With the updates in the second printing of the Way of St Francis: From Florence to Assisi and Rome there are many who are left with the original printing who don’t have the second printing updates. Here’s a post that fixes that, sharing the most important updates between the first and second printing. This update is also available in PDF form here Way of St Francis Updates-2017a.
The Modern Way of St Francis
- The Di Qui Passo San Francesco has recently merged with the Via di Francesco and has been retired as an official route. However, some markings still remain on the trail.
- Perugia/Assisi/San Francesco Airport (PEG) – Now serves London (Stansted), Catania, Bucharest, Tirana, Trapani, Brussels (Charleroi) and Munich.
- Train – Train service is also available at Marmore (Stage 21).
Pilgrim credential and testimonium
- Delete former credential instructions – Go to the website: http://www.piccolaccoglienzagubbio.it and download the credential application form. Fill it out and either send the completed form via email to email@example.com or by mail to:
Piccola Accoglienza Gubbio
via Baldassini 22
06024 Gubbio PG, Italia.
This wonderful service is run by volunteers, who send credentials out each week. Make sure to show your address exactly as it should appear to be correctly mailed by your national postal service. Allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.
It is also possible to secure a credential in person at the Pilgrim Office adjacent to the Lower Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi. By the time of publication credentials should be available at St James Episcopal Church in Florence (Via Rucellai 9, 055 294417).
- Minimum mileage – 100km is the minimum walking distance required to receive a testimonium in Assisi or Rome.
Maps, GPS and Waymarking
- Delete OpenCycleMaps download – Open Street Maps can easily be downloaded into excellent hiking apps like Galileo Pro on your smartphone. When shopping for a GPS app, make sure to find one that allows downloadable maps so that it is not necessary to be connected to a cell service while hiking.
- Hostels – Pilgrim hostels usually offer blankets and pillows. Plan to bring a sleeping bag liner and hiking towel since linens are rarely offered.
Business Hours and the Riposo
- Riposo – In small towns and villages this can make it a challenge to find groceries on Sunday mornings, so be certain to plan ahead.
When to Go
- Climate – July 1 through August 15 are historically the hottest weeks of the year and are best avoided unless you’re ready for very hot temperatures.
(New Section) Water Fountains
- Only occasionally are there water fountains in the middle of a stage and when there are, they are seldom marked for drinkability. Our maps show locations of water fountains that are confirmed as potable, but carrying a 2-liter water supply in fall and spring and a 3-liter supply in the summer is recommended.
- The often steep hills will challenge anyone who hasn’t trained adequately in advance, though most anyone will find themselves stronger and more fit after walking several days.
- Basilica Santa Croce – Cost of admission to Basilica Santa Croce is now € The credential stamp of the Basilica Santa Croce is available at the Franciscan bookshop inside the basilica, just off the right side of the nave near the sacristy. The basilica opens at 10:00 each day and is sometimes closed for holidays.
Stage 1 – Florence to Pontassieve
- Online booking for Ostello Villa Camerata is now at http://www.ostellofirenze.it.
- Toscani da Sempre no longer offers breakfast.
Stage 2 – Pontassieve to Consuma
- Difficulty – Replace “Moderate” with “Hard.”
- Forest logging – Use of GPS is important in this section due to recent logging on the forest trails.
- Consuma – Cammere Carletti has new contact information: http://www.affitticonsuma.it, tel 346 7916151, firstname.lastname@example.org, €30 per person, including breakfast. The rooms are about 0.5 km from the heart of town and Irina or another staff member will happily drive tired pilgrims. The kitchens are not available for pilgrim use, but the restaurant serves an ample menu.
- Corrected info – Email for Hotel Miramonti is email@example.com. 45/65 Euro price includes breakfast. Dinner and sack lunch are available.
Stage 3 – Consuma to Stia
- Difficulty – Replace “Hard” with “Moderate.”
- Stia – The new phone number for Albergo Falterona is 0575 583545.
