Walk the most scenic section of Italy’s Appian Way
The Appian Way: Via Francigena Rome to Formia is a 12-day pilgrimage along a section of the renowned Via Francigena. This first part of the Via Appia is perhaps the most impressive section of the whole route, and certainly the part with the highest density of historical interest. This road for centuries has been the backbone of the Roman road system in southern Italy and the gateway to its colonies in the southern and eastern Mediterranean. While born as a transport road for soldiers, merchants, and everybody else, in medieval times the road was used intensively by pilgrims travelling from Rome, the Holy City, to the Holy Land.
Starting from the Heart of Rome, you’ll be walking through areas where the intriguing history of thousands of years is still alive. Here, more than simply walking a medieval pilgrim’s route, you’ll walk through the heartland of the Roman Empire, with the ancient roads not only still visible in many places, but intensively used as well. This is a pilgrimage you’ll remember for its natural beauty, cultural and spiritual significance, and historical depth.
Highlights of the The Appian Way: Via Francigena Rome to Formia
The Appian Way: Via Francigena Rome to Formia Itinerary
Day 1 Arrival in Rome
Arrival in Rome. Depending on your arrival time, you can go for a short walk in this stunning town.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Rome
Day 2 From Rome to Castel Gandolfo
Today starts with one of the most exciting stretches of what nowadays is known as the Via Francigena del Sud. You will follow the Roman Via Appia, perhaps the most famous road of the Roman Empire, a real walk through history, touching some of the most famous monuments in the world.
You’ll start in the heart of Rome and walk southern towards the Porta San Sebastiano, one of the old Roman town gates. Here you leave the heart of the city and walk onto the Via Appia Antica, plunging into a unique landscape. Proceed to Castel Gandolfo, summer residence of the Popes and the end point of today’s stage.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Castel Gandolfo
Distance: 20-26km, 5-7 hours
Day 3 Castel Gandolfo to Velletri
Leaving the Palace of the Pope and the historic centre of Castel Gandolfo behind, walk with a splendid view of Lake Albano and the surrounding woods. At the Roman Amphitheatre, go down to the right towards the centre of Albano Laziale. After Albano Laziale, enter a dense wooded area that runs along Lake Albano, here and there on the path emerge ancient remains, presumably canalizations in opus reticulatum (diamond-shaped bricks of tuff). Taking another path in the woods, continue in the direction of Nemi, a town that rises on the homonymous lake.
Today’s walk concludes at Velletri.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Velletri
Distance: 20km, 5.5 hours
Day 4 Velletri to Cori
After a relaxed breakfast you will leave Velletri and proceed into the Lepini Mountains. Pass near the lake of Giulianello and cross through the town. Continue towards Colle Illirio to take a picturesque road that goes between farms which will take you to the slopes of the hill where the ancient city of Cori and its beautiful Temple of Hercules rise, today’s destination.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Cori
Distance: 16-20km, 4-5 hours
Day 5 Cori to Sermoneta
Today’s route brings you to one of the most interesting parts of Lazio, on the edge of the Lepini Mountains and the plains. Leave Norma, descending from the hill where the town is located, using an ancient paved path.
Once on the provincial road, you will continue in the direction of the Cistercian Abbey of Valvisciolo, a splendid example of Romanesque-Gothic religious architecture. Continue to an ancient path that climbs up the hill where the beautiful medieval village of Sermoneta stands. Once in town, you will continue along the alleys of the historic centre until you reach the imposing Baronial Castle Caetani with its mighty ramparts.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Sermoneta
Distance: 20km, 5 hours
Day 6 Sermoneta to Sezze (and Optional Loop through Bassiano)
Today is only a short walk, but there is a beautiful long extension option that adds a loop through the historical village of Bassiano. At the exit of the historical centre of Sermoneta, you have the choice to take a dirt road that will lead you through the hills – beautiful landscapes covered with sunflowers with grazing cattle herds around all the way towards the centre of Sezze, overlooking the plain to the mythical headland of the Circeo.
The origins of the town of Sezze have their roots in myths; it is told that it was Hercules who founded the town when he arrived at Sezze after conquering the Lestrigons. The town probably had Latin origins in Volschi territory and then passed under the direct control of Rome. Sezze had numerous battles with the neighbouring towns, especially against Priverno and this was why it was fortified by the Romans. In 382 B.C. the town became a Latin colony. where, having reached the end of the stage, we will be able to visit the Municipal Archaeological Museum.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Sezze
Distance: 11km or 20km, 3 or 6 hours
Day 7 Sezze to Fossanova
Today is a short walk, but there is a lot to see along the road! At the exit of the town of Sezze, you take a dirt road that runs along the mountain slopes, from where you have great views over the landscape of the plains of Latina province up to the Tyrrhenian coast.
Continue for about 3km to the town of Madonna del Colle, from where you continue through Colle Rotondo and Ceriara, following a path that runs along a canal to the town of Priverno. From there, a short downhill section brings you to the beautiful Abbey of Fossanova, visible from far away.
