Just three weeks left — time to pack for the Via San Francesco

Planned itinerary of the Via San Francesco 2013.

Planned itinerary of the Via San Francesco 2013.

Even as a season of camino-walking begins in Spain I’m starting to prepare for something new and different — a camino in Italy to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. It’s an interesting year to take this walk, with the  papacy of Francis bringing renewed attention to the simple 12th century friar of Umbria.

The trip is full of unknowns. None of our group — Sebastian, Jacqueline, Andreas and I — speak Italian. We’ll be relying on my Spanish to get us through. We lack a decent and current guidebook — the most recent one is a 2010 version in German. We’re not even sure about accommodations. We’ve heard rumors of monastery hostels with sheets and pillows, but don’t really know about reservations necessary or even whether we should bring our sleeping bags as backup. We’ll depend on promises of warm Italian weather to keep us from freezing at night. We’re also hearing of steep climbs in some places, a requirement when visiting several of those beautiful Italian hill towns that look so pretty — from a distance.

osprey-stratos-36-tarn-bluWithout a sleeping bag I’ll likely get a smaller backpack to carry. Likely something in the 35L range, like the Osprey Stratos 36. This is 15 +/- liters smaller than my previous camino packs which, without a sleeping bag, should be fine.

I’ve also thought a lot about boots and have decided to wear my Treksta Evolution Mid-GTX. This is a highly-rated mid-high lightweight hi-tech boot that, while made with Gore-Tex, should still be fairly cool with thin, wool socks. I’ve worn these boots over the last year in walks around town and they’re very comfy. The waterproof feature hopefully won’t be put to use.

Most everything else will be tested-tried-and-true gear from previous caminos. The only other exception being a decent hiking map for the GPS function on my iPhone. I’m still looking for that — but am also doing my best to trust the outdated German guidebook.

St. Francis, here we come!

15 thoughts on “Just three weeks left — time to pack for the Via San Francesco

    • Thanks, Darlene. Yes, I’m part of a Rome pilgrims yahoo group, which is great. The main Via Francigena (France to Rome) route goes through Tuscany. This route is east of Tuscany. I’m hoping to walk the main route some day soon!

  1. Really excited to hear about your preparation. What did you like about the Osprey?? Will be keeping in touch during my Camino!!! See you (probably) before we leave!

  2. It would also be interesting to do the walk from Assisi to La Verna, Francis’ retreat where he received the stigmata. It’s in the hills of Tuscany. I’ve been there, but have not done the walk from Assisi. Another would be the walk from La Verna to Rome. I would welcome any information from anyone with more information about either of these prospective walks.

  3. Last year my wife Mary and I walked the Camino From St. Jean to Santiago. We are hoping to walk Assissi to Rome in June 2014. Where do we register for our pilgrim passport?

    • There are several credentials out there, but the one we used last summer was from the Regione Umbria tourism office in Assisi. We arrived in Assisi, found the office, and then told them we wanted credentials. They scratched their heads, asked around, then printed credentials right before our eyes. If you get there and they have any questions, feel free to show them this photo of my credential https://caminoist.org/past-caminos/#jp-carousel-2024. Obviously it was accepted all along the way and also at Rome for the testimonium. Buen camino to you!

  4. Hi sir.
    What a nice blog thank you for writing it. I’m trying to do this by bike south to north. Do you think it can be done? Can you send me the PDF maps by lazio and Umbria please. Thanks so much.

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