walker on stone bridge on the Fidenza-Pontremoli section of Via Francigena
walker on stone bridge on the Fidenza-Pontremoli section of Via Francigena

Via Francigena: Stage 4, Fidenza to Pontremoli

Level
3
Distance
111 km
Duration
7 days | 6 nights
period
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
price from
€ 645
CO2 footprint
103 Kg/person
  1. Italy
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode ITSM340

Your journey begins in the silence of a church: in front of you, the reliefs of the Fidenza cathedral, a tale of pilgrims and knights forever carved in stone. 

One of these pilgrims will be your companion throughout your walk - it's the official symbol of Via Francigena, a tiny pilgrim indicating the right way to fellow pilgrims through the itinerary's official signs. 

From Fidenza begins your walk across the Appennines, through the hills around Parma and the Appennine Pass of the ancient Monte Bardone hill, the modern day Passo della Cisa. Tough ascents alternate with incredible views - first on the plains of Lombardy and then on Lunigiana, the mysterious and Medieval side of Tuscany. 

And right into Lunigiana you walk once past the Tuscan gate of Via Francigena: the last day of walking leads to Pontremoli through enchanted forests and out-of-a-fairytale Medieval bridges.  

Highlights

  • Admire tbas-reliefs of the cathedral of Fidenza, a synthesis of the history of the pilgrimage;
  • Climb up to the topof Mountn Valoria, the border between Emilia and Tuscany, to admire the Lunigiana in front of you;
  • Take a slow walk along the medievala bridge of Groppodalosio

Itinerary

Day 1

Fidenza

Fidenza

Your journey begins in Fidenza, a very important city for Via Francigena: the European Via Francigena Association has its seat here, and in this Cathedral walks the little pilgrim that has become the symbol of the itinerary. His eternal pilgrimage is carved in the stone, together with a caravan of pilgrims and knights.

Day 2

From Fidenza to Medesano, transfer to Sant'Andrea Bagni, 22 km

From Fidenza to Medesano, transfer to Sant'Andrea Bagni, 22 km

Ready to set off? Today you are up for a nice hilly walk, among history and myth. On your way, the Pieve di Cabriolo, dedicated to the Canterbury Arcbishop Beckett: here you can learn about the fascinating history of this place and the man it is dedicated to, involving none other than the Templar Knights. 

You then coast the ruins of the Costamezzana Castle - a suggestive place, perfect to photograph - or even draw, if that is your thing - with its circular tower that still rises among the trees. 

From here, follow the itinerary up and down the hills to reach Medesano, from where e transfer will take you to Sant'Andrea Bagni.

Distance: 22 km

Elevation gain: +600/-530 m

Day 3

Transfer from Sant'Andrea Bagni to Medesano, walk to Bardone, 22 km

Transfer from Sant'Andrea Bagni to Medesano, walk to Bardone, 22 km

A morning transfer will take you back to Medesano to resume your walk. Your journey continues, as you walk on the Parma hills: step after step you reach the river Taro and then Fornovo, where you can stop for a short visit to the cathedral. Its facade - apparently very simple - hides Medieval reliefs to be found and interpret, rich with mysterious symbols and apocaliptyc scenes. 

Today's destination is Bardone, where you spend the night in a cozy bed and breakfast. 

Distance: 22 km

Elevation gain: +1090/-440 m

Day 4

From Bardone to Berceto, 21 km

From Bardone to Berceto, 21 km

Pack some snacks before setting off, because today's stage is among the toughest - but also the nicest - of the whole itinerary. 

On your way you find Bardone and Terenzio - tiny sleepy villages, stone houses surrounded by hills and woods, with ancient churches of timeless beauty. From here, you ascend towards the Casola Castle and continue through peaceful and fragrant coniferous forests, before setting foot on the cobbled streets of Cassio. 

From here, 10 more kilometers on asphalted road (or a transfer) lead you to Berceto, a small Medieval jewel, your last overnight stay before entering Tuscany. 

Here you can recharge with the local specialty, pattona or castagnaccio: a flat cake made with chestnut flour and pine nuts, a typical grandma-made dessert, nourishing and rustic - like the land that is welcoming you. 

Distance: 21 km

Elevation gain: +780/-340 m

Day 5

From Berceto to Previdè, 18 km

From Berceto to Previdè, 18 km

Serve yourself another slice of castagnaccio for breakfast, because there is another good climb awaiting out of that door: first through country roads and forests paths, then on secondary asphalted roads, towards the Cisa Pass. 

