For the last many years, trekkers, activists and tourism departments in Italy have been pulling together walking itineraries among the many St. Francis sites in Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio. The primary itineraries are the Cammino di Assisi (Dovadola to Assisi), the Via di Francesco (La Verna to Assisi and Rieti to Assisi), the Franziskusweg (Florence to Rome) and the Di Qui Passo San Francesco (La Verna to Poggio Bustone).
After walking the Way of St. Francis in 2013 (Assisi to Rome) I sketched out a proposal for a Florence to Rome “Way of St. Francis” guidebook, which was accepted by Cicerone Press. In the summer of 2014 I walked the route and completed the guidebook manuscript, which will be published — complete with maps, photos, profiles, accommodation listings, and detailed walking instructions — in September 2015.
From the book’s back cover:
The Way of St. Francis links cultural treasures and cherished sites from the life of Francis of Assisi into a 550km pilgrimage from Florence through Assisi to Rome. Ideal for the experienced Santiago pilgrim who seeks a less crowded adventure, the route begins among the Renaissance masterpieces of Florence, continues through the forests of Tuscany, pauses to enjoy picturesque hill towns in Umbria, then concludes with a climactic arrival at St. Peter’s in Rome. Inspired by Francis of Assisi, beloved among saints, the walk allows pilgrims to experience for themselves the places he lived, prayed and worked.
This guide provides step-by-step instructions for this once-in-a-lifetime trek, including: *Color maps and detailed directions for each stage; *Accommodation listings and descriptions of shrines, churches and towns; *A concise biography of Francis and stories from his life that relate to each location; and *A bonus walking guide to the historic Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome.
This blog contains several helpful resources, including
- A full itinerary of the walk;
- Complete GPX tracks (password protected — please contact me to gain access);
- Forty panoramas of the walk that show some of the sites and terrain;
- Copies of my credential and testimonium;
Watch this page for additional information about the book as it becomes available. In the meantime, please visit the English language Facebook page for the Via di Francesco.
I am a friend of Bill Bennett’s. I live in Tucson, AZ and will be leading a tour on the Camino Portugués in May of this year. I have begun leading tours as Choose Happiness Adventures (www.choosehappinessadventures.wordpress.com).
I am the friend of Bill’s who told him about MotionX-GPS, he actually gives me credit in his most recent blog for telling him of this app.
I have GPX tracks for the Camino Portugués, Inglés and Costa da Morte and would like to have the tracks for the St. Francis Way as well. One of my colleagues will be walking the St. Francis Way this summer as a recce, but is unable to record the GPX coordinates as she walks. As I would like to offer the St. Francis Way as a possible tour in the future, I am asking if you would be so kind as to forward me the tracks.
I too should love access to your GPX route for Florence to Rome via Assisi.
Am planning a pilgrimage to the climate change talks in Paris – to carry St Francis’ song of blessing (canticle of Brother Sun) – and hoping to gain Pope Francis blessing too. So the first stage of this walk will not be along Via Francigena, but hopefully along your Francis Path.
We aim to walk from mid September. Any advice on the late-Autumn/early winter aspects of your route? Anything that could prove tricky going?
The very best yours,
Mid-September would be fantastic. Your trip sounds wonderful. I’m sending you an email with the GPX tracks. Cheers!
I have not yet heard from you in reply to my request above William’s.
May I please also have the GPX tracks?
Apologies. Just saw your note and have sent you the password to the tracks page. I’ve edited out your email address to keep the spammers at bay. Wishing you the best on your potential tour. Please stay in touch with how it goes. –Sandy
Thank you Sandy, got them. Yes I will stay in touch – Arlène
I hoped so much that I could have taken your book with me on my pilgrim walk from Florenze to Assisi! But I just saw that it won’t be out until the 15th! Oh my! I am leaving this saturday. Is there anything you could help me with in regards to maps? I would be so thankful!!! Its my first time walking so many days and walking alone.
I will of course buy the book! But I won’t have before I get back.
All the best from Copenhagen,
Hi Tina — the book is now available online at Google Play. You can purchase it at: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/The_Reverend_Sandy_Brown_The_Way_of_St_Francis?id=q8hWCgAAQBAJ
I’ll be on the via di Francesco this Friday and would like to know if you could share your GPX tracks.
Thanks in advance
Of course. I’ll send you the link and password via email. If you’re not already on our Facebook page I hope you will join and share your reflections on the walk. Thanks! – Sandy
Hello Sandy, I recently received a copy of your book through Cicerone. I am collaborating with Salvatore in Rieti to help people walk the Camino. I’d like to get in touch with you. Can you please contact me at the email below? sincerely. Bret Thoman, OFS
Thanks, Bret. I’m sending you an email now. – Sandy
Hi Sandy, Thanks to you and Sheri for the great presentation at Rick Steves’. I asked about breaking up the longer stages, especially at first, and lengthening the actual walking to as many as 35-40 days, since we have two months total (mid April to mid June), and you kindly offered to help. We would also appreciate the GPX tracks! This is all very exciting! And good luck in the election!
Russ and Carmen
Sure! Here are instructions for downloading the GPX tracks https://caminoist.org/2014/08/24/vsf-gpxtracks/. Let’s chat via email about stretching out the itinerary. You can reach me at revsandybrown at gmail dot com. Thanks!
My husband and I are going to do our first Camino in May next year. We are thinking about either St Francis Way or Francigena. We live in Western Australia, I have done three walks over the last three years in WA and my husband is really fit but not done much walking. What do you think? Also we have been in touch with the company Camino Ways based in Ireland. Do you think its good to book with a company who does all the arranging accommodation etc? Would love to hear from you.
