Self Guide Walk - Via Francigena walk
The Via Francigena is not a single road but a collection of roads which make up the pilgrim route through central Europe, in particular from France to Rome. There was no precise route however the most well known is the route taken by Sigerico, the archbishop of Canterbury in 990. He kept a precise diary about the roads he took, the villages and the rest points along the way. This diary has enabled the route from Canterbury to Rome to be easily mapped out and has now become the official Via Francigena with the EU and Italy investing considerably into its rediscovery and maintenance into a beautiful walking route.
The Canterbury-Rome route passes through Dover, Calais, Reims, Lausanne, over the alps at the Gran Saint Bernard pass, through the Val d'Aosta and Susa Valley, Turin, Pavia over the Apennine mountains to Lucca, then San Gimignano, Siena, Viterbo and finally Rome. The route followed the roads of the time and several sections have been paved over with roads and other infrastructure. The present official route has some slight changes from the original to avoid main roads and other difficulties.
In Tuscany the route is completely signed and provides some wonderful walking opportunities. Being a pilgrim walk it has no real difficulties along the route and is adequate for all to enjoy. As the route is completely signed a guide isn't needed although we do recommend one if you're looking to learn more about the area.
To Tuscany staff walked part of the route (from Castello della Chiocchiola just outside of Siena to Abbadia d'Isola near Monteriggioni). We we hosted by two local guides, one of whom walked the route with us and provided us with lots of interesting information about the Via Francigena and area. Our tour was organised by Andrea Rossi (firstname.lastname@example.org) who provided us with our guide Ingo who spoke excellent English. Read about our experience on our blog here.
For more information about the Via Francigena have a look at the official website where there are also maps of the route http://www.viefrancigene.org/en/