Many if not most people going to Jerusalem and the Holy Land will not walk through Italy, but Via the Danube Valley – and perhaps it is the better route for those not too interested in Rome. We are however taking the route to Rome and then South on the Via Appia and then on the other side of the Adriatic, the Via Egnatia.
I am glad to leave the North East of France, and begin to crossing of Switzerland into Italy. After Pontarlier, the climbs are bigger and harder (the official route, more senseless) and the feel of the Swiss plateau more real.
However, at Pontarlier, Regula appears for the first time, and we cycle over the border into Switzerland and then past St Croix, Lausanne and Martigny. There is a history of Martyrdom and early Christianity in this narrow Swiss Valley which leads to Orsierres and ascent of the St Bernard Pass.
This pass is something which we have deliberately left to winter when the pass is closed and snow bound. There is an account of the crossing here. http://www.pilgrimroads.com/category/via-francigena/