Congrats! It sounds like a great plan. Camino Ways has a slightly different route in places than my book, unless they’ve changed. Otherwise I’ve heard good things about their service and you should do fine. Buon cammino!
Thanks for this, I would love to have a chat with you before going any further, could we have a Skype?
Yep! Am contacting you by email to set up a conversation. – S
I am not sure of a number of things regarding the walk and need to chat through with someone knowledgable. We just bought your book and two of the others you suggested. I just completed my training as a spiritual director and am very keen to do this walk for myself and maybe for others. Thanks Sandy
Absolutely, Deborah. Let’s talk. I’ll contact you via email to set up a conversation. –Sandy
Dear Sandy we would love to have a conversation with you about our plans to walk in Italy next year in May. Would it be possible to have a Skype call?
Yep. I’m dropping you a line via email so we can talk. Cheers – Sandy
I am from Canada and want to buy your book but it’s not working. I have friends in usa, do you suggest to ask them for this purchase ?
Is it safe for a woman to do this Camino ? I already walked Camino Frances in 2014 and want to do this one. Do I have to register to do this Camino to finish in Rome ?
Thank you and have a wonderful 2nd of the year !!
Hi Carmelita — have you already tried Amazon? That would be easiest. Or we can do a PayPal transaction and I send it to you directly.
Some parts of this walk are remote and at it depends on your confidence level at solitary hiking in remote places. FYI there are several groups planning this walk, including two I’m leading — in March/April and Sept. Perhaps go with a group?
Thank you Sandy, your book is not available on amazone.ca but yes in usa, so I will ask friends from usa and it will be OK for me.
Concerning the walk, I preferr to be alone, I did the Camino Frances all alone and I trust Life so, thank’s again for all your informations and Buen Camino
Amazon for Canada doesn’t have your book 😦 and for paypal I try to log it and no result.
The best thing I can do is asking my friends from usa. Thank you !
I preferr to do alone and meet people on the Camino if it’s secur. I walked the Camino Frances all alone and I am so proud to discover myself, I trust life . Buen Camino from Québec 🙂
Hi Carmelita, have you tried a purchase through this site? Please tell me the details of your experience so I can fix it for potential Canadian customers. Thanks!
Hi Sandy, yes I tried to purchase on your site, there was a message “Delivery only in USA” so for Canadian it’s not possible to continue transaction and when I clicked on Paypal nothing the computer didn’t logg.
For myself, my friend buy it and will bring me in Canada sooon, so will be able to read and prepare myself for this new adventure. I am very happry and if I need more informations I will write you.
Thank you very much, Carmelita from Québec !!
OK, thank you Carmelita. I realize now that I set it up for USA delivery only. If you have a PayPal account I could have arranged for a transaction there, then I could have sent you the book directly. It’s a little bit of a hassle, so if this way is working for you, that’s great. I’ll ask the publisher why this Amazon Canada doesn’t have the book. Thank you!
We’re expecting your book any day (from amazon.ca) and are planning on walking in April and May. Could you tell us how clear the waymarking is and whether we would need a GPS and good map/compass skills…since we don’t really have either. We’ve managed a good bit of long distance walking without them, including the Camino Frances and Chemin St. Jacques. We’d also like to know whether it would be advisable to book places to stay in advance..since we think that our days of staying in dorms, except when necessary, seem to be past. Thanks.
Congrats on your upcoming walk! No need for compass/map skills, but I’d suggest you download a GPS app for your smartphone (if you have one) or get a GPS for that purpose. It’s handy to have a good backup in case you find yourself wondering where you’re at, and since the GPX tracks are free, it’s just a smart thing to have one along. The way marks are there about 80% of the time, and my guidebook is very explicit on walking directions since my intent was to make it possible to do it without GPS. Still, insurance is always a good thing.
Yes, as you’ll read in the book you want to book in advance for your hotels. Emails, websites and phone numbers are all included in the book. I suggest booking about 3-4 days in advance so you have some flexibility in case you want to go more quickly or slowly than originally planned. Buon cammino!
I contacted Il Mestiere regarding luggage transfers as you recommended in a recent post and
received a reply (see below) from Salvatore. Unfortunately this service is very expensive compared to the luggage service on the Camino de Santiago! Are there any other alternatives that you know of for the Way of St. Francis?
thanks for your inquiry. We normally provide baggage transfers only to our clients who buy a travel package from us. I would be happy to assist you anyway; just to give you an idea, the average cost for each leg is about € 60; it may vary depending on the exact date and locations/hotels involved. Since we would have to organize the transfers on purpose for you, the price is the same whether it is one piece of baggage or more, up to 4; therefore, if anybody else is going to walk with you, you could share the cost.
If you are interested and wish to receive a quotation, please advise dates and hotels where you will be staying and how many pieces of luggage.
Thanks for sharing this. Sadly, the high price is due to the small number of pilgrims on the trail, requiring Salvatore to hire a taxi for each trip!
I have organised with a group of four friends from Australia to walk The Way of St Francis from Assisi to Rieti, leaving Assisi on 24 May. We have planned to get to Rieti on 1 June. Your guide book and gpxtracks maps (successfully downloaded to my iPad!) have been VERY helpful as we have planned our walk.
We are warming up with a walk from Le Puy to Figeac from May 2 – 13.
Like Mark earlier, we were wondering about luggage transfer, as we have two other bags besides our backpacks. We each will have backpacks of about 6/7 kgs on the walks. We are away from Australia for ten weeks, another five weeks after our walks. Does Salvatore have an email on which I could contact him to negotiate getting our bags from Assisi to Rieti?
