Florence/Lucca

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
We will be walking from either Florence or Lucca (an old favorite) starting in late September.
We just made the decision and booked flights for 26 September from Seattle to Florence. We booked the flights without any basic route information or planning.

Now...it may be a good idea to start to get some research done as we have no clue as to the route.
I did order this new book by Sandy Brown who is also from Seattle.
https://www.amazon.com/Way-St-Franc...&btkr=1&redirect=true&ref_=dp-kindle-redirect

We (3 people) have all completed most of the Spanish routes and find it strange to have to actually have to do some real planning.:cool: We know nothing about the route.

What do you suggest for basic (updated) information on the Florence/Lucca to Rome portion of the VF?
We are really lazy planners and need basic stuff.:)
 

Bradypus

Active Member
I walked using the good downloadable maps from the viefrancigene.org website. Also their accommodation list. A few times I found it was handy to have street maps and very rarely a gps-linked topographic map: for that I used an Android app with the unlikely name "Soviet Military Maps" and selected either the Open Street Maps or Open Cycle Maps options.

For background information on places along the route I used Google and Wikipedia on my phone.
 

SandyBrown

New Member
Ed, congrats on your upcoming walk! I just completed a walk on the VF from Piacenza to Rome and had a great time.

My Way of St Francis book which you kindly mention is for the Via di Francesco, which is another way to walk to Rome, focusing on the sites associated with the life of St. Francis of Assisi. The 550km walk is quite beautiful and very meaningful. The guidebook is doing very well and I'm delighted it's becoming a key resource for English speakers for this emerging new trail.

If you want to do the VF from Lucca or Siena there are several guidebooks and resources in English. Here's my summary of each:
  • The Lightfoot Guide -- very basic, giving turn right, turn left directions and not much else. It is comprehensive from Canterbury to Rome.
  • The Cicerone Guide -- Alison Raju's 2-volume guide has been criticized by some for inaccuracies on distances, but her background info on each location is super. Maps are not that great.
  • Terre di Mezzo Guide -- This is an English translation of the Italian guide and was what I relied on in my recent walk. It's a little hard to find -- you have to go to the Terre di Mezzo website and download it in Ebook or IPub format. The directions are excellent. Maps are also not great, but they are available. Also the GPS tracks can be downloaded.
  • SloWays App -- this is an iPhone App that includes downloaded GPS maps. Very handy. The main problem for me is that it sticks purely with the official route which is sometimes overly long. Also there are virtually no place descriptions.
  • Via Francigena Website -- there are accommodation listings here and also a way to order a credential. The listings are pretty good, except for the occasional contact number error. Also, GPS tracks are here. Downloaded into the Galileo app (which uses OpenStreet download, scalable maps) makes this a great resource.
Hope this helps!
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for the summary of the resources you used.
I imagine some others will jump in with their take on them.

MichaelSG just finished walking also but I am not sure what guide he used.
He did write a very good blog of his walk.
Hopefully he will add to the conversation.
 

MichaelSG

Member
Just back from diving....

I used the Lightfoot Guide for the VF. Much of the time, it was only useful for suggesting places to stay but the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome has a much more complete list of beds in a much easier way to use it. Neither list was very up to date but I preferred the CPR one. The other thing that the Lightfoot Guide helped greatly with was mileage calculations but that was not critical to the walk. At times, I wondered if the guide was worth the weight (and I still do!) What I consider essential is the GPS tracks (from the VF website), an offline map app (like maps.me) and the CPR list of places to stay. Again, these recommendations are only for the main VF route, not the Way of St. Francis portion.
 

Pilgrim b

Member
Hello fellow pilgrims, I recognise many of your names from the Camino de Santiago Forum. I am new on this forum and hope to learn about the Via Francigena pilgrimage.
 
Last edited:

Charl Durand

New Member
Ed, congrats on your upcoming walk! I just completed a walk on the VF from Piacenza to Rome and had a great time.

My Way of St Francis book which you kindly mention is for the Via di Francesco, which is another way to walk to Rome, focusing on the sites associated with the life of St. Francis of Assisi. The 550km walk is quite beautiful and very meaningful. The guidebook is doing very well and I'm delighted it's becoming a key resource for English speakers for this emerging new trail.

If you want to do the VF from Lucca or Siena there are several guidebooks and resources in English. Here's my summary of each:
  • The Lightfoot Guide -- very basic, giving turn right, turn left directions and not much else. It is comprehensive from Canterbury to Rome.
  • The Cicerone Guide -- Alison Raju's 2-volume guide has been criticized by some for inaccuracies on distances, but her background info on each location is super. Maps are not that great.
  • Terre di Mezzo Guide -- This is an English translation of the Italian guide and was what I relied on in my recent walk. It's a little hard to find -- you have to go to the Terre di Mezzo website and download it in Ebook or IPub format. The directions are excellent. Maps are also not great, but they are available. Also the GPS tracks can be downloaded.
  • SloWays App -- this is an iPhone App that includes downloaded GPS maps. Very handy. The main problem for me is that it sticks purely with the official route which is sometimes overly long. Also there are virtually no place descriptions.
  • Via Francigena Website -- there are accommodation listings here and also a way to order a credential. The listings are pretty good, except for the occasional contact number error. Also, GPS tracks are here. Downloaded into the Galileo app (which uses OpenStreet download, scalable maps) makes this a great resource.
Hope this helps!
Hi Sandy, I look at the Terre di Mezzo website but can't see the Via Francigena guide in electronic format, only print. Do you mind sending me a link to the electronic version when you have time? Thanks!
 

Domigee

Member
Thanks for the summary of the resources you used.
I imagine some others will jump in with their take on them.
.
Hi Grayland,
Glad you're doing this walk!
I used the Roberta Ferraris guide (Terre di Mezzo mentioned above). I ordered it from Amazon as it was the cheapest. There are some errors with ostellos phone numbers but otherwise it did the job.
I tend to get lost easily so the Sloways App. (to download free from the via francigena website) was my saviour!
Very easy to use, too.

I did have to do a bit of planning too as time was a factor - it took barely an hour with the guidebook, basically working out how many kms we had to walk each day and stopping where there was accommodation of course.
Have fun!

PS: I had used the Alison Raju's book for the French part of the VF a few years ago and didn't like it at all!!!
I also had the Lightfoot guides (as e-books) but didn't use them, you'd have to walk with your head in the guidebook
all day to follow the detailed instructions, doesn't appeal!
 
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