Via Francigena

Frequently Asked Questions - F.A.Q.

Credential and Testimonium

What is the Credential?

It is the document that certifies pilgrim status. It can be indispensable in order to be accommodated in “pilgrim” lodgings and also gives the right to discounts in tourist facilities. Read the details

How can I obtain the Credential?

You can order it online or buy it at one of the distribution centres along the route, find details here

Where can I stamp my Credential?

Stamps certifying passage must be affixed at each stage of the route, and one stamp per day, with the date, is sufficient.

Stamps can be obtained from the accommodation facilities, parishes and various bars, restaurants, shops and municipal offices. 

Does the Credential have an expiration date or can I use it on several trips, even in different years? 

The credential does not have an expiration date. You can, for example, walk several sections of the route at different times and use the same credential, even in different years. 

How can I get discounts on trains thanks to the Credential?

You can buy your train ticket at authorised sales points or online. Read the details

What is the Testimonium?

It is the certificate that is issued on arrival in Rome, and is reserved for those who have continuously covered at least the last 100 km on foot or 200 km by bicycle. Read here where you can request it

How far does one have to go to receive the Testimonium?

If you are travelling on foot you should start at least from Viterbo, if you are travelling by bicycle you should start from San Quirico d’Orcia.

Is it necessary to stop at fixed intervals and stages to receive Testimonium?

No, the stages can be at different distances and can be covered at your own pace.

Official Guide and App

Is there an official guide to the Via Francigena?

There are several guides that describe the official path and are recognised by the EAVF, visit the dedicated page

Is there an official Via Francigena App?

There is an official App, which can be downloaded free of charge from the stores, that allows you to find your way along the route, visit the dedicated page. 

Is there a hiking map of the Via Francigena?

There is no detailed map of the entire route, but 1:50,000 maps are included in the official guidebook. 

Walking itinerary: viability and accessibility

Is the signposting on the walking itinerary from the Great St Bernard Pass to Rome good?

The signposting on the walking itinerary from the Great St. Bernard Pass or from Montgenèvre Pass and Mont Cenis to Rome is good but not always perfect. For example, on stretches between fields in the Po Valley, the signs can be accidentally removed by farmers during agricultural work. Other critical sections are the crossings of cities, where the markers are sometimes periodically removed from the pylons during cleaning operations. We therefore recommend that you use the official App or the printed guide to help you find your way in case of difficulty.

Is the route signposted in both directions?

Signposting is bi-directional only in a few short sections. In Italy only from the Great St. Bernard Pass to Piverone.

Even the official guidebook only describes the route in a north-south direction. If you have to walk the Via Francigena in a northerly direction, we recommend that you use the App for orientation. 

Is it possible to split the route into parts?

Yes, you just need to choose your departure and arrival points appropriately among the stages best served by public transport. Visit the section dedicated to this topic.

Is the Via Francigena accessible for people with disabilities?

The pedestrian route is very complex, consisting of a mixture of minor roads, dirt roads and paths. As far as accessibility by persons with reduced mobility in wheelchairs is concerned, the pedestrian route is not accessible except for a few stretches. The CicloVia Francigena, with some modifications to the route in the more uneven stretches, can be travelled for the most part with an off-road wheelchair, but it is necessary to check the accessibility of the individual accommodations since there is no organised list of accessible structures. As far as visual handicaps are concerned, the route is accessible for blind or visually impaired people with an experienced guide. For other disabilities, the route and the characteristics of the accommodation must be carefully assessed.

Can I walk the Via Francigena with children?

The route is rather complex: in some sections it involves crossing busy roads, in others you have to walk on the edge of the road, although generally on minor roads; these sections are therefore not recommended as they are risky for children, especially if they are in large groups. It is therefore advisable to study the route well in order to choose stretches on country roads or paths. We therefore refer you to the section of the website with maps of the entire route, organised stage by stage.

Can I walk the Via Francigena with dogs?

The route, which is largely immersed in a natural landscape, would lend itself to travelling with your trusty friends, but not all accommodation facilities allow dogs. We recommend that you contact the managers in advance to find out about the accessibility constraints of each facility.