Thank you for all you are doing to promote The Way and the life of St Francis.
Sounds like a very lovely couple of walks! You can contact Salvatore for baggage transfer via his website at http://www.ilmestierediviaggiare.it/?p=Contatti&pid=303 . It’s not cheap because Salvatore has to string together taxis and private vans to make it work. Stay in touch. Buon cammino!
Thanks for your assistance with getting in touch with Salvatore. He transferred our bag, and everything worked out well.
The walk from Assisi to Rieti was stunning. We were a group of five and we all really enjoyed the scenery, the towns and villages along the way. And the food of course!
Your guidebook and maps proved invaluable, and even with them we got ourselves “lost” a couple of times. Outside Spello proved a bit confusing, and around the beech tree of St Francis was also challenging. We found the walk fairly tough in places, even though we were fit, after completing a 250kms walk in Fance not long before.
We are now resting in Crete, regathering our energies.
Thanks again for all the work you do promoting the Way of St Francis.
Hello Sandy, My husband and I are planning to walk the way of St Francis this June. We have your book and have the GPX tracks on his phone but have been unable to download them on my IPhone…..5S. Are there further directions to help us get them on my IPhone? Thanks for any help you can give us.
I keep promising myself (and others) that I will write a post describing how to do this on an iPhone. I use a Garmin GPS and the process is a little different. In general, though, you need a Hiking app on your iPhone, like MotionX GPS. Download the app (it costs $1.99) and follow the instructions in the manual to import the GPX tracks. I the next week or two I’ll post here with very specific steps. Hope this helps in the meantime!
Thanks Sandy, I will look forward to your further directions as well!
Hello Sandy, you mentioned that you are leading a group in April, can you please send me details as my husband and myself would like to do this walk either with your group if dates suitable and you have places available or just the two of us. We are looking at traveling approx. 6th April for one week. Thanks for any help. Cathy Parker. email: email@example.com
Hi Cathy! Sorry, the March/April group is not mine. I’m only the guide for a lovely group of women from Long Island NY that travels on pilgrimage together. I wish you the best!
Hi Sandy, i will be arriving in Assisi on June 19th. I am a little concerned about accommodation. I have your book, but am really worried about the language barrier. Also, I am flying into Perugia. Is it possible to get a sim card at the airport there or in Assisi?
Congrats! This is a good time to learn some travel phrases. That’ll really help. Even without that, you will do fine. It’s part of the adventure.
I do not believe there will be a cellular dealer at the airport. I predict there will be one in Assisi or below in Santa Maria degli Angeli. Are you on Facebook? I’m sure someone in our Via di Francesco English Language group will know for sure. Otherwise search the web for TIM, Wind or Vodaphone stores in Assisi. Buon cammino!
I am interested in doing this walk! Does anyone know the average per day cost ones spends on accomodations?
Hi Sandy: We have your book and are planning to walk the Way of St. Francis from Florence to Rome beginning June 4th. Maybe you can help us on a couple of things. We emailed the request for credential forms to the address in your book o March 29th. Hadn’t heard back from them so emailed this week to follow up and still haven’t heard back. Do you know if there is another way to get in touch with them? Or is there a place in Florence where we can get a credential when we get there? Also we have been assigned a group number to enter the doors for the year of Mercy at St. Peter’s and have a date and time. Do you know if we need tickets or do they just keep a list for the date and time at the doors? Thanks for you help.
Check out this post with updated info on your credential order. https://caminoist.org/2016/02/08/how-to-order-your-via-di-francesco-credential/. You should have a printout of your reservation for the door at St Peters that shows the date/time. I guess you didn’t get one?
Thank you. I will contact them again. I did receive a confirmation with group number and time. I will print out a copy and take that with us. We appreciate your help.
I’m planning to go St. Francis Way next summer. Where can I buy your book? 😊
Awesome! You can buy it on Amazon.comor through my publisher’s website — Cicerone Press. Buon cammino!
Hello! I am actually interested in walking from Rome to Assisi. Do you have any advice on that or do you know I may be able to find resources?
Hi Scarlett ~ The Via di Francesco actually is a two-way trail, with signage running both ways in the southern route (Assisi to Rieti and Rieti to Assisi). There is no official route from Rome to Rieti, however, so at this time that could only be done by walking the directions backward. Hope this helps!
Thank you for all your advices read here through your blogs and answers. I walked last year, in August, from Dovadola to Assisi and this August I would like to carry on from Assisi to Rieti. I didn’t buy your book yet but I will because it looks wonderful and practical. I guess I am impatient to download the GPX tracks sooner rather than later. I have a Garmin Oregon 650. Do I need any other software to convert/read the tracks? Please, send me the link for downloading the tracks. Many thanks, Anna
Hi Anna ~
Here’s a link on how to download the GPX tracks. They should work just fine for you — no need to convert them for your Garmin. Cheers ~ Sandy
Dear Sandy, thank you very much for the tracks which I downloaded as per your website’s instructions. However, my Garmin would not allow me to download Italy’s outdoor map from the German website that you recommended and had to buy it from Garmin themselves. By now, I have your book too and feel safe to go in just 4 days when my this summer’s new Italian adventure will start! Many thanks again, take care, Anna
I don’t know why it wouldn’t work for you — it worked fine for me. Anyway, I’m glad you secured your maps and wish you the very very best on your upcoming cammino!
Hi again. I purchased your book through Amazon and would love to have the GPX tracks. Please tell me how.
