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
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent tour.
Pilgrim Trail | You will follow a historic pilgrimage trail, in the footsteps of generations of travelers
This trip is suitable for:
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Spiritual Journeys
- Personal Growth
- Historical Journeys
Activity Level & Terrain
This walking holiday is graded moderate overall. The daily distances vary quite a lot between shorter and 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.
As this route tries to remain as true to the original pilgrimage route as possible, you will not only walk on trails and unpaved roads but also on asphalt part of the way. The ‘traditional’ walk is alongside some busy main roads, which is why we give other suggestions (especially near Rome). Please take care when walking along roads and always be mindful of other road users.
You will be provided with detailed route notes and maps to help you find your way. 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. Unlike 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.
You will be able to follow the route in your Macs Adventure smartphone app and we're confident that using the two elements alongside each other should go a long way to ensure you have a safe, enjoyable and problem-free trip.
During your trip you will stay in a variety of accommodations. The properties range from private rooms in pilgrims' hostels to 2, 3 and 4* hotels as well as B&B's and guesthouses. At times you will be staying in remote towns and villages, therefore the accommodations in these places are the best that these particular areas have to offer.
If you require single rooms for your party we would be happy to accommodate you. Solo walkers are also welcomed.
Important: Due to the remote location of some of the smaller towns and villages along the way it is possible that some of your overnight hotels will be a few kilometres from the route or in a nearby town or village. If this is the case, you will always receive directions to and from the trail in your route notes. Please be aware that this may result in slightly longer or shorter walking days.
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
- Breakfasts included
- Baggage Transfers
- Detailed maps and routes notes and a comprehensive information pack
- Private transfers where mentioned in the itinerary
- Access to the GPS tracks using the Macs Adventure smartphone app
- 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
- Personal equipment
- Travel insurance
- Mountain rescue / emergency assistance
- Additional nights before, after or during the trip
- Baggage Transfers
- Half board supplement
When To Go
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.
Baggage transfers are not included as standard, however you can pay an additional fee for this service. If you choose to include baggage transfers we request that you have only one piece of luggage per person and it should weigh only 20kg.
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.
EquipmentThis depends on the time of year you are walking; if travelling in the spring or autumn it can be cool in the morning, but it soon heats up in the late morning and afternoon so make sure and bring some layers with you. During the summer months, the area can be prone to afternoon thunderstorms, so waterproofs are also essential in case of heavy showers. You will receive a full kit list as part of your trip documentation.
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.
If you choose the option of baggage transfers (additional charge) your bags will be transferred between your accommodations. Just ask your hosts where to leave your bags in the morning and they will get picked up. Please limit your bags to one per person of 20kgs.
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.
Fuel up on an energising breakfast before you set off on your challenging day's walk, today you begin your climb to the Cisa Pass. Situated at 1,040m it divides the Ligurian and Tuscan Apennines. The 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!
Please note that due to accommodation limitations along the route, you will receive a transfer from Cassio to Berceto (and back the next morning to continue your walk as usual).
A Pilgrim's hostel.
This morning we have arranged a transfer to collect you from your accommodation and transfer you back to Cassio, to rejoin the trail where you left off the day before.
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 Previdè later this afternoon. Sip a much-needed 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.
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. 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.
Albergo Ristorante Pasquino is a welcoming hotel in Aulla with comfortable rooms. Enjoy fresh pasta and delicious local dishes in its restaurant.
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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