FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Consult the FAQ to find the answers to pilgrims’ most frequently asked questions

Viability and accessibility on the road
Can I break down the route into multiple legs?

Yes, you can travel the route in one or more legs, even at different times, based on the number of days you have available, physical preparation and weather conditions. We suggest selecting your starting and ending destinations carefully, choosing from among the legs best served by public transport. The same credentials can be used and filled out at different times, and if you travel the last 100 km on foot or 200 km by bike, when arriving in Rome you’ll have acess to the “Testimonium,” the document that certifies your pilgrimage to Rome for religious reasons.

Where is it best to start?

We suggest choosing a starting point that’s served by public transport. On this website, on the pages dedicated to each leg, you can find information about how to reach the starting point: just click on “More information” in the box above to find info about the starting and ending points, the route’s viability and the length.

That being said, before leaving it’s best to study the legs and select which one you want to travel based in part on the level of difficulty and your personal interests. For example, the northernmost part of the Francigena in Tuscany crosses through the Lunigiana and other mountain areas, while the rest of the road alternates between high plans and hills.

Is there good signage along the route?

Along the via Francigena, you can find directions with different symbols and logos, but the official route has its own signage, shown on the page Find Your Bearings. The signage constantly undergoes maintenance so pilgrims can continue to travel the route in total safety.

Furthermore, you need to keep in mind that the signage along the Tuscan stretch of the via Francigena was designed for those walking the route north to south, towards Rome, so all the directions are oriented in that direction.

We suggest bringing your smartphone/tablet with you so you can download the KML maps available here or purchase the official guide that details the entire itinerary clearly and precisely.

Is there a luggage transport service?

At the moment, the via Francigena doesn’t have a luggage transport service, and it would be difficult to manage in any case. Not every hotel are manned all day and the carrier wouldn’t know where or with whom to leave the luggage, nor where to pick it up for transport it to the next stop.

For suggestions about what to bring in your backpack for your pilgrimage on the via Francigena, we recommend taking a look at this page.

In some cases, luggage transport is available with tour operators that include the service in their packages (more information available at viefrancigene.org.

Can I travel the via Francigena with children?

We recommend studying the route and choosing legs that run through the countryside, or trails that are easy to walk or bike. The via Francigena is quite difficult in some parts and you might need to cross heavily trafficked roads; in other areas, you’ll need to walk on the side of roads, even if these are usually minor roads. These stretches aren’t recommended for children because they can be risky, especially if you’re in a large group.

Can people with disabilities travel the via Francigena?

The route is difficult and only a few stretches are equipped. Some of the lodgings might also not be accessible for persons with disabilities.

Can I travel the via Francigena with dogs?

The route, immersed mostly in nature, would be perfect for traveling with our trusty sidekicks, but you might find that lodgings don’t allow animals. We recommend contacting them beforehand to ask about their animal policy.

Can I travel the via Francigena on horseback?

It’s very difficult to travel the route on horseback, especially because of a lack of equipped structures. You would need to plan your trip in advance in order to ensure that the animal is well taken care of along the way. You can contact tourism operators to learn more about available services.

Searching for travel companions
How can I look for travel companions to share the experience with?

There are several pilgrims’ communities to get in contact with about sharing your experience on the Francigena. Here are some links (in Italian): 

Forum:

Gruppi Facebook:

Alternatively, on the offical website, viefrancigene.org, and on the Associazione Toscana della Via Francigena. Here are the links:

The via Francigena by bike
Can I travel the via Francigena by bike?

The via Francigena can mostly be travelled by mountain bikes without bags. On this website, on the pages dedicated to each leg, you can find the cycling percentage for each section – just click on “More information” in the box aboveto find info about the starting and ending points, the route’s viability and the length.

Traveling by mountain bike loaded with bags isn’t recommended for several reasons: in some parts, you’ll have to push the bike up steep hills that might be bumpy or muddy; there are also some parts that you’ll need to wade through and this would be difficult with a bike; some trails are too narrow or bumpy and you’ll need to carry your bike; some stretches overlap with sidewalks, where priority needs to be given to pedestrians; in some of the urban areas, you’ll run into stairs.

There’s an alternative route that deviates a little bit from the pedestrian route, designed specifically for cyclists. The bike path allows you to ride safely while steering clear of obstacles and intense slopes. You can find the legs, maps and downloadable GPS stretches of the entire itinerary on www.viafrancigena.bike/en/.

In addition to the official signage talked about in the Find Your Bearings section, the CicloVia Francigena is marked from Cole del Gran San Bernardo to Rome, with decals and white and blue arrows with the words "CicloVia Francigena" and/or the symbol of a pilgrim surrounded by a bicycle wheel. The signage is light and practical but easily removable or damageable. Unfortunately, in some situations there isn’t enough signage and it could be difficult to orient yourself. We suggest downloading the maps, but the best solution would be using GPS.