Sure. Please go to https://caminoist.org/2014/08/24/vsf-gpxtracks/ for instructions. Thanks!
I have read your great Cicerone guide for “The Way of St Francis”. Thank you for so many valuable tips. My departure date is Sept 7 from Florence.
A friend recently sent me photos of his Francigena trek through Italy to Rome and mentioned the snake bite stations along the way and that it was wise not to walk along the grassy area due to the presence of snakes.
In your guide, you mentioned wolves and wild boar, but nothing about poisonous snakes. Can you please offer me any advice on the subject?
Many thanks for any assistance you might have to offer.
All the best along your Path,
Vipers! I’ve seen evidence of them and know poisonous ones exist in Italy, but I would say the danger is quite small. There are very few times that the path crosses grassy fields — mostly it is paths, country roads and paved roads. I’ve heard and read no stories of pilgrims being bit, so have not included info in the guide. However I’ll stay on the lookout and will let you know if I hear anything. Buon cammino to you!
Thank you for your wonderful feedback.
I would like to use an android phone/tablet for the GPS waymarkings. What GPS app would you recommend? I am beginning my pilgrimage from Florence to Rome in 2 weeks.
I am a total novice on blog sites and left a message for you on what seemed to me like a different site. Anyway, we are beginning our travels on the Via Di Francesco (Florence to Rome) on October 1. I am undecided about whether to get a handheld GPS. I have an iPhone and book, and have loaded your tracks successfully on the iPhone, but not sure of cell availability through the more difficult parts of the trek. Any advice on GPS vs iPhone?
Congratulations on your upcoming walk! I received your other note and will respond to it separately. An iPhone GPS works just fine. I’ve used mine pretty extensively now and am quite happy with it. Much more user-friendly than my Garmin, which anyway is on the fritz right now. The key thing with the iPhone is that you want to have “downloaded” maps rather than rely on a cell signal to provide the maps for you. Which app are you using? I use Galileo Pro ($3.99) and downloaded the maps for Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio. That gives me the ability to turn off the cell feature and rely exclusively on the GPS signal.
We did the walk in May and were told that Vodafone had good coverage, so we got a Vodafone Sim card with a prepaid international data plan, and had good reception throughout the entire walk. There is a Vadafone store in Florence.
The book and tracks together worked well for us. One compliments the other! Russell
Just completed the Via Francesca from Florence to Rome on November 1. It was my first Camino and I did it alone. Thank you for your guidebook. It was a life-saver. I am looking forward to bringing others on the Way of St. Francis next year. Thanks for your work in putting together this guidebook. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Congratulations! Great job, and I’m glad the guidebook was useful for you!
Hi Timothy. Congratulations ! Since I will have the pilgrimage on the route next year at the same time as you did, therefore I just want to know what about the weather, cold or hot? A lot of rain? Sleeping bag needed? And what about accommodation ? Should book in advance ? Few pilgrim people on the route?
Greatly appreciated for your reply
Congratulations on choosing to walk the Camino of St. Francis. You will enjoy it. There are few people who walk the route. I suggest booking your accommodation in advance but plan for rest days. I booked through CaminoWays and they arranged the hotels and baggage transfer for me which really reduced the amount of stress in that regard, but it is pricier than doing it yourself. The weather can be cool, but it did not get really cold. I just carried a fleece, but usually had to take it off about an hour into the walk. Rain was an issue about 5 days, but mostly the weather was gorgeous. Wishing you a wonderful walk.
Hi,Sandy :It is really excited for me to find you, who has done the trekking from Florence via Assisi to Roma . We, a retired Chinese couple, are going to trek the same way on September of next year as you did, as you know in China very few sources about the Camino so I do please ask you to send me the GPS track with password .
Hi Zibo ~ Congratulations on your upcoming trip. My agreement with my publisher requires that the GPS tracks be made available only to those who have purchased my book. If you’ve purchased the book, you can go to its website, open an account and download the GPS tracks. Buon cammino! – Sandy
Hi Sandy, I have purchased the book and got gpx but have not downloaded on my iPhone , “maps. me” is good for the gpx?
My plan is to set off at early September 2017,first take” via francigena” starting from Vercelli ,ending at Fucecchio then turning to Florence to go on with the St Francis way till to Roma via Assisi. Could you give me some advice? About weather, accommodations somethings alike.
Compared with Camino de Santiago, this route is more hard and difficult ? I finished Camino de Santiago this October covering 900 km in 33 days.
A lot of your questions (weather, accommodations, etc.) are covered in the book. My apologies that I don’t have time to cover them here, too. Yep, the walk is quite a bit harder than Camino de Santiago. Expect several days of steep hills, but it’s also extremely beautiful. If you can access Facebook, head to our Way of St Francis group where you can meet others who’ve walked and share questions and answers to help you prepare. Buon cammino!
We are going to be walking The Way of St Francis in April. We have prrchased a copy of your book and have tried to download The GPX tracks but the files won’t open. Can you help with this.
Also we are having trouble finding accommodation in the Biscina area. I have emailed some Agrotourismo but nobody has replied. Many other Agrotourismo are fully booked for the 25th April. I have also emailed the Tourist information office in Gubbio but again no reply. Are you able to help with this. Maybe we will just have to walk on to Valfabbrica. Thank you
Hi Maureen ~
Congrats on your upcoming Cammino! Have you looked at my guide for how to use the GPX tracks? If you already have and it’s still not working please let me know and I’ll consult with you by phone or email. On accommodation near Biscina, I’m not sure what you’ve already tried. Tenuto di Biscina is one choice, but expensive. I love Agriturismo Valdichiascio. Have you tried there? Also there is the new hostel which at San Pietro Vignate. Often these accommodations are closed in the winter and I’m not surprised it would take them some time to get back to you. Keep trying, though. To walk all the way from Gubbio to Valfabbrica in one day would be a killer. Buon cammino!
