Via Francigena Stage 4: Fidenza to Aulla8 Days & 7 Nights 3.5 Read 4 reviews
- Encountering the unusual and rare rock formations of the Salti del Diavolo
- Walk in the foothills of the scenic Apennine Mountains
- Paying a visit to the Museo delle Statue Stele which houses fascinating primitive sculptures
- Absorbing the mesmerizing views of the Apennine Mountains when crossing the Cisa Pass
- Sampling delicious and famous cured meats and cheeses of the Parma region
What To Expect
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent holiday.
Pilgrim Trail | You will follow a historic pilgrimage trail, in the footsteps of generations of travellers
This trip is suitable for:
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Spiritual Journeys
- Personal Growth
- Historical Journeys
Grade & Terrain
This walking holiday is graded moderate overall. However the daily distances vary quite a lot between shorter and a lot longer ones, so you must be capable of also walking the longer distances. You need to be in good physical shape to complete the full Via Francigena as there are also some elevation gains and losses along the way.
You will be provided with detailed route notes and maps to help you find your way. As always when walking you should be able to read a map and use a compass in case of bad weather. The trail is also marked by the official red and white signs of the Via Francigena, which have a picture of a yellow pilgrim on them. However these waymarks will not appear all along the way but intermittently.
Unlike many of the more well-established Caminos, the Via Francigena has seen a relatively recent resurgence in popularity, meaning that trail marking is intermittent (not every region has invested in consistently waymarking the trail), and you should be confident in navigating with a compass and map, as well as using the route notes that we will provide you with. A few of the original sections of the Via Francigena are now (fairly busy) roads, and where necessary you may either follow these roads for a short time, or divert away from the traditional route to enjoy a more relaxed walk.
During your Via Francigena self-guided walking tour in Italy you will stay in a variety of accommodations. The properties range from private rooms in pilgrim's hostels, 2, 3 and 4* hotels as well as B&Bs and guesthouses. At times you will be staying in remote towns and villages, therefore the accommodation in these places are the best that these particular areas have to offer.
During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations that are not listed in the description. If those listed are unavailable the alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome and again a supplement is payable.
Daily breakfasts are included. Breakfasts are usually continental or Italian-style with a choice of bread, croissants, meats, and cheeses. Sometimes it is possible to order packed lunches at your hotel or B&B the evening before or you can buy lunch in groceries, cafes, and restaurants en route. You can opt to include dinners as well if you wish.
- Overnights in a variety of accommodations
- Baggage transfers
- Detailed maps and routes notes and a comprehensive information pack
- Transfers where mentioned in the itinerary
- Emergency telephone assistance from our team in Italy and our UK office if required
- Travel to and from the start and finish points
- Public transportation where mentioned in the itinerary
- Lunches & dinners
- Drinks & snacks
- Any additional travel en route, should you wish to miss a day's walking
- Baggage transfers
- Personal equipment
- Travel insurance
- Mountain rescue / emergency assistance
- Additional nights before, after or during the trip
- Half board supplement
When To Go
This trip is best enjoyed from mid-June onwards as the first section crosses the Alps and snow can still be on the ground up until July. Summer is a wonderful time to do the trip but it will be hot in August. Autumn is a lovely time of time of year as the colours start to change and the heat of the summer has subsided. Available from mid-June to mid-September.
Getting to the Start
The best airports to fly into to reach Fidenza are Parma, Bologna or any of the Milan Airports (Milan Malpensa or Milan Linate). From these airports it is possible to take a train to Fidenza. As the first accommodation is outside Fidenza your hosts will pick you up from the train station. You will find information regarding train schedules and fares at the Trenitalia website.
Getting from the End
The best airports to fly out of after finishing your tour in Aulla are Pisa or Genoa. From Aulla take a train to Pisa (via Pisa Centrale Station). The journey takes between one and a half and two hours and you can find more information regarding train schedules and fares at the Trenitalia website. Alternatively if you fly from Genoa you can take a direct train from Aulla to Genoa Train Station and then from here take a thirty minute shuttle bus to Genoa Airport.
Enjoy the ease of walking with a light backpack and having your main luggage moved for you each day (included). Your bags will be collected from your accommodation and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.
The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and trousers), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation, and hospital care.
Your required fitness level will depend upon which section of the Via Francigena you choose to do. Please read the grade and terrain section of each individual section or the full walk to give you an idea of the walking on that particular itinerary.
Certain sections of the Via Francigena, such as the start and end of the trail, are very popular. Therefore it is better to book earlier rather than later to ensure bookings at the hotels and B&Bs
Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.
