3
moderate

Traveller Rating

 

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

8 Days£780GBP

Overview

Trip Code: FR2

Trip highlights


  • Stage 2 of the Via Francigena in Italy
  • Discovering the charming Piedmont town of Ivrea
  • Arriving in Pavia with its red brick historical centre
  • Visiting the Basilica of Sant'Andrea in Vercelli
  • Exploring perfectly preserved medieval villages
  • Sampling the excellent local food and wine

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. This section travels through the plains of Piedmont. From March to May the rice fields are flooded and treat you to a wonderful view of the "chequered sea". At other times of the year you will spot herons and egrets. The trail continues into the Lombardy region before ending in Pavia. Here you can enjoy the artistic wealth of Pavia's old town, while reveling in the vivacity of the student quarters.

Countries:

Italy

Starting Point:

Ivrea

Finishing Point:

Pavia


On arrival in Ivrea, make your way to your first hotel. Ivrea is located in Piedmont and straddles the Dora Baltea river. The old town centre will delight you with its 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 chocolate cake whose recipe is closely guarded by the town's pastrymakers.

Meals:  Nil

Today's walk follows the Dora Baltea River and along the way you'll discover some of the hidden jewels of the Via Francigena. At Piverone you'll walk through the arch of the clock tower to enter its old centre, then soon after you'll pass the ruins of a small, roofless church at Gesiun. Finally you'll arrive in Viverone where you can end the day admiring the sunset along the banks of the lake.

Meals:  B

Today you will walk along quiet, country roads as you head towards Santhia. A highlight today will be Roppolo Castle which offers splendid views over Lake Viverone. Along the way you will pass many cellars where you can stop and sample some regional wines. The hills gradually become flatter as you continue towards Santhia, today's destination. Check into your hotel and step out to enjoy the tasty local cuisine, ending your meal on a high note with a glass of white herbal liqueur.

Meals:  B

You will start today by crossing the Vercelli plain, walking alongside the characteristic rice fields. If you travel before the end of May you'll be lucky enough to see these fields flooded, and you'll be enchanted by the shades of colour reflected in the water. The flooded rice fields are a unique landscape, but at any time of year the fields are buzzing with bird life. On arrival in Vercelli be sure to sample the local rice which is used in so many excellent dishes, from risotto to savoury pies and even desserts.

Meals:  B

This morning you will need to take a short train from Vercelli to Robbio (takes approx 15 minutes, ticket bought locally). You can enjoy the scenery of the Sesia River from the train window. From Robbio, the countryside of the Lomellina will lead you towards Mortara over grassy sheep-tracks and along wide dirt trails. Along the way you can admire the facade of the San Valeriano Monastery and the small Romanesque church of San Pietro, which once offered hospitality and comfort to pilgrims. If you appreciate local delicacies, be sure to sample the IGP goose salami on Mortara. Overnight in Mortara.

Meals:  B

Today you will journey through woods, fields of growing crops and charming, small towns. We recommend stopping to visit the Abbey of Saint Albino, which you will find just outside Mortara. The abbey was frequented by ancient pilgrims, and you too can stand in prayer and meditation in front of its mosaic-decorated altar. Continue walking to Garlasco where you will stay overnight.

Meals:  B

Today's walk is a particularly scenic one, as you continue through countryside scattered with woods and farmhouses en route to the Ticino Valley Natural Park. You can stop for a rest in the shade of the thick woods or sunbathe on the beaches and meadows on the river bank. Don't stay too long as a jewel of the Via Francigena, Pavia, awaits your arrival. Pavia has a splendid old town centre full of artistic treasures that are just waiting to be discovered. Why not celebrate your arrival with a slice of the local Torta Paradiso cake or an aperitivo at Piazza Vittoria.

Meals:  B

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

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

  • 7 breakfasts. Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, tea, coffee & juices.
  • 7 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's passport

  • Travel to Ivrea and from Pavia
  • 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 approx EUR2 per day - payable directly to the hotel
  • Train from Vercelli to Robbio on day 5 (payable locally, approx EUR4)
  • 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 7 hours a day in hot sun (at times) on dusty and stony tracks. There are some steep hills, but nowhere could the terrain be described as mountainous. A reasonable 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, two to three times a week for three months prior to your departure. The whole itinerary is well-marked by the official signs of the Via Francigena. Note: the walking time and distance are calculated from city centre to city centre and may vary depending on the accommodations booked, to a maximum of 2km.


Departure dates

Daily from 1 Apr to 31 Oct

Priceper person from

£780GBP

Options & Supplements*
    *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