Walking from Lucca to Rome might just be one of the best experiences of your life. The Via Francigena is a unique walking path that runs all the way from Canterbury in the United Kingdom, through France and Switzerland and the length of Italy, before reaching Rome. The section of the Via Francigena from Lucca to Rome is one of the most popular and it is easy to see why. With the rolling vineyards of Tuscany, splendid food, incredible scenery and the welcoming towns and villages of Lazio – walking from Lucca to Rome on the Via francigena is truly a once in a life time experience. You can find out more about our experience of doing this and how to walk from Lucca to Rome on the Via Francigena below.
What is the Via Francigena?
The Via Francigena translates directly as “Way of the Franks.” It is a path, or connection of paths, that travels over 2,000km from Canterbury in the United Kingdom, through France, Switzerland and Italy and eventually enters Rome. Over the years, it has gone from a strategically important road to a significant religious pilgrimage route. Alongside Santiago and Jerusalem, Rome is a holy place and therefore has been the focus of pilgrimages throughout the ages.
Sigeric, who was once an Archbishop of Canterbury, is most associated with the Via Francigena. He walked back from Rome to Canterbury after receiving a religious honour from Pope John XV in AD 990 and plotted his journey. Sigeric was not the first to walk this pilgrimage to Rome, or back to Canterbury, but he was the first to write about it. Put this way, Sigeric was the first travel blogger to walk the Via Francigena!
Today, many walk the Via Francigena for a number of reasons. Whether cultural, religious, spiritual or as a physical challenge. In 2021, the Via Francigena official body led a campaign, called “Road to Rome 2021” which sought to put the Via Francigena on the map as one of the foremost long distance walking paths in Europe.
As of 2022, it is believed that around 17,500 people walked or cycled part or all of the Via Francigena. 87% of these people walked, whereas 13% cycled the route. Lucca, Gambassi Terme, Ivrea, San Miniato and Siena in Tuscany, Italy were the most popular start points.
How long is the walk from Lucca to Rome on the Via Francigena?
We’ve written more on why you should walk the section of the Via Francigena from Lucca or Siena to Rome here (published soon.)
The total length of the Via Francigena from Canterbury in the United Kingdom to Rome is over 2,000 km. The section from Lucca to Rome is 419 km. It is possible to walk from Lucca to Rome in fifteen to twenty days depending on your walking pace. For this reason, the walk from Lucca to Rome is a popular section of the Via Francigena.
How long is the walk from Siena to Rome on the Via Francigena?
The walk from Siena to Rome on the Via Francigena is 291km approximately. You can expect the walk from Siena to Rome to take around 10 days, depending on your walking pace.
How hard is it to walk from Lucca to Rome on the Via Francigena?
The walk from Lucca to Rome starts with an easy first day. We were lulled into quite a false sense of security after this. By day three we had realised that there would be some challenging days on the Via Francigena. In fact, day two and three involved quite undulating terrain with steep climbs into the towns at the end. The rest of the walk from Lucca to Rome, via Siena, was hard at times. There’s a particularly steep climb into a town called Radicofani, which is at the border of Tuscany and Lazio. We found this day to be the hardest as the climb (up to 800m) comes at the end of a 32km day.
Compared to other long distance walks that we have enjoyed, we would say that the Via Francigena is harder than the Camino Portuguese, but not as hard as the North route of the Camino de Santiago.
If you choose to walk the Via Francigena from Lucca or Siena to Rome, be prepared to find some steep climbs, some uneven terrain and some small river crossings. Beyond this, assuming that you are not carrying too much weight in your backpack and you have a reasonable level of fitness, you should not find the walk too challenging.
How to walk from Lucca to Rome on the Via Francigena
Below you can find a detailed account of the daily stages of walking the 419km from Lucca to Rome on the Via Francigena. This also includes how to walk from Siena to Rome on the Via Francigena (skip to day seven to find this.)
You can also find more information on accommodation on the Via Francigena, wild camping on the Via Francigena, what to pack for the Via Francigena and what time of year to walk the Via Francigena (published soon.)
Day One: Lucca to Altopascio 18.5km
A flat day heading out of Lucca, this is a good first day to ease into the walk from Lucca to Rome gently. Most of the walk on day one is on on road but there is also a short trail to break it up. The majority of road walking is on a footpath, but a few short stretches where you must walk on the side of the road. This is not a strenuous day and you start to see some stunning scenery.
