Italy : St Francis’ Way

16 days / Self-guided walking

Assisi to Rome

St Francis’ Way

Beginning in Umbria, the green heart of Italy, this journey will see you walking from Assisi, the birthplace of St Francis’ of Assisi, one of Italy’s patron saints, to the Eternal City of Rome.  Spend 16 days immersed in the history and culture of Italy, witnessing the ancient, beautiful landscape and learning about the people that have passed through it before you.

TRIP STYLE

Self-Guided Walking

DURATION/LENGTH

16 days/240 kms

DATES

Any date to suit you

START/END POINT

Assisi to Rome

GRADING

Moderate Walk

PRICE P/P TWIN SHARE

From EURO 2,820 / AUD 4,950

Make Enquiry SAVE/PRINT ITINERARY

This 240-kilometre walk is an unforgettable taste of Italy’s beautiful countryside. Beginning in Assisi and ending in Rome, with many memorable moments in between, the walk is typified by rolling hills, fortified hill towns, mountains and beautiful lakes. The walking is relatively flat, though there are sections of testing ascents and descents, while the food can only be described as heaven sent. Whether you’re a fan of pasta or a pizza fiend, you’ll be lacking in neither carbohydrates nor the perfect accompanying wine – the perfect addition to a walking holiday.

Day 1 | Arrive in Assisi

Welcome to Assisi, a town in the Umbria region of Central Italy and the birthplace of St Francis, one of Italy’s patron saints. The beautiful town is dominated its castles and churches, with the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi being particularly memorable. Settle into your accommodation and spend some time exploring town, perhaps introducing yourself to some of Italy’s finest cuisine at one of the many trattorias or osterias.

Day 2 | Assisi – Foligno | 20 km / 5 hours

Begin your journey along St Francis’ Way at the Basilica of St Francis – a most fitting place to start. Set off towards Rome, enjoying a relatively flat walk along paths and quiet secondary roads. A stop in Spello, a few kilometres before Foligno, is a great idea. It’s a charming Umbrian town with plenty of little bars and cafes for a coffee or cold drink and the winding ancient streets are ripe for exploring and photo opportunities. Foligno, your destination for the evening, is an industrial and commercial centre that rose to prominence under the Papal State during the 13th century. There are plenty of interesting sights, including the cathedral, several other churches and the Piazza Della Repubblica.

Day 3 | Foligno – Campello sul Clitunno | 20 km / 5 hours

After breakfast, depart Foligno past the Porta Romana (Roman door) with the path taking you towards the Castello di Saint’Eraclio, along the ancient Via Flaminia. This Roman road led from Rome over the Apennine Mountains all the way to Ariminum, on the Adriatic Sea. Don’t worry, you won’t be walking all the way to the Adriatic today, but you will be following dirt roads on a testing uphill section, eventually arriving at Campello sul Clitunno. This small, fortified village is at the centre of olive oil production and has a UNESCO-listed temple, though it’s most known for its lovely lake and freshwater springs, which were even mentioned by Pliny the Edler, a revered Roman philosopher and author.

Day 4 | Campello sul Clitunno – Spoleto | 12 km / 3 hours

Enjoy a short but beautiful walk today, enjoying several of the small villages that typify St Francis’ Way. The stepped village of Poreta is a highlight, ensconced in olive trees and fortified walls, while the valleys and mountains along the way are certainly worth a photo or two. Your evening’s destination, Spoleto, dates back to the 12th century and is home to some truly unforgettable eateries offering traditional Umbrian dishes cooked by nonna as well as Michelin-starred options. The Spoleto Cathedral is well worth visiting and features beautiful mosaic work and frescoes.

Day 5 | Spoleto – Ceselli | 17 km / 4 hours

The walk from Spoleto to Ceselli begins with a climb towards the Nerva River Valley, passing by Monteluco and the Hermitage of St Francis. This place is home to many legends about St Francis and is said to have been settled by Syrian refugees in the 5th century. Be sure to have a poke around before continuing through the hermitage’s sacred woods and taking in the stunning valley of Spoleto below. The tiny village of Ceselli is a charming place to spend an evening soaking up the atmosphere of the Italian countryside.