I have downloaded the GPX tracks to my phone.On trying to open them it says ‘ Unable to find application to perform this action’. So what else do I need? It is probably just me being not very technically minded.
With regards accommodation at Biscina. Tenuto Biscina is fully booked. And I think many other agritourismo are closed for the winter. So I will need to be patient. Are there any Agritourismo between Biscina and Valfabbrica? After Biscina our next stop is Assisi. So by stopping before Biscina it makes it a long walk to Assisi.
Thank you for your help.
Hi Maureen ~ It sounds like you need to install a GPS app on your phone. Here’s a blog post I wrote some time ago about how to use the GPX tracks. I hope this helps. https://caminoist.org/2016/03/09/an-incredibly-detailed-guide-on-how-to-set-up-and-use-your-gps-on-the-via-di-francesco/
My favorite place to stay between Gubbio and Biscina is Agriturismo Valdichiascio. I just want to make certain you’ve checked with Maria Theresa there. In addition to that and Tenuta di Biscina I list two other places in my book and book update, including the new hostel at San Pietro in Vignate. Up on the highway above the walking route there are several agriturismi, including Sosta San Francesco (www.lasostadisanfrancesco.com).
Hi Sandy, Thanks for all your help with installing GPX tracks. And as afar as the accommodation is concerned I’m going to be patient and wait for a few weeks. I emailed Sosta San Francesco last week but have had no reply as yet. But perhaps they are closed for the winter. Tenuta di Biscina is fully booked. I’m not going to worry about it. I’m sure everything will sort itself out. Thank you again for all your help. Maureen
Me and a couple of other friends want to try the Way of St Francis in June! Do you have any advice for us as we’re three city people without extensive experience with hiking?
Oh also, do you mind emailing me the GPX track passwords? Thank you so much!
Hi Kat ~ Congrats on your upcoming walk! The most important things to know are: 1) take very good care of your feet because blisters are the biggest hiking problem, and 2) stay hydrated by drinking at least 2 liters of water a day, 3 liters in heat. Here are instructions on downloading the GPX tracks and installing them on your phone. Buon cammino!
How can I get this guidebook?
Hi Scott ~ Not sure where you live, but if it’s in the US you can order via Amazon here. The book is also available directly from Cicerone if you’re in the UK or from your country’s local Amazon. Thanks! -Sandy
Hello Sandy! With your guidebook in pack, I am walking The Way of St. Francis with my son beginning May 7. My husband and daughter will join us in Assisi. I followed all your clear directions to apply for our credentials in February 25, but we have not received any response or credential! How can we get these before walking in Florence? From where are they distributed? Can I just take a train there to get them before we start? Or is there a phone number we can call?
AND, can we get the hookup for the GPS trax?
We have been walking The Way of Saint Francis since the March 26, 2017. Your book has been a great resource. We are using your recommendations for places to stay. They have been one of the unexpected highlights of our trip so far. Tonight I am posting this from the balcony of La Loggia Sul Nera. The owners really go out of their way to be sure you have a great stay. Rita made a special trip to be sure that we were greeted by someone who could speak English. The apartment is delightful and she gave us information about the waterfall we will see tomorrow. There are other places that have been delightful stays as well. Thank you for such great recommendations for places to stay.
my father has requested we walk The Way of Saint Francis for his eightieth birthday, next April/May. He is fit for his age yet I do not expect he would manage more than 10km/day. My thinking is for him (and my mother – slightly younger ) to walk what they can walk and then have transport take them to the nightly destination to meet up with luggage etc.
I wonder if you could point me to any groups operating who follow your path/book and can arrange the accommodation, baggage transport AND a support vehicle?
Hi Gavin — What a fun adventure for you and your dad. Other than my own groups I’m not aware of others that offer van service. However, it’s certainly possible to arrange this on a custom basis. My driver is in country in late April and we could put together a proposal for you. Let me know. — Sandy
that would be great, I am back in Australia in two weeks time and can discuss with him directly.
Thanks – Gavin
hello , would i be able to have access to the gpx tracks? Myself and my girlfriend are planning a 4/5 day hike, along the last section to rome from Rieti in a few weeks. many thanks!
Hi Deragh ~ Here’s a link that shows how to download the tracks. Buon cammino! https://caminoist.org/2014/08/24/vsf-gpxtracks/
Hello Sandy, I walked the Camino Frances two years ago and have had my eye on the Way of St Francis for some time. Just got your book and I must say, it gave me reason to pause. My greatest concern is the lack of markings. I feel I’d spend much of my walk with my nose in your book reading directions. I’m just old enough to be mildly tech savvy and was wondering if the GPs track you mention is a good alternative. Would be willing to purchase whatever equipment is needed to use it. Is it worth teaching trying to teach this old dog a new trick?
Markings are improving continually. From La Verna to Piediluco they are excellent, but a little spotty otherwise. I suggest getting the GPS tracks and installing them on your smartphone with Galileo Pro. Def worth it.
Thank you. Can I get the password for the tracks?
Hi Bill — here’s a link with info about how to access the tracks. Buon cammino! https://caminoist.org/2014/08/24/vsf-gpxtracks/
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My wife and I are looking into going May 2018. Most likely, we would begin in Assisi after spending a few days there continuing on to Rome.
