I’ve lately fielded several requests from people about how to secure a pilgrim’s credential for the Via di Francesco. Although I give pretty specific instructions in the guidebook, The Way of St Francis: From Florence to Assisi and Rome, the process has changed slightly and it requires a little Italian and some computer skill to get it just right.
First, what is a credential? Experienced pilgrims (and few others) know that a credential is a pilgrim passport that identifies the pilgrim, allows them to stay overnight in pilgrim-only accommodations, and, if they meet the criteria, to receive a completion certificate at the end of their walk. The pilgrim secures a stamp (tinbro) at or before the start of their walk and then has it stamped each evening at their place of lodging — one stamp per overnight as proof of having walked the previous day.
What credential do we recommend for the Way of St. Francis? There are three main routes to and around Assisi (we won’t go into details here), but the credential of the Via di Francesco is the only one that is officially approved by the Region of Umbria, the Conference of Umbrian Bishops and the Franciscan Family of Orders at Assisi. It’s also the biggest and prettiest, which means a lot since you’ll be lugging it around everywhere you go and it’ll be a keepsake from the walk. So for those and other reasons, this is the best option for walkers along the Way of St Francis.
You should know, too, that your completed Via di Francesco credential qualifies you for a completion certificate — a testimonium — in Assisi or in Rome. A lovely memento of your walk. I should say too that we’re working to make this process much easier. Credentials will be available in Florence soon, but the wheels of change move slowly in Italy!
So, how do you get it now? Here are the easy steps to follow:
- Start about two months in advance of your walk. Download the Request Form either right here (RichiestaDellaCredenziale-) .
- Print it out — one form per person.
- Fill in the form(s). If you’re not an Italian speaker this is where the trouble begins. To help, I’ve created this handy translation of the form below (English in red). I recommend writing your mailing info in the upper left corner in the exact form that will satisfy your country’s postal service.
- Fill in the form(s). If you’re not an Italian speaker this is where the trouble begins. To help, I’ve created this handy translation of the form at the right (English in red). Don’t forget to add your country and postal code since they’ll need all your mailing info.
- Once you’ve filled in the form(s), scan it on your scanner (or take it to FedEx/Kinko’s where they’ll put it on your thumb drive for you.
- Email the scanned form(s) to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to write your email in English, no problem. Every week the kind folks there answer emails like this, enroll pilgrims on the official pilgrim register, and send pilgrims all around the world their credentials for free. It’s a beautiful thing.
- If you would like to make a donation, the kind folk on the other end of your email will tell you how to transfer funds to their donation account. To initiate that, just write something like, “Can you send me information about how to make a donation to cover the cost of my credential?” They’ll send your their bank transfer numbers, which for security reasons I won’t post here. FYI this is commonly done in the EU and UK, but is rather expensive for people in the US or Australia.
- Your credential will arrive in the mail in about 6-7 weeks. The camino overseers there will move Heaven and Earth if necessary to get you your credential in time for your walk.
Also, you can simply pick it up at the pilgrim office in Assisi, if that’s where you’re beginning your walk.
That’s it! I hope this is helpful. Below are some photos of testimonia I received in Assisi and in Rome. Buon cammino!
Thank you so much for this – perfect timing!
wow! Perfect timing! Thank you so much Sandy.
I sent for my credential. They sent me the information to make a wire transfer for a donation to cover the postage.
My bank charges $60 to do a wire transfer internationally!!!
I considered simply mailing some money but Alaska where I live, has no way to exchange foreign currency!
I have 10 one euro coins and might pop them into an envelope out of desperation if the sanctuary folks reply to my request for their mailing address.
I thought I’d share this frustrating little experience for everyone for your entertainment. I’m hoping I can make a donation directly to them when I arrive in Italy.
Caren della Cioppa Palmer, Alaska
Sent from my iPhone
We’re about to leave, we will do a two-week journey. We’re looking for some information to organize the travel, where to sleep (b&b exclusively) and others few awards.
We found this strange journey, called “Protomartiri” on umbriafrancescosways
What does it means?
Thanks in advance.
It’s “first martyrs” and it travels among the towns of martyred Franciscans.
is there is a credential to get in florence ,thats where Iam going to start my walk, please let me know where to get it in florence.Thank u ,Dee.
Nope, I’m sorry. There’s at present no place to pick up a credential in Florence. However, we’re working on it. Perhaps by this summer!
TransferWise.com can send small amounts of money for about $10 US.
Sandy, are credentials available in Florence yet by any chance?
Not yet, but soon we hope. Perhaps by September.
I am the most nervous about traveling from the Florence (FLR) airport to Santuario della Verna. Does anyone here have a good recommendation? Thanks in advance, Iva
To me the easiest way is to take the VolaInBus from the airport to the Santa Maria Novella train station in central Florence. From there you catch the train to Arezzo. At Arezzo you transfer to the local line to Bibbiena. From Bibbiena it’s a bus to La Verna. It’s also possible to take the bus directly from Florence bus station to La Verna, but to me it’s less interesting and enjoyable than the train (and I believe the train is quicker).
My husband and I have arrived in Florence and intend to commence our Camino tomorrow; where in the city can we get our credentials stamped?
Your hotel will have a stamp. It’s late now to go to Santa Croce, and they don’t open tomorrow until 9:30 or 10:00.
Many Thanks Sandy,
Your book is a real mine of information. Thanks to you,
With my wife, we will begin the way of Saint Francis on next April 26th.
We have already done the French part of Santiago de Compostela. We would like to know if there is an equivalent of “La Malle Postale” to carry one baggage stage to stage.
Thank you for your reply.
Receive our greetings
Robert et Josette TRISTAN