Day 6 | Ceselli – Arrone | 15 km / 3 hours

Enjoy an easy day along St Francis’ Way, walking over generally flat land with plenty of shade provided by the trees along the banks of the Nera River. There’s a possibility of taking a detour today, which will see you visiting San Pietro, a medieval abbey in the small township of Ferentillo. Alternatively, continue walking towards Arrone, a hillside town with an old guard tower and lovely church, not to mention a number of quaint bars and restaurants.

Day 7 | Arrone – Piediluco | 13 km / 3 hours

Leaving Arrone, a relaxed stroll will take you to the Marmore Falls, from where the trail begins a number of ascents and descents through the wooded landscape. Though this is a short day, it’s worth breaking up the stage and stopping in Piediluco, a medieval village overlooking the vast Lake Piediluco, which marks the border between Umbria and Lazio. Archaeologists have excavated evidence of settlements dating back to the Bronze Age here, though the later history of the area is just as interesting, featuring battles between the Sabines and Romans. These days, the food and wine on offer is a definite highlight, both of the town and St Francis’ Way.

Day 8 | Piediluco – Poggio Bustone | 22 km / 5–6 hours

Cross the Umbrian border into Lazio, climbing to the commune of Labro. Sitting at just over 600 metres above sea level, this hilltop village is quietly impressive place with a magnificent castle watching over the residents and surrounding countryside. This stage of St Francis’ Way sees you cross the verge of the Reatini mountain range, which means a day packed with views before arriving at Santuario di Poggio Bustone, located at 820 metres above sea level. The evening views here are simply divine.

Day 9 | Poggio Bustone – Rieti | 17 km / 4 hours

Today, St Francis’ Way offers up a mix of ascents and descents along a very peaceful trail. There’ll be some walking on smaller mule tracks as well as the occasional paved road, eventually delivering you in the ancient city of Rieti. Set on a hilltop with lovely views of the Sabine Mountains, Rieti is the departure point for the final 100 kilometres of St Francis’ Way to Rome. There’s plenty to see in town, with a particular highlight being the Rieti Cathedral. With construction beginning in 1109, it was consecrated in 1225 and rebuilt in the 17th century, though the magnificent, 13th-century bell tower still remains. All your Italian staples can be found in town; gelati, pizza, pasta. And given this is a walking holiday, there’ll be no guilt when it comes to eating as much as possible.

Day 10 | Rieti – Poggio San Lorenzo | 22 km / 5 hours

Begin the day with eight kilometres of flat terrain before encountering some testing uphill sections. There’s some great walking through woods, over streams and across fields, with a challenging final ascent to Poggio San Lorenzo. Along the way you’ll see the 100-kilometre sign that marks the beginning of the last stretch of St Francis’ Way. Poggio San Lorenzo is a quiet little town, the perfect place to put your feet up and enjoy a glass of primo Italian vino.

Day 11 | Poggio San Lorenzo – Ponticelli di Scandriglia | 20 km / 4 hours

A challenging stretch of walking is rewarded with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. Along the way, we highly recommending stopping at the church of Santa Vittoria. There are plenty of charming villages in this section of St Francis’ Way and several towns in which one can find water fountains, steaming cups of espresso and plates of tasty pasta. Though relatively small, Ponticelli is a welcome sight at the end of a testing day, where you’ll enjoy a well-earned meal and a good night’s rest.

Day 12 | Ponticelli di Scandriglia – Montelibretti | 13 km / 3 hours

There’ so much to see and so much to enjoy as the kilometres to Rome become fewer and fewer. Today is a short day but shouldn’t be rushed as the walking is simply lovely. You’ll begin on a downhill trail, alternating between dirt and paved roads and surrounded by olive groves and oak trees, eventually reaching Poggio Corese. From here, you should be able to see the commanding Castello Orsini in Nerola, while the perfect place for a refreshment is the small town of Acquaviva. The trail will then take you into the valley then back up to Montelibretti; your overnight destination and a charming town that’s home to the lovely Palazzo Barberini.

Day 13 | Montelibretti – Monterotondo | 16 km / 4 hours

Walk today from the hilltops to the valley floor and along the legendary Tiber River. St Francis’ Way isn’t the only historical thread you’ll follow today; these are the waters in which Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were supposedly abandoned in before being rescued by the wolf Lupa. The walking today involves a few ascents and descents until you reach Monterotondo and Macchia di Gattaceca, a lush natural reserve with several karst sinkholes including the wonderful Well of Merro. Monterotondo, a town with a touch over 40,000 residents, is thought to be built on the site of the ancient town of Eretum, which was held by the Sabine people and saw many conflicts between the Romans and Sabines.

