If you want to discover Italy you can experience the best of Italian landscape, culture and history on sections 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 along the the Via Francigena. Each of these popular walking and cycling routes in Italy are packed full of history and attractions not to be missed. These sections start at the border of the Alps leading you right down to the Roman capital. With so many things to see and do we want to give you an overview of the magnificent regions along the Italian sections of the Via Francigena.
Views of the Alps from the Aosta Valley
First up is the walking route that takes through the rich heritage town of Aosta. This section of the Via Francigena involves easy climbing trails and spectacular views. Starting your journey in Aosta you will enjoy exploring the Roman ruins, the various towers and the Arch of Augustus before walking into the valley. Walking along the Dora Baltea River while descending into the Val d’Aosta you will be greeted with ice-capped mountains on all sides. In early Roman times the town was of huge strategic importance as it stood on the edge of their empire. Your walk will take your past the ancient town of Chatillon with its castle: Castello di Ussel. Due to the mountainous surrounding this area is a little chilly so make sure to pack a fleece in your suitcase. For nature lovers the Aosta Valley is home to over 2,000 varieties of plants and if you choose to walk the route you will walk by beautiful wild flowers and landscapes.
The rolling hills of Tuscany
Fancy spending some time meandering through the lush green hills of Tuscany? This region of Italy is famous for its beautiful landscape and a walking tour on section 14 of the Via Francigena will take you into some of the best sites in Tuscany. Exploring the sights of Tuscany by foot is a great way get full views of the stunning hilltop towns such as UNESCO world heritage site San Gimignano and the walled castle of Monteriggioni. Each medieval town is packed with charm, inviting you to go back in time to the 15th century. Enjoy walking country roads next too some of Italy’s most famous vineyards. At any time of the year you can test your wine tasting skills. Look no further than San Gimignano in the Elsa Valley for some of the finest white wines in the region, Vernaccia and the San Gimignano Rosso are just two wines to add to your list. No trip to Tuscany is complete without a visit to the Val d’Orcia in the south. Time passes slowly in this wonderful landscape which inspired many renaissance painters.
The medieval towns in the Lazio region
The Lazio region encompasses all of the stages in one of the most popular routes along the Via Francigena, from Viterbo to Rome. Walkers will trek 100kms of the Camino to Rome, using the medieval town of Viterbo as a starting point. Your journey through this rugged landscape passes by peaceful streams, deep valleys, waterfalls and archaelogical sites. All of the Via Francigena signs point you on your way towards Rome. Starting your walk in Viterbo you will have the chance to sample the famous thermal baths and wander the winding streets of one of the best preserved towns in Italy. Along the way you can visit the Etruscan tombs in the town of Sutri dating back to the 6th century B.C. When you are in town also visit the roman amphitheatre.
The eternal city of Rome
Last but not least experience the best of the Italian capital when you finish the final section of the Via Francigena. Historical treasures are dotted throughout Rome. You can spend time admiring the outdoor sculptures, visit some of Europe’s most famous museums and even get an audience with Pope himself. One way to enjoy the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome is to stroll around the fountain at night when its glorious sculptures are lit up.
The gigantic colosseum, considered one of the worlds greatest feats of architecture, the Vatican collection of historic buildings and the 2000 year old Pantheon building are just three of the wonderfully preserved landmarks in the city. In addition to the many sights to discover you can sample italian cuisine at its best and enjoy relaxing in this cosmopolitan capital. Remember that Rome can get quite hot in the summer months so don’t forget your hat, sunglasses and suncream.
To learn more about the walking routes in Italy or to book your next walking or cycling holiday along the Via Francigena please contact one of our Travel Specialists.