Sanford “Sandy” Brown is a writer, pilgrim walker and tour leader from Seattle, Washington USA. He is associate publisher at Cicerone Press, where he focuses on international pilgrim trails.
During vacations since 2008 he has walked over 9000 kilometers along the routes of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, the Via di Francesco and the Via Francigena. His latest guidebook, the Camino de Santiago: Camino Francés was released in January 2020 by Cicerone Press. Prior to that, he wrote the popular guidebook The Way of St Francis: from Florence to Assisi and Rome. This year he completed the manuscript for another new guidebook — on the majestic Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome, with volumes 2 & 3 set for release in spring 2021.
Under the screename HuskyNerd, Sandy served as moderator for the Camino Forum, one of the largest online Santiago pilgrim Internet forums in English. A recent collection of his sermons is available for the Kindle and iCloud. He is married to Theresa Elliott, a yoga master teacher in Seattle and has two grown sons. In addition to trekking on the Camino, Sandy enjoys piano, sailing, and watching great movies.
Sandy’s activism has included leadership in the fight against homelessness, where he helped found the Committee to End Homelessness in King County. As part of his work against gun violence he served as founding president for the board of the Center for Gun Responsibility and was honored by Washington Ceasefire as 2013 Citizen of the Year. He was a key leader in the successful passage of I-594 in Washington State in 2014. He also worked on the R-74 campaign for marriage equality in Washington State and relaxation of proscriptions against same sex marriage in the United Methodist Church.
His past pilgrimage walks include:
- Camino Frances 2008 (St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago)
- Via de la Plata 2010 (Puebla de Sanabria to Santiago)
- Camino Frances 2011 (St Jean Pied de Port to Finisterre)
- Camino del Norte 2012 (Bilbao to Santiago)
- Via di Francesco 2013 (Assisi to Rome)
- Via di Francesco 2014 (Florence to Assisi to Rome)
- Via di Francesco tour 2015 (Florence to Assisi to Rome)
- Via di Francesco (Florence to Rome) and Via Francigena (Piacenza to Rome) 2016
- Via Francigena 2017 (Lausanne to Piacenza)
- Camino de Santiago 2018 (SJPP to Santiago to Finisterre/Muxia)
- Camino De Santiago 2019 (SJPP to Santiago on bicycle)
- Via Francigena 2019 (Lausanne to Rome)
I’ll be back in Spain to finish the Camino del Norte from Oviedo into Santiago de Compostela in May. Last season, my two French friends and I walked from Bayonne to Oviedo using a guide book by Gérard du Camino. (Mr. Google will bring you to his site.) Gérard’s book is the best guide book I’ve come across ever – provided you can read French. I’ve just ordered his guide for the VdP which is my next goal.
Best regards and Buen Camino,
Ron, this is a huge help. I’ll check this out — it’ll be a good opportunity to dust off my French. Thank you, and buen camino!
this is a blog on Via Francigena
Hello Sandy, this is the Link for my Fotos. Buen Camino.
PS: I try to understand your blog
That’s the link I would send: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qfpj68yhko6ftb1/-mYX57kDbV
Florian and I (John from Calgary) are in Santiago! We will try and be in the the square tomorrow. Keep your eyes open.
Hey sandy. Love your blog. Quite the resource. We are headed back to CF in September. Going to be grandparents in Feb
Great to hear from you! Congrats on grandparenthood and congrats on the CF in Sept. Many hugs to you two!
Rev Brown, you are my hero–I read your blogs and watch your videos repeatedly. I have a question about your planned trips to Assissi and to St Peter’s–why go twice? Couldn’t you just visit StP’s at the end of the StF trip? Or have I misread the whole blog?
Hi Buck, glad you like the stuff on this blog. My current plans are to go to Rome on a short trip this year, following the footsteps of St. Francis from Assisi to Rome. Next year will be a major trip of about 75 days from England to Rome along the historic Via Francigena. The destinations of the two trips are the same, but the walks will be completely different, even arriving in Rome from different directions. So to me it’s like walking the various routes of the Camino de Santiago — lots of different routes, but to the same destination. It’s the walking through new areas that provides the new adventure.
What are the accommodations on the road from Assisi to Rome?
The guidebook will have complete listings for each stage. Do you have a specific question?
I am trying to decide which Camino to walk in mid-May of this year (aka just 2 months from now!!) and stumbled upon your blog. Can you say which you preferred best? While I seek the solitude and peace of the Camino del Norte, I am afraid of getting lost! The Camino Frances seems much more populated (maybe negatively so) and the wide expanses of fields and plains are very appealing. I’ve also read that the Frances route has 30% walking on car roads, which is not very appealing…
Hi Ann ~
I think the Camino Frances is definitely better for first-timers. Yep, it’s populated, but that’s not all a negative. If you’re social, love meeting people, and have a positive attitude it is a wonderful experience. May is a beautiful month for the Camino Frances so I highly recommend it.
I would say that if you don’t like walking on car roads you’ll not like the Camino del Norte. I haven’t heard a calculation, but I’d have to guess that approx 60% or more is on asphalt. There are long stretches when the CdN joins beach trails, but there are many, many miles on quiet side roads and some somewhat scary miles on non-quiet roads. The weather is an issue in May, too, since summer on the coast is mostly July/August. So, yes. My recommendation is definitely the CF for first-timers. After getting that experience you might want to come back and try a quiet route, but even so you may very well miss the joy of pilgrim fellowship that happens best on the CF. Buen camino!
Thanks so much for your insight!! I will certainly come back and let you know how it went! 🙂
I am running into time restraints at work in getting time off. Can you do say a two week Camino on the CF? If so, where would you recommend starting from? Thanks
You might consider starting in Leon. It’s 312 km from there to Santiago, and Leon is a super town with good rail and bus connections from Madrid. If you’re shorter than 14 days you could take the train past Leon to Astorga and begin there — it’s +/- 2 days walking after Leon. Buen camino!
