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Need Advice on 18-21-day (ish) walk across part of Italy or France
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jenny g
Need Advice on 18-21-day (ish) walk across part of Italy or France on 05/05/2013 12:29:51 MDT Print View

Looking to do something "out of the box" for me that would push my limits a bit. Started thinking about walking across France from Strasbourg to Normandy Coast, thinking I might be able to do that in 3 weeks (but not sure!).
Then I read about Via Francigena, and thought perhaps I could do the Italian component of that walk (am a big Italophile), from N. Italy to Rome.
I would like to do whatever walk I do sort of village to village, preferably on trails or small backroads, and I read somewhere that someone said Via Francigena is a lot of regular road-walking, which isn't so appealing.
I know nothing about all of the hiking paths in France, so don't know if there would be a path or combination of paths that might suit my needs if I ended up doing that.
I'd rather avoid steep mountainous regions as I'm in shape but I suck at climbing heights.
Any advice/suggestions would be most welcome as I'm going in without a clue and trying to gather as much information as possible.
I'd either do this walk at the very end of August into September or have to wait until early April to do it.
Oh, and also I"ll be going alone so wouldn't be camping but would rather want to stay at inexpensive overnight venues if possible, maybe monasteries, maybe couch-surfing if available.
Anyone have any great ideas?

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Santiago on 05/05/2013 19:03:56 MDT Print View

You don't want to do the Camino de Santiago in Spain? It would meet all of your requirements perfectly...

jenny g
walk across italy/france on 05/05/2013 19:11:06 MDT Print View

I don't know a ton about it but didn't want to do one that is super highly traveled.
I just read I can bike the Via Francigena, wondering if that makes more sense (though bikini in the alps might be a bit ambitious)

jenny g
Santiago on 05/05/2013 19:32:36 MDT Print View

Was just researching it--sounds interesting. Never been to spain. Sounds like it might be too long though--most of the people who wrote about it said they were gone a good deal longer. Though perhaps can truncate it. thanks for the suggestion!

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Re: walk across italy/france on 05/05/2013 19:39:12 MDT Print View

Google the GR-10. A member on here section hiked it with his toddler and wife. Looks gorgeous and is now on my bucket list.


Edited by IDBLOOM on 05/05/2013 19:41:38 MDT.

jenny g
GR-10 on 05/05/2013 19:44:13 MDT Print View

thank you--will check it out now (what a cute baby in that picture!)

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Italian option on 05/06/2013 09:37:12 MDT Print View

You might consider the Alta Via 1 or 2 in the Dolomites region of Italy. It's entirely on marked trails with accommodation in mountain 'huts' being the norm, so no shelter or food to carry. Altho' it's thru' the mountains I don't remember the trail being steep - my wife came with me. Spectacular scenery and easily done in 14 days. I think there is a Cicerone guide. Oh, the huts may not be open in April, not sure.

jenny g
Italian option on 05/06/2013 14:00:59 MDT Print View

thanks for that!

Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Re: Italian option on 05/06/2013 15:02:25 MDT Print View

I did the Alta Via 1 in 2011, and it was one of the most beautiful treks I've been on. Though you're surrounded by steep, rugged peaks, the actual walking isn't overly strenuous (unless you decide to climb some of those steep, rugged peaks for fun). However, it will probably take much less time than your 18-21 day target.

If you decide to do the AV1, I should still have helpful links, notes, and my itinerary on file, and I'd be happy to do my best to answer any questions. Please feel free to PM me for my email address.


Edited by cowexnihilo on 05/06/2013 15:23:12 MDT.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
GEA on 05/06/2013 15:16:57 MDT Print View

This one is on my "bucket" list:

At 375 k, about right time frame for you if done at a steady pace.

The Appenines are little known outside of Italy. Not as tall as the Alps and definitely less crowded, but also looks beautiful.

I've only been to the Appenines once when I visited my grandfather's cousins a few years back, but definitely thought these mountains were beautiful.

If the trail goes through villages like I visited, a good chunk of the people do not speak English. Got to practice my bad Italian...and eat rather well. :)

Edited by PaulMags on 05/06/2013 15:18:48 MDT.

jenny g
Apennines on 05/06/2013 15:29:41 MDT Print View

Yes I've heard of them, nice that they're not as high as the Alps...I'll check that out. Prob have enough Italian to scrape by, but barely...thank you!

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Italian on 05/06/2013 16:40:33 MDT Print View

My Italian is not very good either: Two years in high. A year in college. and a smattering of a Neapolitan dialect.

Younger Italians, esp in urban areas, spoke English. The rural areas and/or older people, not so much.

A surprising amount of Italians thought I was Spanish (Probably due to a combo of my bad accent, Mediterranean looks, conservative dress of long sleeves and long pants and where I went off the beaten path at times).

Some American tourists in the Roman Forum complimented me on my English. :)

Until I spoke my bad Italian, the locals, again esp when off the tourist path, just assumed I was Italian and spoke Italian to me in train stations ,restaurants, grocery stores and so on. I remember one gentleman going "Americano? No! ". When I said my last name he smiled and said something along the lines of "Ah! Naturalmente!"

In any case, I wouldn't be afraid of not being able to speak Italian fluently. Even a little bit goes a long way, perhaps I have some ancestral bias, but I thought the Italians were beyond friendly and helpful.

If you can't tell, I'm envious. If you decided to do the GEA, should be a nice mix of beautiful mountains, warm people, wonderful culture and great food. Did I mention the food??? :)

EDIT: I went to the Appenines south of Rome. Northern Italy is a different culture..but I suspect the mountain cultures have more similarities than differences! :)

Edited by PaulMags on 05/06/2013 16:56:44 MDT.

jenny g
Apennines on 05/06/2013 18:30:57 MDT Print View

I'm also contemplating biking the Via Francigena--I *think* it's doable in 3 weeks though biking the Swiss part in the Alps sounds a bit hellacious uphill...
But it would be cool to get the cultures of several countries and end up in Italy, my favorite country...
though reading about the Spanish pilgrimage route, it sounds fun, convivial, so maybe going alone that would be a good one to do as I'd meet a lot of people...
decisions decisions...

Michael Schwartz
(greenwalk) - MLife

Locale: PA & Ireland
Need Advice on 18-21-day (ish) walk across part of Italy or France on 05/13/2013 03:32:33 MDT Print View

It's been mentioned in a post above, but I'd recommend having a good look at the Cicerone Press website, which offers plenty of info. Many good ideas to be gleaned...Too many good choices.