Day 14 | Monterotondo – Monte Sacro | 18 km / 4 hours

Begin your day at the Duomo of Monterotondo in the Piazza Papa Giovanni Paolo II. From here, the trail will take you through the charming rural landscape of the Roman countryside across undulating terrain. After some ups and downs, you’ll enter the urban landscape of Rome, known as the Eternal City. As this is the penultimate day of your pilgrimage along St Francis’ Way, you’ll finish in Monte Sacro, the 16th quartiere of Rome. With the pull of the city centre increasing, tonight is a final opportunity to reflect on your journey through Italy so far before tomorrow’s final push into the heart of Rome.

Day 15 | Monte Sacro – Rome | 15 km / 4 hours

With 15 kilometres to cover, today’s walking is comfortable and relaxed as you penetrate Rome’s centre. It’s doesn’t take long to reach the heart of the city and you’ll finish your journey in The Vatican at St Peter’s Basilica, undoubtedly one of the most impressive buildings in the world regardless of one’s faith. This is a special place for pilgrims the world over and you’ll feel the full emotional impact of your walk to Rome, no matter where you started the journey. Tonight, celebrate your achievements on St Francis’ Way in this wonderful city and be sure to help yourself to a plate of carbonara – a Roman speciality.

Day 16 | Finish in Rome

Your journey along St Francis’ Way officially comes to an end after breakfast this morning.

Visit www.wanderingthheworld.com.au for more information.

Inclusions

  • 15 nights accommodation, all carefully selected to enhance your Italian walking experience
  • Private en-suite facilities
  • Daily luggage transfers from hotel to hotel (1 x 20kg bag unless indicated otherwise)
  • Daily breakfast
  • Information packs with route maps and instructions on how to locate hotels
  • Luggage identification tags
  • Pilgrims passport
  • Emergency contact details and 24/7 local on-the-ground support
  • Pre-departure and ongoing support from Australian office

Optional Inclusions

  • Suggested rest days as outlined in itinerary or if required
  • Upgraded accommodation including agriturismo (country) properties and premium/high-end styles
  • Private vehicle transfers to the trip’s starting point
  • Single supplement for your own room
  • Additional night’s accommodation before or after trip (please advise at time of booking)

Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel to trip’s starting point
  • Transfers not already outlined in detailed trip itinerary
  • Lunches
  • Evening meals

Accommodation

We know from personal experience that a good night’s rest can make or break a trip, which is why we carefully hand-select all our accommodation. We ensure we pass on our knowledge and firsthand experience of the best places to stay to all our walkers.

Your accommodation along Italy’s walking trails is booked in advance, is on a twin share basis with private facilities, chosen to make your pilgrimage experience as rewarding as possible. You may be staying in local bed and breakfast style properties including small hotels and guesthouses. At times we will stay in small remote villages, with limited choices, however, our assortment always guarantees your own private en-suite facilities. Wherever you end up, you’ll be well looked after, warm and comfortable and, most importantly, ready to tackle the next day’s walk.

Single supplements for your own room are on a request basis.

In many places there are luxury, upgraded options available. We can recommend some very special, unique places to enjoy the Italian hospitality in 4 and 5 star or more.  Please ask us about these options.

Dining

Italy is world famous for its cuisine and although you’ve come for the walking, the eating will be a focal point, with countless famous and traditional must eat meals awaiting your discovery. Italians are the masters of turning simple into spectacular, with the focus on regional, seasonal and fresh ingredients.

Breakfast at your place of accommodation, is usually continental style and may include cereals, yoghurt, bread, pastries, ham, tea, coffee, and juices.

Lunch, at your own expense, will depend on where you are on your walk and what is available, and is often purchased at a local café or bar. Lunch choices along the trail may include a slice of pizza, some panetteria (bakery) delights and if you have a sweet tooth the choices are many, not forgetting the gelati to round off any meal. Or perhaps a picnic you have brought with you to enjoy in the perfect spot.

There are plenty of choices for dining on the walking paths in Italy.  In most places you can choose from the less formal eateries such as an enoteca, osteria or a trattoria, serving local wines and simple tasty wholesome food.  There is usually a pizzeria in town that cater for early diners, and in the larger cities there is overwhelming options and with Michelin recognised and quality establishments you are spoilt for choice.

