VIA FRANCIGENA

FROM VERCELLI TO PIACENZA

Trip Style

Rolling Hills

Availability

March to October

Highlight

Church of San Croce in Mortara, Castello Visconteo, Palazzo Comunale

Price from

790 EUR

 

Grade

Via Francigena: Vercelli to Piacenza, Section 10/16
From Vercelli to Piacenza (9 Days/8 Nights)

 

The Via Francigena (the French Way) is a long-distance walk pilgrimage from Canterbury to Rome. It is said the route was created during the fighting between the Lombards and the Byzantines as both wanted more territory in Italy. The Lombards made the Via de Monte Bardone route to avoid the Byzantine areas that would connect the Kingdom of Pavia with southern cities. When the Franks conquered the Lombards, the route was renamed Via Francigena (French Way). During the first millennium, Santiago de Compostela, Rome, and Jerusalem became the Holy places of Christianity and Via Francigena turned into a central hub for the Christian faith. Many pilgrims taking this route would reach Rome and then continue on to Jerusalem – The Holy Land. There are several different routes to take to Rome, for example, there are routes coming from Germany and Austria, as well as Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.

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This route begins in Vercelli and ends in Piacenza. The walk will consist primarily of walking along roadsides, over bridges, railways, and numerous dirt tracks around fields, as well as through quiet towns. It is challenging, a reasonable level of fitness is needed. But it is certainly doable, with the majority of the walk being flat with intermittent slight hills and inclines. There are many rivers along the way, where you have the option to either cross by boat or walk around through another town. All along the journey, there are plenty of magnificent sights to see such as churches, cathedrals and castles. This walk is very rewarding, as the countryside and towns provide a refreshing euphoria throughout the route and at the end.

PACKAGE DETAILS

Day 1: Vercelli


Arrival – Vercelli is pedestrian and flat, so walking around the city is a nice and relaxing stroll. In Vercelli, you can rest before the day’s walk to Robbio or do some sight-seeing and sample the culture of the town. If you decide to explore the town, the Cathedral of Vercelli is a great place to start. Inside the Cathedral are great paintings from local artists to see. The city is also famous for its rice products so we recommend trying out some dishes before leaving for Robbio.

Day 2: Vercelli to Robbio (5h 20m – 19km)


Today’s walk is gentle going through farmland with little incline. You will stroll along dirt tracks moving from Piemont to Lombardy. Lombardy is famous not only for its lakes (Garda, Como and Maggiore) but also its wine and rice production. From there, you will pass by the small village of Palestra. Choose one of the two options heading into Robbio by the famous church of San Pietro.

Day 3: Robbio to Mortara (4h 10m – 14km)


After leaving Robbio, passing by the sports stadium, you will walk pleasantly through farmland and fields. Halfway through, you will be crossing the Torrente Agogna (river) after which you will pass Madona del Campo and it’s 12th-century church, Santa Maria de Pertica. Today’s walk is a short, giving you the chance to enjoy free time and visit the church of San Croce, containing a footprint of Christ in Mortara.

Day 4: Mortara to Garlsco (6h – 23km)


Leaving Mortara, you will pass beautiful flowing rivers before walking under the underpass. You will then stumble upon the magnificent Abbazia di San Alcuino which was founded in the 5th century. Charlemagne rebuilt it in 774. Passing through the dirt tracks, you will see supermarkets to re-stock if needed. After passing through Tromello, you will reach the Santuario Basilica Madonna delle Bozzole, and hear the incredible story of how the sanctuary came to be. Walking through the field tracks after the sanctuary you will then see an industrial estate, where Garlasco is found with its very impressive castle, which you can’t miss.

Day 5: Garlasco to Pavia (6h 30m – 26km)


The walk today is a little bit longer and a bit more challenging than the previous ones. Garlasco’s main roads pass by its churches and out into the countryside. Canals here bring you to earth tracks, where you will have time to take in the fresh air and observe the beautiful nature around you. Entering Gropello Cairoli, you can visit San Rocco church with its incredible medallion hanging outside the front door. Going by the motorway will lead you past canals, bridges and then farmhouses. An easy stroll on a field track brings you by a tarmac road near a motorway. After going under the motorway, there are trees for some shade before going under two more bridges. Steps by a covered bridge lead into Pavia – famous for its wine and rice products. The Certosa and the Castello Visconteo are places to see in this tranquil town.

Day 6: Pavia to Belgioioso (4h 30m – 17km)


Today’s walk is filled with gorgeous churches to brighten up the day. Once passed the churches in Pavia, you will cross a canal, following the road turns and then go by San Lazzaro church. A small hill nearby leads to a footpath by a nice park and then a small road after San Leonardo brings you to San Giacomo della Cerretta. A church here contains beautiful frescoes of Saint James the Pilgrim. Meandering then down a minor road you will reach Santa Margherita before arriving into Belgioioso.  This town, due to its location is regarded as one of the southern suburbs of Milan.  Within the town, there is a medieval castle, Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo and is where Francis I of France was held after the Battle of Pavia.

Day 7: Belgioioso to Miradolo Terme (3h 15m – 12.5km)


Leaving Belgioioso you will follow a gravel track and cross the bridge over the Fiume Olona and then come to Corteolona.  Continuing to follow a track that then becomes a paved road you will enter Santa Cristina e Bissone.  Following the railway line alongside an embankment, you will arrive at a railway station and your stop for the night, Miradolo Terme.  Here you can visit the Baths of Miradolo, a thermal spa and wellness centre, and relax before your final days walking.

Day 8: Miradolo Terme to Piacenza (7h 15m – 33km)


Leaving Belgioioso you will follow a gravel track and cross the bridge over the Fiume Olona and then come to Corteolona. Continuing to follow a track that then becomes a paved road you will enter Santa Cristina e Bissone.  Following the railway line alongside an embankment, you will arrive at a railway station and your stop for the night, Miradolo Terme.  Here you can visit the Baths of Miradolo, a thermal spa and wellness centre, and relax before your final days walking.

Day 9: Piacenza, end of the walking holiday


After breakfast we bid you farewell.

INCLUDED AND NOT

  • 8 nights in 3* hotels
  • 8 Breakfasts
  • Detailed Walking Notes
  • Francigena Holiday Pack
  • Luggage Transfer
  • 24/7 Customer Care
  • Flights/trains
  • Insurance
  • Drinks
  • Entrance fees (museums, monasteries)
  • Transfer from/to airport
  • Extra night stays
  • Upgrade to authentic & luxury accommodation
  • Dinner

Access

Way in:


Closest International airport to Vercelli is Turin Caselle Airport, Turin (84km).

A train from Torino Porto Nuova or Porto Susa in Turin can be taken to Vercelli. Journey takes approximately 1h 30min.

Train times can be found here – https://www.italiarail.com/

Way out:


The closest International airport to Piacenza is Parma Airport (PMF / LIMP). The airport provides international and domestic flights from Parma, Italy. It is 71 km from the centre of Piacenza.

Trains are hourly and can be taken from Piacenza to Parma. Journey takes approximately 1h 36min.

Train times can be found here – https://www.italiarail.com/

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