Stage 4 – Stia to Camaldoli
- Variant – Watch out for the variant at SP 72 that directs you to Camaldoli Monastery. This variant missed a visit to the Camaldoli Hermitage.
Stage 6 – Badia Prataglia to Santuario della Verna
- Santicchio – An overnight at the Mountain Retreat Casa Santicchio (www.santicchio.org, tel. 0575 1787586, firstname.lastname@example.org, 40-55€ includes sheets, towels, breakfast and dinner. Wine extra.), allows the option of shortening this stage by lengthening the prior very short stage from Camaldoli and walking through Badia Prataglia to Santicchio. After Frassineta and just 100m before the summit at Poggio della Forca turn right on 070A instead of turning left to Rimbocchi. Follow the path about 700m to Casa Santicchio.
- Santuario della Verna – Twelve beds are available in the pilgrim dormitory at Santuario della Verna. The beds are by donation, but a cost of €25 covers dinner and breakfast. Ask at the reception desk for towels and linens.
Stage 7 – Santuario della Verna to Pieve Santo Stefano
- Additional lodging option — Check also Camping La Civetta (Via la Civetta 11, 338 4689145, email@example.com) with its beds in bungalows and tents. Linens available. Cooking possible, breakfast by request.
Stage 8 – Pieve Santo Stefano to Sansepolcro
- Trail 22 behind the Euro Hotel – A logging operation in late 2014 has almost completely obscured the trail, which now requires great caution by hikers. Follow the trail from behind the hotel as marked and traverse the hillside with the river below. Carefully continue 450m after the hotel, through the logged area, until after 30m after the logged area ends. Here, take an uphill path to the right. In just 100m you come to the gravel road and turn left. If you need to climb a steep and slippery bank you’ve gone the wrong way.
- Montecasale – While this guide recommends an alternate path rather than the more difficult, official route from Pieve Santo Stefano to Sansepolcro, the official route is definitely an option. Follow the main road south out of Pieve Santo Stefano (with the freeway on your right) and follow the signs to a left turn. This leads to a lovely series of paths that take you to Cerbaiolo and, after about 25km, to the ample accommodation at the Eremo Montecasale. This key Franciscan site on the official route receives over 5000 pilgrims each year. The hostel closed in late 2016, so there is currently no overnight option in Montecasale.
- Important sightseeing tip – The town’s Palazzo della Residenza (via Aggiunti 65, http://www.museocivicosansepolcro.it, contains one of the great frescoes of the Renaissance, Resurrection by Piero della Francesca, painted in the 1460’s.
- Sansepolcro – A new pilgrim hostel, Accoglienza a Sansepolcro, welcomes guests at Il Convento dell Suore Olivetane (Via Ricci, 339 6856139, firstname.lastname@example.org, €15, by reservation only)
Stage 9 – Sansepolcro to Citerna
- Additional Citerna lodging – Agriturismo Draghi is located 3km away in Monterchi, but can pick up pilgrims with in Citerna. Corrected phone is Agriturismo Draghi is 339 3959147 With a true pilgrim welcome is Tao B&B (Loacalità le Pietre 97, 331 7431965, email@example.com, €20/30, 2km from Citerna but 100m off the trail).
Stage 10 – Citerna to Citta di Castello
- Le Burgne corrected contact info – 329 0192923, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lerchi – Please note the dangers involved if you choose to take the road from Lerchi directly into Città di Castello. Cars travel at better than 70 km/hr in this section and there is no sidewalk or path on either side of the road most of the way. If the day has been too long, the bus is a much safer choice.
- Lodging addition – Santa Cecilia monastery of the Clarisse sisters has rooms by donation (Via della Fraternita 1, 075 8553066, email@example.com).
Stage 11 – Citta di Castello to Pietralunga
- Candeggio contact info – firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost is 15 Euros per person with 10 Euro dinner available.
