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Via Francigena in Emilia Romagna and Tuscany: Fidenza to Pontremoli  The Natural Adventure 28

Via Francigena in Emilia Romagna and Tuscany: Fidenza to Pontremoli

Overview

Via Francigena from Fidenza to Pontremoli is a journey through the Apennines, over the ancient Colle di Monte Bardone, today known as the Cisa Pass. You will start from the ancient cathedral of San Donnino in Fidenza, with its cycle of bas-reliefs that inspired the creators of the Via Francigena logo, before proceeding through the hills of Parma to the Tuscan mountains. The climb towards the pass will be long and sometimes demanding, but you will enjoy amazing views over the Lombardy Plain first, and then the Lunigiana. The descent towards Pontremoli along the ancient path surrounded by nature, with the spectacular Groppodalosio bridge will make you feel like a genuine ancient pilgrim. If you want to immerse yourself in the atmospheres of the Lunigiana, we recommend extending your journey as far as Aulla, adding two more days to your walk.

Highlights

  • The Cathedral of Fidenza with its bas-reliefs
  • The medieval one-arched bridge of Groppodalosio
  • Pontremoli museum with its Stele Statues
  • Mount Valdoria – the border between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Fidenza

The journey starts in Fidenza, a town of art and culture. After admiring the pilgrims whose tracks you will follow in the bas-reliefs of the Duomo, you can walk along the paved streets of the old town centre, to celebrate the beginning of your trip with an aperitif in Piazza del Municipio.

Day 2: Fidenza to Medesano/Sant’Andrea Bagni | 22 km

You will begin your walk with a leg across the hills, which will already show you monuments of great historical importance, such as the Pieve di Cabriolo, dedicated to the Archbishop of Canterbury Becket, where you will be able to discover its mysterious history linked to the knights of the Templar. You will walk alongside the ruins of Costamezzana castle, dominated by its circular tower, which still climbs among the trees, and you will enjoy climbing up and down the ridges of the hills; at the end of the walk, a short transfer will take you to the village of Sant’Andrea Bagni, where you will spend the night. Please call the accommodation in Sant’Andrea 1 hour before your arrive to pick you up.

  • Walking for the day: 22 km, 6 hrs
  • Accommodation: Hotel Salus or similar in Sant’Andrea Bagni

Day 3: Medesano to Sivizzano | 19 km

The day starts with a short transfer from your accommodation to Medesano – from there, continuing among the Parma hills, you will cross the river Taro to arrive at Fornovo. Here we recommend a visit to the cathedral to admire the alarming bas-reliefs of its facade. You will then continue to Sivizzano, where you will sleep in a characteristic b&b along the way.

  • Walking for the day: 19 km, 5 hrs
  • Accommodation: B&B Sulla Strada or similar in Sivizzano

Day 4: Sivizzano to Berceto | 24 km

Today a demanding leg awaits you, but with astonishing views: along your way, you will come to the villages of Bardone and Terenzo, where you will be able to admire ancient churches. From here, you will tackle a climb that will bring you to Casola Castle, before continuing up and down among conifer woods and finally reaching Cassio, where you will follow the stone path already travelled along by generations of pilgrims. A 10-km walk along asphalted, secondary road (or a transfer) will then bring you to Berceto, a “little stone jewel”, where you can savour local mushrooms and pattona, a typical cake made from chestnut flour.

Day 5: Berceto to Previdé | 18 km

From Cassio, a climb awaits you towards the Cisa Pass, first along mule tracks and country roads and then over earth tracks and asphalted roads. You will continue your walk along the last section of today’s route, which will lead you among the attractive views over the Lunigiana to Mount Valdoria, a panoramic point of great beauty, before climbing up again towards the Pass and then down to Previdè, a beautiful hamlet surrounded by nature.

  • Walking for the day: 18 km, 5 hrs
  • Accommodation: B&B Eremo Gioioso or similar in Previdé

Day 6: Previdé to Pontremoli | 10 km

From Previdè, you will travel along long sections of a path surrounded by nature, through characteristic villages such as Groppadalosio, with its ancient medieval bridge, and Casalina, which will charm you with its little stone houses and the characteristic little dome of its bell tower. Finally, you will descend to Pontremoli, the town of bridges and stele statues, where you can enjoy a relaxing evening walk among the alleyways of the illuminated old town centre.

  • Walking for the day: 10 km, 3 hrs
  • Accommodation: B&B Chiosi or similar in Pontremoli

Day 7: Departure

Departure on your own or extra nights in Pontremoli upon request.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in selected 3-star hotels and B&Bs. All rooms have en-suite facilities. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

*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.

Meals

Breakfast is included every day. Packed lunches can be pre-ordered at the accommodations or you can buy products from local shops. For dinner, you will usually have plenty of options in the villages you are staying in.

Difficulty & terrain

The route is relatively easy and accessible due to low elevation gains. A good level of fitness is required for enjoying the walks to the maximum (read more about difficulty grades). The whole itinerary is mostly on paths and gravel roads (strade bianche), even if you will find some sections on asphalted roads. Some walks are quite long and demanding but can be optionally shortened using local transport or private transfers. The whole itinerary is well marked by the Official signs of the Via Francigena – white-red markings and a 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 when temperatures hit 30°C and more. In September – October, you will enjoy pleasant temperatures.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended arrival airports for this holiday are Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Bologna and Bergamo. Other Italian airports are also well connected to the area.

By train or bus
  • Arrival in Fidenza: From any airport, reach the closest railway station, from where you can get to Fidenza by train. Trains are direct from Milan and Bologna, whereas you need to change if travelling from Verona and Bergamo.
  • Departure from Pontremoli: You can reach Bergamo, Mlan, Bologna and Verona by train.
  • Train timetables are available on www.trenitalia.com

Inclusions

Included

  • 6 nights in selected 3-star hotels and B&Bs, private en-suite rooms
  • 6 breakfasts
  • Private transfers from Medesano on Day 2 and to Medesano on Day 3
  • Luggage transfers on all walking days (1 pc per person up to 15 kg; each additional paid should be paid)
  • APP with the route description to follow on the smartphone, the maps, the practical organization day-by-day, the Pilgrim’s passport and the QR code (no paper documents will be provided)
  • 24/7 phone support by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches and dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Local tourist tax & entry fees (payable on the spot)
  • Personal expenses
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘Included’ in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double 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

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