Q&A with Francesco Via Francigena Guide

Francesco’s Via Francigena Guide. At the end of September, we ran one of our Guided tours on the Via Francigena in Italy. After a beautiful tour, we sat down with the tour guide, Francesco, to talk more about guided tours on the Via Francigena and what visitors can expect:

Hello Francesco, can you tell me what your organisation does?

Good morning. I am Francesco Di Murro. I am a tourist and environmental guide. We guide groups of travellers of all ages along the Via Francigena. 

What challenges have you faced maintaining the Via Francigena?

The Via Francigena is a younger pilgrimage than the Way of St. James. Still, today, there are fewer pilgrims than on the Way of St. James and fewer bars and places to rest along the stages. Especially in the early years, it was not easy.


How much of the route have you walked yourself?

I have travelled several times Via Francigena from Lucca to Rome, which is more than 350 km. I have done this alone, with other fellow guides, my family, and, of course, with travellers from all over the world.

What nationalities walk the Via Francigena today, and how has that changed over time?

 People from all over the world, but above all, Italians, Irish, Americans, Australians, Swiss, English, Kurds and Norwegians.


The sections of the pilgrimage that are most popular in my opinion are two: 

The first is the stretch from Lucca to Siena for the beauty of the landscape, the countryside, and villages along the way are rich in history and art.

The second most beautiful stretch is the one from Montefiascone to Rome. Along this stretch, you walk for a few more km along the ancient Roman basalt roads and then arrive in Rome, which is always a wonderful emotional experience. 


Is there a certificate of completion?

Yes, to get the Testimonium of St. Peter and Paul, you have to walk at least 100 km on foot (200 km by bike) and collect at least one stamp on your credential for each day of walking.

How important is the route to the economy of the areas it passes through?

Contrary to the route of St. James, pilgrims on the Via Francigena still have no decisive influence on the market.

They still consider us pioneers. Certainly, the working season for some hotels is getting longer thanks to the pilgrims and the Via Francigena route.

When is the best time to go?

You can walk on the Via Francigena always.  Some groups reach St. Peter’s on Christmas day! But spring and autumn are the two best seasons for the sweetness of the climate.


What are the highlights of each stage? Firstly, Lucca to Siena? Secondly, Siena to Rome? 

The most beautiful things to see along the stretch from Lucca to Siena are: 

The two cities of arrival and departure (Lucca and Siena), the Tuscan countryside with its hills, the wine, and San Gimignano the town of towers.

The most beautiful things to see or live along the stretch of Siena to Rome are the Orcia valley, which looks like a sea of wheat, the lake of Bolsena, pasta and pizza, and the rock church of Santa Maria del Parto in Sutri. 

And, of course, Rome, the eternal city.

What kind of architecture are you likely to see walking on the route?

You can find Etruscan tombs, ancient Roman roads, and Gothic and Renaissance Romanesque churches along the Via Francigena.

In short, along the pilgrimage, you will encounter all the stages of the Italian peninsula’s artistic history. 


What kind of food can people expect to eat on the Via Francigena?

In Tuscany, we eat mainly cold cuts for starters, and in the Sienese area, a pasta called Pici with Cinta Senese sauce. Francesco Via Francigena Guide. Pici are like handmade spaghetti, while Cinta Senese is the local piglet with strange black-and-white colours.

Secondly, we eat excellent vegetables and wild boars, the king of our woods.

In the stretch of Lake Bolsena, you can eat excellent lake fish such as grilled whitefish with nothing on the sea fish.

In the Roman section, pasta is the real queen with all possible sauces to try!

bruschetta-siena-food-tour-via-francigena-caminoways Francesco Via Francigena Guide

Can you give us 3 reasons why anyone should consider the Via Francigena trail? 

  1. Even if you have visited Italy several times, walking along the Via Francigena will allow you to discover places outside the classic tourist routes. 
  2. The route passes through some of Italy’s most beautiful towns and cities, including San Miniato, San Gimignano, San Quirico d’Orcia, Radicofani, and Sutri. 
  3. Although the route is not yet very popular and there are not too many pilgrims along the way, it is the ideal pilgrimage to reflect and take a refreshing break.

If you would like to book one of our guided tours on the Via Francigena, please contact us.

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