The Via Francigena is a network of roads and paths which since the most ancient times has been followed by pilgrims travelling from Canterbury to Rome. From the start of the second millennium, Europe was crossed my a multitude of souls “in search of the Lost Heavenly Homeland”.

The route attests to the importance of pilgrimage in medieval times: it had to be done prevalently on foot (for penitential reasons), with an itinerary of 20/25 km a day, and it carried a fundamentally devotional aspect: the pilgrimage to the Holy Sites of the Christian religion. The major poles of attraction for this wandering humanity were above all Rome, the place of the martyrdom of St Peter and Paul; Santiago of Compostela, where the apostle James chose to rest in peace, and of course Jerusalem in the Holy Land. The pilgrim didn’t journey on his own but within a group, and carried the insignia of the pilgrimage (the shell for Santiago of Compostela, the cross for Jerusalem, the key for St Peter’s in Rome). It must be remembered that these pilgrim’s routes were also crucial for commerce and for moving armies in times of war.

The Via Francigena, coming from French territory (hence its name), is today officially identified with the route from Canterbury to Rome documented by bishop Sigerico in the year 990.

The Tuscan section, 394 km long, starts at the Cisa pass and enters Latium at Ponte a Rigo, crossing territories of particular beauty as well as important towns, some of which have come into being thanks to this route.


via Francigena