- Pieve di Saddi – Contact info change: phone is 329 5620677
- Il Pioppa Casa – Provides dinner upon request.
Stage 12 – Pietralunga to Gubbio
- Loreto – Hostel available (Loreto parish hostel, Località Loreto, 346 0899676, email@example.com. Donation. Kitchen available.)
- Gubbio – Admission to the Palazzo dei Consoli museum is €
- Gubbio – The correct email address of the Convento di San Secondo is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Gubbio – If you have additional time in Gubbio, the local diocese has created a 90-minute mini-camino inside the city that has a credential, completion certificate and free Tau cross at the conclusion. The walk takes you from San Vittorina (the wolf church) up to the top of the hill at the Basilica di San Ubaldo. For more information or to order online go to http://www.fratellolupogubbio.it or simply pick up the booklet at the Tourist Information Office (car park cash desk) on Via della Repubblica near the San Francesco church.
- Gubbio accommodation – Gubbio is served by the pilgrim accommodation line (tel 366 1118386 email@example.com) whose volunteers send out Via di Francesco credentials and also help pilgrims find lodging in Gubbio. There are no fewer than nine parochial hostels that offer pilgrim lodging, including Instituto Maestre Pier Filippini (Corso Garibaldi 100, tel 075 9273768, firstname.lastname@example.org, donation), Convento di Sant’Ubaldo (Via Monte Ingino 5, tel 075 9273872, email@example.com, Donation) and Convento di San Secondo (Via Madonna del Ponte 4, tel 075 9273869). Among the hotel options are Grotta dell’Angelo Hotel (Via Gioia 47, tel 075 9271747, firstname.lastname@example.org, from €36/52 plus €6 for breakfast), Hotel Gattapone (Via Beni 11, tel 075 9272489, email@example.com, €50/60), just off Piazza San Giovanni. Look also for Residenza di via Dante (Via Dante 32, tel 075 7772674, firstname.lastname@example.org, €25/80.
Stage 13 – Gubbio to Biscina
- New accommodation option before Tenuta di Biscina – The hermit at San Pietro in Vigneto is gone and in his place at the 15th century hermitage is a pilgrim hostel (email@example.com, kitchen available, no food, please make a donation to help out this new pilgrim ministry).
- Agriturismo Sosta San Francesco – Is two km off the trail on the main Gubbio/Assisi highway.
Stage 14 – Biscina to Valfabbrica
- Entry to Valfabbrica: Though it is not called out on the map and not mentioned in the directions you will walk under a significant landmark — new highway bridge — as you enter Valfabbrica, just before crossing over the Chiascio River bridge.
Stage 15 – Valfabbrica to Assisi
- Assisi – The annual Marcia della Pace (Peace Walk) occurs in the last week of September, culminating on 4 October for the Festa di San Francesco. Assisi bustles with noisy tourists and pilgrims during the festivities and hotel reservations are scarce. If you travel in late September or early October be certain to book your lodging well in advance since St. Francis day each 4 October bustles with pilgrims.
- Pilgrim office information – The pilgrim office is open in the summer from 10:00 – 1:00 and 3:30 – 5:30, depending on volunteer schedules. The Pilgrim Mass takes place each evening at 6:00 and includes prayers for those who have registered as leaving or arriving at the pilgrim office in Assisi.
- Assisi Pilgrim Hostel – Is located at Via degli Episcopi 1, 3450 343171, http://www.confraternitadisanjacopo.it, by donation, open April through October)
- Additional Assisi Accommodation – American Rebecca Winke welcomes pilgrims at her Brigolante Guest Apartments (Vicolo della Fortezza 2A, tel 331 2222349, firstname.lastname@example.org, €75/90 for 1-4 guests).
Stage 16 – Assisi to Spello
- Additional accommodations – In Urbe apartments (Via Giulia 97, 0742 301145, email@example.com, €75 double), Franciscan missionary sisters at Convento Piccolo San Damiano (Via Fonte Vecchia 22 tel 0742 651182).