What type of bike should I use?

The best bike is a hybrid or a light MTB, without shock absorbers, with wheels that are strictly thick, though without tread, or at most, tires with lateral tread and a smooth centre. It needs to be able to withstand both long stretches on asphalt, when the tread slows down and makes noise, and in bumpy roads, when the thick wheels (1.9 or more) better absorb the movement and guarantee a good grip.

Can I bring my bike on the train?

For transporting bikes on regional trains, consult the Trenitalia website.

Weather conditions along the route
What are the best seasons for travelling the via Francigena?

The best periods for organizing a trip are May/June and September. The months of March and April are often quite rainy and in March you could still run into some snow in the mountains, like near Passo della Cisa and close to Monte Amiata. August can be really hot and is also high tourist season, so it could be difficult to find lodging.

Can I travel the via Francigena in the winter?

It’s not recommended to travel the route in the winter because of the weather, the practicality of the itinerary and the availability of services along the way. You would need to carefully plan your trip, doing research about the viability of the route and whether some lodgings are open. It’s also a good idea to make sure there is heating in your accommodations: most of the refuges aren’t heated. We suggest contacting these places in advance to ask for more information.

Public transport
Can I use public transport during my walk?

In almost all the destinations, there’s a train station or bus stops. On this website, in the details about every leg, you can find information about how to reach your starting point – just click on “More information” in the box aboveto find info about the starting and ending points, the route’s viability and the length.

For more information, we suggest reading the websites of companies that offer train and road transport to learn about their routes and hours.

Train transport:

Road transport:

Eating and sleeping
Where can I find the list of lodgings?

In the Hospitality section of our website, you can find the list of all the accommodations available on the Tuscan stretch of the via Francigena. They can also be viewed on an interactive map, which you can get to by clicking on “See a map of all the legs” on the home page of this website.

How much do the accommodations cost?

In the section dedicated to Hospitality, you can find details about each facility. The average price per night for a hostel is around 15 euro, but there are places (especially religious ones) that welcome pilgrims in exchange for a simple donation.

Do I need to reserve a bed?

We recommend booking a bed/room, but it’s not necessary for “pilgrims”. However, it’s a good idea to contact them the day before, specifying the time you’ll arrive, because the employees don’t often live near the facility and if you don’t notify them ahead of time, you’ll risk finding it closed.

Are the lodgings open to everyone?

That depends. Some facilities are reserved for pilgrims carrying credentials

Can I camp along the route?

In Tuscany, just like in the rest of Italy, you can camp only in the designated areas; free camping is generally banned along the entire via Francigena.

Where can large groups (ex. Scouts) sleep?

For large groups, like Scouts, we recommend contacting the parishes to ask to be hosted.

Are there kitchens available for pilgrims to use in the accommodation facilities?

To check the availability of a kitchen where you’re staying, we suggest looking at the list of facilities in the Hospitality section and contacting the places individually.

Is there a menu for pilgrims?

A growing number of facilities have a specific menu for pilgrims at reasonable prices (around 12-15 euro for a first course, second course and drinks). It’s a good idea to ask for information as soon as you arrive.

Are there places for refreshments along the route?

You can find refreshments in the towns along the route.

How much do pilgrims spend on average to travel the via Francigena?

If they stay in pilgrims’ lodgings, they spend about 15 euro per night. In touristy places, the average is about 20-25 euro for a double room. Dinner can cost around 15-20 euro, a light lunch around 10 euro and an Italian-style breakfast about 3 euro.

Which route do I need to take to receive the Testimonium?

You can request the “Testimonium” when you arrive in Rome if you’ve consecutively travelled the last 100 km on foot or 200 km on bike. To prove this, you will be asked to show your Pilgrim’s Credentials with the stamps collected during the trip. 

When you get to Rome, you can get a “Testimonium” at the following offices:

  • Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi in piazza San Pietro (piazza Pio XII, 9)
    Opening hours: every day from 9am to 5pm
    Info: Ufficio San Pietro, Tel. +39 06 698961
  • Uffici della Canonica di San Pietro, Petriano entrance, in piazza S. Uffizio
    Opening hours: every day except Wednesday and Sunday from 8.30am to 12.30pm
    Info: +39 06 69883731.
  • Ad Limina Petri Pilgrims’ Reception service at the Centro San Lorenzo in via via Pfeiffer, 24
    Opening hours: during the summer, Monday to Friday from 11am to 5pm
    Info: centrosanlorenzo@laity.va, tel. +39 06 69885332
For the Testimonium, do I have to stop at regular intervals or pre-established spots?

To get your “Testimonium,” you need to have consecutively travelled the last 100 km on foot or 200 km on bike. The legs can be travelled according to your own rhythm and you can choose stopping points along the Francigena that aren’t in line with the ones marked on the itinerary.