It’s the country that has given us some of the world’s greatest artists, incredible architecture and pasta in all shapes and sizes. We can’t think of a better way to experience the heritage and beauty of the country that inspired Leonardo than walking one of its classic trails.
Let us take you on a trip along two historic walks of Italy:
Via Francigena: pilgrimage from Canterbury to Rome
Sigeric the Serious, Archbishop of Canterbury, walked all the way from Canterbury to Rome back in the 10th century. As he travelled across Europe, he kept a journal of his trip and this has become the Via Francigena trail, a route of pilgrimage to Rome.
After crossing France and Switzerland, Via Francigena pilgrims arrived in the Aosta Valley in Italy and continued towards Tuscany and then on to Rome. The trail taken by Sigeric often took him to monasteries and churches where he would be offered lodging and many pilgrims followed his tracks on their way to Rome.
Today, the stretch of the Via Francigena in Tuscany, taking in magnificent cities such as Lucca and Siena and picturesque landscapes, is one of the modern-day pilgrim favourites, along with the last 100kms of the route into Rome.
It will take you approximately 50 days to walk from Aosta to Rome but you can also walk the section in Tuscany or pick your starting point.
You can find more information about the Via Francigena here: Via Francigena Route.
St Francis Way: in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi
Another historic walk and also a route of pilgrimage to Rome is the St Francis Way. Known in Italian as Cammino di Francesco, the St Francis Way stretches for 520kms from magnificent Florence to Assisi and Rome, following in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi. The trail is inspired by the life and work of St Francis, founder of the Franciscan order, and as such, Assisi is the spiritual centre of the trail and an absolute must-see.
The route is ideal for experienced walkers looking not only for a historic trail but also up for a challenge, as the terrain is quite technical; particularly the first section from Florence and the stretch from Assisi to the Rieti Valley. The views from picturesque hilltop towns such as Poggio Bustone and the lush mountain tracks across the Apennines will make you feel as if you are stepping back in time and definitely well worth the effort, however.
It will take you approximately one month to walk the full route from Florence to Rome but you can also pick a section if you have limited time, for instance the stretch from Assisi to Rieti is 135kms-long and can be completed in 10 days and the last 100kms from Rieti into Rome can be walked in just one week.
You can see the full route here: St Francis Way Route.
For more information about these wonderful historic walks of Italy or to book your trip, contact our travel specialists