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Via Francigena - From Bourg-Saint-Pierre to Vercelli

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Stage 9
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188.6km
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12 days
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Starting From
€1210
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Bourg-Saint-Pierre to Vercelli Map
Using the famous St Bernard Pass, section nine of the Via Francigena leaves Switzerland and enters Italy. This trek traverses the Aosta Valley, which is well-known for its spectacular scenery, outstanding food, and over twenty wines. The tour ends in Vercelli, which is known as the European Rice Capital.

Highlights

Great Saint Bernard Pass

The third highest pass in Switzerland connects Marigny in Switzerland with Aosta in Italy. It is the most ancient passage through the western Alps, dating back to the Bronze Age.

This area is also where St Bernard dogs were first used in search and rescue operations.

In 1049, St Bernard de Menthon decided to establish the monastery and hospice for helping travelers cross this highest point. In the mid-16-hundreds St Bernard dogs were given to the monk as watchdog and companions. Monks and St Bernard dogs started working together to help find people buried under the snow. Nowadays you can visit the ancient monastery and walk this area with dogs around you.

Aosta Valley

The smallest region in Italy welcomes you into a fantastic mountain setting. Located between France and Switzerland, the Aosta is classified as an autonomous region. The oldest National Park in Italy lies in this region. Ibex, chamois, eagles, and marmots live in this diverse habitat. Among these spectacular alpine scenery, you will see lush vineyards. The Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle or the Torette will give you another perspective of this trip. Then after your walking day, sample a glass of the Genepi Liquor.

Vercelli, the European rice capital

Crisscrossed by rivers, Vercelli is the ideal place for rice production. Indeed rice paddies are the main characteristic of the city. Plains are symmetrically divided and submerged for most of the year, reflecting the sky’s colours. The rice produced in Vercelli is used primarily for risotto recipes. This rice is very well-known across Europe and is more round than Basmati and other long-grain rice.

Bourg St Pierre to Vercelli
Via Francigena
From €1210
Preferred Month & Year
Number of people
Additional Information / Request

Services

Included in this package
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Specially chosen 2-3* hotels or equivalent
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
  • Our Holiday or Pilgrim Pack
  • 24/7 Customer Service
Add-On
  • Premium Accommodation
  • Airport Pick-up
  • Additional Night
  • Dinners
  • Day Tours Available
Not included
  • Flights/trains
  • Insurance
  • Drinks/Lunch

Itinerary

Day 1

BOURG ST PIERRE (Arrival)

Arrive into Bourg-St-Pierre and soak up the welcoming atmosphere of this alpine village.


Day 2
37.6km

BOURG ST PIERRE
to
COL DU GRAN SANDBERNARDO

From Bourg-St-Pierre you will ascend to Barrage de Toules dam which holds back the Lac des Toules. Climbing up and down while continually ascending the mountains, you will arrive at the famous Col Du Gran Saint-Bernard (Great Saint Bernard Pass). At first you will only see the small cross on the skyline before the café at the pass and the hospice come into view. At the Great Saint Bernard Pass, you are 8114 ft above sea level and at just over halfway through the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome. The Hospice was established by Saint-Bernard d’Aoste in 1050 and has been in continuous use for nearly 1000 years, mostly used by pilgrims or those simply wanting to visit the famous pass. Napoleon also used this route to move 40,000 of his troops to enter Italy in 1800.


Day 3
1.9km

COL DU GRAN SANDBERNARDO
to
AOSTA

Going past the lake in Col Du Gran Saint-Bernard, about halfway around, you will cross the border into Italy. From here, you will descend down into Aosta and as you do, warmer weather will greet you. Passing down through alpine villages surrounded by spectacular scenery of green valleys and steep forested mountainsides, you will arrive into Aosta which is located at the centre of the Aosta Valley. Founded at the time of the Romans, this town sits strategically on the major roads leading to France and Switzerland. Rich in historical monuments and buildings, it is easy to spend time here exploring. For food, there are a plethora of restaurants and bars where you can get a hearty meal as well as some local delicacies such as Carbonada, a dish of meat stewed in wine with spices and onions. Be sure to also try the well-known Fontina cheese which hails from the Aosta Valley.


