What to get before you start
We decided we needed a pilgrim passport and a guidebook before we started the Via Francigena.
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.
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.
Some even show you which direction to take when it’s not obvious.
Some markers are spray-painted on instead. You can’t put a sticker on everything.
Like the Camino Santiago, the Francigena has stone markers to complement the other signs you see.
When the path has involved roads, these road signs have pointed us in the right direction.
We’ve also seen these signs showing how far away nearby towns are.
And we’ve seen some signs to other, less local, locations.
One of the nice things about the Francigena are these information boards that we’ve seen along the way:
They cover all kinds of things from religious stories and local history to short descriptions of the geology of the area.
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.