Frequently Asked Questions

Booking Guide: How & When to Book Stays for Via di Francesco

  • When you should book accommodations in Florence, stages 1-2, and stages 3-6.
  • Find out how to get pilgrim discounts on your lodging
  • How to manage your cash when many accommodations don’t take credit card and there’s limited ATMs

As you plan your pilgrimage on the Via di Francesco, one of the most important considerations is your accommodations.

Because pilgrims are on the move to a new stage nearly daily, trekkers run into unique challenges for booking accommodations.

In this guide, you’ll learn when to book, the best ways to book, how to manage your cash on the cash-first trail, and how to ask for a Pilgrim’s discount.

Table of Contents

Should You Book Ahead, or Just Go with the flow?

Whether your a planner or a “go with the flow” kind of pilgrim, this guide has you covered.

Some pilgrims choose to book the entire journey in advance. While this can guarantee you a room, you may miss out on being able to be in the moment. Sometimes you need a rest day, but if you’re tied to a schedule, it could be stressful to keep up. Plus, you could miss out on serendipitous stays and opportunities.

If you’re more of a “see what happens” kind of pilgrim, keep in mind that some stages have very limited accommodations. Because of the warmth of the Italian people, you’re sure to find a solution, and it could be something very surprising.

When to Book Your Accommodations

When it comes to booking accommodations on the Via di Francesco, the timing can depend on:

  • Where you are on the route
  • The specialness of the accommodation
  • Whether you’re hiking in the high or low season
  • Your tolerance for serendipity, also known as your ability to “go with the flow”

Booking Accommodations in Florence

While Florence features a large number of accommodations, there are only a handful that cater to pilgrims. And keep in mind that some of these are outside of the city center.

So if you want to start with a stamp at Santa Croce, you’ll want to secure your stamp the day before you start your journey.

Try to book your accommodations in Florence as soon as possible after booking your flight or arrival date in the city. If you arrive on a weekend, it’s possible that all accommodations will be sold out inside the city center.

When To Book for Stages 1-2 (Pontassieve & Consuma)

When starting your pilgrimage in Florence, we recommend you to book your accommodations for stages 1 and 2 in advance of your journey.

This is because the first 2 stages have limited accommodations which fill up quickly, especially during peak hiking season.

See accommodations for these stages:

If there are no accommodations available in Pontassieve, consider altering your stage 1 by stopping early in Compiobbi or going further to Diacetto.

When To Book for Stages 3-6

For stages 2-6, we recommend you to book your accommodations the day before or the day of your hike for the relevant stage.

See accommodations for these stages:

We also recommend splitting longer stages for a more gentle and enjoyable pace.

On Stage 4, consider stopping early at Rifugio Asqua, about halfway between Stia and Camaldoli.

On Stage 6, consider stopping early at Rifugio Casa Santicchio or in Biforco, so you have an easier walk into La Verna.

When To Book for Stages 7 and Beyond

This guide primarily focuses on the first six stages, but you should know most towns after La Verna feature more accommodations, and so it can be easier to find available sleeping options. Consider booking a day or two ahead for special experiences, such as churches and donativos.

Overall you should be ok to book day of and night before.

When To Book Special Experiences

There are some unique accommodations along the Via di Francesco that require advance booking. These include:

Camaldoli Hermitage, Stage 4

The Camaldoli Hermitage (Sacro Eremo di Camaldoli) is a monastery that offers accommodations to pilgrims. We recommend contacting the hermitage at least 1 month in advance.

Camaldoli Foresteria, Stage 4

The Camaldoli Foresteria (Foresteria del Monestero di Camaldoli) is a guesthouse run by the Camaldolese monks. We recommend you to book at least a week in advance.

La Verna Foresteria, Stage 6

The La Verna Foresteria (Foresteria del Santuario della Verna) is a guesthouse run by the Franciscan friars. We recommend you to book at least a week in advance. It’s possible to book one day in advance in the low season.

How to Book Accommodations

There are several ways to book accommodations on the Via di Francesco.

Online Booking

Many accommodations along the route use booking.com, Airbnb, and their own websites where you can book directly online. Because few accommodations accept credit cards on site, book online when you want to conserve cash. Why is cash important? Because there is limited access to ATMs on the route.

Call by Phone

Most accommodations can be booked by phone, and some accommodations offer discounts for booking directly over the phone.

But what about language barriers? Even though you may not speak Italian, we recommend you to try calling and offer a few phrases to indicate you need a bed.

It’s also possible to ask a fellow pilgrim who speaks Italian or your previous host to call for you to reserve your next stage accommodations.


Many accommodations monitor WhatsApp chats for bookings. You can arrange a cash payment and ask for a pilgrim’s discount with this method. You can also use Google Translate to write in Italian if needed. Check our listings for WhatsApp contacts.


