As The Way of St Francis: From Florence to Assisi and Rome enters the heart of its inaugural pilgrimage walking season it’s been an exercise in joy (and a little worry) to watch pilgrims from all over the world use this new resource as they make their way on the Via di Francesco in Italy. On our Facebook group — which has become a gathering place for over 400 pilgrims to share questions and stories about their present, past and future pilgrimage adventures — I’ve enjoyed celebrating pilgrim achievements and wincing at the occasional pitfall. What I’ve learned is that the trail is ever-changing due to weather and human-made changes, that it’s vitally important for pilgrims to follow the directions (!) and that pilgrim guidebooks are a group effort. The book really benefits from pilgrims’ actual experiences and I’ve taken many suggestions to heart in the new update I’ve prepared. So, make sure to follow the directions — and then send me your suggested book updates.
If you’re planning to walk in 2016, please download and use this update. The update will also soon be available on the book’s Cicerone page. Here you go:
Highlights of the update:
- Credential and testimonium — important new information about how to receive these.
- Additional directions for Pieve Santo Stefano to Sansepolcro — a logging operation has obscured the path and pilgrims have reported difficulty in the 500m after the Euro Hotel. These new directions should reduce confusion.
- Lodging updates throughout.
Now for the important news. We have learned from pilgrim stewards in Umbria the very good news that this year the Via di Francesco route in Umbria will be combined with the route of Di Qui Passo San Francesco (sometimes known as “Angela’s Route”). This means that the large blue/yellow signs for the Via di Francesco and the painted yellow “Tau” signs for Di Qui Passo will be replaced with new way mark signs all throughout Umbria. In most cases the routes are already identical, but in some cases the two routes have diverged. Most importantly, the “Challenging Route” on Mount Subasio between Assisi and Spello will be replaced with Angela’s route. The “easy route” remains the same. Also, our guidebook’s route on the bike path between Trevi and Spoleto will become a formal, way marked, option for pilgrims who want to save a day and don’t mind missing Poreta. After Spoleto, the Via di Francesco route, which our guidebook follows, becomes the sole route and Angela’s route will be mothballed. We will post updates on the revised, combined route as we receive them from Umbria. It’s outstanding news that these routes will be combined. The fact that Italian pilgrim stewards are becoming more united in their trail markings is great news for pilgrims from all nations.
Those updates are precious, Sandy, Thank you for your immensely valuable efforts to make life easier for those who plan to experience the Way of St Francis.
My friends and I (4 total) plan to start walking from Florence on Sept. 11. To Pontassieve, as per the book. Would you recommend that we get reservations NOW in Pontassieve and maybe Consuma also? I’m guessing that there are lots of wine tourists running around in September and this isn’t the camino with Albergues everywhere.
Thanks in advance, Randy Selig
It wouldn’t hurt at all to make your reservations now. I’d say go for it. Buon cammino, Randy!
Thanks so much for your prompt reply, like we were in the same timezone! Making reservations now. Corvallis, OR
My wife and I are traveling to Florence on Oct 1 to begin the trek and we are very excited! Has there been any news from fellow pilgrims on the Via di Francesco concerning recent walking conditions or changes to your June 2016 update to your book that we should be aware of?
Also, how was the quality of cell coverage through the trip when you went?
Hi Mark! Congrats on your upcoming walk. I do have some minor edits to the June 2016 update. Nothing major. A couple of things to note for your walk: 1) There’s been some logging in the forest before Consuma, so watch your GPS closely, 2) footing is a little dicey just after the Euro Hotel (between Pieve Santo Stefano and Sansepolcro) so watch your step, 3) The Ponte delle Torri bridge from Spoleto is currently closed for earthquake inspection. Check for its current status before you plan to walk across it to Monteluco, Ceselli and beyond. Those are the main updates; the rest are about accommodation options. If you’re planning on using hostels I have a couple of additional notes. Buon cammino!
Thank you for your reply – good to know! Also, I just read about your advice regarding Casa Santicchio and am thinking that is a good option based on the degree of difficulty for that stage. I will definitely inquire about availability.
