Via Francigena: on the Pilgrims’ route
This highly fascinating trail has been travelled for centuries by thousands of worshippers from all over Europe heading on a pilgrimage to Rome, the heart of Christianity.
6 nights from € 800
- 03 June 2018 - 30 September 2018
This highly fascinating trail has been travelled for centuries by thousands of worshippers from all over Europe heading on a pilgrimage to Rome, the heart of Christianity. This route has been travelled by merchants, armies, politicians and intellectuals, leading to the great unity of European culture between the 10th and 13th century.
Today, walking the Via Francigena is a different way of exploring the region with its cultural and culinary riches. It was declared a “Major European Cultural Route” by the Council of Europe in 2004.
Day 1 – Aosta
Arrive at your own time in the Aosta Valley, check in to the hotel
Overnight stay and breakfast.
Day 2 – Great St Bernard/Etroubles (13 km)
Travel in a reserved vehicle to Great St Bernard Pass
First stage: Great St Bernard Pass (2473 m) - Etroubles (1260 m)
Descent height difference: 1200 m - Journey time: 4h30
Half board: dinner and overnight stay with “Coppa dell’amicizia” social drinks
Places of interest: Great St Bernard Pass is the entrance of the Via Francigena in the Aosta Valley. After a tour of the Hospice (10th century), run by the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine, and the St Bernards dog breeders, we begin our walk to Etroubles. The trail visits the characteristic village of Saint-Rhémy and “Château Verdun”, a guest house for pilgrims. We arrive in Etroubles and tour the town with its open-air museum.
Day 3 – Etroubles/Aosta (16 km)
Second stage: Etroubles (1260 m) – Aosta (580 m)
Descent height difference: 700 m - Journey time: 3h30
Half board: dinner and overnight stay.
Places of interest: The walk runs along “Ru Neuf” - an irrigation channel that takes water from glaciers to sunny slopes around Aosta - and winds through thick forests and glades, home to deer and roe deer. It then passes the town of Gignod and reaches Aosta, formerly known as Augusta Praetoria and founded by the Romans in 25 B.C., and now the capital of the region. There are some exceptional Roman remains here: the city wall, Porta Praetoria, the theatre, the cryptoporticus, the Roman bridge and the Arch of Augustus, as well as outstanding medieval remains like the Cathedral and the Sant’Orso monumental complex.
Day 4 – Aosta/Nus (13 km)
Third stage: Aosta (580 m) – Nus (529 m)
Descent height difference: 70 m
Journey time: 3.00 h
Half board: dinner and overnight stay
Places of interest: soon after leaving you come to Quart Castle (not open to the public) and then continue along “Chemin des Vignobles” up to Nus. Close by you can visit Fénis Castle, a magnificent example of Medieval architecture.
Day 5 – Nus/Saint-Vincent (17 km)
Fourth stage: Nus (529 m) – Saint-Vincent (575 m)
Ascent height difference: 50 m.
Journey time: 4 h
Half board: dinner and overnight stay
Places of interest: this is a picturesque trail along vineyards and the Roman road of Gallie. You can also taste an excellent straw wine at a wine cellar. You then arrive at Saint Vincent, the “Riviera of the Alps”, where, in addition to the parish church and welcoming pedestrian area, you’ll notice the thermal baths towering above, which can be reached by a convenient cable car, along with the Casinò de la Vallée.
Day 6 – Saint-Vincent/Vèrres (18 km)
Fifth stage: Saint-Vincent (575 m) – Vèrres (391 m)
Descent height difference: 184 m
Journey time: 5.00 h
Half board: dinner and overnight stay
Places of interest: the walk now rejoins the Roman road of Gallie. The path passes by the striking ruins of Saint-Germain Castle and then on to Verrès. Here, in addition to the castle, you’ll find the Provostship of Saint-Gilles (10th century) in the chapel (open to the public), one of the few examples of Gothic style in the Aosta Valley. Close by you can visit Issogne Castle with its particularly important frescoes, decorated coffered ceilings and pomegranate fountain.
Day 7 – Verrès/Pont-Saint-Martin (17 km)
Sixth stage: Verrès (391 m) – Pont-Saint-Martin (345 m)
Descent height difference: 46 m
Journey time: 4h30
Travel to Aosta and leave for the journey back.
Places of interest: the walk continues from Verrès towards Pont Saint Martin, running along the foot of terraced cliff faces used for growing vineyards. This trail is bursting with cultural inspiration. The Romanesque parish church of San Martino is well worth a visit in Arnad, where you should also try the famous “Lardo di Arnad”. As you continue, you pass through the characteristic town of Bard, where the majestic Fort Bard towers up, an admirable example of military architecture. Now fully restored, it is home to the “Alps Museum” which is visited every year by thousands of people. The walk continues towards Donnas along a perfectly preserved section of the Roman road of Gallie. You stop at a wine cellar before reaching Pont- Martin, where the Aosta Valley section of Via Francigena ends.
Price per person:
Extra nights and breakfast
2nd of July
*other dates may be scheduled upon request for groups of at least 6 people
- Single room supplement: €150
- 3rd/4th bed reduction: €30
This special offer includes:
- 6 nights with breakfast at a 2 or 3-star hotel
- 5 days half board with the pilgrim’s menu (3 courses – excluding drinks)
- guide service during the trek and the excursions around the region
- private transfers on day 2 and day 7
- luggage transport
- medical/luggage insurance
- Booking fee (per person) €25.
This special offer does not include:
- drinks with meals, unless indicated otherwise
- packed lunches
- admission to castles and general monuments, unless indicated otherwise
- tourist tax
- transfers to/from the hotel/airport: quotes upon request
- cancellation insurance, 5% of the total amount of the trip.
This type of trek is “built” day by day. The indicated duration of each individual stage is purely a guideline and depends on the fitness levels of the participants but also on their interest in taking unplanned stops at particular points of interest. The aim of the trip is to “taste” every aspect of our magnificent region as much as possible.
Difficulty: intermediate featuring easy trails with average gradients, nevertheless, requiring a moderate level of fitness.
Min age 12 years: younger children may also be allowed depending on their fitness levels.
Number of participants: the trip will be confirmed when at least 6 people sign up
No technical clothing is required. All you need is: a pair of hiking boots, shorts and t-shirt, a sweater or fleece, a light windbreaker, sunglasses, a hat, a backpack, a water bottle and some sun cream. However, all the information will be provided with the trip documents. We recommend bringing a camera.
The organising team will arrange for your luggage to be transported during the trek
Benetour has been working with HABITAT for years, a company that provides nature/hiking guides and boasts over twenty years’ experience, expertise and great reliability. All the guides are professionally qualified.
The Pilgrim’s Menu
In the Middle Ages, anyone on a long journey, either for penance and spiritual salvation or for pleasure and business reasons, used to stumble across hospices or rest areas that could offer refreshments, such as inns or convents. These places offered support to pilgrims and travellers, including in terms of food and drink by offering typical dishes from Medieval cuisine. These incredibly varied and flavourful dishes made the best use of local products and are still deeply relevant given their links to the region and the seasons: traditional flavours of wild herbs are fused with garden vegetables and meats from the local farm.
Now as then, “pilgrims” can taste the typical dishes of our region and the specialities that characterise the regions they pass through.
Telephone:+39 0165 261126