Headwater - Self-Guided Walking on the Francigena Way

11 days
4.2 / 5 from 5 reviews
Walking & Trekking
Suitable for:
Age 12+
Activity level:
Activity Rating - Moderate
Trip code: 
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Walking & Trekking
Min age:

Walk the path of Sigerico; The Francigena Way from Orvieto to Rome

The Francigena Way is a historial journey; a road which once led from Canterbury to Rome and which has been walked by thousands of pilgrims. This trip begins in the beautiful city of Orvieto which boasts arguably the most beautiful cathedral in Italy. From here walk through Tuscia Laziale, an agricultural region of fields and olive groves dotted with volcanic lakes. Following the ancient Via Cassia, pass through beautiful villages such as Montefiascone, the fortified city of Viterbo, the Etruscan necropolis and the Roman amphitheatre of Sutri and the small mediaeval churches of Vetrallla and Campagnano. The path continues, through thick forests of oaks and past ruined abbeys and control towers, and ends in Rome; the 'Eternal City'.


  • Pilgrimage route to Rome
  • Stunning landscapes
  • Orvieto and its Cathedral
  • Picturesque villages, historic abbeys and volcanic lakes

Key information

  • 5 nights in hotels, 4 nights in B&Bs and 1 night in a farmhouse
  • 9 days point-to-point walking with luggage transfers
  • Low altitude throughout
  • Self-guided trip; min. age 12 yrs
  • Countries visited: Italy

What's included


  • All breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All luggage transfers
  • Route notes and maps

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Arrival & departure transfers 
  • Single accommodation (available on request) 
Call for general departures:
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Days of Walking & Trekking

Varied; between man made paved tracks and dirt tracks

Day by day breakdown
Day 211.0km/6.0miles
Day 318.0km/11.0miles
Day 418.0km/11.0miles
Day 518.0km/11.0miles
Day 617.0km/10.0miles
Day 720.0km/12.0miles
Day 815.0km/9.0miles
Day 923.0km/14.0miles
Day 1019.0km/11.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


  • Day 1

    Start Orvieto

    Individual arrival in Orvieto. The beautiful town of Orvieto rises on a volcanic hill in the middle of the Umbrian countryside. It boasts an impressive cathedral; a work of architecture and religious harmony among the most important in Italy, a well-preserved mediaeval town center and a series of caves and tunnels under the town that were created almost 3000 years ago.


  • Day 2

    Orvieto to Bolsena

    Leaving the valley surrounding Orvieto, you head towards Bolsena and the crater lake. Through woods of oak and wild boars, hills and fields you reach the old town of Bolsena and Monaldeschi castle. Known for the miracle of Corpus Domini, the town developed on the banks of the beautiful lake of volcanic origin. We recommend a swim in the lake afte the day of walking.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Bolsena to Montefiascone

    Walk towards Montefiascone, city of Popes and excellent wine. With a route overlooking the lake, we follow the stretch of the ancient Roman Via Cassia, crossing some roads paved in the original path. The town is a real gem among arches, alleys and artisans, keeps the flavour of yesteryear.  Here you begin your journey in the beautiful Tuscia of Lazio region. Tonight you can taste the legendary Est! Est!! Est!!! Wine which is the perfect accompaniment for light appetizers.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Montefiascone to Viterbo

    Through vineyards and orchards, cypresses and olive trees, you walk towards Viterbo. This hike will take you to Bagnaccio, home of the ancient baths where pilgrims used to stop for a rest in hot waters before reaching Viterbo, laying at the foot of the Cimini Hills. Enjoy an evening in the city centre to explore this mediaeval city.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Viterbo to Vetralla

    This morning, you leave the beautiful Viterbo to continue your journey to Rome. The day is spent between countryside and woods. You are in the Tuscia area and will find along the way remains of the Etruscan civilization that between the 8th and 4th Century BC, populated the area. The day ends in Vetralla, a small mediaeval town.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Vetralla to Capranica

    Vetralla raises above the countryside and the hills around. Leave the mediaeval centre and walk through fields and chestnut trees. You reach the Towers of Orlando, the remains of an old monastery. Your destination Capranica is waiting for you to stroll through its elegant alleys.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Capranica to Monterosi

    Today you embark on the second half of the path to Rome. The walk will take you to Sutri, famous for the Roman amphitheatre and the Etruscan Necropolis you’ll get a chance to visit on your path. A gentle trail will then take you to Monterosi.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Monterosi to Campagnano di Roma

    Today you walk through fields, woods and rivers towards Campagnano di Roma. You pass by some small waterfalls, the Cascate di Monte Gelato, that have been used as a set in many Italian movies. A little further, you reach Campagnano di Roma in the Natural Park of Veio.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 9

    Campagnano to Isola Farnese

    This is the longest day of the trip and it starts with a lovely stroll in the National Park of Veio where you may meet with some wild horses! You then reach Formello and its beautiful city centre. You then follow the Way to Isola Farnese, a secluded and elegant village perched atop a volcanic crag and the last stop before Rome.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Isola Farnese to Rome

    Today you walk the last stretch to Rome. Leave Isola Farnese and follow the Way through the Natural Reserve of Insugherata. You reach Monte Mario and the unforgettable descent towards Rome and finally, St Peter’s square. We recommend starting your walk early in order to arrive into Rome with good time to visit some of the most important monuments of the city; the Pantheon, Colosseum and Trevi fountain are just 3 of many!