I was hoping to land in Paris and take the train down to Biaritz.. Would it be a huge deal getting to say Leon or a midway point? I will only have about two weeks or so.
Hi Charlie ~
Just to be clear, you’re wanting to start in St Jean Pied-de-Port and end as close to Leon as possible? If that’s your plan it sounds like a good one. You might actually aim for Sahagun, because from there you can take the train to Leon or down to Madrid for a flight back to Paris. Check out http://www.godesalco.com/plan/frances for help with itineraries.
I was hoping to do the last half of the camino… from say Leon to Santiago. I have always wanted to go to Paris and take the train down to Biaritz and was hoping to still do so on this trip. Could that work, or would it be much simpler to fly into Madrid? Thanks.
Ahhhh. So then you’d need to get transport from Biarritz to Leon. For this I would choose the train, though it will take a few connections to make it work. You’ll want to go to Irun/Hendaye (very near Biarritz) to transfer onto the Spanish train system and then head to Leon. You can see your route on the “Northern” map at this page: http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/mediadistancia/mapas_y_trayectos/Navarra.html
Please give me an indication of cost. Would $100. a day do it staying in the monestaries? I am ready to go physically and spiritually,airfare booked and have all the equipment………..now putting it out to the universe for the finances
Hi Pippi ~
Not sure of which camino you’re asking about. In Spain on the Camino Frances it’s not too hard to walk for less that 30€ per day. Same would be true for the Via de la Plata. I found the Camino del Norte to be a little more pricey because sometimes albergues were not available in the season I walked (May/June). In Italy — I have no idea yet. But I’ll know very soon!
I’ve been trying to find an email address for you, but no luck! I’ve enjoyed following your blog over numerous caminos and am particularly interested to hear about the Saint Francis pilgrimage!
My husband and I work with pilgrimage trails in the Middle East (Jesus Trail, Abraham Path and others) and have walked the Francés and Norte routes. We’ve recently published (hot off the press today!) a new guidebook to the Camino Francés and Finisterre. I would love to send you a complimentary copy and would be very interested in your feedback.
There is more info at http://www.caminoguidebook.com including a sample chapter. Feel free to just shoot me your mailing address if you are interested in getting a copy.
Thanks for all the great info on your blog. We’d love to see you in the Holy Land for your next pilgrimage. 🙂
Thank you for spending your precious time keeping would-be pilgrims company while they are still at home, trying to learn about the Camino. Your advice is so helpful but, for some reason, I’m finding it impossible to register on the Camino website. Can you ask someone to help me?
Hi Regina —
Registration on the camino forum is easy — just sign in. However your first three comments will be reviewed by the moderator which sometimes takes a couple of days. If that doesn’t work you should be able to contact Leslie, the site administrator.
I woke up this morning in Mudgee, 4hrs drive NW of Sydney Australia, to see that you’d “liked” several posts on my blog – http://www.pgstheway.com.
I am now following your blog, and I look forward over the coming days to catch up on your posts, your thoughts and insights, and of course your travels.
I take my hat off to you for doing the Caminos that you have already, and will follow with fascination your future pilgrimages through Italy.
Also, I notice that you’re a moderator on a Camino forum – which forum is this?
By the way, as you might have gathered from my blog, I’m a filmmaker and former journalist, and have begun writing an ebook about walking the Camino intuitively.
Hello Bill, my name is Rocky and I’m Sandys sister. I’m currently walking the Camino Francés and started reading your blog on the recommendation of a fellow blogger and peregrino. The confusing thing is that my brother set up my blog and lent me his IPhone so that I could post easier and enter pictures. So, sometimes entries are listed with his name, but are actually done by me. He hasn’t been able to reply to your message, but I have “liked” your posts too. Love your posts, best of luck on your future endeavers. Rocky…..”Rocky Walks”
Hi Rocky – I’ve actually been following your posts too! You’re just outside of Leon, no? Sounds like you’re having a great time – Ive been enjoying your posts. Bill.
Thanks Bill, now I’m outside of Astorga and having a great time!
Rocky, You have cleared up a big question for me as to your two identities. I had not figured that one out though I knew both were you. I am in Ascebo, walking without Jill, who is in England. BTW, my dad was a methodist minister.
Bill, I am the peregrino who turned Rocky onto your blog. Nice that she followed through.
United or Free?
Bill, Rocky walks is one of the blogs I told you about a week or so back.
Thanks Steve! I hope that you’re doing well.
Have followed your blog for awhile and enjoyed your travels. My wife Robin and I walked the Frances in 2012 from SJPP and the Portuguese in 2013 from Porto. We are Catholic and are now focused on the walk of St Francis in March 2014. Can your share resource info? I know you are writing a guide book due out late this year and I’d be willing to support your efforts in any way. All the best in 2014.
Hi Paul ~
Thanks for your note. I’ll contact you via private email. Some of the links I’ll send you include extremely large pdf files that need to be downloaded from my private file storage site. I’m excited for your upcoming St Francis walk! I loved it and know you will, too. FYI I’ll be there July and August 2014 doing research. Let me know your dates — maybe we’ll see each other!
Buen camino ~ Sandy
Loved your blog.
With your knowledge and experience are you able to help me?
With two friends I wish to take our bikes from Santiago to Burgos to cycle to Santiago by the French route returning via the northern route to Bilbao.
Because of time restraints we would like to use public transport to get to Burgos.
Do you know if this is possible and if so how.
