News from Pilgrim Paths and its owner, Sandy Brown, about 2017 pilgrim walks in Italy.
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Plan now to reserve your 2017 Pilgrim Path adventure

At Pilgrim Paths we've carefully chosen five unique itineraries along historic pilgrim trails in beautiful Italy, and we've loaded the adventures with everything necessary to make your walk enjoyable and memorable. Each day includes full baggage service, van service and accompaniment by experienced pilgrim and author, Sandy Brown. Groups are limited to a maximum of ten walkers. Overnights are in 4-star historic hotels where available, with a focus on center-city living and appreciation of Italian cuisine and culture. All this allows you to focus on a relaxing exercise of walking, friendship and discovery. Here are our 2017 itineraries. We invite you to explore and enjoy!

Lucca to Siena, July 1-8, 2017

Pilgrims walk six days and stay seven nights beginning inside the UNESCO-World Heritage walls of historic Lucca and ending in glorious Renaissance Siena. This unforgettable walk takes pilgrims on the Via Francigena through some of the most quaint and best-preserved medieval Italian towns — all surrounded by the spectacular rolling hills of Tuscany. This is the region of focaccia bread and rich red wines and many other gastronomic delicacies. Bring your appetite and camera.

Siena to Rome, July 9-22, 2017

During the twelve days of walking and thirteen overnights on the Via Francigena between spectacular Siena and amazing Rome, pilgrims can climb the heights of the walled cities of Bolsena, Radicofani and Acquapendente or find gastronomic treasures in the narrow streets of Viterbo. The highlight of the walk is the triumphant entry to Rome where you will receive an official Testimonium from the Vatican which honors you for your pilgrimage walk to the See of St. Peter.

Assisi to Rome, July 22 - August 6, 2017

After fourteen days’ walking and fifteen beautiful overnights on the Via di Francesco in Umbria and Lazio pilgrims arrive in the Eternal City of Rome, but along the way you experience some of the most historic and beloved sites of St. Francis of Assisi. Historic St. Francis locales abound among the towns of Assisi, Spello, Foligno, Spoleto, Piediluco, Poggio Bustone and Rieti. Add in beautiful Marmore Falls, the largest man-made waterfall in Europe, and of course the City of Rome and the walk is simply unforgettable.

Florence to Assisi, September 3-19, 2017

After enjoying the capital of the Renaissance we figuratively step back in time to ancient forests and monasteries of the Middle Ages. The beautiful Casentino National Forest is the setting and St Francis’s beloved Santuario della Verna atop serene Mount Penna with its active Franciscan convent is the first goal. Then it's off to other St. Francis sites before culminating at his hometown, beautiful Assisi on the slopes of Mount Subasio.

Assisi to Rome, September 19 - October 5, 2017

The two capitals of pilgrimage in Italy are Assisi, home to St. Francis and St. Clare, and Rome, home to Sts. Peter and Paul and a panoply of others. This itinerary on the Via di Francesco links Assisi and Rome in a green and beautiful walk of sixteen days through Umbria and Lazio and enters busy Rome along a scenic and quiet bicycle trail. Only 3 places remain in this popular itinerary. If you'd like to join the group, please make certain to make your reservation right away.

A pilgrimage walk is the best way to see the real Italy

The first time I was in Italy it was on a bus full of tourists. We were bused to notable sites, ate at large restaurants that can accommodate busloads of tourists like us, and then spent our overnights at corporate-style hotels alongside the freeway, a long way from the quaint streets of the ancient towns we visited.

Years later, first in Spain and then in Italy, I discovered the practice of pilgrimage walking. I'll never again pretend I can see a country from a bus window. The only way to really see a country is to really see it!

In a pilgrimage walk of several days through Italy -- a distance that may only take a couple of hours by bus -- you see real live Italy. You walk through real farms and along the fences of real people's backyards. You eat at small restaurants in tiny hamlets and converse with the owner about local specialties. You rest your head on a pillow at a small hotel in a 500-year old building and in the morning are awakened by the sound of the town's campanile bells ringing out the call to morning prayers. You taste the wine from this valley and dip your local bread in this year's olive oil from that grove of trees on this hillside

It's truly slow travel, and I think it's because of the benefits of s-l-o-w travel that response to our 2017 pilgrimage walks has been so great. Our most popular walk is already 70% booked! There's still plenty of time, but do plan to act soon to reserve your place. Check out full descriptions of our itineraries at  

Upcoming Talks

Sandy will be speaking at Rick Steves Travel Center (130 4th Ave N, Edmonds, WA) on Thursday, January 5, 6:00 p.m., and also at the Edmonds United Methodist Church (828 Caspers St, Edmonds WA) on Sunday, January 15, 11:45 a.m.

What makes Pilgrim Paths special?

It's all in our approach. We take the worry out of pilgrimage walking by giving you the support you need. For instance, our van carries your luggage from one accommodation to the next and picks you and other group members up if you need a rest from the rain, sun or exertion.

We use hotels of historic and scenic interest that put us right into the cultural and architectural milieu of the great towns along the trails. 

If someone wants an extra rest day, that can easily be arranged with our van without any hassle.
We provide all translation services as necessary and can also advise pilgrims about the best flights to arrange in order to save money and time on a pleasant journey to and from Italy. These features open the door to people who might not otherwise try adventurous walks like these.

That’s not all. Each walk is led by experienced pilgrim and author, Sandy Brown, who has walked over 4,500 kilometers on pilgrim trails in Italy and Spain. Sandy has degrees in Medieval History and Theology and has extensive background in Italian, Spanish, French, among other languages. His popular guidebook, The Way of St Francis: From Florence to Assisi and Rome, will go into its second edition next year. Wide experience and a deep understanding of the pilgrim experience make him a valued companion and leader.

To ensure the highest quality possible, the size of each group is limited to 10. This insures careful attention by staff and keeps us in small, beautiful and scenic hotels. Visit our website to learn more.

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