Friday, August 06, 2010


Ever since a French pilgrim walked from Bordeaux to Jerusalem and back in 333AD, ordinary people with an extraordinary wanderlust have trekked long distances to sacred places.
The Anonymous Bordeaux Pilgrim

My good friend "Little John" is one of those extraordinary pilgrims who is planning on walking from Santiago to Rome next year. He has already done most of the Camino routes - Norte, Ingles, Frances, Primitivo, Via de la Plata, Madrid, Portugues etc and the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome and from Brindisi to Rome in the south.

John now wants a new challenge and has decided to walk the Jesus Trail from Nazareth next year and then fly to Santiago to walk to Rome. John will be 77 years-old in October and is walking the Annapurna Circuit in Tibet in November. Quite an inspiration!)

Why not walk from Rome to Santiago?
 The route to Rome isn't that well marked and John feels that it could be difficult to follow it in reverse. The Camino is so well marked that it shouldn't be too difficult to walk it the other way.

How long will it take?

It is about 2 800km from Santiago to Rome. John is a good steady walker and plans to cover about 25km per day. With a few shorter days and rest days it should take him about 4 months. He has a British passport so can take as long as he likes. Anyone needing a Schengen visa would have a problem with the 90-day maximum time allowed.  Its not impossible to walk it in 90 days. In the summer of 2009 Herman walked from Rome to Santiago in 78 days averaging more than 35km per day. You will find some info on his blog in English even though most of it is in Dutch.

Live on the trail!

Babette Gallard and Paul Chin have been on the Arles to Rome trail on horseback since April with the idea of writing a guide book on the Santiago to Rome route and also to raise funds to build a classroom in a school in Burkina Fasso. You can contact them through their website Pilgrimage Publications:  

Dan and Hilary are walking from Rome to Santiago and then potentially back across Spain (different route) and up the west coast of France.

Rome to Santiago

OTHER PILGRIM TALES Bike from Rome to Santiago

Ann Milner walked from Santiago to Rome in 2006
She started on 4th April in Santiago and arrived in Rome on 2nd September.
Her Route
Camino Frances to Puente la Reina
Camino Aragones to Somport.
A detour to Lourdes 
Via Toloana at Maubourguet all the way to Arles:
Via Domitia to Montgenevre
Via Aurelia heading south-east to Menton.
At Genoa she walked inland joining the Via Francigena at Pontremoli and then on to Rome from there.

 Assisi to Santiago

Starting from Assisi, north along the Via Francigena: From Sarzana along the Italian Riviera, crossing the border into France before following the Cote d’Azur and heading west , passing through Arles, Montpellier, Toulouse, Auch, and Pau. Then cross the Pyrenees into Spain along the Camino Aragonese to Puenta La Reina, onto the Camino Frances, and finishing at Santiago de Compostella


Santiago to Puente la Reina:
You can follow any of the Camino Frances guides - CSJ, John Brierley, Pili Pala Press, or just follow the arrows.

Puenta la Reina to Somport:
You can follow the directions and arrows for the Aragones route to Somport - CSJ, Rother, Miam Miam Dodo - or follow the arrows.

Somport to Lourdes: 
From Somport to Oloron Ste Marie and Lourdes you can follow the Chemin du Piemont Pyrénéen.

Lourdes to Arles:
From Arles:
From Arles, there are two routes to choose from.
North east towards Montgenevre or South east to Menton.
Some websites suggest that the Montgenevre route is easier.

This website offers information and maps from Arles to Italy:

La Provence - Alpes - Côte d'Azur is the natural pathway, both for pilgrims coming from Italy or southern Europe towards Compostela, and those who sailed from Spain or France en route to Rome. Founded in 1998, the Association "Provence - Alpes - Cote d'Azur - Corsica" Friends of Pathways of St. Jacques de Compostela and Rome currently has over 600 members in seven departments of the region.
  • Help and advice to prospective pilgrims (information, documentation)
  •  Support for pilgrims crossing the region;
  • Creation and Maintenance, in association with the French Federation of hiking trails, routes between Arles and the Italian border;
  •  Looking for accommodation with the municipalities, parishes and individuals;
  • Studies and research on local heritage and history of pilgrimages;
  • Promotion of pilgrimage by organizing exhibitions
  • Maintain links with associations pursuing the same goal, in France and abroad, especially in Italy;
  • Maintenance of friendships between former and future pilgrims through periodical publications and events (meetings, visits, walks, lectures.
Somport Pass between Spain and France

Discover the way to Arles , Italy (Col du Montgenèvre Mortola or near Menton) to Spain over the Somport pass using maps and map the paths and their alternatives.  This site will inform you of routes and associations that can help you in your pilgrimage to Compostela and Rome .

This site has a description of the route from Montginevro Pass to Torino

Guide Books

Guida alla Via Francigena
A 900km walk from Montgenevre to St. Peter's, from the border with France to Rome, through Piedmont, Lombardy , Emilia Romagna, Tuscany and Lazio. 

La Via Francigena, Cartografia E GPS -
The first complete and detailed mapping of ViaFrancigena - over 900 km on foot, in 38 stages , retracing the journey from ancient Rome to Montgenevre . Step by step through Piedmont, Lombardy , Emilia Romagna, Tuscany and Lazio : the maps and all the data necessary to navigate.

For accommodation on the different routes

Once you get onto the Via Francigena at Pontremoli (or elsewhere) you can follow the
VF signs and guides - such as the Lightfoot Guides published by Babette and Paul.

Useful website for the Via Francigena  Check their extensive list of links to VF organsiations including the two main Italian Via Francigena organisations in Italy and the VF Forum on Yahoo.

And a few blogs:

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