Bard Fortress on Via Francigena in Valle d'Aosta
Bard Fortress on Via Francigena in Valle d'Aosta

Via Francigena: Stage 1, Aosta to Ivrea

Level
2
Distance
118 km
Duration
7 days | 6 nights
period
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
price from
€ 695
CO2 footprint
123 Kg/person
  1. Italy
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode ITSM305

From the harsh Alpine peaks to gentle hills, ending in the tranquil agricultural plain of Piedmont: the first section of the Italian Via Francigena is a kaleidoscope of colors and landscapes, a condensed version of the ever-changing way to Rome. 

Breath the cool Alpine air, here is where your journey begins: depending on season, you can choose to start from the Great Saint Bernard Pass - where the ancient hostel has been hosting pilgrims for more than 1000 years - a heavenly scenery of staggered peaks and a crystal-clear lake. The other starting point is Aosta, proudly bearing its ancient Roman identity. 

This journey allows you to discover the different souls of Italy: the tranquil rhythms of its provincial towns, the lively atmosphere of its villages nestling between the Alps and the modern charm of its industrial cities. You will taste little-known but surprising local dishes, from cheese from the pastures to rice specialties, accompanied by the refined wines of the Val d’Aosta.

From here, every day will be different. Follow ancient Rus among shady woods and streams, walk through vineyards and taste the delicious wines that they produce; cross Medieval bridges and ancient Roman roads immersed in the woods, until reaching the soft hills of Piedmont and Ivrea, with its open-air museum of Modern architecture.

Between June and September, it is also possible to add two more stages at the beginning of the trip, starting the walk in Col Grand St Bernard (on the border with Switzerland):

Col Grand St Bernard-Etroubles (13,5 km)

Etroubles-Aosta (15,5 km)

      

 

This itinerary is carried out with funding of Routes4U, joint programme between the Council of Europe and European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Sloways and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Routes4U joint programme.

Highlights

  • Admire the capitals in the cloister of the Sant'Orso cathedral in Aosta
  • Walk bare-footed over the paving stones of the Ancient Roman Road of the Gauls;
  • Look at the perfect construction of the terraced vineyards of Donnas
  • Enjoy the sunset on the Viverone lake while having a glass of Erbaluce

Itinerary

Day 1

Aosta

Aosta

Your journey begins in Aosta: you've just arrived, but this town surrounded by mountains is only waiting to be explored.

Start with the ancient Roman theatre, the most evidente bequest of Roman Civilization; continue with the cloister of Sant'Orso - an oasis of peace and beauty - or stroll through the narrow streets of the old town centre. Every now and then, look up: the Alpine peaks peep out among red roofs, in a beautiful mosaic of nature and civilization. 

Day 2

From Aosta to Nus, 16 km

From Aosta to Nus, 16 km

Your walk begins: and in the blink of an eye you are already surrounded by vineyards and castles, on the way to the imposing Castle of Quart: perched on a hill among forests and steep paths, it looks straight out of a fairytale. 

Today's walk is an exploration of history and myth; along your path, you'll notice semi-circular shapes carved in the rock: we only know they were made by prehistoric men and that they are known as "Coppelle", but the rest of the story is simply a mistery. What were they for? You may be the one to solve the mystery - after all, one always thinks better when walking in nature.

Distance: 16 km 

Ascent/Descent: +350/-350 m 

Day 3

From Nus to Saint Vincent, 17 km

From Nus to Saint Vincent, 17 km

Today you walk through forests, vineyards and country paths, following the course of the Rus - ancient artificial channels that still bring water to the cultivated fields of Val d'Aosta. 

Are you craving a (or many) glass of wine, after all these vineyards? We suggest a visit to the Crotta de Vegnerone in Chambave - more than a winery, a true sanctuary to the religion of Aostan wine. 

Today's destination is Sant Vincent, where you can relax with a thermal bath.

Distance: 17 km 

Ascent/Descent: +590/-660 m 

Day 4

From Saint Vincent to Verrès, 16,5 km

From Saint Vincent to Verrès, 16,5 km

Your walk continues, and soon you find another castle on your way: it's the castle of Saint German, once the impregnable fortress of the dominating De Mongioveto family. 

You then walk on a short stretch of ancient Roman road - the trace of Roman carriages still visible on the rock - before starting to climb up the mountainside, immersed in the stunning scenery that leads to the town of Verres. 

If you can never enough of castles, we suggest a visit to the Issogne one, with its colorful frescoed porch and the pomegranate fountain in the cloister.