- Email for Monastero di Santa Chiara is firstname.lastname@example.org and phone is 0742 78613.
- Delete — Hotel del Prato Paolucci
- Corrected contact information – Convento Santa maria Maddalena is tel0742 302259, address is Via Cavour 1.
Stage 17 – Spello to Trevi
- Foligno – Additional accommodation option is Afittacamere Rosella (Via Giuseppe Garibaldi 123, tel 740 72340, €15, kitchen available).
- Additional accommodation in Trevi — La Casareccia pizzeria has rooms in the summer (tel 0742-780994, closed Mondays), and in the Piazza del Municipio the Residence Sant’Emiliano has double and triple rooms. Ask for pilgrim prices (email@example.com, tel 348 2285443).
Stage 18 – Trevi to Spoleto
- Correction: Delete the following sentence in this paragraph is incorrect so please ignore the direction to turn left: ‘At the peach-colored house in 300m, follow the road downhill and to the right in the direction of the Spoleto road sign. At the next fork, turn left. Soon the road comes to another fork, with yellow arrows pointing downhill onto the Via Don Sturzo. Instead, turn left in the direction of the cafe/bar.’
- Detour due to ongoing construction – Since construction south of Fonti del Clitunno is ongoing it is safer for pilgrims to plan to detour earlier to the bicycle path. There are two options for getting to the bike path, the second of which allows a stop at the beautiful Fonti del Clitunno (and its services).
- First alternative for reaching the bicycle path – After this paragraph: ‘At the peach-colored house…. ’ follow these directions: “Follow the road in front of the café/bar straight as it gradually leads downhill. Stay on this road, the Via Corciano, without deviation past the iron cross, with the stone wall on your left side, until it ends at the bottom of the hill in about 1.1km. The road ends at short wall at a T-junction with a busier road below. Go right to get around the low wall and then make an immediate left onto this two-lane arterial road. In just 50m is a road turning off to the right. Follow this road downhill, noting the bike path marked on the right. Continue on this road over the two highway bridges and a third bridge with a stone wall on the left. Immediately after the third bridge turn left onto the Assisi-Spoleto bike path, which you will follow all the way to the outskirts of Spoleto.”
- Second alternative for reaching the bike path: A little further on, after these directions: “Go straight ahead on the wide shoulder of Viale Settecamini until Il Camminetto Ristorante, where a bike path commences on the left side of the road” follow these directions: “Look for the traffic light after the restaurant with signs pointing right to Rome, Terni and Spoleto. Turn right onto this road and carefully walk along the shoulder. Cross a railroad bridge and go around the roundabout, which crosses over the freeway, then continue across the Marroggia Creek on a third bridge. Immediately after this third bridge, turn left onto the paved bike path, which you follow to the outskirts of Spoleto.”
- Revised entry to Spoleto from the bike path – This new information removes the last hazardous stretch from the highway (and replaces the text in the guide from ‘Turn off the bike path’ to ‘on Via Flaminia.’
- Cross the bridge to continue on the bike path. In 1.7km the path crosses the canal next to an auto bridge and then circles back under the bridge to continue on the right side of the canal. In about 1.2km the path ends at the Bici Grill restaurant (closed Mondays). Go through the parking lot and pick up a continuation of the bike path, now painted red/orange asphalt. The path follows under the freeway overpass, crosses the road and continues between concrete curbs on the opposite side. In 100m when the path branches to the right and left pick up the left branch next to the wall and follow that branch as it hugs the wall, passing sports fields on the right. Curve right with the path onto Via Lorenzo Betti and in about two blocks veer left onto the main arterial, the Via del Risorgimento. In one block, turn left, leaving the suburb of San Nicolo and entering Spoleto proper and in just one half block turn right onto Via Giordano Bruno, catching sidewalks where they are available for the next three blocks. At the end of the street, veer toward the left onto the Via dei Filosofi, and follow it as it crosses the Via dei Mestieri at a roundabout and gradually heads back alongside the canal. For the next 400m the road follows the canal with an ample sidewalk on the left. Across are a series of shopping centers, including two supermarkets and a pharmacy. Just after the EuroSpin Supermarket the car road divides. Follow the direction of the cars going ahead toward town onto a narrow, two lane, one-way street. Go straight toward the low, church tower and in one long block turn left. Walk two blocks and turn right, entering the city gates of Spoleto at Piazza Garibaldi.
