A man walks atop mountains on the Via Francigena
A man walks atop mountains on the Via Francigena

Via Francigena: Stage 1, Great St. Bernard Pass to Ivrea

Level
3
Distance
111 km
Duration
9 days | 8 nights
period
Jun Jul Aug Sep
price from
€ 921
CO2 footprint
154 Kg/person
  1. Italy
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode ITSM300

The first steps into Italy of Northern Via Francigena are nothing less than spectacular: snowy peaks all around, a glistening Alpine lake, the hostel that has been welcoming pilgrims for centuries; and the mountain air  nicely tickling your nose, as you look around and realise your journey has indeed started. 

This first section takes through the Roman city of Aosta, tranquil mountain villages, wineries producing the well-known local white wines, castles and ancient Gallic roads down to Ivrea, where the first typewriter was built by local industrial Olivetti. 

      

 

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

Arrival in Grand St Bernard

Arrival in Grand St Bernard

Reaching the Gran San Bernardo Pass, you will find the “Hotel Italia”, an ancient place where pilgrims found relief from their journey.

Day 2

From Grand St. Bernard to Etroubles, 13.5 km

From Grand St. Bernard to Etroubles, 13.5 km

From the San Bernardo Pass you arrive in Italy and continue on to the nice village of Etroubles, walking along the Via Francigena official route. The itinerary is on secondary trails rich in evocative landscapes with its small villages and the ancient avalanche shelter system. Some points could be a bit steep, but there are a couple of possible alternatives to do.

Distance: 13,5 km 

Ascent/descent +217/-1446 m 

Day 3

From Etroubles to Aosta, 15,5 km

From Etroubles to Aosta, 15,5 km

Today you depart Etroubles to reach Aosta, where the pilgrims could worship Saint’Orso and Saint Grato’s relics (nowadays they are patron of the whole Val d’Aosta). The walk promises a deep experience along the mountains, crossing meadows and pinewoods. Meet old refuges, the chapel used by the pilgrims, and follow the ancient stream “Ru Neuf”. As the last part is on a descent path, it is possible to take a bus from Verrailes to Aosta.

Distance: 15,5 km 

Ascent/descent +398/-1060 m 

Day 4

From Aosta to Nus, 16 km

From Aosta to Nus, 16 km

The route winds among castles and vineyards. You will flank the fine Quart castle, with its chapel dedicated to the local saint, Emerico. Along the approaching road you will be able to touch the semi-spherical engravings made in the rock by prehistoric men, the Coppelle, trying to imagine what they were used for, still surrounded by mystery.

Distance: 16 km 

Ascent/descent: +544/-560 m 

Day 5

From Nus to Saint Vincent, 17 km

From Nus to Saint Vincent, 17 km

You will walk for a long way alongside the Rus, ancient artificial canals which still water the crops on the mountainsides of the Valle d'Aosta. Between one vineyard and another, we recommend a stop at the Crotta de Vegneron at Chambave, a temple consecrated to the wines of the Valle d’Aosta. Once you arrive in Saint Vincent, you will be able to stop for a reinvigorating rest at the spa.

Distance: 17 km 

Ascent/descent: +884/-832 m 

Day 6

From Saint Vincent to Verres, 16.5 km

From Saint Vincent to Verres, 16.5 km

From Saint Vincent you will continue along the left side of the Valley, meeting along your way the very fine Saint Germain castle: you can admire its Mezzogiorno towerfrom under the impressive medieval walls, once a formidable defence tower belonging to the De Mongioveto family which dominated the valley. From here you will travel along a short section of the ancient strada delle Gallie, before being enchanted by the splendid itineraries offered by the route as far as Verrès, which climbs up the side of the mountain. If you like castles, we recommend a visit of Issogne.

Distance: 16,5 km 

Ascent/descent: +669/-927 m 

Day 7

From Verres to Pont Saint Martin, 13 km

From Verres to Pont Saint Martin, 13 km

Today a brief journey in a time machine awaits you: at Arnad you will be able to emerge yourselves in the part of medieval pilgrims walking through the naves of the parish church of San Martino, before crossing the ancient Enchallod bridge. Or you can have fun looking for the tracks of Roman carriages in the stones of the ancient road of the Gauls, which will surprise you with a still perfectly preserved section leading to the gates of Donnas. If you like more recent history, visit Bard fort with its Museum of the Alps.

Distance: 13 km 

Ascent/descent: +434/-446 m 

Day 8

From Pont Saint Martin to Ivrea, 21 km

From Pont Saint Martin to Ivrea, 21 km

The alpine scenery gives way to the gentle Piedmont hills, among characteristic villages and sections surrounded by nature. Today’s destination point is Ivrea: the old town centre will delight you with its fine castle and tall tower of Santo Stefano, but do not miss a walk through an open-air museum of modern architecture. For the gourmands, we recommend a break to taste the Novecento cake, a chocolate cake whose recipe is jealously guarded by the town’s pastry-makers.

Distance: 21 km 

Ascent/descent: +514/-636 m 

Day 9

Arrivederci Ivrea!

Arrivederci Ivrea!

Last day included, our services end 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

  • 8 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
  • 2 dinners (Grand St. Bernard, Pont St Martin)
  • 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*** 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

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 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

The Hotel Relais St. Gilles 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.relaisstgilles.com

 

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

“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

 

Hotel Italia
Hotel Italia - Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses

The hotel was built facing the Gran San Bernardo lake and offers a spectacular view of the mountain. The rooms are warmly decorated but do not have a TV. The property features a restaurant, a terrace overlooking the mountains and a small and essential SPA with a jacuzzi and sauna.

www.gransanbernardo.it

Hotel Beau Séjour
Hotel Beau Séjour - Etroubles

A small and traditional family-run hotel, the Hotel Beau Séjour has comfortable and welcoming rooms equipped with TV, wifi and, most of them, also with an exceptional view of Mont Blanc.

www.hotelbeausejour.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 normally offer lovely 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 often dry with sunny days, but the chances of rain is higher then.

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


The  closes tInternational Airports  to Aostaare Torino and Milano.These airports are served by both major and low  cost  international  carriers  and  can  be easily  reached  by  local  transport,  which  is affordable and offers a frequent service.

Turin Caselle Airport www.aeroportoditorino.it

Milan Malpensa/LinateAirport www.milanomalpensa-airport.com www.milanolinate-airport.com

From  any  airports  take  the  train  or  bus  to reach the train station to take the train to Aosta.On departure from Ivrea reach the airports by train and bus.If you arrive by car, you can leave your car in   one   of   the several   pay   and   display unguarded parking areas in town. 

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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