Altapascio is a pretty town with a number of restaurants. However, if you arrive between 15:00 and 18:00 you may find that some are not serving food.
On route: you will find shops, bars and restaurants or cafes in Cappanori and Porcari. Otherwise there are no water facilities.
Accommodation: Altopascio itself has a number of accommodation options including some private and three pilgrim accommodations. These are: Magione Cavalieri del Tau (email@example.com +39583 216280 –366 5708802). Affittacamere da Beppe (+39 3456373838 – +39 3469454158 firstname.lastname@example.org). Il Picchio Verde (available on booking.com.)
We were wild camping for parts of the Via Francigena and on our first night, we camped at around 2km from Altopascio in a small woodland.
Day Two: Altopascio to San Miniato 29km
Today the countryside starts to open out and you can see the rolling hills of Tuscany in all their glory. You will find small towns are on route, including a pretty café in Galleno with a pilgrim menu. The route is mostly flat but there were some odd routing quirks which seemed to be in place to avoid main roads. The last stretch into San Miniato is a long steep hill and some steps, so save a little energy for this!
San Miniato is a stunning town and well worth taking the time to explore and enjoy the views from the top of town. Most restaurants will close from 15:00 to 18:00, but the Central Market (a deli shop and restaurant) is open all day. This is also an excellent place for breakfast before you leave San Miniato as opens early. We couldn’t find any super markets in San Miniato, so keep this in mind if you plan to cook.
On route: Shops bars and restaurants in Galleno, Ponte E Capianno and Fuecchio. There are one or two other water points on route.
Accommodation: San Miniato has a hostel for pilgrims, this is called L’hospitale del Pellegrino San Miniato. You can contact them on Facebook here, or here (+39 3934995126 – email@example.com). This hostel should be booked in advance and note that it does not tend to open until Easter for the summer period. There is also a hostel that can be booked on booking.com, this is called Ostello San Miniato, link here. Another option is the convent in San Miniato, Convento San Francesco, this is a small accommodation with only around 10 beds and we recommend booking in advance (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In addition, there are a number of private accommodation options which can be found on Booking.com.
Day Three: San Miniato to Gambassi Terme 24.5km
The walk from San Miniato to Gambassi Terme is stunning. After around one hour, you will enter a trail that winds through vineyards and open countryside.
There are a few things to look out for on route. The first is a Via Francigena book to sign, it’s hidden in the trunk of a tree. The book has been signed by anyone walking this route and it’s lovely to put your message in and see who has walked through in previous days. The second thing to look out for is a big “Road to Rome” sign. This offers a great photo opportunity.
When you arrive in Gambassi Terme it can also be difficult to find food. We were there on a Sunday and found only one café (the Gelato and crepe place) in the centre of town to be open at 18:30. A number of restaurants were listed as being open on Google but unfortunately were not open when we tried to eat.
On route: There is one water fountain on route at around 17km. Other than this, there is nothing on route. Make sure you pack food and drinks for the day. Food is particularly important as otherwise you’ll have to walk for 25km with nothing.
Accommodation: In Gambassi Terme we stayed at the Ostello Sigerico, which is a privately run hostel open all year. A former monastery which offers dorms or private rooms for 16 to 20 euros per person. You can contact them here (+39 3247968837, +39 0571639044 – email@example.com) or on Facebook. We arrived to Gambassi Terme in the rain and were delighted to have a warm and comfortable place to stay.
There are other private options in Gambassi Terme too which can be booked on booking.com.
Day Four: Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano 13.5km
This is a particularly short day of walking from Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano. If you are short of time, you may wish to stop for lunch in San Gimingano and continue walking. We decided to stick to a short day for two reasons. Firstly, we noticed that there were a number of vineyards on route from Gambassi Terme to San Giminganano and wanted time to try them. Secondly, San Gimignano is a beautiful town and we wanted to give ourselves time to see it.
Firstly, when leaving Gambassi Terme, look out for a wonderful bakery which also serves coffee (map details here.) You might smell it before you see it! The rest of the day is an undulating day of trails during which Tuscany really starts to come into its own.