Hi Mike ~
I’m glad you’ve enjoyed this blog. Yes, you can absolutely take public transport to get from Santiago to Burgos. The two primary options are rail and bus. By rail you can take the train from Santiago to Ourense and then from Ourense to Leon, etc. Here’s a PDF map that shows the route post-Ourense. This is a Renfe train and the website can be a mess sometimes because it’s not good at making connections, so you may need to buy tickets separately for each leg. By bus you can use Alsa, the major private bus company in Spain.The website’s much easier to use. It takes 9 hours to get to Burgos from Santiago. My guess is that train will be a little easier with your bikes and packs. To me, train is much more relaxing since a person can get up and move around, which is nice especially on a long trip.
Sounds like you’re planning a great trip and you’ll have an absolute blast. Buen camino!
100 years since the outbreak of WW1, the European Peace Walk (EPW) is set to launch this summer on July 28th from Vienna and cross 5 European countries, all the way to Trieste, Italy. http://www.peacewalk.eu/route.html
Similar to the Camino in Spain, the EPW is free to participate in, and will have budget accommodation for its Walkers along the route to make the experience as easy and as enjoyable as possible.
We hope to see you this summer.
The European Peace Walk
I’m interested in walking the Via di San Francesco pilgrimage route sometime in the next year. I realize you are working on a book that would be of great assistance in preparing for this journey, but wondered if you might provide some information since I may be embarking on this journey prior to the book’s release. Specifically, do you have a suggested itinerary breakdown? (accommodations and sites to be sure and visit) what would an appropriate budget be for ground costs? packing list? best airport to fly in and out of? Thanks for any assistance you can provide.
Hi Rob, I’ll reply via email. -SB
Just found your blog and am extremely excited about the book you are writing! Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking on the writing of this guide in English! Do you know the approximate publishing date? Will you post on your blog when an Amazon link is available to add the book to our wish lists?
Sandy, what a wonderful blog. My wife and I just completed the Cammino di Assisi from Dovadola to Assisi, arriving in Assisi for the feast of St. Francis. It was a wonderful pilgrimage. We walked the CF last year from St. Jean PdP to Santiago. Reading your blog made us realize how amateur our blogs about our pilgrimages are!
We’d like to continue our pilgrimage by walking from Assisi to Rome next year. Do you know when your book will be published? If not soon, is there any information you can provide on this portion of the route? I’d be happy to support your efforts with a donation. I am especially interested in GPS tracks, as my GPS provided a lot of comfort on the Cammino di Assisi.
Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.
Thanks so much, Karl. Great to hear about your Cammino di Assisi. My book will be to the publishers by the end of this year, but it takes 9 months to produce it. So look for it in Sept 2015. Meantime, I’m happy to help by providing a draft and GPX tracks for you. Let me know when you begin your planning! –Sandy
Thanks so much for the reply!
My wife and I are tentatively planning to walk next October (perhaps starting right after the feast of St. Francis on October 4) so any assistance you can provide at this time would be greatly appreciated.
Do you have an opinion on how the difficulty of the Assisi to Rome section of your walk compares with that of the Firenze – Assisi section? We walked Dovadola – Marzanella – Premilcuore – Corniolo – Camaldoli – Biforco – La Verna, and it was pretty tough for us. (We’re getting older, I’m afraid.) La Verna to Assisi was a bit easier. I did see your Via di Francesco Distance Log, but what I saw only covers Firenze to Assisi. Perhaps you posted similar data for Assisi to Rome somewhere else and I missed it?
Anyway, thanks again for a great blog and for any assistance you can provide.
There are some tough sections from Assisi to Rome, but in my opinion not as hard as the area around La Verna. In some cases there are options that have a lower elevation gain. I’ll post my elevations and distances page soon so you can see. It’s a beautiful walk and wonderful to enter into Rome as a pilgrim.
Thanks! I look forward to seeing your elevations and distances page.
Entering Rome as a pilgrim sounds wonderful. We approached Assisi through the park, rather than the road, and entered by the gate right next to the Basilica, rather than through Porta San Giacomo. It was glorious!
I’d be grateful to receive the GPS tracks, and any other information you can provide. Would our tracks from the Cammino di Assis would be of any interest to you? I’d be happy to send them.
I will be walking from Assisi to Rome in May, think this blog is the single most helpful guide I have seen, and wonder if Rev. Brown has ever written a once mentioned book on that trek? How hard is it to stay on the path? Do you suggest a gps to help or is it easy enough without one? I appreciate the packing guide, it is helping me be a bit more sensible.
Thanks so much.
I am wanting to walk Assisi to Rome or Assisi to Rieti in May 2016. i will be looking forward to the availability of your book. At this point I am doing the camino alone. I am not opposed to hiking alone but certainly would not mind joining a group of individuals with like minded plans. I live in the midwest. Is there a forum or place you suggest I visit. Thank you for this fabulous blog
Congrats on your May 2016 cammino. You may want to check in at https://www.facebook.com/groups/759785604085548/ there. It’s our Via di Francesco (English Language) Facebook group. If your Italian is good, you may also want to try the Via di Francesco Facebook page. Cheers!
Thanks for the blog- it has been such a great reference! We are anxiously waiting your book release! My family and I are considering walking Assisi to Rome Spring 2016. It was really nice to read Donna’s recap. We were hoping that we could ask a few questions before your book release in September as we are hoping to have made up our mind before then. Our previous camino was to Santiago–the Portuguese Route (Lisbon to Santiago). Being fishermen in AK the time that works best for us is March/April, but we are a little worried about the accommodations being open that time of year. We also should mention that we will have kids with us (1 yo, 4 yo). We had our daughter in a pack when we walked to Santiago, but this time we will have two- so the older will be in a roller/pack combo which is made for off-road hiking, but just curious if you can think of any part of the trail that it could not work?