You may be able to take public transport or taxis onto the next accommodation, please check with the accommodation provider or our local partner as they are best able to give you up to date advice.
You will be asked to leave your luggage at reception or in a dedicated room before setting off and your luggage will be returned to you before 5 PM the same day in the new location. Please keep your bag to a minimum of 20 kg in weight.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive in Fidenza
Fidenza is a town situated in the Emilia-Romagna region and originated from a Roman camp called Fidentia. On arrival you should consider visiting the Romanesque Duomo, built of pink stone and dating from the 12th century. See the statue of the apostle Simon Peter at the front of the cathedral which is pointing in the direction of Rome. An inscription reading “I show you the way to Rome" makes this one of the world’s first road signs.
A calm and relaxing hotel with all necessary amenities and services.
Today’s walking takes you through hilly terrain as you are now in the foothills of the Apennines which run the length of the Italian peninsula. You will walk through farms, vineyards and gorgeous undulating countryside before reaching Fornovo, a town known officially as Fornovo di Taro as it is located in the Taro River Valley and only a few kilometres from Parma, a city famous for its cured hams (prosciutto) and cheeses. Perhaps you can sample some of these delicious local specialities when dining tonight.
A calm and relaxing hotel with all necessary amenities and services.
This morning a short bus transfer takes you to the beginning of the trail in Sivizzano where you begin your challenging days walk. Challenging because today you begin your climb to the Cisa Pass, situated at 1,040m it divides the Ligurian and Tuscan Apennines.
Superb mountain scenery is a highlight and in addition to this you will pass through the Salti del Diavolo, unusual rock formations which were formed over 80 million years ago. Translated as the Devil’s Jumps, they are located in the Baganza Valley, stand a few metres in height and rise like needles up from the valley floor. When walking through this strange geological landscape you may feel like you are on another planet!
A Pilgrim's hostel.
This morning we recommend that you take the time to visit the Church of Maria Assunta in the hamlet of Cassio before heading off along the trail. First take a steep climb through a shady forest and then pass through the appealing little village-street or borga-strada of Castellonchio, whose houses were built next to each other and lined the Via Francigena when pilgrimages were at their peak. Continue until you reach the crest of a hill from where you can see Berceto, your next destination nestled in the valley below.
Berceto is also located on the Via Romea and used to be a crossroads for commerce between the Po Valley and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Located in Berceto’s historic centre, just a few steps from the Romanesque cathedral (the Duomo), La Casa dei Nonni offers different accommodation types with its five rooms. The breakfast room has been obtained from a picturesque arch cellar which once belonged to the ancient houses of the medieval castle of the Rossi Earls.
Today you leave the Emilia Romagna region behind and enter Tuscany to enjoy some of the most stunning scenery along the Via Francigena. Upon crossing the Cisa Pass the views will leave you breathless (and not just because of the climb!). Descend through lovely woods with beech and chestnut trees, eventually arriving in Montelungo later this afternoon. Sip a much-needed and refreshing beverage in a local café.
A clean and comfortable hotel with all necessary amenities and services.
Along the way today you will see many interesting pilgrimage sites, such as small alters, little chapels and signs that during medieval times faith was so much a part of life. After reaching Cavezzana d’Antena, which has a natural spring, take the trail to the village of Groppoli, after which you cross over a bridge that was built in 300 AD.
This afternoon arrive in Pontremoli, an interesting town which has an important museum full of primitive sculptures called "steles". It is worth visiting this museum and strolling through the streets of Pontremoli where you will find one of the largest castles in the area, built in 9th century. It is here where the little museum is housed. Pontremoli means “trembling bridge” and was so-called because of the importance of the bridge crossing the River Magra.
A lovely B&B with a great location, clean and comfortable with all necessary amenities and services.
Slowly descend through fragrant Italian hills as your trail reaches the River Magra Valley. It is just outside Pontremoli where you will discover the St Annunziata Church which was built in the 15th century and commemorates a time when the Virgin appeared to a young shepherd girl. Continue descending to the Pieve di Sorano inside which there is an original Statue Stele. Arrive in Aulla, lying in the shadow of the imposing 16th century Fortress of Brunella and at the confluence of the Magra and Aulella rivers. The town was a significant trade and pilgrimage centre and therefore an important place on the Via Francigena.
The Demy Hotel is a brand new building owned by the family De Micheli who carefully manages it. The hotel is equipped with every comfort to ensure you have an enjoyable stay.
After breakfast your walking holiday will come to an end. See the Travel Info section for some useful details for your onward travel.
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