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Cycling the Via Francigena experience the beauty of Italy

Cycling the Via Francigena experience the beauty of Italy

You have heard of the Camino, try the Via Francigena Italy

Via Francigena (fran-CHEEDG-ena), loosely meaning the road through France, is a lesser known and longer Camino de Santiago. Since the 8th century, pilgrims have travelled its 1900 kilometres from Canterbury to the Eternal City at the risk of shipwreck and pirates, wild animal and bandit attacks, sickness and starvation. Those days it really was all about the destination. 

target gives purpose to a bike ride, and the news that the pilgrimage route to Rome has been resurrected as a cycling trail is an invitation to saddle up.

Completed in 2016 after a 10-year campaign of marking and mapping, the Via Francigena is the longest signposted cycle route in Italy: 620 miles from the Great St Bernard Pass to St Peter’s. Independent cyclists can download the maps and look out for the blue and white flashes by the wayside. 

Never one road but various routes between significant centres and safe havens, the Via Francigena eventually disappeared. In 2009 the Italian government launched a project to recover its section and also developed the CicloVia Francigena from the Swiss-Italian border to Rome. Hikers and cyclists, whose paths often merge, are encouraged to travel one way. 
Never one road but various routes between significant centres and safe havens, the Via Francigena eventually disappeared. In 2009 the Italian government launched a project to recover its section and also developed the CicloVia Francigena from the Swiss-Italian border to Rome. Hikers and cyclists, whose paths often merge, are encouraged to travel one way.

The route is more than 1,000 years old, first charted in 990 by Archbishop Sigeric, who travelled to Rome to receive his cloak of office and kept a diary of the 79-stage return journey to Canterbury. Our trip follows Sigeric’s first 19 stages in reverse, starting from the walled town of San Gimignano; or, to be exact, from Fattorie Santo Pietro, a vineyard agriturismo estate below San Gimignano, reached by a long, steep and bumpy dirt track.  Mountain biking skills come in handy for the long descent into the valley.

The CicloVia Francigena is marked with blue and white stickers every few hundred metres.

Blogs on the trip

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/italy/articles/italy-cycling-the-via-francigena/

http://www.traveller.com.au/cycling-the-via-francigena–a-modern-pilgrims-journey-through-tuscany-h0cazs