As I described in my post “I’m finally off again on the Way of Saint Benedict“, this cammino connects places in Italy associated with the life of Saint Benedict. I walked it in June and July of 2022.

The route

The route starts in Norcia, Umbria the birthplace of St. Benedict and heads south through the region of Lazio to the great Abbey of Montecassino that he founded in around 529. It passes through a variety of beautiful landscape types and interesting hill towns.

There is also an opportunity to visit a number of culturally and artistically important sites along the way.

A particular feature of my walk was the large numbers of butterflies. At times I was walking through clouds of them.


The route covers around 300km (190 miles) divided nominally into 16 stages, which of course can be increased or decreased according to individual preferences. It passes through hilly territory, with most stages involving both climbs and descents averaging around 500m or 1,500 feet a day with the largest around 1,000m (3,300 feet)

Some of these climbs and descents are quite steep with a lot of loose rock and require a slow and careful approach. I did have one fall descending and after this I made sure I always used my walking sticks and proceeded slowly where there was loose rock.

Normally this sort of climbing would not give me any problems, but the heat wave conditions that prevailed in the summer of 2022 made it quite challenging. Given my previous experience in Italian walks, I’d suggest May or September as probably the best months to undertake the the Cammino di San Benedetto.

Of course every climb results in spectacular views. which abound on this walk.

With the hot weather a good supply of water is essential. The 2 litres that I carry is normally enough for spring and autumn walking but I needed several top ups through the day on this walk. Luckily, most stages have numerous fountains that supply fresh, pure cold water sourced from springs. These are found not only in town centres but also in rural areas, although you might have to share them with cows!

If you’re walking in hot weather and sweat a lot like me, I’d strongly recommend carrying some electrolyte powder to take twice a day.

Types of surfaces

Whilst a lot of this walk is on dirt roads and bush tracks, a significant proportion is also on asphalt. However, most of the asphalt roads are lightly trafficked and one is actually abandoned and only used by walkers and cyclists.

Sign posting

The whole route is well signposted except for a few sections crossing open fields where it’s impossible to place signage. GPS data is also available from the Cammino site and this is regularly updated.

Accommodation and food

Unlike in Spain and on a few Italian camminos such as the Via Francigena, where communal dormitories in hostels dominate, most of the accommodation on this walk is in B&Bs and hotels. There are some donativo places.

The Cammino site as well as the guide book give a list of suggested places, some of which give a discount to those carrying a credenziale or pilgrim’s passport. There are of course many other places available to choose from, especially in larger towns.

A special experience for me was when I was staying at the Abbey of Casamari in a guest room. I’ve done this a few times before in Spain and joined the monks for vespers. This time, in the massive gothic church with 400 year old carved wooden choir stalls, I tried to sing along with the Cistercian brothers’ Gregorian Chant with the sound of thunder and lightning outside.

The church at Casamari.

As many of the stops are in hill towns, often rooms have spectacular views.

A private bed and breakfast at the time of writing typically cost €25-30 and half pension with the addition of dinner around €45.

Italian breakfasts are normally minimal but this B&B had a wonderful spread,

On the subject of food, you have to go out of your way to eat badly anywhere in Italy and in the relatively non-touristy areas that this walk traverses, prices are also very reasonable.

In Italy, even smaller supermarkets will make up a panino for your lunch. On the outskirts of larger towns and along main roads there are often food stalls with porchetta and other goodies. Of course most bars also have simple food through the day.


When I planned this walk, it appeared that there were many pilgrims on the route at any one time. However, I only met one other at a donativo accommodation. She sensibly was leaving at day break and stopping around midday, thus avoiding walking in the hottest time of the day. I only walked with another person for a part of one day, after a friend of the cammino recognised me from my Facebook posts.

I did meet many people along the route. One day, a car pulled up beside me and an elderly gentleman told me I’d taken a wrong turn and he drove me back to the route, which passes by his home.

Italians love to have a chat although it does help to be able speak Italian. The man below called out to say hello, filled my water bottles and gave me fruit from his garden.

On another day, walking through Isola del Liri, the world’s only town with a waterfall in its centre, someone called out to me in Italian – “Are you the Australian?”. Pino recognised me from my posts on the Italian Facebook page and we walked together for a few hours. He also kindly called the Fire Brigade when my foot got caught in a hole in the ruins of a Roman bridge.

People in small towns always like to have a chat and want to know where you’re from, where you’re going to, although they can usually guess, and anything else you’d like to share with them.

The destination

As with all of these pilgrimages, reaching the destination is an emotional moment. The great abbey of Montecassino was founded by St. Benedict in the 6th century, grew over many centuries to be a site of major cultural importance, was completely destroyed in World War 2 and after rebuilt “as it was, where it was”.

In summary

This is a well developed and cared for route. I think people along the way are pleased to see pilgrims who bring some money into their small communities. They are also very proud of their towns which are very clean and full of flowers and enjoy seeing visitors admiring them.

One indication of the thought that has gone into the Cammino di San Benedetto can be seen on my completed credenziale, with every stamp an attractive one showing the active involvement and interest of many people.

My credenziale.

I would highly recommend this walk if you’re looking for something shorter in Italy and particularly if you have a walking companion, as meeting others is probably not a foregone conclusion. Think carefully about when to do the walk, especially if hotter summers in Europe become the norm.