If you are a wine lover, today is one of the best days on the walk from Lucca to Rome to enjoy popping into some wineries. There are a number on route. The first that you will come across is Casa Nuova winery, which makes delicous Chinati. This is approximately 45 minutes outside of Gambassi. After this, there are many wineries or Fattorias (farms selling food and drink) that you will see signposted off the Via Francigena, so you can take your pick!
There are two larger wineries closer to San Gimingnano, if you prefer to dip into these nearer to the finish line. These are Corbucci Wine Tasting and Azienda Agricola San Quirico. However, we highly recommend booking in advance as these do get booked up. We were unable to get a space to do any wine tasting at either of the wineries near to town. San Gimingnano is famous for it’s wine, so you don’t want to miss out!
On route: There are numerous wineries and hotels but no towns or water points otherwise.
Accommodation: San Gimignano is one of the most visited towns in Tuscany and therefore there are many private accommodation options available to book in advance. In the summer and peak season there is a monastery that opens as a hostel too. This is called Ospitale dei santi Agostino e Giacomo and can be contacted here (+39 3890271946 – firstname.lastname@example.org).
Facilities: 9/10 (for the wineries!)
Day Five: San Gimignano to Strove (or Monterrigioni) 25km (or 30km)
The walk from San Gimignano is mostly on trail. You will come across a fork in the route, where you can choose between two paths. One is a shorter route into the town of Colle de Val d’Elsa, but it has some steep climbs. The other route is longer, by around 4km, but is flatter. We chose the steeper climb to arrive to the beautiful town of Colle de Val d’ Elsa.
Leaving this town, you enter a stunning park with waterfalls and rivers. This is a great spot for a picnic, or indeed a quick swim if the weather is warm. Watch out for a few river crossings, we had to de-shoe for one of them (in March).
The Via Francigena app recommends continuing to Monteriggioni, a fabulous town on top of a hill. We chose to stop in Strove and continue to Monterrigioni in the morning. This was partly as we were camping and we could do this more easily in Strove. But, we were also reluctant to tackle the steep climb into Monterrigioni at the end of a 30km walk (see note below on accomodation too).
On route: There is a large coop supermarket in San Gimingano before you leave, in case you need to grab any food or water. The large town of Colle de Val d’Elsa with various restaurants and bars as well as two supermarkets. Strove itself has a fabulous church and some B&Bs, but not much else.
Accommodation: This is quite a difficult stretch for accommodation. Strove is a small village with only private accommodation, although some of it is reasonably priced. Monterrigioni is also small and particularly in the off season (not summer), much of the accommodation is not open. Therefore, it can be easy to find yourself unable to stay in Monterrigioni.
There is a pilgrim hostel just before Monterrigoni, Ostello Contessa Ava dei Lambardi, which can be booked on booking.com, but this is only open in peak summer months.
Day Six: Strove to Siena 20.5km (Monterrigioni to Siena 25.5km)
The first part of the trail from Strove to Monterrigioni was quite flat and easy to walk, especially early in the morning when it was lovely and shady from the sun. Watching the sun come here was very memorable. However, the last bit into Monterrigioni is a very steep hill. It was so steep that it almost felt like were were going to roll backwards.
After Monterrigoni, the path enters a trail and lots of lovely shady paths. This suddenly hit a road, which we had to walk on the side of. It felt a little dangerous at times as the road can be quite busy. Eventually you find yourself walking into the outskirts of Siena for around 5km. This stretch seemed to go on and on! But suddenly, we were greeted with beautiful Siena.
On route: Monterrigioni is the largest town on route between Strove and Siena. However, it is not actually that big. There are maybe five or six restaurants or cafes and three hotels. It’s a very seasonal place, so at some times in the year nothing is open. If you do decide to walk from Strove in the morning, then be aware that the earliest that anyone may open is 0930 or 1000. After Monterrigioni, there is a volunteer run picnic area. It is around 3km after Monterrigioni. There is a water tap and we are fairly sure it runs all year. There’s also an option to ask for coffee, but it’s from a lovely volunteer in a house and so he may not always be there. After this point, there are no refreshments until the outskirts of Siena.
Siena is, of course, a stunning city and a highlight of the walk from Lucca to Rome. We recommend taking a rest day to enjoy the city if you can. We didn’t have nearly enough time to take in the city. Also, note that the Duomo closes at 17:00, so if you want to get a stamp you will need to get there before closure.
