Via Francigena

The Via Francigena is an ancient road and pilgrimage trail from Canterbury to Rome. Whether you are hiking the full trail or part of it, this route takes you through rural Italy allowing you to meet new people, cross unique landscapes, and taste the local cuisine. It is a truly immersive experience visiting authentic Italian villages with vibrant medieval piazzas and street-side cafes.

There are many highlights to be discovered such as crossing the Great St Bernard Pass, which takes you from the heart of the Swiss Alps across the Italian border into the Aosta Valley. Another fascinating trail runs along the foothills of the scenic Apennine Mountains where you can sample the world-famous cured meats and cheeses of the Parma region. Some say that Tuscany is the most romantic Italian region, and you might agree when hiking in rolling Tuscan landscapes between vineyards and medieval hilltop villages. With many unique landscapes to select from, you can be sure to find one that matches your interests.

Macs Adventure has been sending customers on memorable adventures along the Francigena Way since 2013. Set off each day knowing your luggage will be transferred with ease and a good night’s rest awaits. With our trusted local partners and knowledge of the trail, we can assure you that you are in good hands. They say all roads lead to Rome, make sure you choose this one!

Discover Via Francigena

  • Camino to Rome vs Camino to Santiago
    Camino to Rome vs Camino to Santiago
    • Popularity: In comparison to the Camino to Santiago, which attracts thousands of pilgrims each year, walking the Via Francigena is a different experience with uncrowded paths that are off the beaten track. The Via Francigena will have you walking through interesting landscapes and historic villages, ideal for those looking for a peaceful walking experience. The Camino to Santiago has more of a social aspect as you are more likely to meet fellow walkers on a daily basis.

    • Waymarking: Where the Camino de Santiago has yellow arrows and scallop shells as the marking along the route, the Via Francigena uses red and white stripes as well as the Francigena pilgrim, or a combination of both. The Via Francigena is reasonably well waymarked, although it can at times be more difficult to find. The waymarking is still a work in progress and it has improved since the resurgence in popularity. With our route notes and GPX tracks, we can ensure that you will not have any problems finding your way. 

    • Road walking: Some of the original paths of the Via Francigena are now roads, varying from quiet country roads to fairly busy ones. Where possible we have improved the experience so you may either only follow these roads for a short time or divert from the traditional route to enjoy a more relaxed walk. The Camino de Santiago is much the same and also includes road walking, although to a smaller degree in comparison.
  • Which stage is for me?
    Which stage is for me?

    Not all of us are lucky enough to have 50 consecutive days to hike one of Europe’s finest pilgrimages to the Italian capital of Rome. The good news is that even with limited time, you can enjoy parts of this ancient trail. You could choose to walk an individual stage or perhaps combine multiple stages. Although it is a hard choice to make, here are some of our favorite sections!

    Starting off in Bourg-Saint-Pierre in the heart of the Swiss Alps, the first stage crosses the Great St Bernard Pass into Italy, finishing in St Martin in the Aosta Valley. As you traverse a high mountain pass, this section is best enjoyed from mid-June onwards.

    The final stage of the Via Francigena takes you from the hilltop town of Montefiascone to Rome, the eternal city. Follow trails through the classic Italian landscapes of Lazio, rural and pristine areas of Italy that many tourists do not visit!

    Stage 4 from Fidenza to Aulla takes you to the foothills of the scenic Apennine Mountains, also known as "the backbone of Italy". Cross the Cisa Pass and walk from Emilia Romagna towards the northern Tuscan border. Another highlight of this section is the famous food of the Parma region, a foodie paradise!

    Known to have better waymarking than other regions of the Via Francigena, Stage 6 gives you a real flavor of quintessential Tuscany. Visit medieval villages, such as San Miniato, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Siena, and San Quirico d'Orcia. This trip includes many highlights of central Tuscany, with its wealth of history, culture, and art.

    Easily combined with the previous stage in central Tuscany, Stage 7 continues through the heart of Tuscany on the northern edge of Val d’Orcia. From the ochre-colored landscapes of the Crete Senesi (UNESCO) to Montefiascone, where you can enjoy views of Lake Bolsena.

  • When in Rome
    When in Rome

    Italy’s capital is one of the most romantic cities, it is vibrant, filled with ruins and European art, and has many welcoming restaurants. We would recommend spending some extra time getting to know this world-class city and here are some reasons why!

    Visit its ancient icons such as the Colosseum – the symbol of Rome and the biggest amphitheater that was ever built, the Pantheon which now serves as a church but used to be a temple and the Roman Forum.

    Admire its artistic heritage which is certainly not hard to find when strolling through the city. Masterpieces include sculptures by Michelangelo, paintings by Caravaggio, frescoes by Raphael, and fountains like the Trevi Fountain with its sparkling waters filled with coins! If you only have time to visit one art gallery, make it Galleria Borghese as it has one of the most impressive private art collections.

    Discover the Vatican, the world’s smallest city-state and headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and St. Peter’s Square can not be missed. The pope holds Papal Audiences most Wednesdays and recites the Angelus prayer on Sundays at noon.

    Watch the world go by on one of Rome’s lively piazzas while enjoying a refreshing aperitivo. The cobblestoned streets of Travestere are filled with trattorias, bars, and terraces where you can listen to local musicians. Piazza Navona with a fountain by Benini is a popular square among the locals. Soak up la dolce vita in one of the romantic outdoor settings of refined restaurants or head for a truly authentic meal to a local pizzeria.

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