THE WALKING

This trip is a self-guided itinerary, ideal for groups and independent travellers who prefer to navigate their own way, in their own time.

You will be provided with an information pack with easy to read maps and instructions, complete with directions to guide you on the well-marked paths and tracks. Your information pack will be available at your joining hotel on the first day of your trip.

TRIP GRADE

Moderate – This itinerary is carefully designed for easy to manage walking days.  Between 14-24 km per day, approx. 4-6 walking hours. There is a basic level of fitness required and some uphill stretches in part.

Given you only need carry a lightweight day bag and your water supply, which can be replenished in the various villages on route and other essentials such as snacks and rainwear. It makes this trip very manageable for an inexperienced walker with a reasonable level of fitness.

LUGGAGE TRANSFERS

For your comfort and enjoyment Wandering the World arrange a daily luggage transfer. All you need to carry is a day pack and be free to enjoy your walking. Luggage allowance is one bag per person of no more than 20kg. Luggage must be left in the reception of your hotel before breakfast (8am) each day, before you move on.

It is essential to attach a bag tag provided to ensure your luggage is delivered to your next accommodation.

*Please note only one bag will be moved each day, additional charges will apply if your bag is heavier than 20kg. Should you require special arrangements for additional luggage transfers, this can be booked ahead of time.

GROUP SIZE

Wandering the World guided groups have a maximum group size of 12 participants. This small group size has many advantages including flexibility to stay in a wider range of accommodation options, dining together of an evening, the opportunity to get to know your travelling companions, and the freedom to walk alone or together.

TRANSFERS/TAXIS

If for any reason you wish to shorten your walking day, there are taxi and sometimes train options in the villages.

On some itineraries, there are times when Wandering the World may arrange a transfer for you or can do so at your request. For example, this might be where small villages do not have accommodation with private facilities, or we want to take you to a special out of the way hotel we know you are going to love. In this case Wandering the World will either arrange a transfer for you or suggest in your trip notes that you will need a taxi at your own expense.

Occasionally transfers are required due to limited accommodation options.  A simple procedure is outlined in your trip notes explaining the details of your private transfer, the designated meeting point and the agreed time.

WEATHER

The weather and climate on our Italian walks is varied, from region to region, and of course from day to day.  Each season has its benefits, with lovely long warm and sunny days in Spring and early Summer, to cooler walking temperatures early Spring and late Autumn. Some sections may be too hot for walking mid-summer, and some more likely to be wet, or even snow at other times. Talk to Wandering the World when making your plans, to discuss your preferences.

Once on your walk, the weather can play an important part on the enjoyment of the journey.  Checking the forecast can assist with your plans.  If you strike warm weather, which you think may be uncomfortable, leaving early to avoid the hottest part of the day can make a difference.

24/7 SUPPORT

Your information pack will include details of local emergency contacts and international contacts.

We have local on the ground support to give you any assistance you may need

We also check in with each hotel at the end of each day to endure your arrival.

GETTING THERE / GETTING HOME

This itinerary begins in Assisi and ends Rome.

The closest airport to Assisi is Rome International Airport.

There are bus and train options for arriving and departing your walking commencement destination.

Train bookings are recommended.  Please note you can only book two months in advance of the date of travel.

From Fiumicino Airport take the Leonardo Express – a Trenitalia train connecting Fiumicino airport with a non-stop service to the main train station in Rome, Termini. It takes approx. 32 minutes and leaves the airport every half-hour.

From Rome Termini you can then travel to Assisi by bus or train (approx 3.5 hrs).  For more information see:

www.trenitalia.com 

Rome2Rio

www.omio.com

Getting from Rome

Train and Bus Options:

To Rome Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport and /or Rome Ciampino Airport, refer to the links below for more information:

www.trenitalia.com

Rome2Rio

www.omio.com

INSURANCE

Insurance is compulsory for everyone who travels with Wandering the World. The insurance policy must include cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability. Wandering the World recommends insurance coverage for cancellation to be taken at the same time your deposit is paid, as no exception to the cancellation provisions can be made.

BOOKING AND TRAVEL TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Wandering the World’s full booking terms and conditions are available upon request and will also accompany your initial invoice for deposit.