Ongoing Plans for Walking the Via Francigena

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I thought I’d give you an update on the planning status of our upcoming trek on the Via Francigena. April seems such a long way off, but heck, it’s right around the corner. January 2019 has come and gone already, so our anticipation is growing daily when we think about our walking from Rome to Canterbury this coming spring.


For us, the planning is nearly as exciting as the actual walk least that’s how it was when we were planning our Thames Path walk last spring and summer. It seems with every step forward we take, the more real the trip becomes. It’s nearly taken on a life of its own and consumes many of our conversations. There’s so much to consider; so much to plan; so much to look forward to.

David has taken on the task of planning the daily legs and figuring out what accommodations might be available in each. We know that 12-15 miles per day is comfortably doable with some ‘zero’ days for R&R as well as local exploring. He’s purchased several guide books including a couple hard copy guides and four digital guides. All have different perspectives and provide insight into planning the walk, gear discussion and route alternatives. I won’t steal his thunder as he’ll be providing specifics in the weeks to come.

As for me, my Italian lessons continue daily. I’ve augmented the Duolingo lessons with Italian for Dummies study, as well as writing and speaking practice. I regularly spend 15 minutes to an hour a day. Progress has been slow, but steady. I can at least order a glass of wine...and ask the location of a bathroom.

Once we decided that we’d do the trek in reverse order from Rome to Canterbury instead of vice versa and David determined just how long we should expect the walk to take, we made the decision to buy our airline tickets. Scouting out tickets was no easy task. One way tickets are expensive as are multi-destination tix. We finally ended up with roundtrip tickets to London via British Airways and one-way tickets to Rome, allowing ourselves ample time in between to actually walk the walk. There is, of course, never too much time. We begin our trip in early April and return in early August...quite the walk!

Our pilgrim passport

Our pilgrim passport

Most exciting is that we joined the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome and received our membership materials and pilgrim ‘credentials’. We’re not religious, but this is an ancient pilgrimage route and thus joining the Confraternity seemed reasonable. Being ‘official pilgrims’ allows us to stay in monasteries and other religious facilities along the way which we believe will add significantly to our cultural experience.

The passports will be stamped or authenticated daily at all the traditional stops en route and provide the necessary documentation for a ‘Certificate of Pilgrimage’ aka ‘Testimonium Peregrinationis Peractae ad Limina Petri’ (easy for you to say) issued from the Vatican.

We also joined the Via Francigena on-line group which provides lots of information shared by folks who have completed the walk or anticipate walking it. There’s always more to learn and interesting bits to add to our current knowledge basis. It was on this site that we found a website that specializes in stays at traditional hermitages, monasteries, convents and the like including a particularly good option near the Vatican in Roma Centro.

Needless to say, with every new piece of information we uncover, our anticipation and excitement grow. Hope you plan to come along with us. It’s going to be an awesome trek! We also think it’s about time to share with you more about Sigeric the Serious since it was his diary that documented the Via Francigena. Read more about Sigeric here.