An easier, more relaxed walk, the tenth section of the Via Francigena visits the Church of San Croce in Mortara, which contains the footprint of Christ. The walk consists mostly of walking along roadsides, over bridges, railways and numerous dirt tracks around fields, through quiet towns.
FREE This trip createstonne(s) of CO2, we offset it for free
Crossing the road from Vercelli to Piacenza you are now clearly in Italy. Mountains will be transformed into hills, and vineyard scents will accompany your journey. You will follow the course of the main river along your route. Listen to the song of the birds mixed with the rushing water and embrace this gorgeous corner of Italy.
Located in Pavia, the Castello Visconteo was built in 1360 after Galeazzo took the city. The castle was the main residence of the Visconti family. To the north of the castle, a wide park is enclosed. It is more like a huge fortress than a home at the front, but the other side is totally different. A huge cloister crowned by Italian windows gives an atmosphere of freedom and peace.
The Castello now houses the Civic Museums of Pavia.
Piacenza is known for its wonderful cathedrals and palazzo such as Piacenza Cathedral. Romanesque architecture is particularly highlighted in this Italian area, so if you are interested in architecture, make sure to spend some extra time here. Between the cathedral and the Palazzo Gotico, the gothic Basilica of Sant’Antonio is certainly worth a visit. It can easily be identified by its colossal arch frames.
Vercelli to Piacenza
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Arrival – Vercelli is flat and well set up for pedestrians, so walking around the city is a delight. In Vercelli, you can rest before the day’s walk to Robbio or do some sight-seeing and sample the culture of the town. If you decide to explore the town, the Cathedral of Vercelli is a great place to start. Inside the Cathedral are wonderful paintings from local artists. The city is also famous for its rice products so we recommend trying out some dishes before leaving for Robbio.
Day 2 18km
Today’s walk is gentle going, through farmland with little incline. You will stroll along dirt tracks moving from Piemont to Lombardy. Lombardy is famous not only for its lakes (Garda, Como and Maggiore) but also its wine and rice production. You will pass by the small village of Palestra. Choose one of the two options heading into Robbio by the famous church of San Pietro.
Day 3 14.9km
Pass by the sports stadium and walk through pleasant farmland and fields. Halfway through, you will cross the Torrente Agogna (river) after which you will pass Madona del Campo and its 12th-century church, Santa Maria de Pertica. Today’s walk is short, giving you the chance to enjoy free time and visit the church of San Croce, containing a footprint of Christ in Mortara.
Day 4 23.2km
Today, you will pass beautiful flowing rivers before walking under the underpass. You will then come across the magnificent Abbazia di San Alcuino which was founded in the 5th century. Charlemagne rebuilt it in 774. You will see supermarkets later in the day to re-stock if needed. After passing through Tromello, you will reach the Santuario Basilica Madonna delle Bozzole, and hear the incredible story of how the sanctuary came to be. Walking through the field tracks after the sanctuary you will see an industrial estate, where Garlasco is found with its very impressive castle, which you can’t miss.
Day 5 25km
The walk today is a little bit longer and a bit more challenging than the previous ones. Garlasco’s main roads pass by its churches and out into the countryside. Canals here bring you to earth tracks, where you can take in the fresh air and observe the beautiful nature around you. Entering Gropello Cairoli, you can visit San Rocco church with its incredible medallion hanging outside the front door. Walk past canals, bridges and then farmhouses. An easy stroll on a field track brings you by a tarmac road near a motorway. After going under the motorway, there are trees for some shade before going under two more bridges. Steps by a covered bridge lead into Pavia – famous for its wine and rice products. The Certosa and the Castello Visconteo are places to see in this tranquil town.
Day 6 16km
Today’s walk is filled with gorgeous churches to brighten up the day. Cross a canal from Pavia, following the road to San Lazzaro church. A small hill nearby leads to a footpath by a nice park and then a small road after San Leonardo brings you to San Giacomo della Cerretta. A church here contains beautiful frescoes of Saint James the Pilgrim. Meandering then down a minor road you will reach Santa Margherita before arriving into Belgioioso. This town is one of the southern suburbs of Milan. Within the town, there is a medieval castle - Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo. This is where Francis I of France was held after the Battle of Pavia.
Day 7 16.7km
Follow a gravel track and cross the bridge over the Fiume Olona towards Corteolona. The track then becomes a paved road as you enter Santa Cristina e Bissone. Following the railway line alongside an embankment, you will arrive at a railway station and your stop for the night, Miradolo Terme. Here you can visit the Baths of Miradolo, a thermal spa and wellness centre, and relax before your final day of walking.
Day 8 34km
Today is the final leg to the last town – Piacenza. It is a long day, so remember to pace yourself. This route is a series of dirt tracks, roadsides, bridges and railways to cross. You can a boat ride across the River Po if you wish. Impressive churches are scattered throughout the day, as well as the magnificent Neomedieval Castello Cusani Visconti in Chignolo Po where you can take a break. Finally, you will arrive in the beautiful and charming town of Piacenza. Once you’ve rested, visit the fantastic Palazzo Comunale (Gotico). Piacenza is famous for its salted pork products, so it’s well worth trying their pancetta, coppa and salami dishes!
After breakfast, we bid you farewell.
If you would like to continue on the Via Francigena, your next sectionstarts here.