Distance: 16,5 km 

Ascent/Descent: +570/-740 m 

Day 5

From Verrès to Point Saint Martin, 15 km

From Verrès to Point Saint Martin, 15 km

Ready to travel back in time?

From the 16th century bridge of Echellod to ancient Roman roads, from the imposing Bard Fortress - hosting a nice Museum of the Alps - to Pont Sant Martin, today's destination. 

Legend tells that the Roman bridge to which the village owes its name was built by the devil himself as suggested by St.Martin, who then saved the village from its devilish curse. 

Distance: 15 km 

Ascent/Descent: +180/-150 m 

Day 6

From Point Saint Martin to Ivrea, 21 km

From Point Saint Martin to Ivrea, 21 km

Your last day of walking holds a surprise, a sparkle of change that becomes more and more vivid with every step: the Alpine scenery leaves its place to the soft Piedmont hills, among unspoiled nature and picturesque hamlets. 

Your destination is Ivrea: you'll be delighted by its old town centre - with the last castle of the trip and the high tower of Santo Stefano, but don't forget to visit the open-air museum of modern architecture. 

The perfect celebration to the end of the trip? A slice of Torta Novecento, a chocolate delight the recipe of which is jealously guarded by the town's pastry chefs. 

Distance: 21 km 

Ascent/Descent: +350/-450 m 

Day 7

Ivrea

Ivrea

Last day included. Service ends after breakfast.

Details

Is this for me?


The first section of the Italian route is perfect if you'd like to start the Italian route from the very first step, love mountain landscapes, and would like to walk a fascinating, ever-changing section of the Camino, to the hills and lakes of Piedmont. IF you'd like to start from Great Saint Bernard, consider that the pass is open from June to the end of Septemebr - depending on the year and the amount of snow on the path. 

Included


What is included

  • 6 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
  • 1 dinner (2 if you start from Gran St Bernard)
  • luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
  • official guide of the route, App
  • Pilgrim Passport
  • Medical and luggage travel insurance
  • 24h phone assistance

What is not included 

  • Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
  • lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated.
  • visits and entrance fees - tips
  • personal expense
  • possible sojourn taxes
  • everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.

Optional Services

These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:

  • Single room supplement
  • Cancellation insurance
  • Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.

Accommodation


Hotel Cecchin Aosta
Hotel Cecchin - Aosta

Hotel Cecchin*** is located in the historic center of Aosta, a few steps from the Arch of Augusto and monuments that characterize the city. It born in 1982 on the Roman Bridge, along the Via Francigena, from Roman building. 

www.hotelcecchin.com

Agriturismo Maison Rosset Nus, Aosta
Agriturismo Maison Rosset - Nus

The Rosset  family, a noble dynasty whose forefather was Jean-Pantaléon , has been living in Nus (Aosta Valley) since the beginning of the eighteenth century, in the buildings he had built: his owner house and the farmhouse.  The new building consists of four double en-suite rooms, a single room, a three-bed room with living room and are well-equipped with tv set, private service. 

www.maisonrosset.it

Hotel La Chance Saint Vincent
Hotel de la Ville - Saint Vincent

Comfortable hotel under new management. Located a few steps from the Casino de la Vallée in a strategic position to reach the resort and the most popular tourist attractions in Valle d'Aosta. Rooms are furnished in a simple way and have TV, WiFi coverage, bathroom with shower and hairdryer. Some of these have a balcony with mountain views.

www.hoteldelavillevda.it

Hotel Relais Saint Gilles Verrés
Essenza Hotel - Verrés

The Essenza Hotel is located in Verrès, in the tranquility of the low-lying valley. Rooms are well-furnished, spacious and clean and are equipped of these comfort: air conditioning, private bathroom, satellite TV and free Wifi. 

www.essenzaverres.it

Hotel Crabun Pont Saint Martin
Hotel Crabun - Pont Saint Martin

Hotel Crabun*** is situated along the ancient pilgrimage route of Via Francigena in Pont Saint Martin. Decorated with warm colours and wood furniture, rooms at Hotel Crabun are classically furnished, and come with either carpeted or wood floors. They all have a balcony and satellite TV channels.

www.crabunhotel.it

B&B Il Tuchino Ivrea
B&B Il Tuchino - Ivrea

“Il Tuchino” Bed and Breakfast is located in the “Borghetto,” the medieval heart of the ancient town of Ivrea and it was recently renovated under the guidance of the architect Annibale Fiocchi, who worked with the well-known architect Olivetti from 1947 to 1964. Rooms are elegant, spacious, comfortable and equipped of air conditioning and free Wifi. 

www.iltuchino.it

When to travel


The climate in North Italy is generally very mild with differences depending on the geography of the region, from coasts and valleys to the continental areas.The warmest months are generally July and August, with temperatures ranging from 23°C up to 30°C; the valleys can often seehigher temperatures and 38°C to 40° C is not uncommon.While June and September offer both nice warm weather. Of course, there are always exceptions or dry spells that cause a few days to get really hot.Spring (April and May) and Autumn (October and November) are dry, with sunny days but the chances of rain are high.The weather can change very quickly and you must be prepared forrain, mist, wind, fog (and even hail or snow at higher elevations) –especially in spring and autumn. 

