The Council of Europe Trail
The Via Francigena, also called Via Romea, is the road and footpath network which began in Canterbury in the Middle Ages, crossed France and continued to Rome, the centre of Christendom.
The Council of Europe trail
The Via Francigena, also called Via Romea, is the road and footpath network which began in Canterbury in the Middle Ages, crossed France and continued to Rome, the centre of Christendom. Other roads then continued from Rome to the Gargano peninsula and the Holy Land ports. The Via Francigena was the meeting point and communications and cultural exchange channel for centuries, anticipating the European Union by a thousand years, especially by raising awareness of its history and art. The first travel diary along the Via Francigena that we know of is that left us by Archbishop of Canterbury Sigeric (950-994) who set off for Rome in 990 to receive the pallium from Pope John XV as the symbol of his ecclesiastical role. Sigeric kept detailed notes on the 79 stages of his journey from Rome to Canterbury: 1600 kilometres covered in 79 days. Three of this historic archbishop's stopping off points were in Pavia territory: Tromello (Tremel), Pavia (Pamphica) and Santa Cristina e Bissone (Sce Cristine), the 40th, 41st and 42nd respectively of the 79 stages of Sigeric's European journey. The first stage was around 42 kilometres long and began in Vercelli in Piedmont passing through Pavia area Palestro to Tromello, the second 32 kilometre stage from Tromello to Pavia and the last 52 kilometres from Pavia to Santa Cristina e Bissone. The Via Francigena then continues through the Pavia area to Lambrinia in Chignolo Po to the ford in the river Po in Lodi territory. For Pavia province the Via Francigena, declared 'Major European Cultural Route' by the Council of Europe in 2004, is naturally a reference point in the promotion and architectural and environmental renewal of its art and culture heritage and thus a resource to share and put at the disposal of pilgrims, tourists and citizens to showcase the most beautiful things - churches, monuments, university, rivers and forests - which the area has to offer.