Accommodation: We think for Siena that it’s better to book ahead and to expect to book private accommodation We stayed in Albergo Canon d’Oro which cost around 50 euros and was very central. For a basic double room, expect to pay around 50 euros.
Day Seven: Siena to Ponte d’arabia 27km
The first 10-15km out of Siena are a bit of a crash landing to be honest. After the beauty of Siena and the city, the first section of walking is frankly quite rubbish (literally.) We walked through a trash dump and other industrial areas. The most thrilling bit of this is the view back to Siena as you start the day, which of course is wonderful.
Eventually the day of walking does get better as you find a trail that winds through ridges. Views either side of the walk are amazing. But before this, you must contend with a few up and down hills that seem endless!
You will arrive to Ponte d’Arabia, which is a small village with two bars and a pizza restaurant (not open on Thursdays). Thankfully, the two bars always seem to be open and both take credit card (although there is an ATM in the village too.)
On route: Isola d’Arabia is the first village you will come across and it has a bar. There is also a small bar/ restaurant on the industrial estate. Both are nice spots to stop. After this, you’ll only find one water point in a rest area and no food.
Accommodation: We stayed at Centro Cresti, which was an absolute highlight. It is a donation based hostel with 6 rooms and two bathrooms. the hosts are wonderful and welcoming. The rooms are comfortable and there is a kitchen (and potentially the option of shared meal in the summer.) You can contact Centro Cresti here. We recommend calling them on the phone in advance and alerting them to your arrival time.
Day Eight: Ponte d’Arabia to San Quirico 27.5km
A good day of walking, particularly the first 20km with many trails and scenery to enjoy. We loved that this day went into a few towns offering the chance for coffee, lunch and a glass of wine on route. There were also some wineries on the trail, including Carpazo which offers a pilgrim deal and is very welcoming. The last 7km are on road with hills and it felt quite challenging, although the road was not busy when we walked.
On route: this is a good day for refreshments on route. In Ponte d’Arabia itself there are two places open early in the morning. We recommend the cafe A Modo where you can get sweet or savoury options and coffee from 0730. However, Buenconvento on route is a lovely little town with food options too. Further on from that, there is Torrenieri, with a few restaurants or sandwich shops. This is around 7km before you reach the final stop.
Accommodation: San Quirico is a lovely town with a few accommodation options. Il Palazzo del Pellegrino offers beds from 21 euros (contact details here email@example.com). Ostello Parrocchia Collegiata is a slightly cheaper hostel for walkers, but we found that it was fully booked when we enquired (contact here firstname.lastname@example.org).
There are also private options available. We chose to wild camp a few kms out of town alongside the Via Francigena.
Day Nine: San Quirico to Radicofani 32.5km
This was a very challenging day of walking. It was also our last day of walking in Tuscany! If you wanted to, you could also split this day into two and stay in Gallina, which is roughly half way.
Radicofani is a beautiful town, set very high at 800m altitude. Expect to climb gradually from 400m to 800m over the last 7 or 8 kms. The last 3km felt particularly punishing. However, the reward at the end is so worth it. We loved Radicofani and it has a wonderful mountain village feel and spectacular views over the countryside.
The early part of the trail takes in a small village Vignoni Alto and then a larger town Bagno Vignoni. The latter is particularly beautiful with a large thermal pool in the centre of town. Views and scenery today are stunning. A wild but difficult day on the trail with limited road walking. Many fords and river crossings, some of which could be tricky if there has been recent heavy rain.
On route: the early town of Bagno Vignoni offers an opportunity to get breakfast in a hotel by the thermal pool which opens early in themorning After this, the route comes close to a few towns but does not actually run into it. Meaning you either have to skip refreshments or walk further. We recommend stocking up with lunch in San Quirico (there’s a large coop supermarket) before leaving, unless you want to take detours. Around 7km before the end there is a small agroturismo place that offers snacks and drinks. Plenty of water spots and rest places on the route however, so you don’t need to worry about water.
Accommodation: we stayed at Ospitale Santi Pietro e Giacomo, a donation based hostel in town, which is run by volunteers all year round. In summer months they host a dinner and breakfast and take reservations. In winter, you must call when you arrive to notify of your arrival. You will find a phone number pinned to the door to call when you arrive. During March, when we walked, we were the only guests at the Ospitale.
