- Explore Etruscan villages and historical sites
- Indulge in locally produced cheese, olive oil and famous wine
- Stroll through olive and hazelnut groves and watch farmers harvesting their crops*
- Wander the ancient streets of Viterbo, once a favourite residence of medieval popes
- Discover the stone Roman amphitheatre and tombs carved into volcanic rock in Sutri
- Take a walk through history as you traverse the Via Appia Antica into Rome
Since the 4th century, Christians, clergymen, plebians, emperors and sovereigns have undertaken epic, life-changing adventures on foot to Rome, the Holy Land and Santiago de Compostela. Those seeking out the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul were destined for the ‘Eternal City’ of Rome. The Via Francigena connected Canterbury Cathedral in England to the Vatican and St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, Italy, via a 1900km pilgrimage route.
Traditionally the journey was taken as an act of devotion and pilgrims would stop along the way at places deemed holy by the church. Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, documented his return journey from Rome (AD990) and it is this route that has had the most significant influence on successive pilgrimages.
This itinerary travels the last 100km from Montefiascone to the eternal city of Rome and is a journey that is spiritual, cultural and historical. Beautiful trails through hazelnut groves, farms and forests lead you to ancient churches, monasteries and medieval villages. Savour home made culinary delights along the way, always bursting with flavour and freshness.
So grab your hiking boots and large appetite and become a ‘pellegrino’ on the Via Francigena – the Italian Camino, following in the footsteps of Sigeric.
Trip grade: Moderate to Challenging
Extend Your Holiday – City Breaks
Double your holiday experience by including a stopover on your journey! A city break is a great way to explore another place, indulge in some extra shopping, dining or sightseeing and is a great way to break up a long flight. Our fabulous array of RAW Travel city breaks can be tailor made to your requirements and usually include an arrival transfer, 2 nights accommodation and a city sightseeing tour.
Are you a first-time or solo traveller?
We’ll support you all the way! View our preparation and training resources.
Day 1: Arrive Montefiascone
Your journey begins in the papel town of Montefiascone. Located on top of a hill overlooking Lake Bolsena, the largest volcanic lake in Europe, this town is also surrounded by vineyards that produce the EST! EST!! EST!!! wine the region is famous for. There are many sites worth visiting such as the Fortress of the Popes and the Santa Margherita Cathedral, both of which dominate the town’s landscape. Dinner is on your own tonight and there are many restaurants to choose from.
Day 2: Montefiascone to Viterbo (18km, 7 hours)
- 607m ascent, 374m descent
This morning after breakfast, you make your way from Montefiascone and along a plain that segregates Lake Bolsena from the Cimini Mountains. You may chose to spend some time soaking up the hot spring waters at Bagnaccio thermal pools as the Romans once did, before continuing on to Viterbo, a well-preserved historic town founded by the Etruscans. Take some time to amble through the narrow cobblestone streets of the medieval quarter to the well photographed Piazza Pellegrino then on to Piazza San Lorenzo where you will find the gothic cathedral and Palazzo dei Papi – the location for papal elections in the 12th-century. Viterbo is the ideal setting for medieval movies and film crews are a frequent sight here. This evening find a cosy restaurant to enjoy some pizza and local wine – your host will know a good one!
Day 3: Viterbo to Vetralla (17km, 6 hours)
- 326m ascent, 387m descent
You depart Viterbo via Piazza San Lorenzo and the city walls. To make your way to the outskirts of town, you will follow a section of road built by the Etruscans known as “hollow roads”. This road is recognisable as it is carved into the surrounding rock/hill creating a natural, walled road. The Etruscans used these roads to transport produce from the farms into the city.
The trail merges from paved country lanes to dirt roads, through olive groves and agricultural fields. You will pass through an area called “Masse dio San Sisto”, an area well known for its thermal springs. It was here that aristocrats built their villas to benefit from the healing properties of the mineral waters underground. Arriving at your accommodation you have time to relax in the lovely gardens before dinner.
Meals: B, D
Day 4: Vetralla to Sutri via Capricana (24-27m, 8 hours)
- 424m ascent, 435m descent
A long hike is ahead of you today but the route is interesting and scenic. After walking through the outskirts of town, you will spend much of your time on tranquil stretches of forest and country trails that pass through meadows and hazelnut groves. Etruscan ruins are dotted throughout the landscape. Enroute you will come across the delightful village of Capricana. You will enter through the main gateway and amble along a cobblestone street, past churches, a bell tower and locals going about their business in the alleyways off the main street. There is a short, steep descent down the village stone walls and you continue to travel on a a beautiful forest trail beside a creek until the trail meanders out of the forest and arrives at the pretty town of Sutri. Holding a strategic location in the region, Surtri was occupied by both the Etruscans and the Romans. Highlights include the Roman Amphitheatre, thought to have been carved from volcanic ‘tuff’ rock in the 1st-century, and the nearby Etruscan Necropolis that has tombs cut into the rock.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 5: Sutri to Campagnano di Roma (24.5km, 7 hours)
- 359m ascent, 375m descent
More hazelnut and olive groves await you today as you travel along the Via Francigena towards Campagnano di Roma. You initially encounter vast farmland and cornfields with the occasional flock of grazing sheep overseen by a shepherd or loyal dog. The trail takes you to the quaint town of Monterosi which is a good place to stop for lunch.
