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3
moderate

Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 8 nights in 3 star hotels and agriturismo / B&B's
Meals
  • 2 Dinners
  • 8 Breakfasts

9 Days£1040GBP

Overview

Trip Code: FR1

Trip highlights


  • Stage 1 of the Via Francigena in Italy
  • Walking through the alpine landscapes of the Aosta Valley
  • Soaking up the history on the St Bernard Pass
  • Passing castles, woods and stone villages set high in the mountains
  • Staying in warm, comfortable and family run hotels and delighting in their friendly hospitality

From Canterbury in England to Rome in Italy, the 1900km "Francigena Way" dates back to the 11th century when pilgrims travelled across Europe on foot to visit the site of Martyrdom of St Peter and St Paul in Rome. With the modernisation of Europe and the shifting of borders the route became obsolete, until a recent revival of the pilgrimage making it one of the most exciting pilgrimage trails in Europe today. Our first section starts from the Great St Bernard Pass, located high in the Swiss Alps. This pass has a huge historical significance. As you walk you will reach the historical pilgrims hospice which has been open for more than 1000 years, where the Friars and their famous dogs saved the lives of countless troubled travellers. Along with the historic significance, the views over the Alps are breathtaking. As you descend to Aosta and continue to Ivrea, you will pass ancient villages of Roman origins, vineyards, orchards and castles. The trail winds through countryside, woods and small towns and will end on the banks of the Dora Baltea river. Along the way you are also sure to enjoy the local traditions and foods, while staying in comfortable, family-run accommodation.

Countries:

Italy

Starting Point:

St Bernard Pass

Finishing Point:

Ivrea


Make your own way to the first hotel on the St Bernard Pass on the border with Switzerland. Located high in the Swiss Alps, the area is rich in history. The hospice here was a shelter founded by Augustinian monks in the Middle Ages, and their hospitality towards pilgrims is legendary. The St Bernard dog was bred by the monks, initially to carry loads and later as an avalanche search dog. Overnight in a hotel on the Italian side of the pass.

Meals:  D

Before setting out this morning, make time to visit the Hospice Museum. From the San Bernardo Pass you commence your walk towards Etroubles along the official Via Francigena route. You'll pass through mountain villages and enjoy evocative views. Some sections today are a bit steep, but alternative options are available. Overnight in Etroubles, a lovely village which was once the winter quarters of Roman soldiers.

Meals:  B

Today's walk promises a deep experience along the mountains, crossing meadows and pinewoods, where pilgrim's worshipped relics of St Ursus and St Gratus (now the patron saints of the Aosta valley). You'll pass ruins and ancient chapels and follow the stream "Ru Neuf". It's possible to skip the last descent of the day by taking a bus through the village of Gignod. Overnight in Aosta, the largest town in the valley and full of Roman monuments and modern services.

Meals:  B

The Via Francigena winds through castles and vineyards today. You'll pass the ancient castle of Quart, with its chapel dedicated to the local saint, Emerico. Along the way you will see semi-spherical engravings made in the rock by prehistoric people whose purpose today is unknown. This afternoon you'll arrive in Nus, your destination for the day, where you can relax and sample the local wine.

Meals:  B

Today you will follow the Rus, ancient aqueducts which are still used to water the crops on the mountainsides of the Valle d'Aosta. As you walk between vineyards we recommend stopping at the Crotta de Vegneron at Chambave. This wine collective celebrates and produces the greatest wines of the region. The walk continues to Saint Vincent, where you will stay overnight.

Meals:  B

From St Vincent you will continue along the left side of the valley and pass the ruins of the castle Saint Germain with its Mezzogiorno tower, once a formidable defence tower built between the 11th-12th century by the De Mongioveto family. From here you will walk on a short section of the ancient Strada Delle Gallie, before the route winds up the side of the mountain to Verres. If you enjoy castles we recommend taking a detour and visiting Issogne. Overnight in Verres.

Meals:  B

During today's walk you'll feel as though you've stepped back in time. In Arnad feel just like a medieval pilgrim as you walk through the nave of San Martino Church, before crossing the ancient Enchallod bridge. You'll even walk on a perfectly preserved Roman road where you can look for the tracks of Roman carriages. If you prefer more recent history you can visit the fort at Bard. This afternoon you'll arrive at Pont Saint Martin, where you can relax and enjoy the stunning views from town.

Meals:  B,D

The alpine scenery of previous days gives way to the gentle hills of Piedmont. Today's walk to Ivrea will lead you through charming villages and beautiful natural sections. Arriving in Ivrea you will be delighted by the old town centre with its impressive castle and the tall tower of Santo Stefano. Be sure to take a walk through the open-air museum of modern architecture. We also recommend trying the local Novecento cake, a delicious chocolate cake whose recipe is closely guarded by the local pastry makers.

Meals:  B

The trip concludes this morning after breakfast. Please ask for our rates if you want to stay an extra night, or you can continue along the Francigena Way to Pavia.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 8 breakfasts, 2 dinners: Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, tea, coffee & juices. Dinner will consist of 3 courses, usually starting with a salad or pasta dish, followed by either a chicken, red meat or fish dish with seasonal vegetables & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cakes
  • 8 nights in 3 star hotels and agriturismo / B&B's on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • Digital information pack including smartphone app with maps plus a guidebook (one per booking)
  • Luggage transfer (max 1 piece, max weight 20kg and max size 60 x 50 x 40 cm per person). Supplement applies for excess
  • Emergency hotline and SMS alert
  • Credenziale - the pilgrim passport

  • Travel to St Bernard Pass and from Ivrea
  • Meals not listed as included, drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Entrance fees
  • Guide – this is a self-guided walking holiday
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Excess luggage
  • Tourist Tax - allow EUR1-2 per day - payable directly to the hotel
  • Items of a personal nature

Suitability

moderate

3

MODERATE – GRADE 3 This is a moderate grade walk along paths that are well defined and clearly marked. You should be an experienced walker and be able to walk for up to 8 hours a day (although most days are between 4-5 hours) in hot sun on dusty and stony tracks. There are some steep descents and small ascents and the terrain is mountainous. A good level of fitness is required. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, and jogging, three to four times a week for three months prior to your departure. The walking times are calculated from town centre to town centre and may vary depending on the accommodations booked.


Departure dates

Daily from 20 Jun to 15 Sep

Notes

H
High Season
Note:
High season 11Jul to 31 Aug, supplement applies
Note:
July and August departures may require a transfer from Nus at the end of the walking day to Aosta (ie 2 nights in Aosta) and a return transfer the following day - a supplement will apply if required

Priceper person from

£1040GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Single supplementGBP£270
  • Solo traveller supplementGBP£490
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Personal Experience

We've been walking and cycling the planet for over four decades and are passionate about delivering exceptional service. Combined, we’ve travelled to virtually every corner of Europe, and are eager to share the many benefits of travelling on foot or by bike.

Great Value & Quality

Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

Self-Guided Specialists

We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.

Videos

Walking Italy's Via Francigena | Italian Camino | UTracks