Following the Via Francigena

Formerly called the ‘Via Francesca’ or ‘Via Romea’, this is a route that starts in Canterbury, England, and goes through Rome, arriving in Jerusalem. Crossing the Monti Dauni, it has brought reverberations of European culture here. Already in the 13th century there are testimonies to a path that united shrines and monasteries of the Tavoliere with the Gargano. Coming from northern Europe, they crossed the Monti Dauni to reach the Sanctuary of San Nicola in Bari and from there arrived in Brindisi where they embarked for the East. Not all pilgrims, however, always used the same roads as they often invented their own itineraries so as to be ‘creative’. The ‘Via Francigena’ therefore refers to a set of paths which were often parallel and intersecting. The areas that saw multitudes of pilgrims throughout their history are those of Faeto, Celle di San Vito, Castelluccio Valmaggiore, Orsara di Puglia and Troia. There is, however, an official path recognised by the Region of Puglia and the European Council that walkers can follow.

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