What to bring


Clothing and other items
You will need your regular walking/cycling gear, including some sort of reflective garment. For the evenings, smart outdoor style trousers (or shorts) are invaluable, as are quick-dry t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town.

Take as little as possible to avoid potentially lugging a heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs at the end of the day. Please be aware that laundromats (“Laverie”) are not common in rural areas, so plan to do handwashing of small items.

Lightweight walking shoes/ trainers
For wearing around towns & villages. They can also be a back-up pair.

Socks & underwear
Take only good quality socks with quick-dry and insulating qualities. Road test them before you go on the trip. Take a suitable quantity of underwear as washing facilities are limited.

Warm jacket, hat, gloves
Bring a fleece, Polartec or warm layers for the evenings especially in spring or autumn; be sure it is totally suitable for your needs.
A fleece jacket which blocks the wind (Wind-stopper) is the most preferable. In the summer months a lightweight jacket is suitable for evenings.
If you are cycling/walking in mountainous or coastal areas, even in the height of summer, the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly and you should be prepared for fog, mist, rain, snow or hail at any time. Always take an extra layer with you, as well as a warm hat and gloves.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
If you are caught in heavy rain, with good waterproof clothing you should remain dry. Remember that most garments will lose their properties over time. Few will remain waterproof for more than five years and many deteriorate in three years or less. We recommend a rain jacket with a good hood and collar and waterproof or thermal walking/cycling trousers or tights.

Dress code
In general, you should wear suitable clothing when entering a church (in many places, it is considered unacceptable to go inside wearing shorts or a tank-top). We suggest that women carry a shawl to cover up bear shoulders or low-cut tops. It also comes in handy when your shoulders get sunburned!

It is considered inappropriate for men to go without a shirt / T-shirt (other than at the beach).

Trekking poles (adjustable)
Highly recommended. A pair works best, depending on what you are comfortable with. If you suffer from back or knee pain this should be considered essential. Remember to practise walking with your pole(s) on different types of terrain in the months preceding your trip.

Walking boots
The importance of good footwear cannot be stressed enough. Your boots should be sturdy and of good enough quality to handle all types of terrain. Lightweight boots, (cordura/leather boots) which have Gore-Tex or sympatex water-proofing are most suitable for this trip. They should provide good ankle protection and be well broken in. Waxing leather boots regularly prolongs their life.

Walking tops & trousers
We recommend walking trousers and shorts and quick-dry wicking t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town. Wicking T-shirts are fast drying, keep moisture away from your skin and are available at outdoor stores. You should also bring one pair of loose-fitting trousers to wear in cities and for evenings out, etc. Shorts or zip-off trousers are useful in warmer weather.

Practical info

How to arrive


From any airport, get to the closest railway station. Torino, Milano and Geneva are all connected to Aosta by train (not direct).

On departure from Ivrea, you can reach Torino, Milano and Geneva by train.

Check train timetables on www.trenitalia.com.

Mobile App


Use the SloWays APP for iOS and Android smart phones in combination with the written documentation provided.

The App has the detailed tracks and maps that you can use offline and without roaming. Thanks to the phone’s internal GPS, you can check your exact position on the map, so you always know exactly where you are. It also helps you self-navigate you way while travelling. More information on how to use the App inside the roadbook documents.

The navigation features include:

  • Offline navigation. Mobile data not required after initial download
  • Accurate GPS tracks
  • Autorotation of the maps
  • Daily route summary and elevation chart
  • Panorama of the track and at street level
  • Alarm and vibration that alerts you in case you go off track.
  • Emergency SMS button with position coordinates
  • Possibility to record and take georeferenced photos of problems on route alerting fellow travelers
  • Hotel information
  • Points of interest along the way
  • Historical background

Wanderlust Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
Wanderlust
Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
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Touroperating
S-Cape Countryside Travels srl
Borgo Allegri 16R
50122 Firenze FI
P. IVA 05227330486

 
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