A splendid example of Gothic architecture, the Cistercian abbey of Fossanova has its roots in the 12th century and is worth a prolonged visit (on request it is possible to sleep here). After the visit to the abbey, you continue in the direction of Sonnino.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Sonnino
Distance: 21-25km, 6-7 hours
Day 8 Fossanova to Terracina
After breakfast you’ll start a slow and gradual ascent towards the charming village of Sonnino. After a short visit you’ll continue your walk through enchanting mountain landscapes, forests, and untouched nature. You have two options today: either you can walk directly to Monte San Biagio (shortcut), or you can walk through the enchanting forest to the beautiful seaside town of Terracina. This walk will bring you through the forest to one of the most interesting geological features of the area, the rock outcrops of Campo Soriano. You then continue in southern direction and start descending towards Terracina. You’ll settle in the old town of Terracina, where the main street is still the Via Appia, the ancient Roman road.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Terracina
Distance: 23km, 6 hours
Day 9 Terracina to the Abbey of San Magno
Today you’ll have a relatively short walk, so you have some time to explore the town if you wish. Then you leave the town of Terracina either along the coastal route or slightly more inland. You’ll be walking mostly on the mountain edge, with views on the plain of Fondi with its characteristic lake in the middle. What now is one of the most fertile and productive agricultural areas used to be marshland in medieval times, where buffaloes roamed around (and yes: they still make local buffalo mozzarella!).
You’ll walk through the village of Monte san Biagio and continue to the abbey of San Magno, nestled in the mountain edge just above the city of Fondi (you can also be accommodated directly in Fondi if you prefer).
Overnight Location: Hotel in Fondi
Distance: 22km, 6 hours
Day 10 Roman Fondi to Medieval Itri
After breakfast you start today’s walk with a descent into the city of Fondi. You’ll definitely need some time to look around in its Roman town centre and visit the small museum about the Via Francigena. Your walk then continues through the plain, roughly following the traces of the Via Appia. After a busy section, your route will bring you into the mountains again, and here you’ll be following one of the most beautiful stretches of the Via Appia.
The final destination for today is the medieval town of Itri, dominated by its big castle. You’ll settle in a nice B&B in the town centre and have the time to look around in the old town. The area is known for the good quality of its table olives, so try some with your aperitivo.
Overnight Location: Hotel in Itri
Distance: 20km, 5 hours
Day 11 Itri to the Coast
Today is the last day of this walk, which will bring you from the town of Itri down to the sea. The shortest route will bring you down directly from Itri to Formia, a main hub on the railway line between Naples and Rome, but we recommend you make a detour and visit the town of Gaeta as well. Gaeta is a beautiful medieval town dominated by a grand castle, reached via the nature reserve of Monte Orlando, not only rewarding for its great views over the Mediterranean, but also for its Roman vestiges.
Formia, although it does not look attractive from the outside, has a very interesting centre built on Roman foundations. You’ll have the choice to either stay in Formia or Gaeta for tonight.
Overnight Location: Hotel in either Formia or Gaeta
Distance: 15-25km, 4-7 hours
Day 12 Departure
After an unforgettable trip on the Appian Way, the tour concludes after breakfast.
Overnight Location: None
The Appian Way: Via Francigena Rome to Formia Price and Dates
This self-guided tour in Italy is run as a custom tour for your group and the price depends on the time of year in which you choose to travel. Note that there is a maximum number of travellers that can be accommodated each season, so advance booking is recommended during high seasons (late spring, summer, and early fall).
The best time to travel to Italy for this tour is the spring (May and June) or early fall (September) when you’ll enjoy warm weather and lighter crowds at tourist-heavy sites.
Prices below are per person.
Travel between April 5th and May 31st
- $825 USD
Travel between June 1st and July 19th
- $850 USD
Travel between July 20th and August 24th
- $875 USD
Travel between August 25th and September 12th
- $850 USD
Travel between September 13th and October 31st
- $825 USD
Solo traveller supplement
- $195 USD
Accommodation on the Appian Way: Via Francigena Rome to Formia Tour
This tour is based in hotels. Suitable hotels will be chosen once your tour is confirmed. You will be accommodated in 3-star hotels on average, and you may upgrade to 4- and 5-star hotels if requested.
In some cases, the accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other comparable accommodations.
Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
Rooms are double occupancy. You can pay a supplement of $195 USD to have a private room in a hotel where possible. Solo travellers may be required to pay a supplement.
Hotels on Standard Tour
Hotels along Via Francigena
Suitable hotels will be chosen along the route for each night. Expect to be in family-run establishments with included breakfast.
What’s Included in the Appian Way: Via Francigena Rome to Formia Tour?
11 breakfasts are included.
Accommodations for 11 nights are included.
Transportation during the Tour
Luggage transfer is included. Airport transfers are not included. If you prefer to carry your own luggage, there is a discount of 100 EUR.
- 24-hour telephone assistance
- Pilgrim’s passport
- Extensive route notes
- Visas if required
- Personal gear
- Travel insurance
- Arrival or departure transfers
- Meals not previously mentioned
- Guide services
- Anything not mentioned as included
- Additional nights before or after the tour
- Single occupancy upgrades where available
- Hotel upgrades
Frequently Asked Questions about The Appian Way: Via Francigena Rome to Formia
Genius Loci is a leading tour specialist in walking, cycling, and kayaking tours in Italy. Operating since 1999, they’ve been committed to responsible, quality tourism from the start. With a strong word of mouth following and high client satisfaction, Genius Loci is a reliable choice to adventurers in Italy.Learn More
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