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The Via Francigena: walking in the history

The Via Francigena, the medieval artery linking Northern Europe with Italy, was one of the most important historical European routes of religious faith and was traveled by thousands of pilgrims who, driven by great spiritual motivations, set out on their journey to Rome, the center of Christianity.
In those days people used to travel on foot or on the back of a mule or a horse, among a thousand difficulties, dangers, privations, winding roads which were rarely paved, with steep gradients near the passes.
Today the tourist-hiker who travels these paths, can stop in beautiful medieval villages and count on hospitable stage-places, similar to the hospices that at the time gave shelter to travelers after a hard day’s march.

One of the most striking features is the one that leaves behind the majestic cathedral of Berceto in the Parma area, the oldest and most impressive of the diocese dating back to 712 A.C., to go up the Val Baganza to the Cisa pass, key and gateway to the Apennines. The itinerary then descends towards the western Lunigiana and mixes with the aromas of the upper Valle del Magra, going towards castles, walled villages and small lost churches.After the long descent of the Cisa you arrive at Pontremoli, where the Via Francigena contributed to the economic development of the village and where you meet the ancient bridges over the Magra, medieval houses, frescoes and the great castle of Piagnaro that dominates the town.

A little further down is Filattiera, with its ancient Pieve of Santo Stefano, where thanks to the Park Authority , “Porta delle Pievi”, located in front of the Romanesque church, has become the starting and arrival point of all mountains’ bike tours..
From Filattiera, fortified by the Byzantines, we descend to Aulla, home of the Abbey of San Caprasio, one of the most important monastic centers of the upper Valle del Magra.

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