Travel along the Via Francigena restarts and many reception facilities reopen.
After a predictable slow start of the season, many hostels, religious structures, hotels and B&Bs have reopened their doors in the last few weeks. The European Association of the Via Francigena ways EAVF regularly updates the hospitality files divided into “pilgrims” and “tourists” sections. This work is done weekly by the staff with valuable help of volunteers and local associations.
It is understandable that many facilities struggle to coop with daily management, in particular reference to sanitation and cleaning due to the health emergency. Furthermore, management costs have significantly increased as the current situation requires great attention, responsibility, and precaution.
That is why it is essential to carefully follow the health guidelines while travelling along the route. Furthermore, it is equally important to leave a donation to your host, which is usually “forgotten” by 20% of pilgrims, damaging the entire Via Francigena hospitality system.
What is the current hospitality situation along the way right now? The route is indeed well equipped with pilgrim and tourist accommodations even if in most cases available places are currently reduced. It should not be forgotten that given the situation, this year it is mandatory to book your bed / room in advance.
The French section of the route does not report any particular criticalities with most of facilities being open.
Verification of the Swiss section confirms available beds along 200 km of the route; efforts are also being made to publish new parochial and offer-based structures online.
Along the Italian section, starting from the north you can find pilgrim hospitality in five stages with the sole exception in Aosta which offers a range of other accommodations. Numerous facilities have reopened in Piedmont, welcoming tourists with reduced prices. Lombardy has an accommodation gap on the border with Piedmont up to Mortara, however in Palestro in Torre Merlata you can sleep in a tent.
The situation in Emilia-Romagna is a little more critical, as hostels in this region have not yet reopened between Piacenza and Berceto. However, tourist facilities there offer preferential rates for pilgrims.
In Tuscany and Lazio many facilities actively welcome pilgrims. In cities of Lucca and Siena historic hostels are closed, although there are alternatives of campings, guest houses and traditional tourist facilities.
The accommodation situation along the Via Francigena in the South is being updated and monitored, as well as route conditions, safety and signs in accordance with the European Via Francigena manual.
You can download accommodation lists from the Visit Via Francigena hospitality platform. Other facilities are expected to reopen in late July and will be inserted in the accommodation files accordingly.