Can I ride the Via Francigena on horseback?

It is not easy to travel on horseback along the route, mainly due to the lack of equipped facilities. It is therefore necessary to plan the trip carefully, to ensure the animal’s well-being along the way, checking the services available from tour operators. An invaluable testimony for lovers of travel on horseback is the story by Arianna Corradi, “Quel sogno di partire a cavallo” (Equitare edizioni), in which the author recounts the journey she made on horseback in 2009, starting from the Susa Valley and arriving in Canterbury.

Is it possible to walk the Via Francigena in winter?

Winter is not the most advisable season, both for the climatic conditions and the itinerary practicability and the availability of services along the way. It is therefore necessary to carefully plan your travel, informing yourself about the viability of the path and the opening times of accommodation. Ask about the structure heating system: most of the refuges are not heated. It is advisable to contact the structures in advance to get this kind of information. We also remind you that the Great San Bernard pass is only open in Summer, from the beginning of June to the beginning of September.

What is the opening period of the Great St Bernard Pass?

From mid-October to the end of May, it is not possible to walk over the Great St Bernard Pass, which is only accessible in the summer months (generally from the beginning of June to the beginning of October). We recommend that you contact the Great St. Bernard Hospice for information on accessibility and overnight accommodation. 

Cycling itinerary: viability and accessibility

Is the Via Francigena route practicable by bike?

The walking itinerary, marked with red and white bands, can only be ridden continuously by very experienced and well-trained bikers, who travel without bags. For those travelling with a loaded bike, we have mapped out the CicloVia Francigena, a path that deviates for long stretches from the walking route and that in the stretch from Gran San Bernardo to Rome is entirely practicable with mountain bikes or hybrid or gravel bikes, with bags. Visit the section of the website dedicated to the CicloVia.

What kind of bike is best to use?

The best bike for travelling along the CicloVia Francigena is a mountain bike with ‘fat wheels’, which are suitable for mixed routes and are not too treaded, since long stretches have to be covered on asphalt. On uneven roads, a fat wheel (section 1.9 or more) provides much better cushioning and good grip. Less comfortable but still suitable are gravel bikes, touring bikes and hybrids, and we recommend tyres with a good cross-section for all of them.

Since you have to ride for long stretches on dirt roads, including uneven ones, it is not possible to cycle the CicloVia with racing bikes, unless you take asphalt routes, which can sometimes involve the use of busy roads. 

Is the CicloVia Francigena signposted?

The route from the Great St Bernard Pass to Rome was fully marked in 2016, but since then there has been no regular maintenance of the signposting, which therefore exists but is not perfect. We therefore recommend that you use the official App, where you can find the CicloVia route. 

Accommodation

Where can the list of accommodation be found?

All accommodation is listed and updated on the dedicated section of the website

How much do you spend on average per day on sleeping and eating?

If you stay in pilgrim accommodation you will spend an average of 15 euros to sleep. In tourist facilities, an average of 20-30 euros per day in a double room.

Dinner with the pilgrim’s menu can cost 15-20 Euros, a light lunch around 10 Euros, an Italian breakfast around 3 Euros.

There are also a few “donative” establishments, but we recommend that you leave a reasonable donation (at least 10 € for the overnight stay plus possibly at least 5 € for dinner). 

Is it necessary to book at the accommodation?

We suggest you book at tourist facilities, especially in high season, while it is not always necessary for “pilgrim” ones. However, it is a good idea to give at least one day’s notice, specifying the time of arrival, as often the guardians of the refuges do not live near the structure and without prior notice you risk finding the buildings closed.

Do accommodation facilities only welcome those with a credential?

It depends. Many pilgrim accommodation facilities are reserved for pilgrims with a credential, while tourist facilities are open to all but often give a discount to those with a credential. 

Are the accommodation facilities open all year round?

Many establishments close in winter, so from November to March it is always a good idea to make enquiries and book well in advance. In addition, some establishments, especially religious ones, are not always heated, so check the heating and equip yourself accordingly.

