Join me to walk in Italy in 2017

Over the years people have asked me when I might invite others to join me on my pilgrim adventures. I’ve arranged my calendar in such a way that I’m able to say, “Now!” Here are five itineraries for 2017 in which pilgrims can walk with me on two beautiful and historic pathways of Italy — the Via Francigena and the Via di Francesco. Click on the photos for more information about each of the walks and to learn how to reserve your place.

FlorencetoAssisi

I want to describe my strategy in choosing an Italian travel agency, our hotels, and the other services that are necessary to make these truly great experiences.
Travel agent: I’ve chosen to work with Salvatore Accardi of Rieti who truly is an expert on the Italian cammino walks. Salvatore advised me as I researched my 2015 guidebook for the Way of St Francis and made arrangements for the April walk I led with six Americans from Assisi to Rome. He’s a good friend and a fellow pilgrim walker. He knows these pilgrim trails very well and knows the accommodations available at all levels. I’m delighted to work with him and to have his expertise available for our participants.
Hotels: It’s very possible to do either of these walks staying mostly in hostels or in small hotels if a person is willing to make the arrangements themselves. Since that’s already available to pilgrims — and since my guidebook makes it relatively easy on the Via di Francesco — I’ve decided that these itineraries would focus instead on hotels of historic and scenic interest that put us right into the cultural and architectural milieu of these great towns. Also, because the walks are sometimes strenuous, I want this to be a vacation for people who want to exercise as well as relax at night and enjoy the culture and cuisine. For these reasons I’ve asked Salvatore to arrange 4-star hotels (or best available) each night. A characteristic hotel is Abbazia San Pietro in Valle near Macenano that is a 10th century abbey fully restored as a simple but charming hotel. The purpose is not to be posh, but to enjoy occasional creature comforts at night after walking hard during the day. So what I’m offering is an economical but enjoyable pilgrimage walk that could only be arranged by someone who has carefully made the smartest choices from among the accommodations available.
IMG_9746Services: To make our walking as simple as possible we will have van service and baggage service each day, provided by someone I love and trust greatly — my 29-year-old son, Luke Brown. This means that day packs with 4-5 pounds maximum of weight will suffice. It also means that if walkers want to cut short their walk they can arrange for the van to pick them up. Also, if someone is sick or needing an extra rest day that’s available to arrange with our van without any hassle. My hope is that this opens the door to people who might not otherwise try ambitious walks like these. We will also provide all translation services necessary and can also advise pilgrims about the best flights to arrange in order to save money and make a pleasant journey to and from Italy. Last, but not least, I’ve walked many hundreds of kilometers in Italy and I’ll be there to walk each and every step I’m able. That will minimize confusion and misdirection to make our walks as trouble-free as possible.
So, the prices listed  are for all accommodations and include breakfast each morning and dinner each evening. Cost includes baggage transfer service (40 pound max) and van availability. They do not include airfare to Italy or ground transportation to and from the starting and ending points.
img_9699Prices are all in Euros because of the fluctuations in exchange rates anticipated this coming year. We will use the Google Finance currency converter, which currently is at 1.129 Dollars per Euro to calculate costs on a daily basis.
If you would like to join two walks together say, and walk from Lucca to Rome or from Florence to Rome I will offer a 10% discount on the combined price. There’s nothing like walking into Rome and the longer you have available the more you’ll want to extend your walk.
The minimum size of each group is 8 while the maximum (due to size of the passenger van) is limited to 10. We’ve especially had strong interest in the Assisi to Rome walks, so if that’s your choice you will want to reserve right away. I haven’t yet publicized the Via Francigena walks, but I believe they will also have strong interest.
We’ll have an E-Commerce site set up in about the next two weeks that will allow online reservations and deposits. Deposits will be 30% of the total cost, with final payments due 90 days prior to departure. We’ll also accept checks!
Thank you again for your interest in walking with me. I love walking in these regions very much — the terrain, the history, the culture, the cuisine — and what makes them most special is being able to enjoy them with pilgrim friends. I hope you’re one!
For more information, please contact me:

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4 thoughts on “Join me to walk in Italy in 2017

  1. Hi Sandi,
    We are currently walking your way of Saint Francis . We were lucky enough to stay with Katerina Marcello. She was more than helpful with our Camino. She was gracious and very helpful with helping us with arrangements for our Camino. She made sure that we had accommodations in Stia where everything everything you recommended in your book was still closed until April. Although we were the only ones there, She made us a fantastic dinner with mushrooms she had freshly picked. Her accommodations were beyond our expectations. Although we are just beginning our Camino this will be a memorable event for us. Jane and Randy Korb

    • It sounds like you have just the right attitude and will have a wonderful time. As I mention in my book (p 26) it’s a little bit of a gamble to walk in the shoulder months of March/April and October/November since some accommodations will be closed. You may have this same problem in Badia Prataglia, but I think you’ll see more open once you’re out of the mountains. Buon cammino to you two! — Sandy

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