There is a Municipal hostel too, Radic Hostel (contact on email@example.com) but we found it to be closed or changing management when we walked. Private accommodation is also available. In Radicofani be sure to try the Grotta restaurant (here) for the largest portion of pasta you’ve ever seen. We also loved Al Tocco Bar, which was super welcoming and served a fabulous glass of wine.
Day Ten: Radicofani to Acquapendente 23.5km
This was the first dayof walking in Lazio and leaving Tuscany behind. The walk today is a hugely welcome relief after the hill climbs of the previous day. From Radicofani the route is mostly downhill with a short climb into Acquadente. Some stunning scenery at the start of the trail. The last 7km is on road, we felt that it was a little unsafe to walk along, there were some paths but these were fairly overgrown.
On route: There were a few water fountains and rest areas. At around 10km we found a food truck with coffee and other drinks. But we aren’t clear if it is there all the time. We opted for lunch in Centeno at a fantastic local trattoria (Trattoria La Dogana). Lunch for two with wine was 40 Euros and well worth it.
Accommodation: There are pilgrim accommodation options in the town. However, we found them to be full when we tried to book. Instead we opted for an inexpensive and delightful private room in a B&B that we found on booking.com. It was called Allogio 76 and has a magnificent roof terrace. Details and booking here.
Day Eleven: Acquapendente to Bolsena 22.75km
A relatively easy day of walking from Acquapendente to Bolsena. The walk starts with some road walking before finding some trails. The town of San Lorenzo in the middle is a great place for lunch, after this point you can enjoy views of the magnificent Lake Bolsena as you leave town. An easy and winding trail takes you to Bolsena town. In the summer, you can head to the water and enjoy some drinks at one of the bars. If the weather is cooler, try one of the Pilgrim menus in town.
On route: on route today there is only one town and no water taps along the way. The town of San Lorenzo Nuovo is a small town with a few nice cafes. We found it to be very welcoming of pilgrims and reasonably priced.
Accommodation: we chose to stay at the convent of Santa Cristina (Suore de SS Bolsena) which is in the centre of town. It cost 15 euros per person for a bed. We recommend booking ahead. The nuns at the convent are extremely welcoming and our stay here was a highlight. You can contact in advance on this email address – firstname.lastname@example.org or via their website.
Day Twelve: Bolsena to Vitirbo 34km
This day can be walked as two legs of 16.5km from Bolsena to Montefiascone and 17.5km to Viterbo or, as we did, you can merge it into one day. The first half is relatively easy, with some small climbs and some fabulous views of the lake as you leave Bolsena. Exepct to walk through olive groves on beautuiful trails two. The second half of the day is mainly downhill through fields on tracks before winding into Vitirbo city.
On route: Montefiascone is a small town in the middle of the route. Beyond this, there is not much throughout the day on route. We saw one or two water fountains.
Accommodation: Vitirbo is a large city, the second largest in Lazio behind Rome therefore there is plenty of accommodation available. We opted for private accommodation as we had a long day of walking and expected to arrive late. The other more traditional options are Ospitale dei Pellegrini ( +393346960175 – email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) or Convento Cappuccini .
Day Thirteen: Vitirbo to Vetralla 16.5km (normally 22km)
Normally the walk from Vitirbo to Vetralla is around 22 km, however at time of walking for us (March 2023) the normal route was closed. Therefore we had to take an alternative and shorter route to get to Vetralla. We used google maps and navigated mainly along roads. This was less than ideal but mostly the roads were not too busy.
On route: we found one bar on route before arriving in Vetralla.
Accommodation: in Vetralla there are a few options. We chose to stay at the Monastero Regina Pacis with the Sisters of Benedictine. This was an interesting experience, which included dinner and breakfast as well as a private room for 30 euros each. As an unmarried couple, we found ourselves a little confused as to whether we would be permitted to share a room, but in the end it was OK. The monastery has a beautiful garden and we expect that staying here in the summer is a delightful experience. It is best to call or email in advance, contact details on the website here.
Day Fourteen: Vetralla to Sutri 24.5km
The total walk from Vetralla to Sutri is 24.5km but from the monastery to Sutri is closer to 22km. A pretty walk today through a forest path which later joins to a trail through olive and hazelnut tree orchards. Some interesting relics of historic buildings on route. A final trail runs to Sutri for around 5km, after entering the village of Capranica.
