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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed January 2019
    Miles Alexander

    Walking the Francigena Way

    My wife and i, early 60s, still working and reasonably fit, wanted something different from day trips from a villa. Italy, late summer, activity, smaller towns and with Rome as an objective - this seemed to be, and was in fact, an excellent tour. The range of rural walking is varied from wooded sections to open fields. There is some urban walking and a short section along the Autostrada but this does not detract from the overall experience. Apart from the weekends, when we met some local walkers, the greatest number of 'pilgrims' that we encountered on any day was 6. There was plenty of time to enjoy the walk and the hill top towns.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was no single moment but we lost count of the number of time that we opened a door of some undistinguished church in a small town to reveal a stunning interior. The rock-cut church of the Madonna del Parto, a former mithraeum in Sutri was extraordinary - not to be missed. Each of the towns seemed quite sleepy when we arrived mid-afternoon but being Italian, they came to life in the early evening. They all had architecture of interest and although (or possibly because) this is a less fashionable area of Italy, people were very welcoming and helpful, Getting our Testimoniums from the office just off St Peter's Square on the afternoon we arrived in Rome was extremely satisfying.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Self guided.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Although this is a moderate level walk, it does involve some hills and although we traveled in late September, the temperatures hit the 80s on a couple of days. Taking a litre and a half of water each was essential as there isn't necessarily the opportunity for obtain a drink along the route. along the way. We also bought simple food (bread, cheese, meat, fruit) each day for the next days lunch for the same reason. I would certainly recommend walking shoes or boots.; trainers will simply not be good enough. We took walking poles but these were not really needed and quickly ended up in our luggage. I agree that it is difficult to get lost, but equally, that an English version of the notes rather than what appears to be a translation would ensure best accuracy. If you do get wildly lost, there is a VIa Francigena app which shows where you are in real time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would start each day before 09.00 and arrive at our destination by mid-afternoon allowing time to enjoy the walk without it becoming a route march. The prospect of an ice cold Peroni was very motivating. This allowed time to relax at the hotels before exploring the towns as they awoke in the early evening. Do not obtain your own Credenziale as we did - Exodus provide them in your travel pack. Learn some basis Italian phrases which is not difficult and is only polite. As these are not tourist towns, English is not widely spoken. Notably, the young owners of Enoteca da Ronko in Vetralla lived in England for a while and are happy to chat. If you have time, tag on a few days in Rome at the end of your walk.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Tom Roberts

    Walking the Francigena Way

    A fantastic experience. This was not a difficult walk that basically had one walking from one hilltop town to another. These hilltop towns are just absolutely delightful and so full of history. Having walked the St James Way in Northern Spain, this walk provided a different experience in that the number of walkers is far less and the accommodation points were way more historic and interesting vrs those on the St James Way.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many but rolling them all together it was the history of the hilltop towns that we stayed at every night.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Self guided

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is not a difficult walk and one that can be done without poles and specialized walking boots. A good pair of running/walking shoes is all that needed. Get hungry .The food that is available in your accommodation points is fabulous. All foods of the local areas.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The self guided directions provided in written form for this tour need a serious look at. It would be dufficult to get lost as there are any number of signs providing directions , but in a lot of instances the instructions provided in written form pre the tour did not match the permanent signage on the tour journey. I would suggest that Exodus have one of their England based team do this walk with the instructions provided so they can be altered to a correct format.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    john edwards

    The Francigena Way

    We booked this because we wanted to visit Rome and were curious about walking all the way there. This is a pilgrimage route rather than a full on country walk, so if you like delightful sleepy little Italian towns plus some glorious days of Italian countryside, this is for you!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Orvieto is a great place to start, small, dramatically situated with a mind blowing cathedral, try to give yourself time there. Viterbo was the revelation with a superb medieval quarter. Most of the towns are on hills with wonderful views across the countryside. The final day gets you from fields to the centre of Rome with only a couple of hours of urban walking and the final 'reveal' of Rome from a final hilltop park really gives you that feeling of arrival.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A superb team effort (me and my wife)!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walking is pretty easy and the Francigena Way very well signed throughout until Rome when street names take over. The walking notes are usually pretty good (one or two obvious errors) and in fact mostly only needed for confirmation since the signage is so good. Do look at the maps at the start of the day. The two times we went mildly wrong are because there are two Francigena routes and we followed signs so went on the 'other' path. They paths reunite anyway so no bother. There were no 'where are we' moments. The way does include a reasonable amount of made roads but is mainly wide unmade roads and paths. I'm a walking boot person but this route is perfect for the shoe wearer so long a you have good soles.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotels are 'simple' but perfectly good and are clearly chosen because they are the best available. The Rome accommodation is also pretty good given its central position - more Airb&b than hotel. We generally set out each day just before 9.00 which gave us enough time to look around and rest at the end of the day. Rome was our goal and it's so endlessly fascinating that we easily filled 3 further days.
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