CITR: 011027-BEB-0013

Territory. Via Francigena

Between Liguria and Toscana.


The Via Francigena was the religious path and merchant from Northern Europe to Rome and then to the Holy land. Its origin is to be traced back to the 6th century AD, when the Lombards, struggling with the Byzantines, imposed their rule to patchy on Italy. From the capital of Pavia, were to be able to reach other lands beyond the Apennines, away from routes controlled by the Byzantines in Romagna and Liguria. The route chosen was the road of Monte Bardone, Mons Longobardorum, which from Fornovo, Berceto and Pontremoli, passed by the current Cisa pass, for the ancient port of Luni, at the mouth of the river Magra and then the Tuscia. The coastal area was too dangerous because of pirate raids and the progressive paludification, despite the presence of the important Via Aurelia; While the area of Lucca, along the ancient Via Cassia approached too close to Byzantine territories of Casentino, Mugello and umbria. With the fall of the Lombards and the rise of the Franks with Charlemagne, the route was extended in the direction of France, taking the current name of Via Francigena and starting to assert itself as the main road to Rome and the holy sites of Christendom, then beaten also by merchants, armies and emperors. The most important surviving document is the diary of Sigeric, who in 990 undertook the journey to Rome to receive the prize that would have consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury. In 79 stages, Sigeric described points of passage and stopping places as far as Rome. When it comes to Via Francigena you should not think of a single road, but in an area where territorial variants were used depending on the types of traffic, of political events and situations of the various climatic zones. In addition to the path indicated by Sigeric, the stages were also shown by the Icelandic Abbot Nikulas from Munkhathvera, in 1154 and Philip Augustus, King of France upon returning from the third crusade in 1191.