Some accommodations allow you to book via email. Check the listings on the site for the contact info. Keep in mind that there could be a communication delay, and service can be spotty when walking through the forest stages, so your email access may be limited.

How to Pay

There are several ways to pay for accommodations on the Via di Francesco.

Cash is Super Important

Cash is the most common form of payment, especially for smaller accommodations. Many accommodations which offer dinner will require cash payment for meals.

Make sure you are carrying enough cash for each stage.

For a rule of thumb, we recommend keeping about €200 cash on hand. This will be enough to cover you and any extra incidental expenses for 2-3 days – which is about how long you’ll go between access to banks or ATMs.

Credit Card/ Online Booking

Most accommodations will not take credit cards on site. You can use their online booking service to book the room in those cases.

Bank Transfer

Bank transfer – or wire transfer – are common payment methods for smaller accommodations. Consider using Wise.com to save on bank transfer fees.


There are few options for cash withdrawals during the first six stages.

ATMs are available in:

  • Florence
  • Pontassieve (Stage 1)
  • Stia (Stage 3)

The next available bank or ATM for cash withdrawals is in Pieve Santo Stefano (Stage 7).

ATMs are called Bancomats in Italy.

Donations and Offerings

In addition to paying for your accommodations, there are other opportunities to donate and make offerings along the route.


Some hosts, monasteries, and donativos offer donation-based (“free”) overnight stays and food to pilgrims. Such experiences are 100% supported by donations. Guests’ donations support keeping the structure open and clean, supplying food, and support the volunteers.

Donation-based (“free”) stays are invitations for pilgrims to contribute to and support the organization and The Path for future pilgrims. We recommend pilgrims offer $15 or more per person for overnight stays, and $30 or more for overnight stays which include food.

While there are no donativos during the first six stages, there are some between La Verna and Assisi.


Many churches along the route accept offerings to support their upkeep and charitable works. Some churches will offer prayer cards, small arts, or even tau necklaces in exchange for a small offering.

If you are able to stay overnight at a church along the way, consider an offering in range with the donativos.

Pilgrim’s Discount

Some accommodations offer a discount for pilgrims, so be sure to ask if one is available.

The average discount is about 10%. Make sure to let the host know that you are a pilgrim and ask if there is an available discount.

How To Budget

Because accommodations and eaters are more cash-centric, it’s important to budget for your accommodations and meals to manage your cash.

Daily Lodging

The cost of lodging can vary greatly depending on the type of accommodation you choose. Here are some average prices per night:

  • Hostels: €35-€65 per person
  • Hotels: €50-€100 per room
  • Monasteries and convents: €25-€50 per person
  • Agriturismi (farm stays): €60-€120 per room

Check our recommended accommodations to see nightly rates for one person or more.

Meal Costs

Few accommodations make their kitchens available to pilgrims for cooking, and you’ll likely need to use cash for meals at the accommodation, so it’s important to understand how much cash you’ll need to carry for meals. Here are some average prices for meals:


Many accommodations offer breakfast as part of the room rate. Check the listings to see if breakfast is included. If not, you can expect to pay €3-€5 for a coffee and croissant at a café. Keep in mind that breakfasts rarely include eggs or heartier dishes. Italians usually eat only coffee, toast and cakes for breakfast. If you want eggs, ask if they offer an international breakfast.


For lunch, you can expect to pay €7-€12 for a sandwich or salad at a café or trattoria. You can also get a sizable pasta dish or pizza for around the same price.


Dinner is typically the most expensive meal of the day. You can expect to pay €15-€25 for a main course at a trattoria or restaurant. Many accommodations on the first six stages offer in-house meals, prepared by the host. Expect to pay in the range of €15-€25 per person. Wine is typically included with the dinner.

Extra Food

Snacks and extra food can be purchased at markets on most of the stages, but not all. Be sure to budget for items such as fruit, water, and snacks to take with you on the trail.

Average Daily Budget for Pilgrims

Pilgrims should budget €65-€100 per person per day for food and lodging when hiking solo.

It’s possible to walk the Via di Francesco on a lower budget by sharing rooms, camping where allowed, staying at donativos, and eating at family restaurants or the accommodations.


Planning and booking your accommodations along the Via di Francesco is unique to other pilgrimages. It’s possible to both plan every day out, or to go with the flow.

The timing of your booking depends on your location on the route, the type of accommodation, and whether you’re hiking in the high or low season, and your tolerance for “seeing what happens”.

For some good rules of thumb, book early for Florence and the first couple stages. After that, consider booking the day before or that morning for your afternoon destination.

And make sure you carry the necessary amount of cash.

By following these tips for booking accommodations and budgeting for your trip, you can make the most of your pilgrimage on the Via di Francesco. Safe travels!

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