Day 4
15km

AOSTA
to
NUS

Leaving Aosta, you will walk past vineyards, grassy fields, small forests, and hamlets. About halfway through the walk, you will come to Castello de Quart. Then, winding your way along the hillside through forests and on grassy paths you will arrive down into Nus. Look out for the vineyards that produce the Vien de Nus, a red wine. While here, take a stroll up to the Parrocchia Di Sant’Ilario e Saint Barthelemy Catholic Church which has sweeping views over the town of Nus and the valley itself.


Day 5
13.6km

NUS
to
CHATILLON

Continue on the hillside with the Dora Báltea River down below you on the right. Passing by more vineyards, grassy fields and wooded areas you will come to the village of Chambave where you can take a break and grab a snack. Continuing then through similar landscapes, you will make your way to your stop for the night, Châtillon. This large town has many historic buildings to admire, and a must-see is the Parrocchia Di Chatillon with its wonderful views over this hillside town and the surrounding region.


Day 6
20.3km

CHATILLON
to
ISSOGNE

Today you descend further into the Aosta Valley through towns such as Saint-Vincent, a popular summer resort that is known for its mineral springs. You will also see the enchanting village of Montjovet which has traces of human life dating back to the Neolithic times. Ccross the Dora Báltea River to follow it into the town of Issonge. This stopover for the night is known for its castles and wineries so be sure to visit the Issonge Castle and sample some of the locally produced wine.


Day 7
14.8km

ISSOGNE
to
PONT ST MARTIN

Continue to follow the Dora Báltea River as it winds its way through the narrowing valley before crossing back across the river and arriving into the town of Pont St Martin. Cross the Torrens Lys which joins the Dora Báltea and visit the notable Roman Bridge of Pont St Martin that dates back to the 1st Century BC.


Day 8
22km

PONT ST MARTIN
to
IVREA

From Pont St Martin you will continue down the last section of the Asota Valley before crossing over into the Piemonte region. Passing by large grassy fields, wooded hillsides and vines clinging to man-made terraces, you will go through a number of towns where you can stop and take a break and sample some local produce. The final town before your stop for the night, Ivrea, is over the hillside past two lakes. This ancient town has many sights for you to find and explore but it is also known for its Battle of the Oranges which is a central part of the towns carnival in the run-up to Lent.


Day 9
19.9km

IVREA
to
VIVERONE

Enjoy the towns and villages you pass through today and take the ample opportunities to pick up supplies and take a rest at picnic spots along the way. Viverone, where you will stop for the night, is a small town set back just off Lake Viverone and is in the province of Vercelli. Here you can relax by the lakeshore and take in the wonderful view. Try some local cuisine in one of the many restaurants.


Day 10
17km

VIVERONE
to
SANTHIA

From Viverone, leave the lake behind and head into the countryside, passing more vineyards. After the first village you will head slightly uphill and through a small forest before coming into the town of Cavaglià. Here, you can take a break and grab a bite to eat. Continuing on, you will then arrive into the town of Santhià your stop for the night.


Day 11
26.5km

SANTHIA
to
VERCELLI

The walk today is a long walk but the last of this section. Passing by large crop fields, you become aware that you are now leaving behind the mountainous region of the Alps. You are now on the plain of the River Po between Turin and Milan. The final stop on this section is Vercelli, which sits on the River Sesia a tributary of the River Po and is known as the European Rice Capital. Risotto, not surprisingly, is a speciality of the traditional cuisine of this area. With the town having been previously occupied by both the French and Spanish it is not surprising that this has also influenced the popular French and Spanish dishes, such as frogs, beans and polenta. After enjoying a gastronomic feast, be sure to visit the Basilica di Sant’Andrea and Vercelli Cathedral. You also have the opportunity to see the Vercelli Book in the Capitulary Library, which is the first known book to be written in Anglo-Saxon.


Day 12

VERCELLI

Today we bid you arrivederci, or welcome you to the next section of the Via Francigena. 


Bourg-Saint-Pierre to Vercelli Elevation

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