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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.
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|
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.
|Day 3||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.
|Day 4||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.
|Day 5||From Verrès to Point Saint Martin, 13 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.
|Day 6||From Point Saint Martin to Ivrea, 21 km|
Last day included. Service ends after breakfast.
Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Thanks to our special APP, you will be able to follow the track of the whole trip on your mobile phone, with no need for internet. GPS tracks are available on request.