email

Sunday, March 15, 2009

From Little Green Tracs:

The complete 2009 LightFoot Guide to the Via Francigena consists of three books:

Vol. One Canterbury to Besançon ISBN:978-2-917183-06-9

Vol. Two Besançon to Vercelli ISBN:978-2-917183-07-6

Vol. Three Vercelli to Rome ISBN 978-2-917183-03-8

The decision to divide the Italian section over two books (as opposed to the single 2008 edition) has been taken for the following reasons:

  • In this 2009 edition the authors have exclusively adopted the official route, as approved and signed by the Italian Minister of Culture, where there is clear advantage for all groups (hikers, bikers and horse-riders). But where the official route is too challenging for one or more group, alternatives are offered. This density of information has increased the number of instruction sheets provided for certain sections and makes a single book large and unwieldy for travelling pilgrims.
  • The authors have taken into account the increasing number of pilgrims choosing to return from Santiago de Compostela and proceed onto Rome, via Arles. This route crosses the Italian border at Montgenèvre and ultimately joins the Via Francigena in Vercelli.
  • The authors have divided the books on the basis of evidence gathered with regard to the most popular starting points along the via Francigena.

The entire distance is divided into manageable sections of approximately 25 km. In most cases this distance amounts to a comfortable walk for the majority of people, though of course it will also depend on the terrain. For the cyclist, 2, 3 or maybe even 4 stages will represent a day's travel, while for the horse rider a great deal will depend on fitness and the route itself, but accommodation is listed along the length of the route and it is entirely up to you and your body where you decide to stop.

Information provided in each section

Instruction sheet/s comprising:

1. Detailed directions corresponding to GPS way point numbers on the maps

2. Distance (in metres) between each way point

3. Verification Point - additional verification of current position

4. Compass direction

Maps comprising:

1. A visual representation of the route with way point numbers and adjacent details

2. Altitude Profile for the section

3. Icons indicating places to stay, monuments etc

4. Relevant signs to look out for along the route

5. Map reference number/s for the section

LightFoot guides to the via Francigena can be bought from some bookshops , either on order or directly off the shelf. To see where our books are currently stocked go to the Retailers page

To make an advance purchase online click on the link below. Note: expect up to 28 days delivery time after publication date - 01 March 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Guest Post by Neville - Little Green Tracs

Back in the spring of 2007 we decided to walk the famous Camino de Santiago in Spain. Walking the Camino could be described as one of those “life changing events”. Excited about our success of walking 800km across the top of Spain, we became hooked on walking long distance medieval trails and wanted to do more.

By the spring of 2008 we were ready to tackle another pilgrim route. This time we selected Italy as our next destination, and so began our epic journey along the ancient pilgrim and medieval route call the Via Francigena.

The Via Francigena is an ancient network of paths from Canterbury to Rome, passing through France, Switzerland and Italy. It was an important medieval route used by pilgrims, soldiers, merchants, travelers and wayfarers.

Before starting off we knew that the Via Francigena even today is undergoing changes, and that there were a number of possible alternative routes in various regions. At the time of our decision to go, there were only a limited number of guidebooks and only one English guidebook; though it was somewhat outdated. (Since returning home, an excellent guidebook in English has been published by Pilgrimage Publications).

Therefore as preparation for our journey we developed our personal guide book using information from a number of sources. This included downloading the maps from the Italian Associazione Europea delle Vie Francigene based in Fidenza, Italy, converting these maps and putting them into an easy to carry booklet.

Even though the same site provided a list of accommodations that one could stay at we made our personal accommodation guide using information from a number of sources. We stayed in variety of places including bed & breakfast, agriturismo, small hotels, ostellos, albergos, and conventos. Mostly we stayed in the places listed in the Ospitalita lungo Via Francigena.

We elected to start our walk from Martigny, Switzerland leaving on September 2 and finishing in Rome, Italy on October 24. The total journey was approximately 1,000 km and we took 53 days to complete it. This included approximately 10 days of extended stays in some of Italy’s greatest cities like Aosta, Ivrea, Pavia, Lucca, Siena, and of course Rome.

Our journey required us to climb and cross over the Swiss/Italian Alps through the Gran San Bernardo Pass (2472m), then descend into the Valle d’Aosta and pass through the most western reaches of the Po River valley. We would then have to head south west and this time cross over the Apennine Mountains through the Cisa Pass into the most northern section of Tuscany before arriving in Lucca. From Lucca to Siena and south we would walk through the rolling hills of Tuscany and Val d’Orcia and further south alongside the ancient volcanic lakes of Lazio before finally arriving in Rome.

Unlike the Camino de Santiago most of the route was hilly especially in places like Tuscany thus physically more demanding. The average walk day was longer. In a number of places the route was not well marked, resulting in us getting lost a number of times. But being able to understand and speak some Italian helped us to get back on track.

Our reward for all this work was plenty. We passed through some wonderful regions with small villages and towns. Some sections of the route were extremely beautiful to walk through, including the Valle d’Aosta, the Cisa Pass and of course Tuscany, especially south of San Minato through Siena to the Val d’Orcia into Lazio. Sections before and after Vercelli, near Pavia and crossing the Po River were extremely beautiful in part because we had luckily decided to cross this region just prior to the rice harvest in mid September. Golden fields of rice and corn were especially pretty in the early morning when the sun was shining.

Many Italians especially the older Italians were generally interested, in fact excited, about what we were doing. Many were surprised to learn that we were Canadians walking from Switzerland to Rome. Many people were generally very helpful. Some even drove us to nearby places where we had booked to stay.

We originally had great plans to blog and record our thoughts and comments throughout the hike. However finding internet points throughout Italy in many of the smaller towns and villages was nearly impossible. Our walking days were long starting normally at 7.00am and finishing at about 5.00pm giving us only an hour or two to clean up and write some notes before heading off to dinner, and then bed. Obviously, finding an internet point rarely made it to the top of the list.

However, we have set up a blog whereby today we are recording and posting our daily thoughts, musing and experiences from our little long walk along the Via Francigena.

The blog is called Little Green Tracs:

We welcome you to our blog and hope you enjoy it and have the opportunity to live some of our special experiences along the Via Francigena.

Buon Viaggio


Monday, March 02, 2009


Message from Paul and Babette of Lightfoot Guides to the VF Yahoo Group:

This brief message is to let you know that we have just completed a major revision to the guides to include the "official via Francigena route" as defined by the Italian Ministry of Culture, additional route options and route changes in northern France and adoption of parts of SwissMobility route 70 in Switzerland.
We have also included revised accommodation data based on feed back from pilgrims travelling in 2008.
Additionally we have made format changes in line with comments from a number of members of this group. The changes include enlarged maps and altitude profiles; more Way Point locations on each map; more route options; cumulative distance measures; additional altitude data and deletion of our personal blog.
Unfortunately these changes have driven up the "official" distance to 2076 kilometres and the overall page count in the books. As a result we have restructured the books into 3 volumes: Canterbury to Besançon (196 pages), Besançon to Vercelli (160 pages) and Verçelli to Rome (240 pages).
We have deleted the prior guide from our site and are in the final stages of submitting the new (Edition 2) guides to our printers and expect it to be ready to be shipped by the end of March.
The 2008 edition is in the process of being deleted from the lists of Amazon and its partners.

We would like to thank everyone for their constructive input.
For those that have purchased the 2008 guide from our site or registered with us we will be distributing instructions on how to obtain the updates by Email and offering a reduced price printed and bound version of the appropriate volumes of Edition 2. For any others who have purchased the guides through other channels then again if they register with us we will provide the same service.
Paul and Babette