It is hard to believe that more than a month has now passed since my mother and I walked from Lucca to Rome along the last 420km of the via Francigena. Known affectionately as Italy’s Camino, the via Francigena (“the road that comes from France” in Italian) is an ancient pilgrimage route that stretches from Canterbury in England to the Vatican in Rome passing through France and Switzerland. Considered the most important road of Medieval Europe, it was the route of Saxon Kings and archbishops who travelled from England to Rome.
The route of the via Francigena was first recorded in 990 by Sigeric, who was Archbishop of Canterbury at the time. He kept a diary of his return journey from Rome back to England. The rediscovery of Sigeric’s diary by Italian researchers in the 1980’s prompted renewed interest in the via Francigena and, although it is nowhere near as well known or as well travelled as the Way of St James pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, it is becoming increasingly popular – with very good reason! [Read more…]