Leaving the town behind, the road leads you to a forested regional park where you will come across the Monte Gelato waterfalls and a 19th-century watermill and villa. This is a good place to stop for a rest and a swim in warm weather.
Your walking day ends as the town of Campagnano looms up ahead of you. A short, steep ascent leads you to the hilltop town and your accommodation for the night. Reward yourself with a home made pasta dish and glass of wine.
It is possible to shorten todays walk to 15km (5 hours) with a transfer.
Overnight: Campagnano di Roma
Meals: B, L
Day 6: Campagnano to Isola Farnese (20km, 6 hours)
- 451m ascent, 636m descent
There are steep hills to navigate on your way out of Campagnano today. The Sanctuary of the Madonna del Sorba occupies one of the hill-tops overlooking the Sorba valley that you will pass on your way and makes for a good photo stop. The trail does flatten out in sections but it is predominantly hilly and undulating. The route takes you through quiet country roads, typical Roman countryside and the ‘Parco Naturale di Veio’ to the charming village of Formello. A highlight of the day is the Etruscan ruins of Veii, once one of the most important and richest Etruscan cities outside of Rome. Many archaeological excavations in this area have unearthed tombs, aqua tunnels, graves, pottery and weaponry.
Overnight: Isola Farnese
Day 7: Transfer from Isola Farnese to the Via Appia Antica – hike into Rome (14km, 4 hours)
Today you will be transferred to the Via Appia Antica (Appian Way) to enjoy a beautiful walk on the historic cobblestone road leading to Rome. Despite the Via Francigena route into Rome travelling through two parks, it is mainly along busy and noisy roads in the outer suburbs of Rome and thus we believe that the Via Appia Antica option is a much more pleasant experience for our guests.
The Via Appia Antica (312 B.C.) was the vision of Appius Claudius Caecus, a Roman politician, and extended over 600km from Rome to the port town of Brindisi. The ancient highway helped trade thrive and also served as an important way for the Roman army to move supplies within the empire. The Via Appia Antica is also where Spartacus and 6,000 rebel slaves met their demise when they were crucified here in 71 B.C.
Today the cobblestone road is smooth, having been worn down over the centuries by merchants, pilgrims, emperors and great Roman armies. Take your time as you stroll this ancient road, shaded by pines and surrounded by remnants of a different time. Impressive, ornamental gates give suggestion to the grand villas hidden behind them and are a reminder that the Via Appia Antica predominantly ran through the wealthy suburbs of Rome. The section that you will walk along today is through the Parco dell’Appia Antica, a park that protects and conserves the ruins and monuments within.
There are many sites that you can explore (some entry fees may apply), and highlights include the 300km of underground catacombs where early Christians buried their dead, ruins of villas, aqueducts, a circus maximus where chariot races were held, and a Roman bath complex.
Upon reaching the tourist information office, you can chose to take a bus or taxi into the city and your hotel for the night, a restored monastery.
Day 8: Departure day
Your tour ends today but we highly recommend spending some time in the Eternal City to visit iconic sites like the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Pantheon. A testimonium can be obtained from the Vatican and it is a wonderful place to end your pilgrimage.
Recommended additional nights: Rome
Self-guided trips offer flexibility, independence and choice. Set your own agenda while someone else worries about the logistics. Our self-guided walking holidays are fully flexible which means you can normally start your walk on any day during the season and customise by adding extra days for resting or sightseeing. As you’re walking independently, you’re free to follow the trail at your own pace. You set your own speed as you are not limited by the constraints of group travel.
Note that if booking for a trip that leaves in 30 days or less, please be aware we cannot guarantee that your departure will be possible unless we have confirmed this via email first.
- 7 nights accommodation in 3-star hotels, family run B&Bs or agriturismo (farm stays)
- Breakfast daily, 2 picnic lunches, 2 dinners
- Luggage transfers on trekking days
- Pilgrims passport
- Destination and trek training guide
- GPS Map app and comprehensive walk notes and maps
- Luggage tag and buff
- 24-hour emergency support in Italy and Australia
- Italian phrasebook
- Transfer to Via Appia Antica Day 7
- Lunch and dinner not outlined in the itinerary
- City tax (to be paid locally)
- Travel Insurance
- Single supplement $530
- Train tickets
Map & Guide
Reviews coming soon!
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