Via Francigena

Day 50 – Vercelli to Mortara: rice fields as far as the eye can see 

The stage


🚲 38 km by bicycle – Monday 9 August 

With our steady group of cyclists we start pedalling at 8:30 this morning, with a full day of meetings ahead of us. 38km by bicycle could be done in roughly 2-3 hours without any of these meetings, but it took us instead approximately 8 hours to get across to Mortara.

Consider that along the road we try to document as much as possible, which means many intermediate stops as well for photos, videos, and “droning”. Our videomaker Giulia has perfected her “filming while cycling” skills and seeing her cycle with one hand on the handlebars and a heavy gimbal in the other hand, is a true spectacle.

Today we were surrounded again by shiny green rice fields, with the occasional corn field here and there. We’ve cycled a lot on gravel roads, and some tarmac as well. The weather was hot, humid, and beautifully sunny. We had meetings with local governments in Robbio, Madonna del Campo, and Mortara, and we met active local residents just outside Vercelli, in Palestro, and Nicorvo.

Both the welcome by the town of Robbio as well as Mortara has been truly heartwarming: an applause upon arrival and we could tell they were sincerely happy to meet us and share this moment with us. In Robbio we visited the church of Saint Peter, a small little jewel along the Via Francigena that is absolutely worth a visit. In Madonna del Campo, just before Mortara, a gazebo was set up with refreshments and fresh fruit. So lovely! There were lots of locals to welcome us, as well as the mayor of Mortara.

Just outside Vercelli we met with Carla, who lives directly along the Via Francigena. Many pilgrims for sure know her, because she often takes photos of those passing by her house and publishes them on a dedicated Facebook Page. In Palestro we met Ambra and her lovely 4-year-old Ephram, who manage a b&b in a medieval tower. They offered us coffee and a little snack, and made us feel truly welcome.

The Via Francigena in this area may be a tad bit monotone when it comes to the landscape (rice fields!), but the hospitality and friendliness of the locals is absolutely something not to miss!


– Meeting many enthusiastic and hospitable locals

– Refreshing water fountains along the itinerary

– The great company of our cycling group

– Warm welcome by the municipalities of Robbio and Mortara


Myra Stals, Social Media Manager (EAVF)

Luca Faravelli, Project Manager (EAVF)

Alberto Conte, Movimento Lento/Itineraria

Monica Nanetti, RTR Ambassador (@secelhofattaio)

Ilaria Allasina, RTR Ambassador (@ilaria_allasina)

Augusto Duarte, RTR Ambassador (@ciclo_wine)

Giulia Bertolazzi, videomaker