Thanks for your help!
My group and I just finished the Via di Francesco from La Verna to Assisi.
The walk was incredible. The most beautiful walk I’ve ever done.
Your GPX files were really helpful, thank you – and I am in awe of your achievement in writing a detailed guide book for the path.
Thank you for all your help in making our tour such a great success. And I wish you every success with the publication of your book. If it encourages more people onto this wonderful pilgrimage route, it will be well worthwhile.
I’m glad you had a good time, Bill, and happy I could be of help. I enjoyed following your blog. Hope you are feeling better!
Hi Sandy, thanks – yes the walk was truly amazing. And man o man you must be fit to have done the entire walk. But again, it’s a huge achieve,ent to have done what you did in mapping every tiny detail. Your directions were incredibly accurate and clear. With your book, and the GPX files, there’s no way you can get lost! So again, my thanks.
Feeling better now. Have arrived in Istanbul for work now, and have had a chance to rest. I think my attitude to some of the days, saying in my blog that they were tough, was in large part because of my illness. I started each day with no miles in my legs. An empty tank. And I had trained for this walk, plus I had residual fitness. So if I were to walk it again without feeling crook, I’m sure I would find it much easier.
It’s the kind of walk you do want do do again, I have to say. There is a potency to this walk which is indescribable.
Hello Bill, I am the most nervous about traveling from the Florence (FLR) airport to Santuario della Verna. Do have have a good recommendation on transportation? Thanks in advance, Iva
Sandy, just found your site. Very nice. What I need is some clear advice and information on hostels between Florence/Assisi/Rome. I won’t have time to do the entire thing, and my heart’s desire is to walk to Assisi on pilgrimage (although Rome would be nice). I’ve done the Camino de Santiago and am a good walker. But, I don’t see much here about the hostels. Or I haven’t looked closely enough yet.
Hello Sandy. ..I write You from consuma. ..I want To give some information about my rooms. Is ok for you?
Thank you so much for dropping off the book. I’m sorry I missed you. It looks like we are neighbors. My oldest daughter and I walked the Camino de Santiago in 2008 as her college graduation gift. Now my youngest wants to walk a pilgrimage but not the same as her sister. I came across the St Francis pilgrimage and it looks wonderful. I have never been to Italy. We are planning to go in June. Your book is so detailed and clear. I am excited to start reading and planning. Thanks again.
What great fun! You and your youngest will have a great time. Please let me know if there is any way I can help.
–Your neighbor, Sandy
we may have met on the Camino del Norte in 2012, not hundert percent sure about it, but I definitely recongnize some of the people on your pictures. And want to say thank you for the little moment of nostalgia I had while reading your blog.
I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Greetings Sandy, I not much of a computer person so I am trying this blog thing! I walked the Camino de Santiago in 2014 and just started reading you guide book ” The Way of St. Francis ” really enjoying it. I’m only on the 7th stage and see the places you have to stay are in the 50 euro range. Is there places like the Camino that are only 10 to15 euro a night? Blessing Andy from Green Bay WI
You’ll see as you continue on that there are indeed some hostels that are much less expensive, mostly between Gubbio and Trevi.
Thanks for reading this blog!
Greetings Sandy, Thanks for the info. In your best guestestimate ( made up word ) what would be the cost of this Pilgrimage. I’m a cheapskate.
Hi Andy — I’m excited you want to walk the Francesco! Cost estimates and most lodging prices are included in the book. There are too many variables to give an estimate of overall cost since I don’t know where you’re traveling from, how many days you’ll walk, what food you eat, etc. sorry!
Thank you Sandy, I am not sure when I will go maybe in two years. Thanks for your info and I will try to follow your blog and other thing.
God Bless and take care in your travels…
Thanks so much for your great website.
I will be sent to Rome for a pilgrimage experience with my college in late July – and I was hoping to do a camino experience prior to that. I’ve don’t the Camino Ingles and the Camino Frances (starting from Lourdes). I love the amazing experience of being on camino.
After helping recently helping a family member out financially, I will only have around 600-700 euro for my budget. Do you think it will be possible to do the walk from Assisi to Rome with that budget? I’m also an experienced walker can do up to 50 ks if needed. Anyway I definitely will appreciate your advice.
Kristone (Sydney Australia)
That’s very tight. I think about $900-1000 would be better. Buon cammino!
Hi Sandy. My family and I walked the Camino Frances last year and encountered so many Alburges with bed bugs. Since we were walking with children, it could be very unpleasant. This year we are walking from Assisi to Rome. Did you find the accommodations in Italy to be free of these pests? I appreciate your honesty and any tips. We have your book and are excited to walk! Thank you! Caroline
Glad you have the book and are looking forward to the trip! I’ve never encountered or heard of bed bugs anywhere on the Via di Francesco. I hope that holds true into the future. Buon cammino!
Thank you. Fingers crossed!
I am going to walk the St. Francis Way in August from Assisi to Rome. Since I am from Germany I have the “Franziskusweg”-Books by Ochsenkühn and by Roodenburg, but to be honest I am not very satisfied with the maps provided. Yesterday I found out about your book on the internet an saw, that you are taking an other route, which seems more direct. I would appreciate that, because my time is limited. Now I tried to find out about the maps provided in your book, which would be essential to me, since I am not going to buy a GPS-device or carry five different maps with me on the way. Is there any possibility, that you could send me on or two of the maps in your book via eMail, so that I could get the Idea about how they look like? I saw, that it’s not a problem to get your book within a few days here in Germany. I would buy it, if I had the feeling, I could find my way better than with the books I already have. Looking forward to read from you
Hi Manuel ~ Thanks for your note. Here’s a representative sample of the maps in the book. As you can see, roads as well as trails and topographical markings are included. It and all the other maps are at 1:50,000 resolution. I do not believe any better maps of the trail are available through any source, except for very hard-to-find Italian hiking maps which cover small portions of the walk. Together a person would need to purchase over 25 maps to cover the route. Hope this helps. Thanks! – Sandy
I am looking at walking the Florence to Rome Way in late 2017 but not sure if November is too late. I have just finished walking 547klms through Ireland in 4 weeks so walking long distances is no problem.
