The Via Francigena is one of Europe’s oldest pilgrimage trails, taking travellers and worshippers from Canterbury Cathedral in the UK to Rome in Italy, covering over 2,000km and more if you enjoy the last lap to the Latina coast. This Southern Section does just that, enjoying the final lap of the pilgrimage from Rome to Terracina in the province of Latina. This is a pilgrimage through some of Italy’s prettiest and most fascinating natural and cultural landscapes. These include Roman paths and villages, ancient shepherd tracks, pagan temples and the ancient village of Norba.
Following the traces of the Via Appia, one of the oldest roads in Europe, you walk through southern Lazio, which preserves a vast historical and cultural heritage, until you reach the sea at Terracina.
- Ancient Etruscan and Roman villages and historical sites: Necropolis, the Fortress of the Popes
- The ancient village of Norba
- Nature Reserves: Appia Antica Regional Park
- Terracina and its Roman amphitheatre
Click to view map
Day 1: Arrive Rome
You arrive in the Eternal City. We recommend a visit to St Peter’s Square, the starting point of your journey and the arrival point of the northern Via Francigena. Don’t forget to take a photo in front of the Basilica, before celebrating the start of your journey by feasting on abbacchio, pecorino romano and maybe a nice maritozzo alla con la panna… buen camino!
- Accommodation: Hotel Domus Sessoriana or similar
Day 2: Rome to Castel Gandolfo | 24km
Leaving the ancient Roman walls at Porta San Sebastiano, you start walking on the ancient paving stones of the Appia Antica for a few kilometres, as you leave Rome. For the next 10km or so you walk through ancient vestiges of Ancient Rome: Geta’s Tomb, Priscilla’s Tomb, Cecilia Metella’s Mausoleum, etc. until you reach Frattocchie, where the route leaves the ancient road in the direction of Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence.
- Walking for the day: 24km, 5-6hrs ↑519m ↓75m
- Accommodation: Hotel Castelgandolfo or similar
Day 3: Castel Gandolfo to Velletri | 21km
Leaving Castel Gandolfo, follow a path to Albano Laziale, where you enter a dense wooded area bordering Lake Albano. Taking another path through the woods, continue towards Nemi, a town on the lake of the same name. Continue south along a provincial road on the pavement, turn left at Clivo Formello and walk through the woods for 5km until you reach Velletri. From here a short transfer will take you to Cori, a village rich in history and culture.
- Walking for the day: 21km, 5h ↑552m ↓651m
- Accommodation: Hotel Del Colle (Cori) or similar
Day 4: Cori to Sermoneta | 19km
Today’s stage begins on a steep dirt track, followed by a long tarmac section that leads into one of the most interesting areas of Lazio, on the edge of the Monti Lepini and the plains of Lazio. After a brief visit to the ancient city of Norba, you follow an ancient path that first descends and then climbs the hill to the beautiful medieval village of Sermoneta.
- Walking for the day: 19km, 5h ↑571m ↓723m
- Accommodation: B&B Lelive or similar
Day 5: Sermoneta to Sezze | 11km
From the pretty historic centre of Sermoneta, follow a dirt road through the hills of Latium with beautiful landscapes covered in sunflowers and herds of grazing cattle. On the walk into the centre of Sezze, there’s a wonderful view over the Latium Plains out to Circeo National Park.
- Walking for the day: 11km, 3h ↑351m ↓285m
- Accommodation: Hotel Ristorante da Santuccio or similar
Day 6: Sezze to Fossanova Abbey | 21km
Leaving the town of Sezze, take a dirt road that runs along the slopes of the mountain, with views out to theTyrrhenian coast. Walk through the villages of Colle Rotondo and Ceriara, following a path that runs alongside a canal until you reach the town of Priverno. From here a path runs along the canal for the next 6km to Fossanova Abbey, its majestic presence visible in the distance. A splendid example of Gothic architecture, the Cistercian Fossanova Abbey has its roots in the 12th century. Transfer to Terracina.
- Walking for the day: 21km, 4h ↑242 m ↓518m
- Accommodation: Grand Hotel L’Approdo (Terracina) or similar
Day 7: Departure
Departure on your own or extra nights in Rome upon request.
What to expect
Accommodation on this tour is in selected 3-star hotels in towns and countryside hotels and agriturismi* in the villages. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.
Click to view default hotels
- Hotel Domus Sessoriana (Rome)
- Hotel Castelgandolfo (Castel Gandolfo)
- Hotel Del Colle (Cori)
- B&B Lelive (Sermoneta)
- Hotel Ristorante da Santuccio (Sezze)
- Grand Hotel L’Approdo (Terracina)
*What is an agriturismo? A combination of the words for “agriculture” and “tourism” in Italian — It is a farmstay, but it’s also much, much more. Typically, an agriturismo is an independently-owned farm that the owners have decided to use partially for accommodation purposes, in a way similar to English or American bed and breakfasts. One of the best parts of staying in a traditional agriturismo? The food. An Italian agriturismo will usually serve guests food that was prepared from raw materials – vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, and often wine and olive oil – produced on the farm or from other local merchants.
Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included every day, as well as two picnic lunches and two dinners (Days 3 and 4). Remember to collect the packet lunch before starting the walk on the mornings of day 4 and 5. Where not included, packed lunches can be pre-ordered at the accommodations; you can buy products from local shops or have lunch at the restaurants along the way. For dinner, you will usually have plenty of options in the villages you are staying in.
Difficulty and terrain
The route is quite easy due to low differences in height even if on non asphalted roads. Some walks are quite long but can be shortened if requested in advance (read more about difficulty grades). The itinerary is marked by the official signs of the Via Francigena (white red markings and yellow sign with the Pilgrim symbol on it). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime.
When to go
You can start your holiday every day between the beginning of April and the end of October. Spring and autumn months are a preferred travel period if you want to avoid the summer heat of July and August. In September – October, you will enjoy pleasant temperatures.
The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your holiday on any date in the season – so please indicate desired starting date when booking.
Click to view travel options
Our recommended arrival airports are Rome Fiumicino and Rome Ciampino.
By train or bus
- To check transfers to and from the city centre from the suggested airports, check here (Fiumicino) and here (Ciampino).
- There are several local trains going from Terracina Mare/Monte San Biagio train station to Rome. The ride takes approx. one hour. For train schedules, please check the Trenitalia website or use the Omio planner above.
- 7 nights in selected 3-star hotels, countryside hotels and agriturismi
- 7 breakfasts
- Via Francigena Passport
- Luggage transfers on all walking days (only one piece per person up to 20kg with sizes 60x50x40cm; there is a supplement for each additional piece)
- Transfer Velletri to Cori & Fossanova Abbey to Terracina
- Holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route notes and maps (digital copy sent by email and a hard copy delivered at the first hotel)
- 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist tax and entrance fees (payable on the spot)
- Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘Included’ in the programme
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a single room
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights