Guidebook for the Via Francigena?

#21
Thank you. I realized that after I posted...doh ! I am not having much luck finding the Terre di Mezzo guidebook on Amazon. I can only find it on the website and it’s 17 euros for the book and 40 euros to mail it! I’m thinking I will be travelling sans book!
Such a high postage isn't worth it (imo) especially as there were mistakes in the phone numbers of some ostellos....
Good information about accommodation is available from the website and I really recommend the Sloways App. which is free to download... (But then I do have a tendancy to get lost... :D)
 
#22
#23
Such a high postage isn't worth it (imo) especially as there were mistakes in the phone numbers of some ostellos....
Good information about accommodation is available from the website and I really recommend the Sloways App. which is free to download... (But then I do have a tendancy to get lost... :D)
Thanks Domigee...I’m definitely not spending that kind of money! I have a sense of adventure so I guess I will go without. I will check out that app. Thanks very much.
 

Piero Frustascarpe

Moderator
Staff member
#24
So now I'm confused...
Now all that said, which is the more common route, the Via Francigena or the Way of St Francis?
What are the annual pilgrim counts on each route? I gather that they are both relatively uncrowded, like the beginning stages of the Camino (versus the last 200km leading into Sarria and then to Santiago). But I'm curious if there are any annual pilgrim counts for either route?
To confuse you more, I'm happy to say that the editor Terre di Mezzo counted not less than 8000 Km of traditional Caminos in Italy. And the number of the forgotten and (re)discovered and documented ones is growing... :D
Definitely the Via Francigena is the most popular and attended. In 2016 about 40000 pilgrims walked on it at least one week (see details here), not to count daily or week-end walks, and local statistics show the number increased of at least 20% in 2017.
About Cammino di Assisi (or San Francesco) the only information I found says that in 2015 about 10000 pilgrims came to Assisi by walking or bike (link to source).

Coming to paper guide, the absolutely most popular and recent - and official - guide that we use in Italy the one published by Terre di Mezzo.
I found that the edition in English is available also in Amazon.co.uk but not in Amazon.com.

@Ted Daly : a solution to the issue of finding too much expensive the post delivery of the guide to you country is to order and send the guide to the address of the first hotel you will sleep in, once in Italy ;)
It's a trick that I use when I buy US stuff from my country.
 

Piero Frustascarpe

Moderator
Staff member
#25
Thanks Domigee...I’m definitely not spending that kind of money! I have a sense of adventure so I guess I will go without. I will check out that app. Thanks very much.
A very recent official app (just released last month!) is "Via Francigena".
It's much much more complete, precise and detailed than the old one of Sloways. It contains maps and tracking function and it can even work off-line.
 
#29
I am currently 5 days into the VF from Aosta to Rome and wanted to agree with @Bradypus comments about the 'official' guidebook from Terre de Mezzo (Roberta Ferraris). I bought an English copy from a store in Milan because I was nervous to rely on apps and downloadable PDFs, but wish I'd saved my money! I'm not getting much for my 20 euros.

As has been pointed out earlier, the directions are of the "after 450m turn left onto a hidden track" variety, and it's much easier just to follow the signs or pull up the GPS on the occasion the signage is bad (town centres!) The printed maps are small scale and pretty useless out on the trail, and the info regarding hostels and B&Bs is riddled with errors

The only thing I was finding useful was the Things To See section, until I realised that much of these paragraphs are taken up with "there was an old church/monastery for pilgrims, but it was destroyed in the 17th century" - so not anything left to see, after all! Add to that the fact that most churches are closed and we're all here mainly for the walking, and this section becomes pointless anyway.

Besides this, I'm having a great time, the mountain stages were incredible and breathtaking, and I'm relying on fate and the kindness of strangers to cover for the fact that I have zero Italian!

Rather than a guidebook, I think a basic intro to listening to Italian would be far more useful. It's easy enough to read out questions and phrases, but the moment someone starts to give you instructions, you're lost! For instance, on booking a bed at an Ostello, the monk gave me instructions on who to call when I arrived. Luckily there was someone nearby to take the phone for me because I had no idea.

Anyway, good luck, and at the end of the day, all you need to do is turn up and follow the arrows ;)
 
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