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    End Rome

    Your trip ends in Rome after breakfast. If you would like to add extra nights in this fantastic city, please speak to your sales consultant at the time of booking.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info




There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

'La Cucina Romana' (Roman food) is based on an ancient past and you will find on many menus inexpensive cuts of veal and lamb, fresh vegetables and plenty of the local sheeps' cheese; Pecorino Romano. Recommended dishes to try (amongst many!) are bruschetta (a good bread, rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and often tomatoes), porchetta (pork carved from a young, herb stuffed pig), carciofi alla guidia (fried artichokes), fave al guanciale (broad beans, often served with pork), baccala (codfish), pasta e ceci (pasta with chickpeas, a simple, old and delicious recipe!), cacio e pepe (pasta served with pecorino and black pepper; simple but surprisingly delicious), saltimbocca alla romana (veal wrapped in proscuitto and fried). Rabbit and wild boar are also very popular. Finish with a classic Roman dessert; crostata di ricotta (cheesecake). To drink, try Frascati, referred to by Romans as the Golden Wine both for its colour and value, or Cesanese del Piglio which is a full bodied red served with game.


Spring and summer are great times to visit this region, as the weather is warm and generally quite sunny. In a good year the mild weather many continue right up to December, with only occasional cold winds, but in a bad year, heavy rain can start in October. July and August are usually very hot and temperatures tend to stay around 30°C for much of this time.

Is this trip for you?

Average daily walk: 18km (11 miles)

No. of days walking: 9

This is a self-guided tour; you can walk at your own pace (we recommend taking your time and enjoying the sights!)

Terrain & route: The terrain and type of path will vary between manmade paved tracks, tarmac and dirt tracks. All walks take between 4 and 7 hours including lunch stops and require a moderate level of fitness. Please be aware that this area can be very warm, often exceeding 30 degrees in the summer.

Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to walk independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with route notes so that you can walk at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. A representative will be there to meet you and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together.

The route notes contain an emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Call for general departures:
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Hotels and B&B's

5 nights in hotels, 4 nights in B&Bs and 1 night in a farmhouse, all rooms en suite. We use variety of different styles of good hotels with many of them family-run properties.

All prices are based on 2 persons sharing, so if there is an odd number of people travelling in your party or you are travelling alone, there will be a compulsory supplement for a single room for the tour duration. For a solo traveller there is an adttional charge to cover transfer costs.

Additional Accommodation

We can book additional accommodation in Orvieto or Rome (subject to availability). Please notify us at the time of booking and we will provide up-to-date prices.

Call for general departures:
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed June 2019
    Nandita Nelson

    The Road to Rome

    A wonderful point to point stroll through olive and hazelnut groves, old roman roads along an old pilgrimage route that ends in Vatican city

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All those wild flowers in bloom, the fragrant jasmine, the sunshine, Italian food and wine. Hilltop villages and the beautiful crater lake Bolsena--the largest volcanic lake in Europe. And of course the delights of the eternal city.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not applicable, this was self-guided.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes, plenty of sunscreen--long sleeves and hat, sunburn is painful. Also, be aware that EVERYTHING shuts down between 12 and 4 pm, so it is best to SMS your accommodation an hour before your expected arrival. It also seemed to take an age for messages to get through via a UK network. In the villages, very little English is spoken. Make sure you can manage a few words of Italian--very rewarding. We did not really need services like pharmacy or banks, because we had gone prepared, but away from the big towns this could be problematic. If you enter into the spirit of the pilgrimage, it is far more enjoyable. We met loads of "pellegrini" who had journeyed for weeks, often solo, walking every day, a truly inspirational experience! We also bumped into them in Rome, and it was wonderful to exchange stories and to feel we had all managed our personal journeys there.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you like long distance point-to-point walking, good weather and good food, there should be nothing holding you back.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    David Bruce

    Francigena Way

    The walk was a tremendous experience and I would recommend it to anyone interested in seeing the 'green heart of Italy'; the medieval quarters of the hill towns were fascinating. Support from Exodus (pre-departure) and their local agents Mandala (in-country) was excellent. Walking notes were comprehensive and the Way is exceptionally well signposted. All of the hotels/B&B's selected by Exodus had individual characters and this added to the enjoyment and experience. Enthused by walking the lower portion of the Francigena way, we are now considering walking a northern portion from Lausanne to Aosta and hope that Exodus introduce it to their range of itineraries.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The range of flowers and their scents as we walked through quiet countryside.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A as it was self-guided.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A poncho was invaluable for keeping dry during intermittent heavy showers. We did not need the insect repellent that we packed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thankyou to everyone at Exodus and Mandala.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Miles Alexander

