‘All roads lead to Rome’
During the Middle Ages, when pilgrimages to holy places in Europe reached its height, alongside the popular Camino de Santiago was the Via Francigena, The Way through France.
This route was transcribed in the 10th Century by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sigeric the Serious when he was returning to Canterbury after being ordained a Cardinal by Pope John XV. The Via Francigena is the main pilgrimage route to Rome from France, though its traditional starting point is Canterbury in England. You can learn more about the history of the Via Francigena on our blog.
We at Follow the Camino would recommend this route as an alternative to the Camino de Santiago if you are looking for more of a challenge. As this route is not as busy as the Camino de Santiago it is not as well waymarked nor does it have the frequency of facilities along the route and so will require more planning ahead of your days walking.
Nonetheless, this route is growing in popularity, particularly with pilgrims who have completed the Camino de Santiago and are looking to complete a pilgrimage on foot to Rome, the home of the Vatican as well as the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul. This route has also been recognised by the Council of Europe and designated a Major Cultural Route in 2004.
Our sister company One Foot Abroad has developed manageable sections of this walk from Canterbury to Rome. Along the route, they have sourced the finest local accommodation and you will also have the opportunity to soak up the local culture whilst sampling the various regions culinary delights: Via Francigena.