I’d say it’s too late in the season. It sounds like you’re a well-experienced hiker, but there will be some snow at higher elevations (I had some at LaVerna when I was there last November) and also the hunters are out doing their thing, which makes it a little dicey. I’d say plan for a future year. Thanks for your note!
Thanks for the advice as I have not been happy with November so you have just made the decision for me. I am now looking at late September. I ordered a book on the Way last week and it arrived today – just happened to be your book so a nice surprise. A lot of digesting over the next week. The Ireland hike was my first big walk and 15 months back I had never even walked more than 2klms at a time and even then that was pushing. I am also over 60 year old and thoroughly enjoy walking and on my own.
The walk from Florence to Rome with 3 -4 rest days could be done over 4 weeks? With a couple either side so 5 weeks should see it all done and dusted?. I have been to Rome before so only St Peters at a non busy time is of interest to me in that city. Looking at flying into Paris and then onto Florence and out of Rome. I have to apply for leave at least 10 months in advance so the reason I am asking so many questions. Hope you don’t mind.
Hi Jennifer ~
It sounds like a lovely trip. Late September should be very nice, and also very quiet on the trail. I’m walking myself in September of next year, leaving Sept 3 from Florence. Your pace will determine the number of days, but don’t underestimate the rigors. Even though some of the stages seem short they are sometimes challenging. My book lists 28 daily stages, so with 3-4 rest days that’s a little over 4 weeks. Given some are around 30km you’ll want to train well so you can handle the distances. I wish you the very best! – Sandy
Hi Jennifer, Can you please tell me your route in Ireland? I am interested for my next trip. Thank you in advance, Iva
I just finished the walk from Assisi to Rome with my husband and two young children. It is a wonderful walk but be forewarned, it is very challenging. It was much more difficult than the Camino de Santiago, but in many ways more rewarding too. I’d say four weeks only if you are in excellent shape.
Great blog! I am currently a master’s student reseraching and writing about bloggers and/or students along the final section of the VF. If possible, I would love to get in contact for a quick interview (skype, phone…). If interested, let me know and I will send over more detials about my work. Thanks!
Of course. I am in Italy now, but I’d be happy to visit after my return to the US. Feel free to contact me here or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/revsandybrown.
Thanks for your reply. I actually live in Rome so if you would perfer to meet here that would be great. If you are too busy, then we can Skype when you have the chance.
Great. I could meet Thursday evening. We fly out Fri morning. Please feel free to email me at revsandybrown at gmail.com.
We are a couple of senior Australians who have done a number of Caminos and long walks in Spain, Portugal, France England and Scotland. These days we look for the ‘easier’ option if possible and was wondering if you knew of a company that would transport our packs. We are walking friom Florence to Terni and commence on Sept 10 2017. We have purchased your book and have booked nearly all of our accommodation. Many thanks. Jane
Congrats on your upcoming cammino! You’ll want to talk with Francesco Gallo. I hate to post email addresses online, so please send me a note at sandybrownseattle at gmail dot com and I’ll send you his address. Ciao!
Thanks in advice for leading advices, comments and informations about the way.I want to plan to walk the way of St. Francis in May of 2018.I have exposure(head for heights) problem in side passing through steep downhill, if the path is narrow and open(uncovering).This is my big problem.Is there some points, stages in the whole route?
Congrats on your upcoming walk, Yahya. Watch out for the portion of the path between Spoleto and Ceselli, which does have a steep, narrow, open downhill section. I believe that otherwise you are fine. There are steep sections, but I can’t think of any that are also narrow and downhill. Have a great cammino!
Sandy, I am an Episcopal priest and have walked the Camino Frances and the Camino del Norte. I would like to walk a portion of the Camino Francesco, but the only available time I have is March 24 to April 7. Is this an unreasonable idea?
I think it’s ok, Roger. I’d get weather reports in advance, though, if I were heading to the higher elevations. Buon cammino!
Dear Sandy, I stumbled across your wonderful blog looking for info on a possible Italian Camino. I read your 2012 CdN account and was quickly reminded how much I had forgotten. We met briefly but shared a wonderful day walking together as well a many good chats.
I returned to Spain last October (2016) for my second CdN and again enjoyed it thoroughly.
Upon my return to Honolulu my eldest son (aged 17) advised me he wanted to walk the Camino this June (2017) before heading in to his final year of high school.
I think this is a fantastic opportunity for him and perhaps in some ways it has the makings of, at his young age at least, a right of passage. My plan would be to begin the walk with him but then steadily give him increasing independence. It is my hope that he would eventually feel comfortable with the idea of completing the final two weeks on his own wits, with me shadowing him some distance behind.
I would love to catch up with you and pick your brains about some of the logistics of the various different options I am considering.
Please let me know how to best follow up with you.
Julian from Honolulu
Hi Julian ~ I’m writing you a note via email so we can talk offline. Great to hear from you! – Sandy
I am walking the Cammino di Francesco in september and i would like to stay at the Spedale San Francesco e San Giacomo in Assisi. Any update about them? Are they opened? I tried to email and phone them but.. Not posible.
Hmmm. They opened with great fanfare two years ago. Would you be willing to write firstname.lastname@example.org and ask this question? Please let me know what you find out.
