What is the Via Francigena?
The Via Francigena is a medieval pilgrimage route stretching over 1200 miles (2000km) from Canterbury, UK to Rome. As one of the three principal pilgrimage destinations (the other two being Santiago de Compostella and Jerusalem), there were many ways to travel to Rome in the medieval period. The Via Francigena, or ‘The French Way’, is just one of these many routes.
What route does it follow?
The route as it is known today is based on the journey of Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, who travelled to Rome in 990AD. On his return journey, he recorded the 79 stops on the route.
How can you experience the Via Francigena today?
In the last 20 years there has been a great revival of the route, inspired by the success of the Camino de Santigo, which is travelled by 300,000 pilgrims each year. Recently, guidebooks have been produced covering the full 1200 miles through the UK, France, Switzerland and Italy, and pilgrims on foot, by bike and on horseback. The Italian section is the most developed, with excellent signage, and pilgrim accommodation is generally available. If you are interested in travelling all or part of the route, please see section ‘The Route’ for more information.
What is ‘Kent on the Via Francigena’?
This website records the journey of one pilgrim, Julia Lewis (née Peters) of Canterbury, Kent, who walked to Rome in 2015. It now continues as an initiative to promote this wonderful long-distance walking route, and to aid pilgrims in planning their journey to Rome. Here you can read about Julia’s 79-day journey on the Via Francigena and you can find useful information such as links to guidebooks, accommodation and estimate of costs.
Please use the contact form if you would like to ask Julia any questions while planning for your own adventure on the Francigena.