Great new article in Italy Magazine about “The Way of St Francis”

Check out this great new article in Italy Magazine, as Silvia Donati interviews me on the walk, the book and St. Francis. You can read the full article here.

ItalyMagazine

 

35 thoughts on “Great new article in Italy Magazine about “The Way of St Francis”

  1. That’s how I found you last week! I’ve always wanted to do such a walk since learning about the Camino several years ago. In 2014 I had double kneecap replacement surgery and I am 66 so I need to regain my strength etc and wont be able to do a full walk. I go to Italy regularly so I would really like to try part of the St. Francis walk. Can you suggest a section that might be somewhat moderate? Thank you for writing your book and bringing the experience to so many.

    • One of the flatter sections is Assisi to Spoleto (using the lower route to Spello). This can also be walked the opposite direction to end in Assisi. Both are accessible by train and the walk includes the charming towns of Spello, Foligno (newer but nice in the center) and Trevi. Buon cammino! – Sandy

  2. Hi ,
    Greetings from Australia. This year I completed the Italian section of the Via Francegina and
    Couldn’t wait to get hold of your book to look into this walk. It was only yesterday that I started
    Reading it and I must admit I can’t wait to do the walk. After doing many walks in Spain,France,Italy and England I would say your book looks fantastic. Such terrific information. Well done.
    Kindest Regards
    Helen Wallis
    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Hi Sheila ~ Not sure where you live exactly, but if you’re in the US go to Barnesandnoble.com. If you’re in UK go to Amazon.co.uk or other online sellers. My own copies are sold out, otherwise I’d send you one via the links on this website. I’ll have more stock in December. Great Christmas present! – Sandy

  3. What is the title of the book and how can I get a copy? Which direction do you recommend Assisi to Rome or Rome to Assisi? Thank you!

    • Take a look at the link to the article and you’ll see the answer to your first question. Not sure where you live, but if it’s in the US you can get a copy of the book at BarnesandNoble.com. Also you can get the Kindle version of the book on Amazon.com. The print version will be available there on about Dec 1. Definitely Assisi to Rome would be my choice.

  4. Sandy, I’ve wanted to write to you from Italy, but couldn’t access my wordpress account. Glad to have this email.

    We are still in Italy and recently finished the walk from Assisi to Rome. I pre-purchased your book so you sent me the PDF and maps. I was able to use the app ViewRanger to use the maps, and WOW! your maps saved us many times!

    Sandy, my husband, our daughter and I got so used to following your descriptions and checking the maps on my iPad that we feel like you traveled with us. We were constantly saying “let’s check Sandy” “what does Sandy say?” You became our travel companion.

    In the pilgrim office in Assisi, Gigi was so excited to hear we were following your book! And in Poggio Bustone, Feliciano gave us “your” room! You’re quite the star!

    We did find two errors in the directions, left turns instead of right, when there was no signage, but the gps maps helped us correct. My daughter kept track of those so we could tell you, but she’s returned to San Francisco. I can check the details with her when we return if you’d like.

    Before we left for the trip we laughed at the precise descriptions, like the green fence, the white house, the sheepfold! But, once underway we really appreciated the detail, and learned to trust your directions.

    Many thanks, Sandy! May God bless you, Tatiana Promessi

    You are welcome to post this on my behalf, and delete the errata copy. Since I don’t have the detail here it wouldn’t be helpful. I just can’t do it while I’m traveling.

    • I’m delighted to hear the book was helpful to you, and I’m relieved to hear there were only two mistakes! Please have your daughter send them as soon as possible (to my personal email at revsandybrown at gmail dot com) and we will include them in the “updates” section of the publisher’s website. Congratulations on your successful walk! — Sandy

      • Hi Sandy, I have the book ordered from thebookdepository.com (free worldwide postage!). Can’t wait to read it! I held off hiking this route until the book came out 🙂 I get the impression that GPS may be necessary for this Camino? Haven’t used GPS before or how to even use it for hiking? Any tips welcome 😊

      • I’ll have to do a blog post about this. It’s a little complicated for a comment reply, and the book does already include some general info. Basically, 1) get a GPS or GPS smartphone app, 2) download the Open Cycle Map for Italy as your base map, 3) download the tracks for each stage from the Cicerone Press website, 4) when you’re in Italy, call up the track and just follow it on the screen while you walk. It’s good to practice before you leave. Basically the GPS is for when you don’t know for sure where you are going and gives you some peace of mind you can find your way. Watch for a blog post later.

  5. My wife and I also asked “what does Sandy say?” frequently when we walked from Assisi to Rome last month as well! The detailed instructions and the GPS tracks were outstanding.

