From Pont St Martin to Garlasco
The second week of the italian stretch of Via Francigena starts in Pont St Martin, which you can easily reach by train in 2h30 from Milano. This is the itinerary that leads from the Alps to the Pò river plain with a great variety of Landscapes: the Alps behind Ivrea, the hills around Vercelli and the wide plain down belowt. Towns rich in history, alternate with natural pearls like the Viverone lake. Ancient medieval towers, churches and renaissance buildings take you back in times. Don’t forget, the Sanctuary of Madonna della Bozzola, an important pilgrims destination. You wil find at the first hotel all the material you need for your trip: hotel vouchers, the detailed description of the walking and the GPS maps.
Activity Level: Easy / Moderate | Daily Mileage: 4 – 8 mi | Daily Cycling: 2 – 5 hr Duration: 8 Days – 7 Nights
Day 1 – Arrival in Pont St Martin – Height at departure: 345 m
The departure point of the first stage is Pont Saint Martin, little village located on the frontier between Valle d’Aosta and Piedmont. It owes its name to the Roman bridge dating back in the I century B.C. . The second part of the name honors the Saint. In the neighborhood there is also the Strada delle Gallie (Gaul’s’ road), which arrived almost intact nowadays, with its pavement, one column and the arch built in the granite.
Day 2 – Pont St Martin – Ivrea – Height at arrival: 253 m Length: 26.5 km Walking time: 6h.00
Today the itinerary winds among countryside areas, little villages and woods. From the hills located in the north of Ivrea, you will see, in the distance Montalto castle, a huge fortress with high towers dated back to 1300. The stage ends in Ivrea, located on the banks of the river Dora Baltea. In the towns you will find some important remains of the Roman Age and from medieval times, when Ivrea was protected by its walls and divided in “rioni” (quarters).
Day 3 – Ivrea – Viverone – Height at the arrival: 287 m Length:22,8 km Walking time: 5h.00
The first part of the today’s stage take place through open countryside. Interesting, the little village of Bollengo, The second part goes across the hills and offers nice views on the valley and then on the Lake of Viverone, with crystalline water and rich in uncontaminated plant and wild life. Really nice to visit is the nearest village of Viverone, with the interesting Bell Tower.
Day 4 – Viverone – Santhia’ – Height at the arrival: 183 m Length:16.7 Km Walking time:4h10
After a quite walk along the lake of Viverone, you continues through a nice wooded area to cross one of the last hills before the agricultural plain. The fields gets the upper hand little by little while you reach Santhià, first village you meet during the long passage of the Padana plain. Santhià is an agricultural and industrial centre where two branches of the Francigena Way join on: one towards the Gran San Bernardo Pass and the other one towards the Susa Valley.
Day 5 – Santhia’ – Vercelli – Height at the arrival: 130 m Length: 30.5 km Walking time:6h30
This is the first stage completely flat. During spring the wide area of fields around Vercelli became a boundless water expanse, thanks to a complex net of water channels built for rice cultivation. The city of Vercelli is at the junction of two branches of the Francigena Way (Jacob toward Turin and Susa Valley, and Sigeric toward Valle d’Aosta). The medieval Cavour square is entierly surrounded by ancient houses with porch and the renowned Basilica of Saint Andrew isan absolute masterpiece of Romanesque-Gothic of North Italy.
Day 6 – Vercelli – Robbio – Height at the arrival: 120m Length: 22 km Walking time: 4h
Out of Vercelli, after a short walk in the countryside, you walk along the banks of the river Sesia. The itinerary becomes wooded and you cross the border between Piedmont and Lombardy. Nearly Palestro, you will leave the river and shortly you reach Robbio. This town is on the consular street that led to Gallie and had an important role since the ancient times. Today it is an agricultural and industrial centre in the pavese plain.
Day 7 – Robbio – Garlasco – Height at the arrival: 93m Length:16 km+ train Mortara/Garlasco Walking time: 5h
The today’s stage crosses the pavese countryside: farm houses and imposing rural houses are like little dots among the wide cultivated fields. tYou will reach Mortara which is the home of the Salame d’Oca (goose Salami ) and it hosts a historical “palio” dating back to 1400 during which take place the famous ” game of the goose”. From there you can either spend the night if your vacation ends, orcatch a train to Garlasco and spend the night there ready to continue your walk. Garlasco is well know for the Sanctuary of Madonna della Bozzola, 4 km from the town centre.
Day 8 – end our service
After breakfast end of the tour or you can continue towards Pavia if you have booked one more week.
Ivrea red towers
The mountains landscape
Madonna della Bozzola sanctuary
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