Via Francigena. The Road to Rome

The Via Francigena by train + bus

The Via Francigena is an excursionist path, imagined for travellers on foot or bike. However, people who, for different causes, do not intend to face an itinerant path in sections have no reason to give up the experience of the great journey. The Via is truly for everyone, even for people who do little or no walk.

The widespread presence of public transport along the whole path offers the opportunity to experience almost equally the cultural tours along the Via Francigena, combining the train or bus journeys with little strolls. Here, you can find a few suggestions on a possible travel plan. For further details about the train and bus lines that serve the different locations, you can check out the section The Via Francigena by foot + train and bus.

  • From the Great St Bernard Pass to Aosta. The journey along the Via Francigena can actually start from the regional capital of Aosta Valley. If you stay a couple of days, you can see the city on the first one and on the second one you can have a day-visit to the Great St Bernard Pass, with a tour of the hospice. The SAVDA bus that serves the pass in the summertime also stops in every village along the Via

  • From Aosta to Ivrea. Between Aosta and Ivrea there is a train that serves the Chivasso – Aosta line, however the stations are located at the valley floor; therefore, reaching the historic centre of the cities (Nus,  Châtillon-St-Vincent, Pont-St-Martin) involves a brief uphill walk. It is advisable to use SAVDA and SADEM buses that stop in the villages. In addition to Ivrea, we recommend stopping in Bard to visit its fort and the section of roman road in Donnas. This can be reached from the fort with a brief walk following the directions of the pedestrian itinerary of the Via Francigena. Then, you should pay a visit to Pont-St-Martin, with its roman bridge and to Settimo Vittone. Here, with a brief uphill walk, you can visit the medieval complex of St Lawrence.
  • From Ivrea to Pavia. The latter locality deserves a careful visit for its historical-artistic patrimony and it is easily reachable with the train: you can arrive there from Aosta Valley, changing train in Chivasso, using the Turin – Milan line. The journey on the Vercelli – Pavia line gives you the opportunity to admire the landscape of the valley from the window, very close to the foot path of the Via.

  • From Pavia to Fidenza. To closely follow the official path, you have to take the train on the Pavia – Cremona line that arrives in Piacenza, with a change of train in Casalpusterlengo. Piacenza is a very important locality on the Francigena and therefore deserves a visit for its medieval patrimony. The journey continues on the Milan – Bologna line, with suggested stops in Fiorenzuola and Fidenza. From the first location you can reach the Abbey of Chiaravalle della Colomba with a SETA bus. In Fidenza, you can pay a visit to the Dome of Saint Domninus, with its bas reliefs which show the ancient pilgrimage.
  • From Fidenza to Sarzana. When crossing the Apennines using public transports – which cannot reach the Cisa Pass – you inevitably lose something. However, from the windows of the trains of the Pontremoli line you can still enjoy the mountain landscape. Suggested stops: Fornovo, in order to see the roman Dome. The town is a transit point for TEP buses, with which you can reach Cassio and Berceto. From these admirable mountain locations it is possible to carry on towards Tuscany. From Fornovo, the railroad reaches Pontremoli, where a stop is appropriate. Another stop at the station of FIlattiera allows you to visit the Sorano pieve. From Villafranca, with a brief walk, you can reach the medieval village of Filetto. Aulla preserves important memories of the medieval pilgrimage in the museum of San Caprasio. The station is far from the village, but you can take a shuttle or a CTT bus from VIllafranca. Last, Sarzana deserves a prolonged stop to enjoy its artistic patrimony and the lively historic centre. With ACT or CTT buses it is possible to reach and visit the archaeological site of Luni.
  • From Sarzana to Lucca. Along the Versilia section, the Genoa – Pisa railway line allows you to stop both in Massa and Pietrasanta, while Camaiore can only be reached with a CTT bus. Lucca is very well connected by the railroad, so that you can reach it from Viareggio, from Florence or directly from Aulla with the railway line that passes through the whole Garfagnana.
  • From Lucca to Siena. On the train to Florence, starting from Lucca you can reach Altopascio, where you can visit the medieval hospice. From that locality it is possible to follow the official path with the Piùbus buses towards Fucecchio. From there you can then proceed towards San Miniato, with CTT public transports: this is another important location full of medieval memories. In order to continue from here, it is advisable to reach Empoli by bus. The Empoli – Siena railway line follows the valley floor of Val d’Elsa. You can arrive in San Giminiano with a TIEMME bus from Poggibonsi; then from San Giminiano, the TIEMME bus number 130 follows the Via Cassia, being quite faithful to the official path. The suggested stops are Colle Val d’Elsa and Monteriggioni.
  • From Siena to Viterbo. The Siena – Grosseto railway line follows the val d’Arbia and it is parallel to the pedestrian path up to Buonconvento, an ideal destination where to stop. Val d’Orcia has more difficult connections, it is however advisable to use TIEMME buses to climb to San Quirico d’Orcia  and to Bagno Vignoni (with the Siena – Montepulciano or the Siena – Abbadia San Salvatore lines, which stop in Buonconvento). Radicofani is the most difficult location to reach, but it is possible to do so with TIEMME buses from Abbadia San Salvatore. The latter is a variation of the path of Mount Amiata: it is therefore philologically correct to include it in the journey. From Abbadia San Salvatore leaves a COTRAL bus to Viterbo (two routes per day), which stops in the main cities of the Via Francigena that you shouldn’t miss: Acquapendente (roman crypt of the dome), Bolsena (catacombs of Santa Cristina) and Montefiascone (San Flaviano and Rocca dei Papi). Viterbo deserves a deep visit for the richness of its historical centre and the San Pellegrino quarter.
  • From Viterbo to Rome. The Viterbo – Rome railway line has stations that are very far from the historic centres, even though it passes through many locations of the Via Francigena. However, they are greatly connected by COTRAL buses, which offers many routes per day and leave from Viterbo, following the Via Cassia. These allow a visit to Vetralla, Sutri (roman amphitheatre and historical centre), Capranica. From La Storta, the trains of the Viterbo – Rome line stop in the different stations of the Capital, between which there is Roma San Pietro.
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