We have walked the Camino de Santiago twice from St. Jean Pied de Port and once from Villafranca.
So I would definitely be interested in getting the GPS tracks.
Hi Phillip ~ Congrats on your upcoming walk. Here’s a link with instructions about how to download the tracks. Buon cammino! – S
I am very keen to walk the St Francis Way in My 2018. Please let me know how I can access your book.
Fantastic! Let me know what country you live in and I’ll help you get hold of a copy.
Hi, I am in South Africa.
Hi sandy! I am looking to do the way of st Francis with my sister this coming summer. We want to do it in 14 days and are wondering if the full route is doable in that period of time. We would love to access all of your resources to best plan our trip! Thank you!
Well, that’d be over 40 km/day in tough terrain, so I don’t think it’s very doable in that timeline. Best to do a big part, like perhaps Città di Castello to Assisi to Rieti, which is wonderful.
Ok thank you! Where would you recommend that we start if we want to finish in Rome in two weeks. We previously did the whole Camino primitivo in Spain in 11 which is 334 kilometers total.
Well, that’s impressive. You could start in Gubbio, go through Assisi and on to Rome at that pace. Plan some time to explore Gubbio, Assisi, Spoleto and Arieti though. Buon cammino!
Awesome! Thank you. We are going to buy your book to prepare for our trip!
I just bought your guide… Planning to walk from Assisi to Rome this June. Have walked the CF and CP always with my backpack. Will be in Europe for other reasons and will need to get extra suitcase from Assisi to Rome. Any ideas? Also have never booked lodging ahead.. Just arrive. Will that be a problem in June. Thanks in advance for your help.
Congrats, Donna. You’re in for a very new experience. This is a much quieter cammino, but very, very beautiful. Yes, you should plan to book ahead. I’ve tried to make it easy by providing email addresses when possible. I don’t have any great ideas for you on your suitcase, but I’ll give it some more thought. Buon cammino!
Thanks… I think I have solved the suitcase situation. When you say book ahead does this mean…starting now or 1-2 days before arrival in a town? Thanks
Great. In my opinion pilgrims should always book ahead at least 1 day. Buon cammino to you!
Hi Sandy, My husband and I will begin The Way of St. Francis from La Verna on April 20th, 2018. Your guidebook, Facebook page and GPS links have all been invaluable.
We plan to blog about our experience as we’ve done on past treks, and I’m wondering if I may include a copy of your map with one of our posts? We will certainly credit you whenever we can!
Absolutely. No problem. Thanks for asking and Buon Cammino!
I see that your guide The Way of St Francis has had a reprint in 2017
I am planning to walk 3 weeks Florence to Rome next Sept 2019 after time in Norway with my husband ( coming from NZ I want to maximise cost of flights)
Do you have plans to do another update before then as will hold off buying the guide if so
Hi Cathy ~ No reprinting planned in 2019, so there’ll just be the usual update listing, like put out around Jan 1, 2019. Thanks for asking and buon cammino!
Thanks Sandy so will buy now and start planning
See where Rosa and Nadia as per the Way of St Francis FB page have connected. Is this the right forum to see if my dates coincide with someone else – will be nice to have company especially in early stages
Yes, indeed. The FB forum (Way of St Francis – official group) continues to grow and is a super resource.
My family and I (husband, 5 year old, one year old, and myself) are planning on walking half of the Way of Saint Francis (Florence to Assisi) this summer. I know that there are some rather difficult portions. Would it be feasible for one parent and the infant to bus ahead while the other parent and the five year old walk the difficult portion? For the easy days would a stroller work?
You’re the first to ask this question. I have some questions for you before answering: 1) have you ever walked long distances with your kids? 2) have you ever hiked in the mountains with one or both? The reason I ask is that portions of Florence to Assisi are rather mountainous. Those that aren’t mountainous are rather long. If you’re already walking long distances with the kids that’d be a good indication you can make a go of it.
Thank you so much for your response!
We have done a few days in Yosemite with about 13 miles a day (mountains-but mainly switchbacks) with the 5 year old hiking and the baby in a front pack. But I think the baby will be rather heavy for the front pack by this summer… That’s why we were thinking about the stroller for the easier ways and then having the baby and one of us parents bus or train past the difficult parts while the other parent and 5 year old hike. We definitely walk long distances each Saturday – but these day hikes are mostly flat. One nice thing is that we have all the time in the world – about 7 weeks. We were also thinking about the Camino, but we don’t love crowds and we do love Saint Francis 🙂
Your book is arriving on Wednesday. Can’t wait to read it!
Thank you again.
OK, super. Let me know what your thoughts are after you look at the book!
I definitely will. Thank you so much for all of your help Sandy.
My sister and I will be doing the st Francis way starting May 30th. We have purchased your book and are using it as a guide! We were wondering if there is a place in Florence to buy walking sticks/staffs? Also would it be possible to get your email for additional questions?
Thanks so much!!
Congratulations on your upcoming walk, Paul! There are a couple of sports stores in Florence, so yes, you’ll be able to find a walking stick or two (or four). Are you aware of the St Francis Way Facebook group? That’s the best way to get information — there are many people there who’ve walked the Way. You can also contact me there or here – which sends me an email. Have a great cammino! https://www.facebook.com/groups/wayofstfrancis/
Hi Sandy, I finished walking the Via Francigena from Fidenza to Rome on June 29th! This was an incredible pilgrimage. They’ve all been great! I’m excited to be thinking about walking the St. Francis walk – Florence to Assisi to Rome for next year. I purchased your book “The Way of St. Francis” yesterday through my iBooks app on my cell phone. I’m having trouble finding the connection for the GPS tracts. How do you suggest that I go forward with this?