They closed, with very little fanfare, a while ago, said to be for renovations. This year,they reopened in early April, again with considerable fanfare, but were reported as closed again in June. It appears they have financial problems.
I can recommend Cittadella Ospitalità; it is a religious conference center, not a hostel, within the walls of the city. Accommodations there are simple but quite nice, at a reasonable price. My wife and I stayed there in 2014 and 2015. I have reserved a room with breakfast for my wife and me for this September for € 25,00 per person per night. The breakfasts are good. They offer dinner, which we have not tried.
I can also recommend Monastero di Santa Chiara, a convent just outside the walls of Assisi where we have stayed. More expensive than Cittadella Ospitalità, but reasonable. We woke to the sound of the Nuns singing in the chapel – it was beautiful.
I believe there is also a hostel in the town below Assisi, Santa Maria degli Angeli.
Thank you for all of this wonderful information !! I am presently researching this Camino and there seems to be such conflicting info. Some say it’s important to officially apply by email and wait to be accepted so they can reserve beds along the route. Some say it’s best to start at Dovadla where the Priest gives out the “proper credential’ etc and goes to Assisi only. Other sites state Florence to Rome. What is your take on this please. Many thanks. Mary
I wrote the guidebook for Florence to Rome, so that’s my pick. It’s really about where you want to go. Once you decide that the answer to your question is easy.
Thank you for this generous resource. Can you explain the difference between your route and the traditional “Camino di Assisi” which begins in Dovadola rather than Florence? I am planning on walking to Assisi from either Florence or Dovadola in late September. I live in Austria so it is not a problem to decide my starting point, even at the last moment. Will your book and GPS info help me on the route from Dovadola? Thank you again.
Good morning Sandy,
I hope your walk is still going well.
How many different compostelas or testimoniums are there? The image you put up for santiago is different to the one I received and you have yellow ones from Rome, whereas I received the one with the two saints on it. Am puzzled, am I missing something?
The certificates change occasionally. Mine are the ones given out in the particular year I arrived. So I don’t think you’re missing anything, except perhaps that the design of the certificates may change over time.
Sandy currently on the via roma in Trivi. Looks like there are wildfires ahead. Any recommendation to rerout around poggio bustone? Thanks for help!
I would suggest Marmore to Rieti. You can go through Greccio. Walk or train.
Thank you. We did some back tracking and caught the train Rieti.
We walked from Assisi to Rieti last May and you helped with information re baggage transfer.
We are back in Italy (from Australia) with some friends to walk some more of the Camino Di San Francesco. We are in Stia tonight and set out tomorrow to walk to Assisi. Thank you for your ongoing information and support for us all….it is greatly appreciated.
Always happy to help. Welcome back!
We arrived in Assisi today, after a wonderful pilgrimage. As always, we met great people along the way and have a real sense of achievement and fulfilment.
We are 2 Australian who have just finished walking from Florence to Piediluco. We finished in Piediluco on 28 sept. Sandy put us on to Francesco and Barbara Gallo to transport our bags and they were fabulous and provided an excellent service. Would highly recommend them. Safe walking
I would like to purchase the Way of St. Francis book as a gift. To get it from Cicerone will take much too long. I see the book on Amazon with a publication date of January 2016, and a publish date of 2017 on Cicerone’s site. Someone told me to get the second edition with updates. Is there much difference between these two editions? Thanks for your help.
Look for the updates page on the book’s Cicerone website and you’ll see the quantity of differences. All the updates (except maps) are included there. I’ll have additional updates this fall based on my walks this year.
Thank you for such a prompt response. So are those updates included in the 2017 book or are they only listed on the website as a supplement? Is there any way to get a 2017 book from within the US?
Always happy to help. The updates on the website bring the 2015 printing to match the 2017 printing. The new updates this fall will go beyond the 2017 printing.
Amazon is our primary seller in the US and there’s no way at present to tell whether they are still selling the 2015 stock or the new 2017. Sorry! This fall I’ll get a supply of 2017 stock from Cicerone so I can sell them directly.
Ok, got it. Amazon says it’s a 2016 publication, but I guess I’ll just take my chances and maybe buy a new one whenever this trip ends up happening! Thanks for all your help!
Sometime ago on this site you had information about the walk from Lucca to Siena. Do you still do this walk and will there be one in 2018.
My name is Caterina and I am a member of the Association Viandare. We are in Rignano, close to Florence.
And would like to share with you some infos.
Could you pls email me at email@example.com?
Hello Sandy, two of us, and maybe more, from New Zealand are planning to walk the St Francis Way from Florence to Assisi beginning early May, 2018. You indicate in your guidebook that we only need to book accommodation ahead for two or three nights. Does this still apply and will we definitely be guaranteed to get accommodation by booking ahead as we walk? Many thanks, Tess Redgrave
I can’t say you’ll “definitely be guaranteed” accommodation even if you book months ahead, but if you book all your stays long in advance and then have to change it’s a huge hassle to adjust everything. Watch for local festivals that may fill up hotels. Buon cammino!
Hello Sandy, hubby and I have just purchased your book, we’re now inspired and looking forward to doing the walk in May 2018 (we’re from South Africa). I’ve downloaded Galileo Pro as suggested – can you supply the GPS maps for me perhaps – would be so appreciated. Kind regards, Hayley Van der Walt
Congratulations! Here’s a link with instructions on how to download the tracks. https://caminoist.org/2014/08/24/vsf-gpxtracks/
I will be walking il Cammino di F. again next august and i would like to try new things. From Gubbio i would like to go to Abbazia di Vallingegno. How to get there? Is it off the cammino? Then, is there a way to get to Eremo san Pietro in Vigneto or Valfabbrica?
