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The Via Francigena to Rome

by Sil
(South Africa)

The Via Francigena from Lausanne to Rome

The Via Francigena from Lausanne to Rome

The reanimation of the ancient pilgrimage route between Canterbury and Rome began in the 1990’s after the discovery of a diary written by Archbishop Sigeric who travelled to Rome (ca 990AD) to collect his stole of office – the Pallium – from the Pope. The document, written in Latin, is now in the British Museum.

The 1800km route starts at Canterbury, passes through France, Switzerland and Italy and ends at the Vatican. We (5 friends) started our pilgrimage to Rome on Lake Geneva, crossed the Alps at the Gr St Bernard Pass and walked through the Aosta Valley, Emilia Romagna, Piedmont, Tuscany and Lazio to Rome. Unlike the camino de Santiago, there are few pilgrim refuges along the way and very little way marking.

The average age of the VF five was 55 years. We walked for an average of 25km per day - 27 days and one day off. We walked across two passes, the Grand St Bernard – 2469m and the Cisa Pass -1050m.

The longest day was 11.5 hours and the longest distance was 36.3km. We walked through over 210 villages and towns and crossed more than 150 rivers. We crossed a variety of bridges, metal, wood, hanging, stone, Roman etc.

The town with the lowest altitude was Lucca at 19m and the place with the highest altitude was the Grand St Bernard Pass at 2472m. We climbed from 587m at La Douay to 2472m at the Grand St Bernard Pass in 11.5 hours covering 28kms.

On some days the temperatures reached +40C. Our backpacks weighed between 8kg and 10kg. We stayed in a backpackers, a hospice, a campsite, a gite, a castle, on a farm, three youth hostels, nine B&Bs, two convents, six hotels (one a converted monastery) and two apartments - mostly in 2-bed and 3-bed rooms.

We lost a variety of items on the route: water bottles, walking stick, cap, sunglasses, cloths, guidebook, air ticket as well as a few kilos in body weight.

Although we didn’t have an English guide book, at no time did we actually get lost – only confused a couple of times - usually when following the VF signs along the way.

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Comments for The Via Francigena to Rome

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Oct 23, 2016
Canterbury to Rome Solo
by: Catherine

I completed the Via Francigena leaving Canterbury on June 1st 2016 arriving in St Peters Square 23rd August .
I would very much like to know if there is any other Australian females that have walked the way solo.
This Camino cannot be compared to the Camino to Santiago de Compostela which I walked from St Jean in 2014 solo but met many pilgrims from many countries .On the Via Francigena I met only a few mainly once crossing the boarder into Itay.

Jul 27, 2015
2016 walk to Rome
by: Mike Fitzgerald

Looking forward to walking to Rome next year from Lausanne
I've done several Caminos to Santiago but I've got no idea what this walk is like

Jul 15, 2009
well done!
by: peter

I thought the VF was around 1,000KM Geneva to Rome.
You did 25KM a day for 27 days: 675KM. Clearly I got it wrong - and I plan to walk it next year.
best regards,
Peter in Hong Kong

Jun 25, 2008
Great discovery!
by: Pen A.

I had no idea about this - much talk about El Camino but did know know about the VF. And it sounds like the Italians are going to try to signpost it well. You'd better be fit though!

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