Hi Joan ~ Just search this site for the post labeled “tips for downloading GPS tracks” and you’ll find some help. Good luck!
Hi Sandy. I’ve just ordered your book from Cicerone. My friends and I have done the Santiago camino from Oporto to Compostela. In researching Italian walks, I have found many comments lamenting that some walks are along busy roads. Is this your experience? Thanks in advance.
On the Via do Francesco I would say there is about 400 meters of walking on busy roads. Much more on the Via Francigena.
Thanks for the quick response Sandy. I am reassured. Cheers
Hi Sandy. I have just ordered your book from Cicerone. My friends and I have done the Santiago camino walk from Oporto to Compostela and we are excited about doing something similar in Italy.
However, in researching Italian walks, a frequent comment seems to be that many routes are along busy roads or are otherwise uninteresting. What is your experience of this please? Appreciate any comments.
I am taking a last minute trip to Italy in January 2019. I came across your book at the library, and decided to add a portion of the cammino to my itinerary. I plan to start in Rieti and walk to Greccio and then on to Poggio Bustone. I know these portions of the path are not included in your book, nor included in the accomodations PDF.
I wonder if you have any info on accomodations on these alternative routes? If you don’t have details of places to stay, maybe you can share tips on getting a cheap bed/room when calling around.
I know going in January isn’t ideal, but it’s when I am able to go and I’d rather walk than tour around big cities:) (Being from WA state, the cold, wet weather doesn’t bother me.)
Thank you for inspiring me to walk the cammino and thank you in advance for any tips you can offer.
Based on your itinerary the accommodation list works fine for Rieti and Poggio Bustone but doesn’t have a Greccio overnight, which you’ll need. I don’t know of an accommodation there, but if you go to the Via di Francesco Facebook page you’ll find a listing that includes it. Btw i don’t recommend walking to Faggio San Francesco in winter unless you’re experienced and equipped for snow hiking. Buon cammino!
Thank you for doing this. I am in Assisi and came here not knowing anything about the entire route but, here to do a section as my health and time allows. How do i contact you? It is not clear here how to do so.
This works fine!
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S9 – Powered by Three
I wonder if you know anything about the Francisco’s Way web site (and organization behind it). The address is http://www.umbriafrancescosways.eu. I reached out to them a few weeks ago about luggage transport support for my wife and I when we do the Florence to Assisi to Rome walk outlined in your book in May 2019. I had a wonderful email exchange going then, all of a sudden, no response. It’s been about 2 weeks now and it seems as if the web site has gone dark.
They’re still there. I would suggest trying again via email. Sorry you’re having that trouble.
A few comments about http://www.umbriaFrancescosway website… From my research, I thought that this was Francesco [Frank] Gallo’s website [ for Luggage & tranfer services ]. I don’t recollect getting any feedback directly from that site, but I ended up contacting them at infoconsorziofrancescosway@gmail.
I am using them for luggage transfer on our route from Della Verna to Assisi, starting next Monday, 23 April. I am also having them provide car transfer service from the Arezzo Train station directly to Santuario Della Verna so that we can get there before 6pm. [ You must arrive before 6:30pm ].
As Sandy stated, it’s not inexpensive, but this is what we chose to do rather than carry the full packs the entire way.
I’m thinking of traveling the St. Francis Way sometime next year and am excited to read your book! It will be my first pilgrimage, though I’ve now done a fair amount of backpacking and section hiking on the Appalachian Trail.
Are there campsites along the St. Francis Way? Do you have any recommendations for resources on camping in Italy?
Thanks very much!
Hi Katie ~ thanks for your note. Great to hear you’re thinking of walking the St Francis Way. There are very few campsites and, sadly, camping outside approved campgrounds is forbidden in Italy. I know of only one campsite — in Assisi. So sorry!
I did my first pilgrimage in June 2017 walking from Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela. at the time I was 75 and was with my neighbor who celebrated his 87th birthday while we were walking. It was just the two of us.
I bought your book last year while planning a pilgrimage in Italy. We ended up, however, walking the via Francigena from San Gimignano to Rome April/May. My neighbor was undergoing some treatments and was unable to join me, but I had three other fellow pilgrims as companions. My son, 54, and two friends 73 and 80.
This coming September I am planning on doing the via di Francesco from La Verna to Assisi in September of this year. It will be me, as the youngster at 77 and two fellow pilgrims. One will be 81 & who walked with me last year and the other my neighbor who walked with me in 2017 and will be 89.
We were wondering if there are any services between LaVerna and Assisi which will forward any luggage if needed. Can you provide any insight here?
Nick from Texas
Yes, indeed, Nick. Please follow this link for the email and phone number of Francesco Ways: http://www.umbriafrancescosways.eu/en/services/luggage-transfer/ Buon cammino!
I downloaded the GPX walking maps from LaVerna to Assisi. I noticed that Stage 2 to Sansepolcro seems to be the old route which you said was no longer usable. I did not see the revised GPX map for stage 2 on the Cicerone website. Can you send me the revised stage 2…or direct me where it might be available? Thanks.
