What to eat on the Via Francigena?

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In Tuscany and Lazio

If you’re planning to walk the full Via Francigena, or part of it from Lucca or Siena to Rome, you may be excitedly wondering about the food on route. From restaurants, to food shopping and sampling local specialities – here’s our guide to what to eat on the Via Francigena in Tuscany and Lazio.

  1. Are there restaurants on the Via Francigena in Tuscany in Lazio?
  2. Are there supermarkets on the Via Francigena in Tuscany and Lazio?
  3. What to eat and drink on the Via Francigena in Tuscany?
    1. Specialities in Tuscany
    2. Specialities in Lazio
  4. How to eat and drink on a budget on the Via Francigena in Tuscany?
    1. Budget tips for food and drink on the Via Francigena

Are there restaurants on the Via Francigena in Tuscany in Lazio?

Of course! The Via Francigena goes through a number of wonderful towns, where you can easily find a range of restaurants.

There are three different types of of “restaurants” that you are likely to encounter on the Via Francigena in Italy:

  1. Trattoria – the most laidback of the restaurants, with low-key and authentic food and wine
  2. Osteria – slightly more formal style of restaurant, but less fancy than a “ristorante”
  3. Ristorante – a more formal setting, likely to be an expensive restaurant with high-end food.

In addition, you’ll see a number of cafes and bars in towns and villages on the Via Francigena route. These tend to be the best places to get a coffee and croissant in the morning, a sandwich at lunch and a drink at night. We found that “bar” and “espresso bar” were terms used interchangeably, a so called espresso bar is still a great place for a low key glass of wine at the end of the walk.

Finally, you will see a number of bakeries on route. These are perfect for buying a pastry in the morning and loading up on bread for the day ahead!

You can find a guide to our favourite restaurants on the Via Francigena in Tuscany and Lazio here.

Check out our guide to walking the daily stages from Lucca to Rome for details on amenities each day. There are some days when food is hard to come by and you’ll need to plan ahead.

Are there supermarkets on the Via Francigena in Tuscany and Lazio?

There are supermarkets in many of the towns that you will walk through on the Via Francigena in Tuscany and Lazio. In a few larger towns, such as San Gimingnano and San Quirico, we found large Coop supermarkets. The supermarket chain Conad, was also readily available in Siena and a number of the larger towns.

We noticed that some of the smaller towns and hamlets did not have supermarkets. But, they did tend to have delicatessen or convenience stores, where you could buy some food. Also, some cafes and bars would sell basic food, such as pasta that you can buy to take away and cook.

We would advise that you plan ahead where possible, there are some days when walking the Via Francigena in Tuscany and Lazio when you will need to buy food at the start of the day, as there are no facilities for refreshment on route.

What to eat and drink on the Via Francigena in Tuscany?

Eating and drinking is always a huge part of our hiking and slow travel adventures. And, one of the reasons that we chose to walk the Lucca to Rome section of the Via Francigena was for the food.

A typical day of eating for us on the Via Francigena involved a cornetto (croissant) and cappuccino to start the day. I ate so many cornetto con pistacchio on the Via Francigena, that I could write an entire article dedicated to just that. Suffice to say, for anyone with a sweet tooth, they are delicious and a splendid start to any walking day. It’s very easy to find a croissant and coffee in the morning on the Via Francigena too.

We tended to buy bread, cheese, meat and tomatoes from the supermarket for lunch. Then we would snack on fruit throughout the day. But, with the occasional chocolate bar too. We noticed that there’s a bit of an Italian obsession with the chocolate bar Kinder Bueno, which you can buy in multi-packs in the supermarket. A lightweight and excellent snack to pack for hiking!

In the evenings, we would tuck into the fabulous food in a local trattoria. Some our favourites on the route are listed here.

Below are some of the specialities of Tuscany and Lazio that you can try as you walk through these wonderful culinary regions.

Specialities in Tuscany

Taggiatelle al tartufo

This dish is a sumptuous combination of pasta and truffle, with a little black pepper thrown in. You can find it in towns such as San Gimignano on the Via Francigena.

Pici all’Aglione

Pici are a type of pasta native to Tuscany. They originated in Siena, where the tradition was to hand roll Pici, but they can be found throughout Tuscany on the Via Francigena. Pici are similar to bucatini in width, but are around 30 cm long. Normally, Pici are served “all-aglione”, with garlic and tomato. Delicious!