A note of warning, as we were enjoying the last 5km of the trail to Sutri, we stumbled upon what we believed to be a pack of wild boar. Luckily they ran away and we didn’t encounter them again, but we recommend having your wits about you when you walk this trail.
Sutri itself is a surprising town. We loved the trattoria in town which offered a 17 euro pilgrim menu (here). Plus, the cafe offering one of the best Pistachio croissants on our trip (here.)
On route: the village of Capranica has a few nice cafes to enjoy on route and a picnic area near to the trail. One or two water fountains along the way.
Accommodation: In Sutri there are a few options for Pilgrims for accommodation. We contacted a few and were quoted higher prices than booking private accommodation. We chose a quaint house on booking.com called the Fairy Tale House and we were delighted with it. There is also a monastery in Sutri (Monastero Carmelitane) but upon contacting them we were told that they would not be welcoming pilgrims that night. We’ve heard of others having similar experience, it’s possible that they only allow overnight stays occasionally.
Day Fifteen: Sutri to Campangnano A Roma 24km
Just when we thought the walk might start to get a little boring as we approached Rome, the walk from Sutri to Campagnano really surprised us. Although the day started with a few stretches on road, eventually we reached trails that led through fields and farm land which were more picturesque. Around 10km in, we reached the small town of Monterosi. Here you can grab a bite to eat at one of the many cafes before rejoining trails after the motorway.
Eventually the trails reach the park with the stunning waterfalls, aptly named Monte Gelato Falls. A great spot for a picnic or a break. The town of Campagnano seemed a little shabby when we first entered up a very steep hill. But the more we saw of it, we realised it was a buzzy, if not quaint, town with plenty of bars and restaurants.
On route: Monterosi town is around 10km from Sutri. Otherwise, there is not much on route apart from a few places near to the waterfalls.
Accommodation: we stayed at the incredible Ostello Campagnano a Roma, we can’t recommend this place enough. A cross between a Camino de Santiago style albergue and a Scottish bothy, but with all the home comforts you need. Bunk beds are 25 euros and the B&B is 70 euros for two people. Contact via the website or call the wonderfully accomodating host in advance.
Day Sixteen: Campagnano a Roma to La Storta a Roma 20km
The traditional Via Francigena route from Campagnano to La Storta is currently closed. The app indicates that it has been closed since May 2022 due to some cases of swine flu found in the area in wild boar. Due to this, the app recommends an alternative route.
We walked this alternative route which is actually sign posted for the Via Francigena for the first 10km or so. After this, we followed google maps directions. We found that the route was okay for the first half, quiet roads and country lanes. However, the last 8km or so travels under a motorway and then you end up being forced to walk down the Via Cassia which is a very busy 60km road with no pavement for much of it.
Due to the road, we would recommend getting a bus from the start of the Via Cassia for around 2km until you see that a pavement appears alongside the road. We couldn’t decide what to do, in the end J (being a bit of a hardcore pilgrim purist) decided to walk along the road, whilst E (being a bit of a scaredy-cat) took the bus for a short while. Once you arrive near to La Storta you can walk along the pavement.
On route: there is one small town, Fornello. This has a handful of cafes and a supermarket as well as a water fountain (near the carrefour.)
Accommodation: it is very difficult to find accommodation for pilgrims in La Storta. There is a scout camp (if you have a tent) called Base Scout La Valleta. Otherwise, we recommend searching on booking.com. There are no hostels. We chose I Casali del Pino. A beautiful Agroturismo hotel which we booked for around €100 including breakfast.
Day Seventeen: La Storta A Roma to Rome 19.5 km
The final day into Rome! We woke up very excited to get going. Although having stayed at such a lovely hotel with a breakfast buffet, we did take our time in the morning.
Walking from La Storta you start with a stretch alongside the busy road the Via Cassia. Mostly this is on pavement but there are a few bits on the road and a couple of dicey crossings. It seems a shame to us that this isn’t better thought through for walkers. But after this road, the day got better. Firstly we entered a national forest, the Insugherata Park, where we enjoyed trails for around 7km. We popped out suddenly to a hill so steep that my socks fell down. Unexpected.
We then found ourselves on the outskirts of Rome, in what seemed to be a flash. Then we wound our way into the Monte Mario park which started to climb slowly to reveal incredible views over Rome city. Finally, we descended steeply on a switch back pavement before taking a long boulevard straight into Vatican City.