Sandy, I’m seriously thinking about doing part of The Walk in your book and I’m about to order it. I leave in less than a week for Italy. I don’t speak Italian (only English; a bit of Spanish). Will this be a great hindrance in doing this trek? I’m concerned because I’ll be hiking alone. Thank you,
Hi Julie ~ I’d worry more about the weather than the language! They just had 3 inches of snow in Rome. When will you start your walk? And what section are you considering? The more remote and higher sections are a tough go until around April at the earliest, but if you’re walking around Assisi, it’s a little more settled and easier in inclement weather. As far as language goes, your Spanish will help you out a surprising amount. Make sure to review the phrases in the Appendix of my book. Something around 35% of Italians speak some English, less in rural areas. Buon cammino!
Hi Julie, just saw your message, how about downloading the Google Translate app onto your smart phone, you can also download the entire Italian language and dictionary onto your phone in advance so that you don’t need to be in a wi-fi zone to use it. Very handy… Good luck with the hike. Kind regards, Hayley x
I don’t know how to contact you but we have a B&B in Piazza Tanucci, Stia (Ar) so we would love to be i your list of places where pilgrims can sleep. Our rooms have bathroom and a kitchenette where prepare some food.
My little family of four will have about 40 days late this summer to walk any pilgrimage in Europe that we choose. Our children will be 1 and 5 by the time we leave. We plan on putting the little one in a hiking stroller. The 5 year old is a very good hiker. My health cannot tolerate too much heat, other than that we are ready to go 🙂
Our main thoughts at this point are the Camino de Santiago (no idea which route!) and the Saint Francis Way. What do you recommend for us?
We love your St. Francis book with accommodation list and GPX files.
We are staying in a hotel next door to Albergo Paradiso, where the room price mid April is €35 each or €70 for me and my wife. Instead we are staying at the Hotel Ferretti, 200 meters closer to the Santuario Francescano, where a room for two is €50. They both have some elegance.
BTW the Ponte dei Torre is still closed in April 2018. We neglected to check with the Tourist Office. We descended 8 floors of escalators from above the Duomo to the parking lot, turned right across a stone bridge and climbed up the Giro dei Condotti to Monteluco. Fortunately there were lots of walkers and joggers to help us when we were uncertain. About 8 km from the Piazza Garibaldi.
Greetings. Thank you for this wonderful website, the guidebook and your passion for Pilgrimage!
I wanted to let you know that I recently tried to install the GPX files (from the book publisher’s website) onto my old Android phone with the Galileo Offline Maps app. The file didn’t load correctly, however. I wrote to the Galileo folks about this, sent them the file and they replied saying that a line of code was apparently missing that was preventing the tracks from loading correctly, and sent me a corrected file which now works fine.
If you wanted to look into this or even if you wanted to get the corrected version of the file that I got from Galileo, feel free to email me (if you can access my email from this post, or, let me know of another way to get in touch).
Thanks, Jim. Yes, I’ll drop you a line. I’m curious — others haven’t had a problem, but it could be the Android connection. Again, thanks ~ S
I’m planning on walking Via Francesco in September. I only have 10 days and I will be walking solo. I was planning on walking from Citta de Castello to Assisi. While I have walked The Way of St James to Santiago, I am a little nervous about this camino given the isolation and limited resources. Another thought is to walk from Rieti to Assisi, as the distances seem a little more manageable and they end in hill towns which would have more resources should anything go wrong. If I were to walk in reverse, is the signage plentiful so I wouldn’t get lost? I’ve looked at your book and I am trying to translate it in reverse but it’s getting awfully confusing.
Any guidance and advice would be appreciated.
From Rieti the signage is ok in reverse. The easiest solution would be to download the GPX tracks and follow them backwards. That’d be my recommendation.
Thanks Sandy. By the way, your book is a God send! Grazie mille.
Hi, Sandy. What a tremendous resource you’ve built. I’m definitely getting your updated book before i set out on my next Camino. My last one was a trial. Had an accident that put me out of commission for two years, bad bad feet ha ha but marvellous friendships made. I’ve done a book about my experience and if you’re interested I’d be pleased to gift you a free ebook copy. Cheers. Stan
Greetings from Perth, Western Australia. My wife and I are planning on doing a 1 week walk on the Way of St Francis in October this year. We don’t have time to do the whole route and will probably walk for approx 1 week between Assisi and Rieti. Do you have any advice as to how many days walking this would be and if it is better to walk to or from Assisi? Our pilgrimage will be an intentional walk dedicated to our daughter Charlotte who passed away last year in June, she was 20 years old. In 2008 we spent 10 weeks living in a little village near Spoleto with our girls and Umbria has a special place in our hearts. Charlotte loved Italy and we were all very moved by the spirit of St Francis when we spent time in Assisi during the May Calendimaggio festival. We have average fitness and have walked a section of the Camino in Spain from Logrono to Burgos without any difficulties. We have purchased your book and would value any suggestions and advice on our plan. Our preference is to not rush the walk, but have time to walk and be at peace with our loss while enjoying the way.
Hi Sandy, I am flying to Europe next Tuesday the 28th with my youngest son (29). I live in. Carnation, WA. My oldest son will join us ten days later. I have your book but still haven’t decided the route yet. A year ago I walked from St. Bernard Pass to Ivrea skipped the Po Valley then walked to Rome. 29days walking. I was thinking of doing the same thing again until I started reading more about the St. Francis Way. We fly out of Rome on Oct 1st so we would have to really push it to start in Florence. Probably La Verna would be a better starting point then meet my oldest in Assisi. We won’t have the Pilgrims passport until we are there. Can we download one? Use a blank piece of paper? Any thoughts? Also wondering about your link to GPS tracks? Any other thoughts would be welcome. Thanks! Jerry
Hey, Jerry. If you can stop in Florence briefly you could pick up a credential at the St James church there. It may be possible for us to get you one to you va USPS before you leave if you quickly initiate the process at http://www.viadifranccesco.it.
