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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 perfect synthesis of the variety of scenery that characterises the whole itinerary. You will decide whether to depart from the Colle del Gran San Bernardo, whose hospice has been open without interruption for more than 1000 years, or Aosta, a town which proudly preserves the traces of its Roman origins.
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.
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.
The journey starts in Aosta, a Roman town located in a valley surrounded by mountains. You will be able to contemplate the medieval capitals in the silence of the cloisters of Sant’Orso, or visit the impressive Roman theatre. To end the day, we recommend you take a walk through the alleys of the centre, admiring the high mountain peaks that appear over the roofs of the houses.
|Day 2||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.
|Day 3||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.
|Day 4||From Saint Vincent to Verrès, 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 tower from 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.
|Day 5||From Verrès to Point 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.
|Day 6||From Point 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.
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.
GPS tracks are available on request.
What is included
· Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
. 1 dinner
· luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
· maps and detailed description of the itinerary
. 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.
These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:
· Single room supplement
· Half Board supplement
· Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.