The ground resists under your feet, your legs struggle with the ascent, but don't forget to take a look around: you are surrounded by incredible views on Lunigiana, and Mount Valdoria is the best point to admire them and have a snack and some water, before facing the last climb of the day. 

Finally, the pass. As you start descending, enjoy the views and soften your steps - you deserve it. After reaching Previdè, a peaceful hamlet immersed in the nature of Lunigiana, a transfer will take you to Pontremoli.

Distance: 18 km

Elevation gain: +563/-1294 m

Day 6

From Previdè to Pontremoli, 10 km

From Previdè to Pontremoli, 10 km

In the morning, a transfer will take you to the little hamlet of Previdè to resume your walk. From Previdè you walk long sections of forest paths immersed in nature, through small villages like Groppadalosio with its picture-perfect medieval bridge and Casalina, with the stone houses and the tiny dome on the bell tower.

Finally, enjoy the exhilarating descent towards Pontremoli - one of our favorite places, a city of bridges and  "Stele Statues": we highly suggest a visit to the dedicated museum, housed in the imposing Pontremoli castle, to learn more about these famous and peculiar locals

The best way to celebrate the end of your trip? A nice stroll in the lively old town centre and a good portion of testaroli with almond pesto, the local specialty. 

Distance: 10 km

Elevation gain: +563/-1294 m

Day 7

Pontremoli

Pontremoli

Last day is included. Service ends after breakfast.

Details

Is this for me?


This is the section of Via Francigena crossing the Appennines: a great trip for someone reasonably fit. Beginners may find the continuous ups and downs and especially the climb to Passo della Cisa - the most beautiful part of the trip and among the best of the whole itinerary - a bit challenging

Included


What is included

  • 6 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
  • luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
  • Transfer Medesano-Sant'Andrea Bagni and back
  • Transfer from Previdè to Pontremoli and back
  • 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


We work with 3* hotels, B&Bs and farmhouses that reflect our way of experiencing travel: they are comfortable and characterful structures, which we choose one by one, managed by passionate and welcoming people.

Unless otherwise specified in the travel listing, all provide private en-suite rooms with breakfast included.

 

Hotel Astoria Fidenza
Hotel Astoria - Fidenza

The Astoria Hotel is housed in the center of Fidenza, close to the train station. Staff is kind and helpful. Location is clean and comfortable . Rooms are quiet and equipped of air conditioning, TV, free WiFi and direct phone. Breakfast is rich and various.

www.hotelastoriafidenza.it

Hotel Salus Medesano
Hotel Salus - Medesano
B&B Sulla Strada Sivizzano
B&B Sulla Strada - Sivizzano

B&B Sulla Strada is located on the roas Val Sporzana 135 and it has 6 beds with breakfast and self-catering meals. The B&B offers a repair shop for bicycle and an information point with maps and news about territory. 

B&B Sulla Strada

B&B La Casa dei Nonni Berceto
B&B La Casa dei Nonni - Berceto

Located in Berceto’s historic centre, just a few steps from the Romanesque Cathedral, La Casa dei Nonni offers different accommodation types with its five rooms: single, twin and double rooms (extra beds available for children). The location is well-finished and beautifully decorated. Breakfast with house specials is served on the ground floor and for the dinner it's suggested to try the restaurant. 

www.lacasadeinonniberceto.it

Ai Chiosi Pontremoli
B&B Ai Chiosi

“Ai Chiosi” Bed and Breakfast consists of two recently restored ancient manor houses, separated by a 300 square metres stone paved patio and surrounded by 3 hectares of farmland.

Between the two farm houses there is the availability of a large open space in the green of nature, where it is possible to stay in relax, of a suitable area for the entertainment of children and of a reserved parking.

The hospitality is familiar and careful of guest expectations, respecting their privacy.

www.aichiosi.it

When to travel


The climate in Northern 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 see higher 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 Bergamo-Orio al Serio (BGY), you can

  • get to Milano Centrale railway station by bus and reach Fidenza by direct train;
  • get to Bergamo railway station and catch a train to Fidenza, with change in Milano.

Check bus connections from Bergamo Orio al Serio (BGY) on www.orioaeroporto.it.

From Milano airports (MXP, LIN), Bologna airport (BLQ) and Verona airport (VRN), get to the central railway station, where you can catch a train to Fidenza (not direct in case you are travelling from Verona).

On departure from Pontremoli, you can reach Bergamo, Mlano, Bologna and Verona by train (not direct).

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

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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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Touroperating S-Cape Countryside Travels srl Borgo Allegri 16R 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
VAT Nr 05227330486

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