- New GPX track – Please make certain to download and use the revised GPX track entitled “18.TrevitoSpoleto2015”
- Spoleto lodging – Hotel Aurora is closed. B&B Villa Massaccesi (Via XVII Settembre 11, tel 0743 48015, firstname.lastname@example.org) offers a 10% pilgrim discount and use of the kitchen. Check for pilgrim prices at the Casa Religiosa di Ospitalita San Ponziano (via della Basilica di San Salvatore 2, tel 0743 225288, email@example.com. http://www.sanponziano.it) and at Ostello Villa Redenta (Via di Villa Redenta 1, tel 0743 224936, firstname.lastname@example.org, €20/40).
Stage 19 – Spoleto to Ceselli
- Closure of Ponte delli Torre Bridge – (Note: The bridge was temporarily closed on 25 August 2016 for seismic studies. Check with the Tourist Office to confirm the bridge will be open the day of your walk. If it is closed, walk around to the opposite side via historic Basilica San Pietro.)
- Casa Vacanze Il Ruscello – New phone number is 340 2296792. Pilgrims indicate the use of kitchen is no longer allowed.
- Ceselli hostel contact – Lina at 339 2428928 or Catia at 333 8430385.
Stage 21 – Arrone to Piediluco
- Cascata delle Marmore – Please note the recommended but unmarked lower entry to Marmore Falls which removes the need to climb back down inside the park to get to the bottom of the falls. (Take the unmarked part just after the green gate and follow it to the right. Cross a field and parking lot to reach the lower ticket office)
- Lodging at Cascata delle Marmore – Lodging available at Il Casolare della Cascata, SS Valnerina 209 tel 0744 62362, email@example.com, €25 per person
- New Entry to Piediluco – Thanks to guardians of the Via di Francesco a new route between Marmore and Piediluco limits the amount of time on the highway to only 350m (replaces the text from ‘For the next half hour’ to ‘the long, narrow town.’)
- Carefully follow the main highway toward the left and, in about 350m, turn left after a white stucco and stone house onto a broken asphalt road that leads slowly uphill. Following the signs, in 300m turn right at a fork onto a two track, white gravel driveway which you follow until it ends at a gate marked “27 Via Ponte del Prato.” Now turn right onto a dirt road and immediately take the fork to the right. The track quickly narrows to a footpath and begins to climb more steeply until the trail ends at a gravel road. Turn right and immediately come to complex intersection of roads and paths. Looking to your left, take the dirt track that is just to the right of the two power poles. This pleasant path undulates gradually upward, and views of Piediluco and its lake soon open to the right. Soon you come to the red brick and concrete walls of the town’s cemetery. Turn right at the end of the cemetery wall, crossing through trees, and go left on the asphalt road. Follow this road downward and toward to the right as it becomes the Via del Rio Cervaro. At the bottom of the hill turn right and go under the highway bridge, following the road. Walk around a field, past a wastewater treatment plant, football field and parking lot and at the stop sign turn left onto the main road of the long, narrow town of Piediluco.
- New GPX track – Make certain to download and use the GPX track for this stage labeled “21.ArronetoPiediluco2015.”
