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Canterbury to Rome - Pilgrimage Route

Via Francigena


This ancient pilgrim route dates from the Middle Ages and incorporates a route across central Europe, starting in Canterbury, England before crossing the Channel to traverse France, Switzerland and Italy, ending in Rome.

Echoing the footsteps of Sigeric, the Archbishop of Canterbury who journeyed to Rome in 990AD to receive the Pallium from the Pope, the route provides a stunning variety of scenery across more than 2,000km. The pathway covers English country fields, the Champagne lands of France, the Grand St Bernard Pass of Switzerland, Italian Alps and Lakes before ending in one of the most historic cities in the world. 

Travelled all year round, the route can take around 90 days to walk, with others choosing to cycle for a journey time of around 30 days. While the traditional starting point is Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, walkers can pick up the route at any point. Popular starting places are Besançon in Eastern France, the Swiss lakeside city of Lausanne, the famous Great St Bernard Pass, or Aosta in northern Italy. 

Historically, the pilgrimage route was undertaken in order to visit the Holy See at the Vatican and the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul. From Rome the route can be continued along the Via Appia to the Auplian ports on the south eastern ‘heel’ of Italy, from which Pilgrims would embark on a voyage to the Holy Lands and Jerusalem

If you plan to do the Via Frangicena, make sure to pick up your copy of the Pilgrim's Passport, to collect stamps at key locations to document your route, as well as receive various discounts. Proceeds from purchase of the Pilgrim's Passport go to the EAVF to support the maintenance of the route.

Monasteries along the route:

Santuario di Oropa, Biella - an hours drive from Pont Saint Martin (the start of Leg 6 in Italy), the sanctuary is the biggest and most important sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the Alps so is an excellent day trip.)

Monastero di S. Croce del Corvo, Bocca di Magra - this beautiful 19th century castle is located between Sarzana and Massa, along leg 25 of the Italian section of the route. The castle was purchased by the monks from the adjacent monastery in 1954 and now hosts guests from all walks of life.

Convento dei Frati Minori Capuccini, Fiuggi - located in Lucca, the start of leg 28, this convent was founded in 1529 by the Benedictine Monks, who were later replaced by the Capuchin Friars.

Casa Diocesana, Lucca - this Diocesan House, also located in Lucca, was born as a Renaissance Villa in 1500, and purchased in 1800 by the Diocese of Lucca.

Monastero di San Girolamo, San Gimignano - this monastery is actually within the walls of the incredible Tuscan town of San Gimignano, which is the start of leg 32. The nuns were forced to leave the monastery in 1866 due to the second suppression of the 19th century, however they returned in 1900 and have inhabited the monastery ever since.

Casa Ritiri Santa Regina, Siena - comprised of two buildings, a guesthouse and a villa that is home to the sisters of the convent, this property is in the perfect location for a peaceful night's stay in the amazing city of Siena.

Abbazia di Monte Olivieto Maggiore, Asciano - only a 30 minute drive from Ponte d'Arbia, the start of leg 35, this abbey hosts the artwork of some of the most important Italian artists, such as Luca Signorelli and Giovanni da Verona.

Casa Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore, Rome - just outside of Rome, at the start of the last leg (45) of the route, Casa Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore is situated amidst a large park in the town of La Storta.The house was founded by Mother Agostina Cassi, who founded the congregation after experiencing a miracle.

Monasteries in Rome:

Casa Il Rosario Domus Australia Villa Benedetta Casa Preziosissimo Sangue Casa Madre Speranza Casa San Juan de Ribera Villa Letizia Casa Fabriani Casa Cardinal Guarino Casa Margherita Teresa Casa Valdese Casa Maria Immacolata Casa Per Ferie Margherita Caiani Casa Per Ferie Presentazione San Giuseppe House

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