Dear Sandy –
I am walking via di Francesco, starting May 7th, from, I think, Bagia Prataglia to Assisi. I only have 7 days, so obviously, I am going to have to skip over some part of it via bus/train. I am a strong hiker, and am going to follow your guide. What is important to me is the Sacred Forrest, so I want as much of that as possible – while I also want to see Gubbio and Assisi (medieval art is my research focus). My question is two part: 1. should I start in Camaldoli, for more Forrest time, and 2. If I am going to take a bus at some point, after Della Verna, where would you suggest I do this – what part to skip over? I hate to do that, but must sacrifice something. I did the pilgrim route in Norway – Oslo to Trondheim, and wish I could do the whole St. Frances route in one go as well – alas, another time.
Thank you for your advise!
Thanks for your note, Louise. I find the forest between Stia and Camaldoli to be quite wonderful. I’d go there right now if I could. Stia is also easy access via rail. If you choose the official route from La Verna to Sansepolcro that forest walk continues. Between Sansepolcro and Gubbio the forest is spotty, however one fo my favorite towns, Citta di Castello is in that stretch and IMO shouldn’t be missed. After Gubbio there is lots of forest walking between there and Assisi. So I guess I’m saying if I skipped anything it would be Sansepolcro to Gubbio, with the exception of stopping in Citta di Castelo to enjoy the town. Hope that helps! Buon cammino!
Thank you so much! Perfect answer and will help me immensely. Louise
Sandy, should have asked, what is IMO? LB
IMO is a common Internet shortcut for “in my opinion.” A variant is IMHO, “in my honest opinion.”
Hi again, Sandy –
I’m getting a “no tickets available” when I search for train tickets from Florence to Stia (Pratoveccio). Is it best to travel by bus? Maybe there isn’t a train available, although when I search it appears otherwise. Can I just buy a ticket same day? Or should I book online in advance?
Thanks again for your help!
Hi Louise ~ Not sure about ticket sales online — never done that in Italy. I usually buy my tickets at the station. Firenze to Arezzo at the kiosk in Firenze and then Arezzo to Pratovechio/Stia at the station shop in Arezzo (or Bibbiena if I’m starting there).
Perfect! Thanks again. LB
Hi again, Sandy – I’m leaving in a week for St. Frances and unfortunately I’m having trouble getting the GPS maps on my phone – I downloaded onto Guru from Cicerone, but when I open it, it starts with Spoleto via Poreta, and that isn’t even a real map. When I follow your instructions, I’m lead to Wikilok – another platform? To join? Question is, can I get along without it, using your book and waymarkers? I’m only going from Stia to Assisi. And, I’d rather not be looking at my phone. Thanks for your help –
Hello, I was wondering if anybody knows what is the average daily cost of doing the Via di Francesco, I’m hoping to do La Verna to Assisi. Thanks for your time.
Hey sandy! My parents are wanting to hike the way of st Francis this upcoming December-January besides the obvious colder weather do you anticipate a problem with finding open accommodation? Thanks for your time.
I don’t recommend walking this trail in the winter months due to snow at the higher elevations. Some accommodations will be closed as well. April to October would be my suggested times. Sorry!
Would it be too much trouble to skirt around the snowy areas if there was snow? We did the Camino frances In January/February and found it to be wonderful that time of year. A little snow from time to time but not bad.
It’s very possible. I’d definitely suggest starting no sooner than Sansepolcro and skipping the stage before Poggio Bustone. Remember shooter days, more rain and fewer services in winter. Definitely call ahead for reservations. Buon cammino!
Thanks a lot. We have the book and it’s a valuable tool. Keep up the good work.
Hi from Denmark. I own your St. Francis Way guidebook and plan to go there in June 2020. I plan to follow your exact route using the gpx route I have downloaded from the Cicerone website. Is thf gpx track on your blog the exact same? Thanks in advance for your help.
I’m going to buy your book and walk the Way of St Francis hopefully the month of May 2022.
I’ve walked the Camino a few times and it’s time for a different challenge and a change of scenery. Would you be able to direct me to any sites where people tend to gather planning the trip??? Thank you for the opportunity to reach out to you Charles
My wife and I are planning to walk the Way of St Francis in April/May 2022. We have your excellent book and GPX files and have used them to plan our stops. In fact we had the whole route planned and flights and accommodation booked in 2020, but had to cancel for obvious reasons. Now we are finding that some of the places we had booked before are no longer operating. There are a few stages where the options for accommodation are very limited and we prefer to book well in advance rather than leave things to chance. In some cases we have had to change where we stop.
Just one small question: the timings you give for walking each stage – do they allow for rest time or are they strictly walking time? We have walked the Camino so we have a good idea of what we are capable of, but we are aware that the terrain for the Via is very different.
The timings are real-world and include my slow pace and an occasional stop for rest. Good luck in your walk!
Wondering if I will see pilgrims walking between LaVerna and Assisi in Sept? How populated is the route? I will be traveling solo and hope there will be other pilgrims. Thank you for replies.
The trail is quiet, especially during Covid, but I think in Sept you’ll see other pilgrims in that section. It’s nothing like the Camino, though, so keep in mind you’ll find lots of solitude.
Yes, three of us walked from LaVerna to Assisi in late September, arriving in Assisi on Oct. 4th, the feast of St. Francis. We did encounter other pilgrims, but nowhere near the amount we met on our pilgrimage from Porto to Satiago in 2017. Sleeping accommodations, and other support along the way are also more limited. Most of the other pilgrims were “seniors” like us, but a very friendly group. We had rest days in Citta di Castillo and in Gubbio. Two of the places we stayed along the way, I would highly recommend: First, “Pieve de Saddi” which is connected to a small church/chapel dating back to the 4th. Secondly, “Agriturismo Borgo San Benedetto”, wonderful place with a fantastic view and amazing meals.
Thank you Nick. I appreciate your feedback.