Stage 22 – Piediluco to Poggio Bustone
- Labro – New accommodation right in charming Labro is available at Albergo Diffuso Crispolti (www.albergodiffusocrispolti.com, Via Vittorio Emanuele 16, tel 0746 636135, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Add the italicized words to the section after Labro – “Continue 400m beyond the bar to the Carabinieri and come to a fork in the asphalt road. Take the footpath in the middle of the fork going uphill. A steep climb now begins. Turn right at the fork in 300m, right again onto the asphalt road with a fence, and soon turn right again onto an asphalt road that you follow for the next 400m. Watch for a waymark that directs you left off the asphalt road onto a gravel road going steeply uphill.”
- New approach to Poggio Bustone – In order to add detail to the entry to Poggio Bustone, here is a fuller route description (replacing the text from “Soon the CAI markers’ to ‘Municipio of Poggio Bustone.’)
- Soon the CAI markers suggest turning off the road onto a narrow path. Do not take the path, which leads only onto an overgrown and impassable trail: instead stay on the road and follow it as it merges with the Via della Casetta, a paved road that joins from the left. Continue downhill 800m to the stop sign, which is at the Via Francescana. While a left turn takes you directly to the Franciscan Sanctuary above town, turn right and then immediately take a left onto Via San Marco to reach the heart of the village. Now in Poggio Bustone proper, follow the broken asphalt among closely spaced houses downhill. At the dark stone pavers, make a hard right, continuing steeply downhill. The road curves to the left, then makes a hard left. Make a hard right toward the yellow building, stepping onto a broken asphalt road with the yellow building on your left. Just after the building you see it houses the town’s pharmacy, just opposite the main square. Go left toward the overlook and, if you are staying at Locanda Francescana, look for its restaurant – Restaurant Francescana – several doors downhill to the right.
- New GPX track – Be certain to use and download the revised GPX track labeled “22.PiedilucotoPoggioBustone2015.”
- New Poggio Bustone Accommodation – At the bottom of the village, Hotel Villa Tizzi (Via Villa Tizzi 4, 0746 688956, email@example.com, €50/70 includes breakfast) has beautiful views of the valley.
Stage 23 – Poggio Bustone to Rieti
- La Foresta accommodation – (The sanctuary has five bedrooms for pilgrims tel 0746 200727 by donation. Delete prior contact info. At 500m after the gates is Le Querce di Tara, via Foresta 37, 348 4273023 firstname.lastname@example.org, €15 per person).
- Rieti – B&B La Terrazza Fiorita is in the heart of Rieti and its owner, Ritta, knows the Via di Francesco, Via di Roma and Rieti very well (ViaPellicceria 3, tel 347 7279591, email@example.com , €25, breakfast by request). Centro Spiritualità Madre Cabrini offers rooms (Via S Francesca Cabrini 5, tel 746200727, firstname.lastname@example.org, pilgrim prices).
Stage 24 – Rieti to Poggio San Lorenzo
- Poggio San Lorenzo – Additional accommodation at Collina Sacro Cuore. When turning off the path onto the final stretch of asphalt before Poggio San Lorenzo, turn left and follow the signs of the Via di Roma. After about 300m toward the town of Torricella in Sabina you reach the modern convent building of the sisters of the Order of Ancelle Sacro Cuore di Gesu who have who may have beds available (Loc. Faloni, tel 765 735017, email@example.com, €40 incl breakfast and dinner. By reservation only).
- Poggio San Lorenzo – A new accommodation, La Casa del Pellegrino, is now available in the heart of Poggio San Lorenzo (www.casadelpellegrino-psl.eu, tel 3401 619680, firstname.lastname@example.org, €20 incl breakfast, washing machine available).
- New stage ending – is now at Poggio San Lorenzo Piazza rather than Agriturismo Santa Giusta.
Stage 25 – Poggio San Lorenzo to Ponticelli
- Revision to Notes – Strikeout former paragraph and replace with “Rolling hills with steep but brief ascents make this a deceptively challenging stage.”
