The Way of St. Francis offers a range of lodging options and during our pilgrimage to Assisi in April of this year (2022) we took the opportunity to experience that entire range.
We booked ahead always, typically a day ahead, but in a couple of instances we booked well in advance, such as La Foresta at La Verna and Hotel Alinari in Florence, where we stayed our first night. In 2019 on our walk from Rieti to Assisi, we booked the entire 14 days in advance on booking.com, but found then that we no longer had the flexibility to change our walking plans, which we had wanted to do immediately. This time around we appreciated flexibility, since the challenges of walking this route (both the elevation gains and the remoteness) meant we needed that it.
We liked the range of options that we chose, from hotels to B&Bs to Refugio’s and monasteries. We booked a few through Booking.com, but more often used email or phone to make our reservations. Your host can even call ahead for you for the next night, too. Of all the places we stayed there was only one that we would not recommend, the Istituto Maestre Pie Filippini and that was because we stayed two nights and it was very inconvenient having the nuns let us in; they also spoke no English.
Our average cost per person was about $50 and that often included breakfast and sometimes supper. Some of the remote locations require having both, since there is nowhere else to stay. Some will even pack a lunch for you, if there is nowhere to stop for food during that day’s stage.
We used four resources to book our lodging, and that included the two guidebooks that we had access to. Two lists exist online and I suggest downloading both before you go; see links below to download.
- Sandy Brown created this spreadsheet several years ago. Some of the details may be dated, including costs and availability.
- The Way of St. Francis Association Tuscany has this list (in Italian!) which is very useful, including email addresses and phone numbers. All information is current (Spring 2022).
We preferred to use accommodations that were from these resources, whether we booked them by email, phone or on booking.com. This was because those places offered the best opportunity to connect with the pilgrim community, including hosts.
One thing to note is that along the Way of St. Francis, many of the lodging options are not for pilgrims only and you may be competing with day hikers and tourists. At least three times we found that we had to alter our plans because lodging was full and not with pilgrims. Also be aware that during Italian holidays (such as Easter) these places will be especially full.
Russ Eanes is a writer, walker and cyclist from Harrisonburg, Va. and the author of The Walk of a Lifetime: 500 Miles on The Camino de Santiago.