Sunday, August 30, 2009

Via Francigena: Introduction

In August we travelled part of the Via Francigena, Vincenzo on a bicycle and me in the "support" car. We explored the part of this medieval route between Rome and the province of Siena.

This route was first documented in 990 by Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury. In his diary he described the places he passed through as he returned to Canterbury after receiving the archbishop's pallium from the Pope. The roads that Sigeric followed became known as the Via Francigena (the road to France) or "Via Romea" (the road to Rome) and was for centuries used by merchants, prelates, soldiers and pilgrims traveling back and forth from the north of Europe to Rome, carrying ideas as well as money and produce. These people travelled on foot, or on mules and horses, rarely by cart as the conditions of the road varied continually.
A 14th century fresco of pilgrims in the Sutri cave chapel of the Madonna del Parto.

We found ourselves going on and off the Via Cassia to reach destinations along the Via Francigena. Our journey from Rome to the monastery of Sant' Antimo took six days and was in four segments. The following four postings are reports from the trip. (1: Rome to Sutri, 2: Sutri to Viterbo, 3: Viterbo to Bolsena, and 4: Bolsena to Sant' Antimo)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks like a wonderful trip -- I enjoyed the photos. You look great Mr. L. Vin drove back to Rome rather than ride the bike? Lazy. Ha ha.

Love, Kristine

Bill said...

Larry:

The pictures and narrative are great. They bring back some wonderful memories. My best to Vicenzo! The vision of you in the car and him on the bike is pretty funny. But, I'd be in the same boat as you well know.
Bill

pedals and paws said...

You may or may not know about us, but my partner and I travelled the via Francigena twice and have since produced the LightFoot Guides to the Via Francigena. We are currently preparing our 2010 edition and have decided that we should produce what we call the Companion, which will contain all the information, historical and cultural, we cannot include in our guides - for more information have a look at http://www.pilgrimagepublications.com/COMPANION.htm.
We would also like to add personal accounts like yours, which will bring the experience to life. We make no profit from our guides and so would not be able to offer any payment, but we would of course offer you a complementary copy of the Companion to the Via Francigena, in the reproduction of extracts from your via Francigena blog.

We really hope that you can help.

Best regards

Babette

The longest journey begins with a single step ... Lao Tzu

pedals and paws said...

You may or may not know about us, but my partner and I travelled the via Francigena twice and have since produced the LightFoot Guides to the Via Francigena. We are currently preparing our 2010 edition and have decided that we should produce what we call the Companion, which will contain all the information, historical and cultural, we cannot include in our guides - for more information have a look at http://www.pilgrimagepublications.com/COMPANION.htm.
We would also like to add personal accounts like yours, which will bring the experience to life. We make no profit from our guides and so would not be able to offer any payment, but we would of course offer you a complementary copy of the Companion to the Via Francigena, in the reproduction of extracts from your via Francigena blog.

We really hope that you can help.

Best regards

Babette

The longest journey begins with a single step ... Lao Tzu