VIA FRANCIGENA

FROM PIACENZA TO AULLA – SECTION 11/16

Trip Style

Rolling Hills

Availability

March to October

Highlight

Palazzo Comunale, Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta, Fortezza Della Brunella

Price from

840 EUR

 

Grade

FROM PIACENZA TO AULLA (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 were looking for more territory in Italy. The Lombards made the Via di Monte Bardone route to avoid the Byzantine areas, which connected 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 – Holy Land.

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This route begins in Piacenza and ends in Aulla. During the walk, you will be surrounded by beautiful fields, woods, and over streams in the stunning Italian countryside. It is challenging, a reasonable level of fitness is needed. But the walk is certainly doable, as there are many flat roads and tracks with intermittent hills and slight inclines, that can be traversed without too much difficulty. All along the journey, there are plenty of magnificent sights to see such as churches, cathedrals, towers, and castles, not forgetting the incredible landscape of Italy. This walk is very rewarding, as the countryside and towns provide a refreshing euphoria throughout the route and at the end of the journey.

PACKAGE DETAILS

Day 1: Piacenza (Arrival)

Piacenza is a beautiful and charming town. Before setting off for Fiorenzuola tomorrow, visit the fantastic Palazzo Comunale (Gotico) if possible. Piacenza is famous for its salted pork products, so it’s well worth trying their pancetta, coppa, and salami dishes!

Day 2: Piacenza to Fiorenzuola (7h 20m – 34km)

Your first day of walking is a bit challenging as it is long, but it’s mostly quite flat with some uphill walks. In which case, you can handle it.  Along the walk, you will pass by a memorial for a young man shot dead by the Nazis during World War II in 1944, which is very moving. Entering Fiorenzuola, you can take a much-deserved rest (and a big glass of wine!). The Collegiata de San Fiorenzo is a fantastic tourist attraction, built in the 14th century, should you feel like doing some sight-seeing in the town.

Day 3: Fiorenzuola to Fidenza (5h 25m – 22km)

Today’s walk is shorter than yesterday’s, and a lot nicer as you go through the beautiful countryside, by fields and woods. There is some hillwalking, but it’s quite easy to negotiate, before reaching Fidenza. While in the town, try to see the magnificent Duomo di San Donnino from the 12th century and Palazzo Comunale. Also, remember to treat yourself to some pizza or fritti before heading off for Medesano tomorrow.

Day 4: Fidenza to Medesano (6h – 22km)

Heading for Medesano, you will have a choice of two routes: 1) taking the main road and walking by a lovely church (Strada Costa Pavese), with some uphill walking and viewing the impressive Castello di Costamezzano or; 2) heading towards the Castello di Costamezzano on tracks and then tarmac roads. After choosing a route, you have an easy walk by nice fields and woods leading into Medesano. Now in the town, you can relax and have a small glass of beer or wine, whichever you fancy. Once you’ve rested, and if you have the time, try to visit the fantastic Chiesa di San Pantaleone from the 13th century.

Day 5: Medesano to Fornovo di Taro (3h 10m – 10km)

Your walk today is a lot shorter than the previous days and is very easy, not very stressful at all. On the walk, you will pass by the striking Taro Valley. Although the valley is partially dried up, it is situated in the stunning Italian countryside, planted between woods, with mountains and hills seen in the distance. It is a sight to behold. Reaching Fornovo di Taro, you can visit the lovely Romanesque Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta, as well as having some pizza and a glass of wine.

Day 6: Fornovo di Taro to Berceto (7h 05m – 30km)

The route for Berceto is long and is challenging, with a walk through a dried up river providing part of a tough journey. However, it is very much doable, and the sense of achievement you’ll feel upon completion will be second to none. Your walk also consists of hill walks, stony tracks, and through lovely woods while passing by beautiful churches such as the Church of San Stefano in Terenzo. You will also have choices of routes to take to get to Berceto. Each route is different – one being more flat and the other hillier, on a road or bad tracks, for example. Once you’ve reached Berceto, rest and eat some fritti or carbonara. Wine may also be a good idea after that walk! Should you decide to do some sight-seeing, the Church of San Moderanno, containing relics and treasury of San Remigio and San Broccardo, is definitely one to see.

Day 7: Berceto to Pontremoli (6h 45m – 26km)

Walking to Pontremoli is a bit tough today. There are gravel lanes, tarmac lanes and hills to navigate; however, you can most certainly get through this as it’s not too stressful. You will have different routes to choose from along the way to get to Pontremoli. The first route to choose will depend on the weather, and if you prefer a scenic route to a more straight-forward one. Your next route to choose from depends on a preference for a direct route with tough surfaces (e.g. cobbles, loose stones), or a longer but easier walk gently downhill. After taking the chosen routes, the walk you will reach Molinello where you can stop for a drink and some food. Continuing on, you have a relatively easy walk into Pontremoli. Here, you can take some time to rest and recuperate. If you like, you can visit the wonderful Church of San Nicolo and the Duomo di Santa Maria Assunta. Also, try the local cuisine of the town – ‘’Amor’’ – a small cake with a creamy filling between wafers.

Day 8: Pontremoli to Aulla (6h 10m – 29km) – end of walking holiday

Your last day of walking is not too difficult. There is hillwalking but you will be well-weathered in this by now, so it’s not too challenging, as well as tarmac roads and gravel roads and going through woods. There are lovely churches along the way (e.g. Church of San Giorgio in Filatierra) to brighten up the route. Arriving in Aulla, if you can, take a look around the town and visit the impressive Fortezza Della Brunella. The Abbey of San Caprasio is another popular tourist attraction, and one of the city’s oldest and most important buildings, definitely one to go see. Remember to also treat yourself to some wine and pizza. After that journey, you deserve it!

Day 9: Aulla, end of 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:

Fly In: to Piacenza
Closest airport is Milan Linate. From airport Milan Linate, take a bus to Milano Centrale train station and get a train to Piacenza.

Buses are every half hour.

Can book bus tickets on Air Bus – http://www.atm.it/en/AltriServizi/Trasporto/Pages/airbus.aspx

Trains are hourly. Can book train tickets on Italia Rail (Line Eurostar Italia) – https://www.italiarail.com/

Way out:

Fly Out: from Aulla
Closest international airport is Pisa International airport. Take train from Aulla to Pisa international airport. Journey is approximately one hour. Trains are hourly.

Can book train tickets on Italia Rail (Line Eurostar Italia) – https://www.italiarail.com/

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