Tuscan Ragu sauce

Pappa al Pomodoro

“Pappa” means baby food in Italian, and Pomodoro are tomatoes. This dish, Pappa al Pomodoro is a tomato based bread soup, with basil and garlic. It can be found throughout Tuscany and is a great comfort food.

Tuscan Cured Meats

There are lots of varieties of cured meat to be found throughout Tuscany. Look out for prosciutto, salami and ham. A fantastic sandwich filling for hungry pilgrims on the Via Francigena.

In addition, I’m sure it will not have escaped your attention that Tuscany is famous for wine. You can find out more about visiting vineyards and wineries when walking the Via Francigena in Tuscany here on our guide to walking from Lucca to Rome.

Specialities in Lazio

Porchetta d’Ariccia

Porchetta is an Italian roast pork which is crispy, moist and delicious. It is originally from Ariccia in Lazio, hence you will see Porchetta served frequently throughout this region. Most often, this is served in a hearty sandwich – perfect for a hiking lunch or post-hike snack.


Cinghiale translates as “Wild Boar.” You’re likely to find wild boar in two different ways on the Via Francigena. The first, is in the wild. Many hikers encounter Wild Boar on the Via Francigena, which can be a scary experience. The second and less scary, is served to you on a plate in a restaurant! Wild Boar dishes can be found on many restaurant menus in Lazio, usually served as some kind of stew as a Secondi.

The four classic pasta dishes of Rome

Rome, has four particularly famous pasta dishes. These are – Pasta al Gricia (pecorino and pork), Cacio e Pepe (black pepper and pecorino), Spaghetti alla Carbonara (pork, pecorino, eggs and black pepper) and Buccatini alla Amatriciana (percorino, pork and tomatoes). You probably can’t go far wrong if you try any of these in Rome, or the Lazio region. Perfectly enjoyable with a glass of wine at the end of a day on the trails!

How to eat and drink on a budget on the Via Francigena in Tuscany?

Here’s our overview of how much you can expect food and drink to cost on the Via Francigena in Tuscany and Lazio. This is based on average prices along the route and does not include high-end or expensive restaurants.

Coffee1 to 1.20
Croissant (Cornetto)1.20 to 2 Euros
Sandwich in café4 to 6 euros
Baguette in supermarket75 cents
Glass of wine5 Euros
Bottle of wine20 Euros
1 litre of house wine in a restaurant10 Euros
Large beer4 to 5 Euros
Primi Course (Pasta)9 to 15 Euros
Secondi Course (Meat)12 to 25 Euros
Side Salad3 to 5 Euros
Dessert5 Euros

Budget tips for food and drink on the Via Francigena

It is possible to stick to a small budget on the Via Francigena if you want to. Here are some of our best tips for budget hiking on the Via Francigena.

  1. Make your own breakfast and lunch where possible, or buy from supermarkets rather than cafes. In our experience, bakeries in Tuscany are also very reasonable, but supermarket bakeries tend to be even cheaper. A sandwich in a café however, could cost you a lot more than it would be make your own.
  2. If you can find hostels with kitchens, you may be able to cook dinner. This would be a big cost saving. On average, one “primi” (a first course of pasta) tends to cost between 9 and 15 Euros in Tuscany. However, you could cook a basic pasta dish in your hostel for much less than this!
  3. Look out for pilgrim offers at restaurants. We didn’t find many of these, but noticed the occasional offer, such as two courses for 17 Euros.
  4. Buy snacks from the supermarket. Fruit or chocolate bars can be great on the go. If you don’t carry snacks, you may be tempted to go for more expensive snacks at cafes on the way!
  5. Use the water fountains provided along the route and a reusable water bottle, rather than buying water. We found that water points were very regularly on the Via Francigena, but we occasionally had to fill up at cafes along the way too.
  6. If you drink alcohol, try local wines. You can buy inexpensive wine at supermarkets. Often restaurants will offer a house wine in a quarter, half or one litre size. Usually this is much cheaper than buying by the glass or the bottle.

We’ve written a full guide to the cost of walking the Via Francigena here.



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One response to “What to eat on the Via Francigena?”

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