Hiking the Via Francigena
300ish miles through the walled towns of Tuscany.

November 7 - 21, 2022 -- compiled by Jeff DePree

featured on jeffdepree.com

The Via Francigena was rediscovered around the same time as the Spanish Caminos, but while the latter have exploded in popularity, the Francigena has remained relatively obscure. It starts in England, but I didn’t want to traverse the Alps in November, so I started near Lucca in Italy. Aside from the final 10-mile segment through suburban Rome, every day on this stretch is filled with ancient walled towns and beautiful Tuscan landscapes, with very minimal road-walking.

I also hiked the Cinque Terre, because I had arrived in Italy via a $10 flight to Genoa and it was on the way.


Unlike on previous European walks, I actually got rained on three days out of twelve, so it was lucky that I had brought a rain jacket, rain pants, and pack cover. The temperatures were generally pretty perfect. It typically got dark around 5, which limited me to a mere ten walking hours per day.


I got the sense that there was lots of delicious Italian food to be had, but I had no idea how to order it. I was hoping for daily menus, where one could get a four-course meal of whatever was on-hand for 10 euros, but I only found a few of these. Usually, just the first course alone, with the requisite bread, water, and cover charges, would run around 15 euros for a very meager portion of pasta. I typically subsisted on pizza, which was pretty ubiquitous, and only two bucks for a hefty slice. Coffee was doled out in tiny portions for a dollar a cup. On the last day, I found a chain called 12oz coffee that prided itself on its absurdly voluminous 12oz cups.


I ran into an Australian woman who had hiked all the way from Canterbury and never paid more than $20 for a night’s stay. The cheaper options usually involve calling around and staying at monasteries. Since I was looking to work every night, I largely opted for rooms and apartments in the $30-60 range. Wifi was spotty, but I had a $25 sim that gave me 50gb for the month and worked pretty much everywhere, so I almost always had a fallback. I did stay in one convent - the nuns ignored me for three hours, but eventually gave me a massive dinner, comfy private room, and breakfast for $30.


My diet on this trip was 95% pizza-by-the-slice.

One of about fifteen boar meat shops on the main drag of this tiny walled town.

My hostel and its little truck
Random countryside castle

The truffle and porcini ravioli turned out not to be the high-calorie lunch I had sought.

Nothing better than a brief stop in the "pit of pauses",

View from my hotel's high terrace.

Couldn't find this on the menu...
A small clump of noodles, zucchini, and ginger came out to $15 after the various charges for water, bread, and service.
Typical AirBnb, with requisite stuffed snake.

"Take only pictures"
I never learned how to order most Italian food, but pizza was a reliable, cheap option.

View from AirBnb
AirBnb cat sits dumbstruck by the majesty of his view.

Day 1: Genoa and the Cinque Terre
Day 2: Lucca and Altopascio to San Miniato
Day 3: San Miniato to San Gimignano
Day 4: San Gimignano to Monteriggioni
Day 5: Monteriggioni to Siena
Day 6: Siena to Torrenieri
Day 7: Torrenieri to Radicofani
Day 8: Radicofani to Acquapendente
Day 9: Acquapendente to Montefiascone
Day 10: Montefiascone to Vetralla
Day 11: Vetralla to Sutri
Day 12: Sutri to Campagnano Di Roma
Day 13: Campagnano Di Roma to Rome
Day 14: Vatican City and Roman Meanderings