Hello Sandy, first time visiting your blog. We are planning a walk on the Way of St. Francis but, due to time constraints, will only be going from Santuario La Verna to Assisi. We are targeting the last 10 days of April ’19, assuming that the weather should be cool, not cold.
I have your very good Trekking guide book and it’s been quite helpful. However, I am unable to find out one bit of information, that is, luggage transfer services. We each have a regular sized backpack and a smaller, lighter day pack. Assuming these services are available, we are looking to obtain contact information for people/companies that will transfer our larger backpacks from one lodging to another as we walk from La Verna to Assisi.
Any assistance is appreciated.
Hi Thomas ~ Here’s a link that will be helpful. It’s the luggage service of Francesco’s Ways, about which I’m hearing good reports. If you’re on Facebook you may want to join our Way of St Francis (Official Group) where much info is shared. Buon cammino! http://www.umbriafrancescosways.eu/en/services/luggage-transfer/
Rignano is officially on St Francis Way.
And we have the stamp ready.
Pls sen me a private email so I can send you lodgings and restaurants.
You could also come here to visit us and be our guest.
We will be pleased.
Hi Caterina ~ Thank you for your note. I’m sending along an email right now. – Sandy
Hi Sandy, I am following up on reaching out to you last year. My wife and I are very interested in doing the St. Francis pilgrimage route later in the year in 2019 with my elderly father…will there be a new release/ publishing of your book? As far as I can tell there are comprehensive updates on your website but I thought you may be releasing a new edition in 2019? If not what is your suggestion?…buy the older version and carry an iphone on the route resourcing the updates? This sounds a little more complicated than I would like and one of the purposes of the pilgrimage for us is to disconnect per se from all the trappings of technology and phone shackles so to speak.
Also, what is the best way to contact you (email address?)?
Finally, we live in Seattle and would love to get together with you some time to discuss the trail if you are open to that, we can easily run up to Edmonds or whatever suits you, we live in West Seattle.
Hi Ricky ~ Sorry, I thought I’d responded earlier. Nope, there won’t be a new edition in 2019. It’s best to take my updates, print them out, mark their location in the text of the book and then refer to them as you plan your next day. There are a few days in which a GPS app on a phone is a good idea. Please watch elevation gains carefully as some parts of the walk could be difficult for your dad. I’ll send you an email so we can find a time to get together. Another good place for info on the walk is the Way of St Francis (Official Group) on Facebook. Buon cammino! -Sandy
Sandy! This is Kate, as in “Lindsey and Kate,” who you met at Beilari about 40 days ago and kept sneaking up on with your bike along the Camino Frances. I just want to let you know that you became a bit of a legend among our very special Camino family (all 9 of us!) because you were such a positive, comforting presence along the trail. I’m even more impressed now that I know the great work you’ve done in your community. Thank you for inspiring us and for keeping the spirit of the Camino alive in so many ways. ¡Buen Camino!
OMGosh! I’m so glad you hunted me down and made contact. I realized after we parted for the final “final time” that I didn’t have contact info for you or any of the group. Let me tell you, I would way rather have stayed with your wonderful Camino family than pedaled madly to Santiago to meet my deadline. You all proved to me again that the best thing about pilgrimage is pilgrims. If you have a photo or anything you can forward me I would sure appreciate it. Not sure you’re on Facebook, but if you are I can be reached at https://www.facebook.com/revsandybrown. I hope all went well with your pilgrim walk and that you had a great time! Hugs from Seattle!
Hi Sandy, I am planing to walk from Perugia to Rome in October – so I would basically take the St Francis Way from Assisi down to Rome and find my own way from Perugia to Assisi. Altogether I plan to walk for about 2.5 weeks.
As this would be my first pilgrimage I have a few questions as it is somehow difficult to find detailed information about the St Francis Way – hopefully you can help me:
1) Is the St Francis Way well signed?
2) Are there enough accommodations on the way and would you recommend to book them in advance? (Personally, I would prefer to simply start walking in the morning and if I am tired I find myself the nearest hotel/hostel)
3) Would you recommend October (beginning until mid) for the St Francis Way?
Thank you so much in advance, all the best from Hamburg,
Hi Julian – sounds like a lovely trip! The path is pretty well signed, but GPS tracks are recommended. You can find them on our Way of St Francis official Facebook page or I can send them to you. FYI Perugia to Assisi is an official variant. I’ve walked it with no problem. Find info at http://www.viadifrancesco.it. You’ll need to make reservations for lodging, sorry! Early to mid-October works fine. Buon cammino!
Sandy, my wife and I , long term Camino addicts, have just come back from walking from La Verna to Assisi. I have some updates and info re the way, where can I send them to you? thanks Pat Holland
Hi Pat ~ Thanks so much. Please use the “Contact” form on this website to send me updates. Thanks again! – S
Hello Sandy, so glad I found this website! I would love to buy your book but I am not sure whether it would be right for me as I am going to walk from Rome to Assisi. I could only find one website with information about it. Could you suggest how I could get the best information and maps, GPS help? This is my second camino, I walked the last one exactly 10 years ago. Can’t wait to start!
Wishing you many more caminos! Thank you so much, Eve
Great that you’re doing the walk, and Rome to Assisi is lovely. I’d recommend scouring the http://www.viadifrancesco.it site, which has tracks and descriptions. You can find my tracks from Cicerone or on the Facebook page of the official Way of Dr Francis group. Of course, the maps in my book work fine going in either direction. Buon cammino!
Grazie mille! Buon Camino! 👋🏽 Eve