Is it possible to camp along the route?

Few stopover points have equipped campsites. Overnight bivouacking on state land is possible under Italian law from dusk to dawn, but some municipalities require notice at least one day in advance. Camping is always possible on private land by agreement with the owner. 

In any case, we only recommend camping on the Via Francigena to those who have experience, a spirit of adventure, can adapt to precarious situations and accept that they may not be able to take a shower on arrival 🙂 

Where can large groups stay?

For large groups, such as Scouts, it is always advisable to contact the parishes for hospitality.

Joining the network of accommodation and services on the Via Francigena

I have an accommodation or restaurant on the Via Francigena, how can I promote it on the official website?

The section “Accommodation & Facilities” gathers all the partner structures along the route, which are part of the network Visit Vie Francigene. To know how to join the network visit the page dedicated to the partners

Is it possible to work as a volunteer in accommodation facilities?

Some accommodation structures on the Via Francigena are run by volunteer hospitable people. For more information you can write an email to: accoglienzapellegrina.corsi@gmail.com.

I have a property to renovate on the Via Francigena, can I benefit from public calls for tender?

Our association does not deal with property financing, you can consult the websites of your region, or of Local Action Groups (LAGs), Mountain Unions or Foundations that finance such interventions in your area. 

I would like to open a hostel on the Via Francigena, what are the bureaucratic requirements?

In order to understand which is the best solution, we suggest you visit the website of the Tourism Department of your region, as the rules vary from one region to another. 

Once the structure is open, you can promote it in our media by joining the Visit Vie Francigene network. 

Eating and drinking

Do the accommodation facilities provide a kitchen for pilgrims?

In some (few) accommodation facilities there is the possibility of using the kitchen, allowing pilgrims to prepare their own meals. This option is specified in the list of facilities or you can request it directly from the managers.

Is there a "pilgrim's menu" at special prices?

Many restaurants offer a specific menu for pilgrims, at interesting prices (around 12-15 euros for a meal with a first course, second course and drinks). It is a good idea to enquire on arrival directly with the operators of your accommodation facilities.

Where can I find bars, restaurants and grocery shops?

Most of the villages along the route have at least one bar and one grocery shop. Very often there is also a restaurant. 

Are there frequent drinking fountains along the route?

It depends on the area: water can be found in all towns, but on long stretches where there are no towns, e.g. in the Po Valley or in some parts of Tuscany, we advise you to inform yourself well and take enough water with you. 

Luggage transport and organised trips

Can I participate to guided tours on the Via Francigena?

Yes, there are various tour operators offering organised trips, both guided and self-guided. Click here to read the proposals

Is there an organised luggage transport service?

A luggage transport service is available along some sections of the route. 

Climate and recommended periods

What are the best seasons to travel the Via Francigena?

The best times to organise a trip are May-June and September. April is often quite rainy, and March is often a relatively un-rainy month, but it is still possible to encounter snowfalls in the Valdostan section and on the Cisa pass. For the southern section, we also recommend the month of October, when the climate is still mild and sunny.
Please note that the Great St Bernard Pass is generally open and therefore only passable from the beginning of June to the beginning of September. 

How to get there, how to get back, public transport

Can I reach the stage locations by public transport?

For almost the entire length of the route, it passes through key points in the public transport network, with a railway station or bus stop at almost every stop. In the dedicated section of the website all the references of the local bus companies are specified.
For information on the train and bus routes connecting the main airports in the regions concerned to the stopover points, see the “How to get there” page.

How can I get to the starting point and back from the finishing point by bike?

You can use Trenitalia and Trenord regional trains with a bike+train service, or Flixbus on routes where buses have a bike rack. 

Membership of EAVF

Who can join the European Association of Vie Francigene?

EAVF is an association of public administrations, which can join as full members. Non-profit associations can join as “friends”. Read the AEVF presentation page

Posso usare il marchio della Via Francigena con il pellegrino giallo?

The use of the logo in any form must be authorised by AEVF, read details

Cooperation proposals

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