Via Francigena Blog

Wednesday May 23 to Tuesday May 30

Pontremoli Lois spent the next couple of days with an intermittent fever which was subsiding by the evening of the 24th. Earlier that day, Paul decided to get a haircut and beard trim at a barber’s shop he had noticed. He wasn’t quite prepared for the 2-hour personal service that involved scissors, straight razors (chosen from ...

Sunday & Monday, May 21&22, 2023

Berceto to Pontremoli On Saturday evening, we had dinner at Restaurant Pasquinelli, close to our B&B. The menu featured flavorful prugnoli mushrooms, just in season and unique to Berceto. Apparently the mushrooms need rain and sun, alternately. Although a kilo or more had been picked a few days before, we were told that the incessant ...

Saturday May 20, 2023

Sivizzano to Villa di Casola/ Berceto, 13.23km walking Perhaps we should have listened to the weather. We knew we were in for a hard day, already, with a relentless climb for the first 10 kms. In better weather, it would have been tough, but beautiful.But the mist, low cloud and constant drizzle deprived us of the ...

Friday May 19, 2023

Felegara to Fornovo di Taro/ Sivizzano, 10.28km If yesterday was one of our best walks on this trip, today’s gets the prize for the worst! The tour company had booked us a room in a hotel in Saint’Andrea Bagni last night, nearMedesano, the end of yesterday’s route. The town is described as a hilltop spa resort, known ...

Thursday May 18, 2023

Fidenza to Cella/ Sant’Andrea Bagni, 18.31km walking Near the main square in Fidenza we had our pre-walk coffee (9/10) and ordered another “asporto” (to take away) in Lois’ coffee thermos. Cafés are everywhere, but we have never seen anyone with a “take out” cup, or indeed any cafe offering them. Espresso is consumed sitting down or ...

Wednesday May 17, 2023

Fidenza We stayed last night in an apartment close to the centre. It was clean and well-provisioned, but a bit over the top in terms of velvet draperies, sheers, masses of silk flowers, knickknacks and generic prints with inspirational quotes. But, it had a washing machine. We have clean clothes for the week. The cool wet weather ...

Monday and Tuesday May 15 & 16, 2023

Sarzana to Massa to Fidenza, 24.6km We decided to take the short train ride to Massa and walk to the sea rather than along the route, which would have entailed a steep climb at the beginning and a steep climb at the end, the archeological museum at Luni (closed on Monday) and the industry around the ...

Sunday May 14, 2023

Aulla to Sarzana, 22.28km (Paul) Paul walked alone today as Lois decided to rest her hip, going instead by taxi with the bags to Sarzana. The Cicerone Guide says that todays route is short, but not easy. In Paul’s view, it was neither short, nor easy. At times, the terrain brought to mind a certain volcano in ...

Saturday May 13, 2023

Pontremoli to Aulla, 13.52km walking, train The early morning rain ended as we left the apartment, backtracking into the centre of the town for coffee and croissants. Here, we found the Saturday market setting up, where we bought bread, fruit, and potato and onion flan for lunch. On the outskirts of Pontremoli, we noticed sculptures of Disney ...

Thursday and Friday May 11 & 12, 2023

Pavia to Pontremoli via Piacenza We booked with The Natural Adventure company to support us through the Apennines. As the first date available with them is May 17, we will walk ahead on the route, ie, between Pontremoli and Lucca, and return to do the stages between Fidenza and Pontremoli. We stopped in Piacenza, only because we ...