Also, regarding my other inquiry about GPS availability, I learned that iPhones do indeed have stand alone GPS capabilities and successfully tested it using the MotionX app while the iPhone was in airplane mode.
Yes and no. After IOS 8.0 Airplane Mode also turns off the GPS function. So rather than going to Airplane Mode you should instead turn off Cellular Data and/or Data Roaming.
Any new updates since June 2016 please? Via di Francesco route now combined with’Angela’s’ route, so what do the replaced signs look like? Many thanks for your valuable updates
Hi Moira ~ Thanks for you note. I’m preparing an update which will be posted in a month or so on the book’s page within the Cicerone website. I’ll let you know when it’s ready. It includes some very extensive updates and will be an important help for anyone walking this year. Meantime, though I don’t have a photo of the new signs, I understand they are rectangular and white, with blue and yellow stripes on the side. They’ll give distance info as well as directions. Hope this helps. Ciao!
Hi Sandy, I have the updates June 2016, I cannot find the extensive ones you mentioned you were preparing for March 2017. I leave on the 25th April so would really appreciate any updates . Thank you for the accomodation updates, they will be most useful.
Hi Moira ~ I’ll ask the publisher to let us know when the updates will appear online. They promised that the new pages will be available on their site. Will let you know – SB
We wish you were here. We have been on the trail two days from Assisi to Trevi using your book. We got lost both days. I am heartened by your update because it seems after Spoleto we can follow the yellow/blue markings. Wish us luck. Also if you can provide some insight where to download the GPS. I could not find it on the Cicerone site.
Hi Jane! Sorry to hear you’re getting lost between Assisi and Trevi. Those stages have some of the best way marks, so it sounds like GPS will be best for you. I have instructions for downloading the GPS tracks here on this site at https://caminoist.org/2014/08/24/vsf-gpxtracks/ also I’ve put a post together for how to put them onto your phone. It’s not super easy without a laptop or desktop. https://caminoist.org/2016/03/09/an-incredibly-detailed-guide-on-how-to-set-up-and-use-your-gps-on-the-via-di-francesco/ Please email if you need any additional help, or join our Way of St Francis Facebook group to ask other pilgrims. https://www.facebook.com/groups/wayofstfrancis/ Buon cammino!
Sandy, have the GPS tracks been changed since your book first came out? We walked your route in 2015 and the GPS tracks (and your book) were fantastic but I don’t know if you have posted any new tracks.
Hi Karl- Yes, there are a few updates to the tracks. The GPS updates are available on the Cicerone site.
Thanks, Sandy. I’ll download the latest ones. Your book, and your GPS tracks, made for a really great walk last time. We start again on about September 4th.
Wonderful. The book has gone into second printing so make sure you have the most current version before you start. I’ll be walking from Florence starting Sept 3 so maybe will see you. Buon cammino!
Oh, I didn’t know there was a second printing. Congratulations! Will get the latest version right away. Thanks for mentioning this. We are actually starting in Dovadola and following the Cammino di Assisi at first, joining your path after a few days. Would love to see you after all the help you gave us in 2015 and now.
Is the second printing available in Kindle format? I see on Amazon that the paperback book is now showing a publication date of 2016 but the Kindle edition still shows 2015 (the original publication date).
That’s a very good question. I’ll have to ask the publisher. The second printing publishing date is 2017.
You can email me at revsandybrown at gmail dot com. Wishing you the very best!
Thanks for your prompt reply. We had a better day today. I did not have good enough internet to download the wAypoints but just having GPS was a big help. We wanted to walk up to Monteluca today to make our hard day easier but the Aquaduct passage is blocked. There is a 4 km walk-around. We’ll tackle that tomorrow.
It is my understanding we can pretty much follow the yellow/blue signs from here on out.
Oh, also the hotel Aurora is closed for cleaning and renovation.
I’m finding myself wishing you were in our Way of St Francis Facebook group. Updates like these are constantly shared there. Also check my accommodation listing on this site for the very latest accommodations openings and closures. Buon cammino!
I do not use Facebook sorry
Oh, darn. That’s too bad!