Make sure you stop to take in the scenery from Monte Mario park at one of the viewing spots.
On route: once you reach the outskirts of Rome you start to find cafes and places to grab refreshments. Rome itself has plentiful water fountains to help yourself to.
Accommodation: in Rome, accommodation is plentiful but it can be expensive. (Talk about the options)
What is it like arriving in Rome from the Via Francigena?
Arriving in Rome by foot having walked the Via Francigena is a unique experience. The Via Francigena winds into Rome through a city park high up on the hill. From here you can get a magnificent preview of the Eternal City. We took a moment in the park to look out at the view and enjoy the thrill of arriving slowly into Rome. Once in Rome, you will arrive into Saint Peter’s Square and be greeted by the familiar sights of Vatican City. It can feel like a bit of a culture shock, to suddenly arrive amongst so many tourists after many days of quiet walking and contemplation. But. it truly is a special experience.
We’ve written in more detail here about what to expect when you arrive in Rome and what to do at the end of your pilgramage (published soon).
How to navigate on the Via Francigena?
In our experience of walking from Lucca to Rome, the Via Francigena is well sign posted. Simply look out for the signs, like the picture below, along the way.
However, we also valued having access to the Via Fracigena app – you can download that in the app store, or find a link to the official Via Francigena website here. If we are completely honest, we didn’t find that the Via Francigena app was nearly as intuitive as the Buen Camino app that we used to navigate when we walked the Camino de Santiago. But, we know that the Via Francigena app is still new and we hope it will improve in coming years. That said, with the app and the sign posts, you certainly won’t need a map and a compass to find your way!
We met a few people who were walking the Via Francigena from Rome and heading North. From Siena to Lucca, there are plenty of signs for “Via Francigena North” but from Rome to Siena it is not well sign posted and we heard that a few people had got lost on route. Therefore if you choose to walk the Via Francigena North from Rome, you may need to take extra care when navigating.
Where to get your credential for the Via Francigena?
If you’re starting in Lucca, there are a few options. Either you can order your credential online for delivery. If you’re less organised (like us) then head to either the Tourist Centre in Lucca or the Cathedral. We got ours from the Tourist Centre for 5 Euros. We later went to the Cathedral to get a stamp on our credential and discovered that we could enter for free. Lucca is a stunning Cathedral and worth visiting.
If you are starting in Siena there are six different points at which you can collect a credential – details can be found here.
Stamps are readily available at hostels and other private accommodation facilities that regularly accept walkers. You may also find stamps for your credential at churches and cathedrals, such as the Duomo in Siena and the Cathedral in Rome.
How to get your certificate for the Via Francigena in Rome?
If you’ve walked the Camino de Santiago, you may be familiar with the Compostela. This is the certificate you are issued by the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago when you complete the pilgrimage to Santiago. On the Via Francigena, the “testimonium” is a similar certificate issued to pilgrims who have walked at least the last 100km of the Via Francigena.
You can collect the testimonium in Rome. We had read that it is possible to collect the testimonium at The Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome. Unfortunately, in our experience this is easier said than done. We arrived into Rome on palm Sunday and of course the queues to get into the Basilica were extremely long. We reported back the following day but the queues were even longer. Given that we had only 24 hours in Rome, we decided that we did not have the time to queue to get our testimonium.
The Via Francigena official website provides contact details for the office in the Basilica, you can find them here. We would recommend contacting the office in advance if you plan to collect your testimonium and do not have time to queue. We are going to attempt to email a copy of our credential to the office and obtain the testimonium in the post – watch this space!
John and Emma’s hiking gear. These are items we love to use when we go hiking, find them here on Amazon.
Osprey 40L, Multi, O/S
HOKA ONE ONE Mens Speedgoat 4 Textile Synthetic Trainers
HOKA ONE ONE Women’s Clifton 8
CWVLC Unisex Cushioned Compression Athletic Ankle Socks Multipack
Compeed Callouses 6 Medium Plasters
Montem Ultra Strong Trekking, Walking, and Hiking Poles – One Pair (2 Poles)
Would you like to read more about hiking the Via Francigena?
Most of our planning is done using other blogs, but you can’t beat a guide book at the bottom of your case.
Find them here on Amazon.