    Walking the Francigena Way

    My wife and i, early 60s, still working and reasonably fit, wanted something different from day trips from a villa. Italy, late summer, activity, smaller towns and with Rome as an objective - this seemed to be, and was in fact, an excellent tour. The range of rural walking is varied from wooded sections to open fields. There is some urban walking and a short section along the Autostrada but this does not detract from the overall experience. Apart from the weekends, when we met some local walkers, the greatest number of 'pilgrims' that we encountered on any day was 6. There was plenty of time to enjoy the walk and the hill top towns.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There was no single moment but we lost count of the number of time that we opened a door of some undistinguished church in a small town to reveal a stunning interior. The rock-cut church of the Madonna del Parto, a former mithraeum in Sutri was extraordinary - not to be missed. Each of the towns seemed quite sleepy when we arrived mid-afternoon but being Italian, they came to life in the early evening. They all had architecture of interest and although (or possibly because) this is a less fashionable area of Italy, people were very welcoming and helpful, Getting our Testimoniums from the office just off St Peter's Square on the afternoon we arrived in Rome was extremely satisfying.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Self guided.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Although this is a moderate level walk, it does involve some hills and although we traveled in late September, the temperatures hit the 80s on a couple of days. Taking a litre and a half of water each was essential as there isn't necessarily the opportunity for obtain a drink along the route. along the way. We also bought simple food (bread, cheese, meat, fruit) each day for the next days lunch for the same reason. I would certainly recommend walking shoes or boots.; trainers will simply not be good enough. We took walking poles but these were not really needed and quickly ended up in our luggage. I agree that it is difficult to get lost, but equally, that an English version of the notes rather than what appears to be a translation would ensure best accuracy. If you do get wildly lost, there is a VIa Francigena app which shows where you are in real time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would start each day before 09.00 and arrive at our destination by mid-afternoon allowing time to enjoy the walk without it becoming a route march. The prospect of an ice cold Peroni was very motivating. This allowed time to relax at the hotels before exploring the towns as they awoke in the early evening. Do not obtain your own Credenziale as we did - Exodus provide them in your travel pack. Learn some basis Italian phrases which is not difficult and is only polite. As these are not tourist towns, English is not widely spoken. Notably, the young owners of Enoteca da Ronko in Vetralla lived in England for a while and are happy to chat. If you have time, tag on a few days in Rome at the end of your walk.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Tom Roberts

    Walking the Francigena Way

    A fantastic experience. This was not a difficult walk that basically had one walking from one hilltop town to another. These hilltop towns are just absolutely delightful and so full of history. Having walked the St James Way in Northern Spain, this walk provided a different experience in that the number of walkers is far less and the accommodation points were way more historic and interesting vrs those on the St James Way.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many but rolling them all together it was the history of the hilltop towns that we stayed at every night.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Self guided

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is not a difficult walk and one that can be done without poles and specialized walking boots. A good pair of running/walking shoes is all that needed. Get hungry .The food that is available in your accommodation points is fabulous. All foods of the local areas.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The self guided directions provided in written form for this tour need a serious look at. It would be dufficult to get lost as there are any number of signs providing directions , but in a lot of instances the instructions provided in written form pre the tour did not match the permanent signage on the tour journey. I would suggest that Exodus have one of their England based team do this walk with the instructions provided so they can be altered to a correct format.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    john edwards

    The Francigena Way

    We booked this because we wanted to visit Rome and were curious about walking all the way there. This is a pilgrimage route rather than a full on country walk, so if you like delightful sleepy little Italian towns plus some glorious days of Italian countryside, this is for you!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Orvieto is a great place to start, small, dramatically situated with a mind blowing cathedral, try to give yourself time there. Viterbo was the revelation with a superb medieval quarter. Most of the towns are on hills with wonderful views across the countryside. The final day gets you from fields to the centre of Rome with only a couple of hours of urban walking and the final 'reveal' of Rome from a final hilltop park really gives you that feeling of arrival.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A superb team effort (me and my wife)!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The walking is pretty easy and the Francigena Way very well signed throughout until Rome when street names take over. The walking notes are usually pretty good (one or two obvious errors) and in fact mostly only needed for confirmation since the signage is so good. Do look at the maps at the start of the day. The two times we went mildly wrong are because there are two Francigena routes and we followed signs so went on the 'other' path. They paths reunite anyway so no bother. There were no 'where are we' moments. The way does include a reasonable amount of made roads but is mainly wide unmade roads and paths. I'm a walking boot person but this route is perfect for the shoe wearer so long a you have good soles.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotels are 'simple' but perfectly good and are clearly chosen because they are the best available. The Rome accommodation is also pretty good given its central position - more Airb&b than hotel. We generally set out each day just before 9.00 which gave us enough time to look around and rest at the end of the day. Rome was our goal and it's so endlessly fascinating that we easily filled 3 further days.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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