- New accommodation in Monteleone – (B&B Santa Vittoria (Via Mutuesca 181, tel 347 5988875, email@example.com)
- Ponticelli – A new agriturismo offers accommodation just before Ponticelli. Giuseppe welcomes you at Casale delle Stelle (Via XX Settembre 16, http://www.casaledellestelle.it, 3382 261916, firstname.lastname@example.org, from €59 for a double room. Breakfast, dinner and laundry are available).
- Additional phone number for Ponticelli hostel – call Daniela at 347 3120149.
Stage 26 – Ponticelli to Monterotondo
- Montelibretti – Lodging is available near Montelibretti at Agriturismo Villa Le Mimose (www.villalemimose.com, tel 0774 631054, €35 per person), about 1km off the track before the climb into town. Also right in the heart of Montelibretti is B&B I Due Gelsi (via Garibaldi 23, tel 3476 412908, €30, incl breakfast).
- Monterotondo: New accommodation listing: The Parish of Santa Maria Maddalena (Monterotondo Duomo) has 5-6 beds available for pilgrims. (Piazza di Giovanni Paolo II, email@example.com, tel 0690 626060, by donation)
Stage 27 – Monterotondo to Monte Sacro
- Water tower — is at 16.9 km from start of stage.
- Correct street name in Monte Sacro – replace “Via Nomentana” with “Corso Sempione.”
- Monte Sacro – Not to be confused with the pensione of nearly the same name, the B&B Citta Giardino offers an alternative and convenient overnight, just two blocks off the Via Adriatica and seven blocks from the end of the stage (Via Moncenisio 45, http://www.cittagiardino.com, tel 3355 637986, firstname.lastname@example.org, €50/70 single incl breakfast). Delete Minerva Casa Vacanze. Add the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Piazza Vulture 15, tel 068 293786, €35) and Casa Per Ferie Santa Rita (Via Nomentana 514, tel 068 6800016) are both options. See also B&B Happy Goose (Via Forzano 20, tel 347 7697735, email@example.com, €20/25 pilgrim price).
Stage 27 — Monterotondo to Vaticano
- Milvian Bridge info – site of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312. Because of a dream the night before the battle, Constantine fought under the Christian banner and his victory the next day is marked as the beginning of Christianity’s acceptance as the official religion of the Roman Empire.
- Alternate Route to Vatican – beginning at the “giant red geometric sculpture” It’s possible here to leave the official route and opt for a more urban (and interesting) itinerary. Go straight here and in one block turn left onto the Via Flaminia, which you follow 1.5km to the imposing city gate just before Piazza del Popolo. Pass through the gate and immediately look to your left for Basilica Santa Maria del Popolo, home to works by Raphael, Bernini, Caravaggio, Bramante and others. Continue diagonally through the piazza, veering right on Via Ripeta, which you follow 1.1km during which it becomes Via della Scrofa. Turn right onto Via Sant’Agostino, passing Piazza Sant’Agostino on the right. In just two blocks you see the entrance to Piazza Navona with its Fountain of the Rivers by Bernini. Keep the entrance to your left and continue straight instead as the road narrows to become Via dei Coronari, a delightfully authentic Renaissance lane named for the rosary bead makers (corone in Italian) who labored here. Follow Via dei Coronari 450m until its end, cross Via di Panico and then take the first right onto Via del Banco di Santo Spirito. Just a block ahead is the beautiful Ponte Sant’Angelo bridge with its angelic sculptures. Cross the bridge toward Castel Sant’ Angelo, turn left and you see St. Peter’s Basilica straight ahead.
- Pilgrim Office off St. Peter’s Square – Look for the Pilgrim Office among the storefronts at the last building on the left before the grand colonnade. Present your credential there for a Testimonium. If the office is closed or is out of blank Testimonia you can also receive a handwritten Testimonium at the Sacristy in St. Peter’s Basilica. Use your pilgrim credential as your entry pass. The Sacristy is usually closed for riposo between 1:00 and 4:00.