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The Via Francigena is the common name of one of the most famous and ancient pilgrim route running from France to Rome, though it is usually considered to have its starting point much further away, in the English cathedral city of Canterbury, and its final point in Jerusalem. As such, the route passes through England, France, Switzerland, Italy and the Holy Land. Since the Middle Ages, Rome is, for Christianity, one of the most important pilgrimage destinations, together with Santiago and the Holy Land (the so called “peregrinationes maiores”). Even nowadays, thousands are walking the Francigena way towards Rome and Jerusalem, motivated by their faith but also simply in search of a slow travel experience throughout ancient villages and breathtaking landscapes. And the Francigena Ways in the south join East and West, Christianity and paganism, the Age of Antiquity to the Middle Ages. A transversal journey, through Roman stone-paved roads and ancient sheep-tracks, that leads the piglrims through pagan temples, impressive cathedrals, Christian sanctuaries, gentle hilly panoramas and harsh mountain passes! And we're about to travel together a stretch of it! HISTORY The Via Francigena was first documented by Sigeric, Archibishop of Canterbury, in 990, in his diary describing the places through which he travelled as he returned to Canterbury. The road was built and maintained by the local nobles, because it was not constructed with the idea of connecting places of great importance and distance like the Roman roads, it was a series of local paths and trails of various widths and various materials, which linked mountain passes, bridges, ferry boats and villages. The person had to pay his debts, prepare a will, receive from his local priest his pilgrim costume, ask forgiveness of anyone whom he might have offended and finally to say goodbye to everyone before leaving. The chances of returning were not all that good at the time...but now there's no dangerous at all!!! PROGRAM DAY 1 - Saturday the 16th of March 09.30 : Meeting with the guide at Velletri train station and departure 13.00: stop for lunch brought by the participants (packed lunch) 17.00: arrival at Castel Gandolfo 19.30: Dinner And then...good Night to all! DAY 2 - Sunday the 17th of March 07.30: wake Up!!! 08:00: breakfast and lunch box delivery. 09.00: departure for the second stage of Via Frangigena - Rome dicrection 12.30: stop for packed lunch 17:30: arrival in Rome ROUTE DESCRIPTION Stage 1 - From to Velletri to Castel Gandolfo (20 km) Difference in height: 450 mt Difficulty level: medium (because of the length of the route) The stage Velletri-Castel Gandolfo is the penultimate before the arrival in Rome along what is named the Francigena of the south, the path that connects Rome with Jerusalem. We leave Velletri in the morning, with a stretch of paved road to get out of the village, but do not be discouraged: the Via Francigena is a road, a path, and each stage begins and ends in an inhabited place, where the pilgrims once found refreshment. After a second part slightly uphill, at the top of which we can enjoy a splendid view that sweeps to the sea, we enter a little beaten path, a forest of chestnut trees, and we proceed on a bed of dry leaves and shells to be collected. The wood leads directly on the road to the amazing hamlet of Nemi, where we have lunch break. Then we leave for Castel Gandolfo, along a more open path, where we can see some portions of the ancient road "Roman basolato". Going on this way we could admire the Lake of Albano. We reach the famous and pretty village of Castel Gandolfo in the evening. OVERNIGHT We sleep in a very cozy guesthouse immersed in the green, close to the the village. Stage 2 - From Castel Gandolfo to Colosseo (26 km) Difference in height: 250 mt. Difficulty level: difficult (because of the length of the route) Starting from a lake, entering Rome along the Appia Antica, passing by the Baths of Caracalla, the Circus Maximus, the Colosseum, Piazza Venezia, Castel Sant'Angelo. And then ending in San Pietro! We have no doubts, this is the most beautiful stage of any Way may exist! A long route, more than a half marathon, but the most of it downhill. We leave from Castel Gandolfo in the early morning facing the lake. After a few kilometers we meet the Regina Viarum, the Appia Antica, at the point where a fountain will quench our thirst with delicious sparkling water. For about fifteen kilometers we will have the honor of treading the largest Ancient Roman road with some stretches in original basolato! After crossing the Park of Appia Antica and of Caffarella, we enter the very heart of the eternal city, to end in San Pietro with a 360 degree photo that will immortalize the moment. For those who will be less trained or with little time available, it will be possible to finish first by taking one of the nearby metro stations along the way (Colli Albani, San Giovanni, Circo Massimo, Colosseo ...). HOW TO GET THERE To Go - Take the Train from Roma Termini at 8.28, Velletri direction - Get off at Velletri at 9.33. We wait for you out of the station COSTS: The share of the two days is €105 per person and includes EVERYTHING: - Overnight in Castel Gandolfo, in double rooms or twin rooms, with private bathroom - Saturday night dinner (vegetarian option on request) - Breakfast and packed lunch on Sunday - Complete assistance of a hiking and natural guide for the two days Not included: Packed Lunch on Saturday. EQUIPMENT AND IMPORTANT NOTICE: - the 2 days hiking medium/high level of difficulty, due only to the lenght of the path - if you are VEGETARIAN or you suffer from food ALLERGY/INTOLERANCE, please let us know in advance - trekking shoes are mandatory! - clothing suitable for a long walk (medium low temperature) - your own sandwiches for the lunch of the first day - water and snacks (dried fruit, chocolate, nuts etc) for short breaks during the walk. This will be an extraordinary experience! We will spend two fantastic days together in one of the most beautiful scenario of Italy: the Via Francigena! SAVE THE DATE, EXPLORERS! The spots are limited!!!