  6. Hi Sandy – your book arrived today (yay!). Looks great! Just wondering whether much of this camino is on road or is it mainly natural trails? Don’t think its mentioned in the book. Thanks 🙂

    • A fair amount of pavement, but lots of mountain trails, too. Here’s an approximate breakdown by stage (from memory):

      1. Florence to Pontassieve — 100% paved, mostly rural roads
      2. Pontassieve to Consuma — 75% paved, otherwise mountain trails
      3. Consuma to Stia — 50% paved, otherwise trails
      4. Stia to Camaldoli — 60% paved, otherwise mountain trails
      5. Camaldoli to Badia Prataglia — 5% paved, otherwise mountain trails
      6. Badia Prataglia to Santuario della Verna — 10% paved, otherwise mountain trails
      7. Santuario della Verna to Pieve Santo Stefano — 5% paved, otherwise mountain trails
      8. Pieve Santo Stefano to Sansepolcro — 30% paved, otherwise rural, gravel roads
      9. Sansepolcro to Citerna — 100% paved on rural roads
      10. Citerna to Citta di Castello — 60% paved, otherwise gravel and trails
      11. Citta di Castello to Pietralunga — 90% paved, mostly on mountain roads
      12. Pietralunga to Gubbio — 80% paved, mostly on rural roads
      13. Gubbio to Biscina — 75% paved, otherwise gravel road
      14. Biscina to Valfabbrica — 50% paved, otherwise trails
      15. Valfabbrica to Assisi — 80% paved, otherwise mountain trail
      16. Assisi to Spello (easy) — 75% paved, otherwise gravel roads
      17. Assisi to Spello (difficult) — 5% paved, otherwise trails and gravel roads
      18. Spello to Trevi — 90% paved, otherwise on gravel roads through olive groves
      19. Trevi to Spoleto — 100% paved
      20. Spoleto to Ceselli — 30% paved, otherwise on mountain paths
      21. Ceselli to Arrone — 10% paved, otherwise gravel roads
      22. Arrone to Piediluco — 80% paved, one stretch on the highway
      23. Piediluco to Poggio Bustone — 75% paved, all rural roads, some back country
      24. Poggio Bustone to Rieti — 80% paved, rural roads
      25. Rieti to Poggio San Lorenzo — 75% paved, all rural roads
      26. Poggio San Lorenzo to Ponticelli — 75% paved, all rural roads
      27. Ponticelli to Monterotondo — 95% paved, mostly rural roads
      28. Monterotondo to Monte Sacro — 95% paved, part on rural roads, part on suburban sidewalks
      29. Montesacro to Vaticano — 100% paved, mostly on bike path
      • Thanks for going to all that trouble breaking it down per stage Sandy! Much appreciated.

        Yikes, that is ALOT of road/pavement walking alright! I’ve been getting away from those types of trails preferring to stick to more natural trails where possible. I’m quite surprised by how much of it is paved/road… didn’t really expect that. How did you find it on the legs/knees/feet when you did it?

      • In my experience this % of pavement is rather common on pilgrimage walks. Since pilgrimage walking relies on hostels or hotels, while wilderness hiking is usually in tents, that means that every day starts and ends in a city, town or village. So a wilderness hike like the Appalachian trail is much more remote and may be a better choice for you. Pavement is hard on the feet, as you imply, but IMHO that is part of the cost of walking a grand pilgrimage like this. For instance, there is no dirt path within many miles of the Vatican.

        Also, a dirt trail is no fun after a few days of rain. I’ve sometimes chosen longer distances on pavement on various routes rather than wade through mud on a shortcut path.

        Best way to compare this route is that it is comparable to the Camino del Norte in Spain. Fair amount of pavement, punctuated by gorgeous vistas.

      • Hi – yes its more common on Spanish caminos alright (I’ve done the Camino Frances and Camino Fisterre). Found it less so in France (Le Puy Route) particulary the first 340km of that camino. I don’t mind some pavement or road as its to be expected when approaching or leaving towns or villages as you say. So long as I don’t feel like I’m walking on it the majority of the time I’m happy enough (or at least my knees are!) 🙂 I expect the views and vistas are worth it in this case at any rate!

  7. Sandy, I have been searching for info about Camino de Assissi and to Rome, your book is timely. Thank you so much! I bought the eBook, read it and I am going next June. I did have a hard time loading your GPS files, but finally is on ViewRanger now. I was wondering why it is on Opencycle map, not to Open hike map, also if I keep GPS on data off, or in an area without data, can I still see detailed maps? Does this app use lots of battery?

    Is it a way to load this on GAYA GPS app? Are you going to develop an app with lodging and weather info etc. like some recent app for Camino de Frances? When I did my Camino, I had no smart phone, no GPS, however, the marking for this route seems a bit complicated than that. How do you feel about the road signs?

    Looking forward to read more posts. Thanks again for making this great route doable.

    • Hi Esther ~ You’ll have to consult ViewRanger’s documentation to see whether you can turn off your phone’s data or not. With a base map installed I believe you can, but I’m not an expert on that app. I chose OpenCycle Maps because their trail maps are quite explicit for this region of Italy and they’re practically free. I’ve not tried Open Hike Maps, but from what I can see it is not as robust or well-maintained as Open Cycle. Not sure about GAYA, sorry. At this point the GPS is a worthy backup to signage and my very explicit instructions. I believe you can do it without GPS if you keep my book in hand and follow it in precise detail. Hope this helps.

      • Thank you so much for you speedy reply. Now I do not need to worry about getting lost, but focusing on training.

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