What to get before you start

We decided we needed a pilgrim passport and a guidebook before we started the Via Francigena.

Pilgrim passports

Pilgrim passports can get you discounts in restaurants and on accommodation so we decided they were worth the €5 investment.

We got our passports from Lucca cathedral. Tourist information should also stock them but they’d run out when we visited.

The cathedral gave us an excellent first stamp to start us off.

A pilgrim passport for the Francigena


We got our guidebook from the Via Francigena Entry Point Museum.

The Via Francigena guidebook

We looked in a few bookshops as well but this one was the only guidebook we saw that was in English.

The maps are good and it’s written in a really nice way, giving points of interest and warnings about any tricky bits.

Signs on the way

The signs for the Francigena are excellent and, in many places, better than the Camino de Santiago.

Stickers and stencils

The route is mainly marked by these stickers which appear around lampposts and on walls.

Sticker marking the Via Francigena route

Some even show you which direction to take when it’s not obvious.

Francigena marker sticker showing the direction to take

Some markers are spray-painted on instead. You can’t put a sticker on everything.

Francigena route marker spray-painted onto a tree

Stone markers

Like the Camino Santiago, the Francigena has stone markers to complement the other signs you see.

Stone marker with the letters V and F, on white between two red vertical bars

Road signs

When the path has involved roads, these road signs have pointed us in the right direction.

Francigena road sign showing the logo for the route of a cartoon pilgrim next to some of the EU stars

Distance markers

We’ve also seen these signs showing how far away nearby towns are.

Signs to towns nearby showing direction and distance of each

And we’ve seen some signs to other, less local, locations.

Signs to a nearby town called Coiano, the city of Rome and the city of Canterbury in the UK

Local information

One of the nice things about the Francigena are these information boards that we’ve seen along the way:

Board giving information about the area for that part of the Francigena

They cover all kinds of things from religious stories and local history to short descriptions of the geology of the area.

First-aid kits

The Via Francigena seems to have pretty much everything covered.

We’ve even seen a few of these first-aid boxes when we’ve been walking on some of the more remote paths.

Box of medical supplies on a post along the side of the walking path

So organised!