Monday, 19 January 2015
What is the Via Francigena?
The Via Francigena (VF) is an ancient roadway from England to Rome that has been used by travellers for nearly 1500 years. We know in some detail the stops along the way because in the 10th century bishop Sigeric of Canterbury recorded the route when he travelled to Rome.
The Via was used extensively by pilgrims in the middle ages when pilgrimage was widely-practised; and not surprisingly, parts of it were used also as a conduit for commerce. In our times there has been a renewed interest in pilgrimage and the European Community has been active in researching and re-establishing the ancient ways with a view to encouraging people to engage with their national heritage.
When I first hunted around for information about the Via, several years ago, I could find little; but the position is changing. There are now books, guides, web sites and blogs to help the enquirer. And of course as ever, Wikipedia is a helpful starting point for reearches.