Considering the via

SunWanderer

New Member
Hi,

We finished the Camino in Oct. Now we are considering the via Francigena for Sept 2016 or 2017.

Our equipment on the Camino worked out well, so it should be fine for the Via.

We only stayed in hotels and B&Bs on the Camino, and that worked well for us. I'm concerned that we might not be able to do the same on the Via. When lodging is full, we do not happily "continue hiking on for another 5 or 10 km to the next village."

- SunWanderer
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
You do not say where you are starting from but if you are tarting in September I assume it is somewhere in Italy. If so you should be OK accommodation wise especially if you sort out your accommodation a day ahead.
 

SunWanderer

New Member
Hi William,

I do plan to start in Italy, I'm just not sure where yet, maybe Aosta.

I'm looking for info on hotels along the way (not albergues or hostels). The guidebooks tend to emphasize hostels, with only a few hotels listed. Where is a good source for Francigena hotels?

Also, the rainfall charts all along the Francigena seem to show about the same amount of rain in the Spring and Fall. Is this right? Along the Camino, the Fall seemed to be much drier.

Thanks
 

NavyBlue

New Member
Hello SunWanderer,

September is a good month for walking on the Via Francigena (we did). In 2015, we had more rain in August in the Po valley than in September further South (ymmv). The weather in Italy is a bit complex, due to the influence of the mountain ranges (Alps, Apennines).

If you start from Aosta and intend to walk all the way to Rome, one month might not be enough and you may have to walk in October (more rain) or August (more heat).

We also tried to stay in hotels or B&Bs rather than in dormitories. It was not always possible due to lack of infrastructure. For instance in Robbio, the only solution is a dormitory in the backyard of the police station (kind from the municipality btw). Conversely, some pilgrim/walker oriented accommodation offer private rooms (e.g. at Cisa Pass, Franciscan convent in Viterbo, Sacro Cuore in La Storta...) or were underbooked so that we could have a full room for the two of us.

Our main source for hotels and B&Bs was booking.com. Some "tourist" accommodation is also listed on this site http://www.viefrancigene.org/fr/visit/dove-dormire/
 

Dennis Tam

New Member
Hi SunWanderer,

My experience on finding lodging along the VF is slightly more challenge than at Camino Frances.

I would highly recommend you to book at least one day ahead. Staff at smaller town/village hotel might only speak Italian, so knowing some very basic Italian would help. Definitely bring a smart phone with you.

Download the BOOKING.com app or HOSTEL WORLD app to help you to find a place to stay. Turn on your location function in your phone first, then you ask the app to find a hotel in your proximity by zooming in and out of the map from your current location. If you make the booking ahead of time in the app, it will save you doing the talking on the phone in Italian. However, since many smaller hotel/B&B are not sign on with the app, so you might want to ask the staff at hotel where you are staying at to recommend you a hotel at the next destination. Ask them to call the hotel up and do the booking for you since hoteliers tend to know each other.

Local tourist information kiosks also a good resource to find a place to stay since most of time the staff there can speak fluent English. But those information kiosks are only available in bigger town such as Luca or Siena, and operation hours can be unpredictable.

Do have a back up plan in case thing doesn't pan out. VF is road less travel, there were times we didn't meet any pilgrim for a few days. If you think you are lost, turn on your GPS in your phone to navigate back to VF.

To sum up, VF lodging require a lot more planning ahead of time and you will be fine.

All the best, Dennis
 

Bradypus

Active Member
Agree with all the advice Dennis gives above. Used Booking.com twice to get me out of trouble. The location features are invaluable.

You may have to go some way off the VF to find accommodation. The free maps from the viefrancigene site give a fairly good guide to where the route runs but changes do occur. I found an Android app with the unlikely name of "Soviet Military Maps" very useful. You can set it to display Open Cycle Maps which give topographical detail (eg. contours) as well as cycle and foot paths. When using the phone's gps it is a great way to get back on track if you find you have gone off-piste.
 

NavyBlue

New Member
Hi,

Just a word of caution about booking.com. You will appreciate you don't have to call ahead in your poor (?) Italian, but you will find on occasions that the supposedly best rate they display is more expensive than the pilgrim rate you would have been granted through a phone call by yourself or your previous host.
 

Bradypus

Active Member
With booking.com I have found the price difference working both ways. On some occasions I have found a room advertised and contacted the hotel direct only to be told that low price is only for online bookings. In other places I have made the reservation through the website only to learn on arrival a cheaper deal would gave been offered. Some you win, some you lose :)
 

Tosticj

New Member
Hi,
You write that your equipment served you well on your last Camino. What were your favourite, most used items? We are heading off from Aosta to Rome mid May this year. Thanks
 
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