Cycling the Via di Francesco from Florence to La Verna

Cycling the Via di Francesco from Florence to La Verna

Cycling from Florence to La Verna offers stunning scenery, challenging terrain, and a chance to earn the testimonium certificate of accomplishment.

This guide gives an overview of the route from Florence to La Verna, and prepares pilgrims for making this cycling tour.

Key Highlights

  • Ride 114 km through three Tuscan stages along secondary internal roads
  • The cycling route does not use the hiking trails
  • Encounter mostly secondary, panoramic, low-traffic asphalt roads, with occasional busier areas
  • Choose a trekking bike, e-bike, or MTB with heavy tread 29” tires
  • Pack a basic toolkit and personal gear, including a high-visibility vest, rain cape, and sunblock
  • Cycle during milder months of April, May, June, and September to avoid extreme heat and rainfall

Table of Contents

What You Need To Know To Prepare

While primarily designed for hikers, cycling the Via di Francesco can be an incredible experience, offering a unique perspective of the stunning Tuscan countryside.

You will be covering about twice the distance you would if walking, so plan accordingly.

However, one advantage of cycling is that you’ll have more time to explore the various side trips and attractions along the route.

Overview of Tuscan Stages

Cyclists will ride about 114 km through the three Tuscan stages.

The track will take cyclists along secondary internal roads including dirt roads of the Apennines between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna. The hiking path is not convenient nor appropriate for bicycles of any style.

Cycling Stages

The cycling stages visit several of the towns crossed by the hiking stages, including Consuma, Camaldoli, and La Verna.

Stage City to City Distance Elevation
1 Florence – Consuma 35 km +1100 m.
2 Consuma – Camaldoli 39 km +1100 m.
3 Camaldoli – La Verna 40 km +1450 m.

How Many Kilometers Per Day Do You Ride?

While it ultimately depends on how you feel and the weather conditions, a good estimate is to cover around 35-55 km per day.

How Many Kilometers are Required for a Testimonium?

If  you’re hoping to earn the Compostela certificate of accomplishment, you’ll need to complete the final 150 km of the Via di Francesco by bike (or 75 km on foot).

This certificate is only given to those who complete this requirement and can be obtained by collecting stamps and dates on the Credentials.

The Testimonium Viae Francisci is issued by the religious authorities in Assisi and serves as proof of completing the pilgrimage. It’s printed in collaboration with the Region of Umbria and is a unique and special keepsake for those who complete the journey.

Umbrian Stages

To see the route for cycling from La Verna to Assisi and to Rome, see the Umbrian team’s suggested cycling route here.

Route Signs and Maps

When cycling the Via di Francesco, don’t expect the route to be marked with signs or painted tau symbols. Instead, you’ll need to follow a guided route and consult GPX maps. This can seem daunting at first, but with the right resources, it’s easy to stay on track.

GPX files for the Tuscan stages can be obtained from cycling tour operator Valcerfone Outdoor. They can be reached by phone, WhatsApp, or through their website. These maps will provide you with all the information you need to stay on course and enjoy your cycling pilgrimage.

Don’t let the lack of route signs discourage you from embarking on this adventure. With the help of modern technology and the right resources, you can easily navigate the Via di Francesco and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way.

Trail Conditions

The majority of the route (70%) covers asphalt roads, which are mostly secondary, panoramic, and low-traffic. This means that you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the Italian countryside while cycling at a comfortable pace. You’ll only encounter busier areas in rare cases, typically when cycling through cities, where you’ll need to exercise extra caution.

But what about the remaining 30% of the route? This portion of the journey runs on well-trodden dirt roads or small paths, which may require a bit more attention and skill to navigate. But don’t let this discourage you! These roads and paths will take you through some of the most scenic and untouched areas of the Italian landscape, offering an unforgettable adventure for any cycling enthusiast.

Types of Recommended Bicycles

If you’re planning to cycle the Via di Francesco, choosing the right bike is crucial to your comfort and safety on the road.

Trekking Bikes

Trekking bikes are the best option, as they offer a good compromise between smoothness, robustness, and practicality. You’ll also want to pay special attention to your tire choice, opting for sturdy, anti-puncture protection tires with an intermediate tread.


E-bikes can be a good option, especially for less trained travelers who want to cover the route with less effort. However, they may not be suitable for everyone as they can be heavier than normal bikes.

Mountain Bikes

Another alternative to the trekking bike is the MTB, which should be preferably with a lockable fork and not too heavily treaded 29” tires. No matter which type of bike you choose, make sure it’s comfortable and fits you well, as you’ll be spending a lot of time on it.

Essential Equipment for Cycling Via di Francesco

When hitting the road on your bike along the Via di Francesco, your safety and comfort are of utmost importance. Make sure you have the right gear to ensure a smooth ride.

You’ll want to carry:

  • Helmet
  • Comfortable cycling clothes
  • Appropriate shoes
  • High-visibility vest
  • Rain cape or cagoule with reflectors
  • Gloves,
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunblock

Cycling Toolkit

In addition to your personal gear, you’ll want to have a basic toolkit on hand for any occasional mishaps you may encounter during your ride.

Be sure to pack:

  • Patches
  • Spanners
  • Glue
  • Tire sealant
  • Grease
  • Lock and cable

By bringing these essential items, you’ll be prepared for any unexpected bumps on your journey.

Bike Rental

When it comes to cycling the Via di Francesco, finding the right bike rental is key to a successful trip.

Look for rental shops that offer well-maintained bikes, preferably with hybrid or mountain bike options. Some rental shops may even offer e-bikes for an easier ride. Don’t forget to ask about bike accessories like panniers or rear racks for carrying your gear.

We recommend contacting Valcerfone Outdoor for their professional travel accessories and support services. They’ll provide you with everything you need, including GPX tracks, MTB rentals, and even assistance for those who bring their own bikes.

For more information and details on their services, be sure to contact Valcerfone Outdoor at +39 331 9077671 or via WhatsApp.

When’s The Best Time To Cycle?

The milder weather and reduced rainfall make April, May, June, and September the ideal months for cycling.

However, if you plan to cycle in July or August, it’s important to avoid cycling during the hottest hours of the day by setting out early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

It’s worth noting that the months between November and February are not ideal for cycling due to the higher amount of rainfall.

Conclusion: Cycling the Via di Francesco

Cycling the Via di Francesco can be an amazing experience, offering a unique perspective of the beautiful Tuscan countryside.

It is essential to plan accordingly as cyclists will be covering approximately twice the distance they would if walking.

However, cycling also provides the advantage of having more time to explore various side trips and attractions along the route.

If you hope to earn the Compostela certificate of accomplishment, you’ll need to complete the final 150 km of the Via di Francesco by bike, and GPX maps will be essential to staying on track.

Although a significant portion of the route is on asphalt roads, the remaining 30% runs on well-trodden dirt roads or small paths, requiring more attention and skill to navigate.

The best type of bike for the journey is a trekking bike, and it is crucial to bring essential gear and a toolkit for unexpected bumps on the journey.

The recommended time for cycling is during milder weather and reduced rainfall months such as April, May, June, and September.

Buon Camino!