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Duration
8 days
Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 7 nights hotels/B&Bs/rifugio
Meals
  • 4 Dinners
  • 3 Lunches
  • 7 Breakfasts

Price

$1390USD

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Overview

Trip Code: SWO

Trip highlights


  • Following in the footsteps of pilgrims from centuries ago
  • Discovering the wild slopes of the Apennine mountains and the best preserved forests in Italy
  • Visiting Florence and several medieval towns and villages, each with their unique atmosphere
  • Immersing in the spirituality and nature surrounding La Verna Franciscan Sanctuary
  • Staying in comfortable, welcoming and charming hotels and guesthouses

During the Middle Ages St Francis of Assisi traversed the ridges and valleys of the Apennines, looking for God's signs in nature and talking to people about peace, humility and brotherhood. During this first section of the Way of St Francis 'camino' route, follow the paths St Francis covered during his frequent pilgrimages. From the Tuscan capital Florence with its magnificent artistic and architectural heritage, discover traces of St Francis' passage including Franciscan hermitages, chapels and crosses as you walk east and through the National Park of Foreste Casentinesi to Chiusi della Verna. Apart from Florence and the spiritual side of this walk, there are numerous drawcards along the way such as the medieval town of Stia and the Sanctuary of Verna, as well as the culinary delights which await each evening. Walking through villages, valleys and forest and with evidence of St Francis and his journey from church to chapels, immerse in the picturesque rural landscapes of eastern Tuscany.

Trip Grading

moderate

More info about grading system

Make your own way to the first hotel in Florence. Once you have checked in you are at leisure to explore this beautiful city and breath the Renaissance air. There is much to see and do including the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, the statue of David, the San Lorenzo Market and Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic view at sunset! It is also home to the world’s largest Franciscan church, the Basilica di Santa Croce, which marks the starting point of the St Francis Way.

Meals:  Nil

After a short transfer to Pontassieve you will start walking towards La Consuma pass. It's quite a long walk which runs from the bottom of the valley to the top of the mountains at Consuma pass, with great views over the Sieve valley, mostly in the shade of the forest. Along the way you'll pass by Ferrano castle, built from local stone and dating from the early 19th century. The region offers a rich assortment of IGP, DOP and Slow Food designated local products including chestnut flour, wine, olive oil, cured meats, soft and hard cheeses. Walking: 17.5km/10.9mi, +1000m/3280ft, -300m/984ft

Meals:  B,D

From the pass you descend easily to the bottom of Casentino valley. Most of today's itinerary runs inside the woods, with an optional detour to the village of Castel Castagnaio. You also have the option of an alternative route with great panoramic views over the Casentino valley, before reaching the beautiful hamlet of Stia. Situated at the foot of Mt Falterona and at the confluence of the Arno river (near its source) with the Staggia torrent, Stia has been an important centre for the manufacture of wrought iron since the 12th century. We recommend trying the traditional local dish of potato tortello, made here and elsewhere in the Casentino region. Walking: 14.7km/9.5mi, +475m/1558ft, -1070m/3510ft

Meals:  B,L

Today is a long and quite demanding walk in terms of difference of altitude. You start at the bottom of the valley, reach the top of the Apennines edge then descend to Camaldoli monastery, walking through the Casentino's rural landscape, until you reach the fascinating Eremo di Camaldoli (hermitage), dating from the XI century. A must stop! Overnight in Camaldoli. Walking: 15.8km/9.9mi, +1000m/3280ft, -800m/2625ft

Meals:  B,D

Today you'll have a relatively short but demanding walk, again for the difference in altitude. Walking from the monastery of Camaldoli to the top of mountain edge and down to the village of Badia Prataglia, the path is mostly through forests. There is an alternative route you can follow which is approx 6km/3.75mi longer but more interesting in terms of landscape, with spectacular views of the southern Casentino valley, its villages and the surrounding mountains. Walking: 8km/5mi, +500m/1640ft , -500m/1640ft or 13.5km/8.4mi, +800/2625ft, -800/2625ft.

Meals:  B,L

Today’s walk leads through the forests to the hamlet of Frassineta, from where you can enjoy panoramic views of Vallesanta, La Verna mountain and the Apennine ridge. Overnight rifugio with shared facilities, surrounded by oak and beech woods on the slopes of Mount Penna. Walking: 10km/6,25mi, +500/1640ft, -700m/2297ft or 14.5km/9mi, +900m/2953ft , -900m/2953ft

Meals:  B,L,D

Today's destination is Chiusi della Verna. Head for the hotel and check in. If you arrive early enough, you can visit La Verna Franciscan Sanctuary in the afternoon. The Sanctuary is open daily year round from 6:30am to 7:30pm (and 10:00pm in summer). NOTE: To enter the Sanctuary, you need to cover your chest and arms and wear trousers / knee-length skirt (ie wear sleeves, no shorts). Walking: 9km/5.6mi, +800m/2625ft, -600m/1968ft

Meals:  B,D

The trip concludes after breakfast in Chiusi, or continue on the next stage to Città di Castello. We can also assist with booking an extra night in Chiusi on request.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 7 breakfasts, 3 packed lunches, 4 dinners. Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, tea, coffee & juices. Packed lunches are picnic style. Dinner will consist of 3 courses, usually starting with a salad or pasta dish, followed by either a chicken, red meat or fish dish with seasonal vegetables & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cakes.
  • 7 nights in simple to 3 star hotels, B&Bs and a rifugio on a twin share basis mainly with ensuite facilities (shared facilities at the rifugio) - hotel taxes extra, payable locally - allow €5
  • Information pack including smartphone app with maps plus a route book per room booked
  • Luggage transfer - 1 piece per person, max 20kg
  • Emergency hotline
  • Transfer from Florence to Pontassieve on day 2

  • Travel to Florence and from Chiusi della Verna
  • Lunches and dinners not noted as included - allow EUR15-20 for dinner and EUR5-8 for picnic lunch. Beverages.
  • Items of a personal nature including drinks, souvenirs, phone calls, internet and laundry etc.
  • Entrance fees (museums, galleries etc.)
  • Guide - this is a self guided tour
  • Travel insurance
  • Tourist Tax if applicable - allow EUR5 pp payable directly to each hotel

Grading

moderate  

MODERATE – GRADE 3 This is a moderate grade trip with daily walks from 8 to 17.5 km/5mi to 11mi. With ascents up to 1000m/3280ft, the trail presents a variety of landscapes. You will cross several hamlets and some larger villages where access roads have been asphalted. Some walks are on 'strada Bianca,' (white roads) of the region. The walks are for the greater part on well-marked trails, old donkey paths and roads, and a trekking pole is therefore handy. A good level of fitness is required and prior experience is advisable. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, and jogging, three to four times a week for three months prior to your departure.


Departure dates

Daily from 1 Apr to 31 Oct

Notes

DN1
High season is 28 Jun to 30 Sep - supplement applies

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$1390USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Triple Room Discount (pp)USD$-74
  • High season supplementUSD$39
  • Single supplement - low seasonUSD$190
  • Single supplement - high seasonUSD$260
  • Single Traveller Surcharge - low seasonUSD$510
  • Single Traveller Surcharge - high seasonUSD$580
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

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