The Via Francigena of the South

The Via Francigena, Franchigena, Francisca or Romea, is part of a bundle of streets, also called romee streets, which from Western Europe, in particular from France, led in Southern Europe to Rome and from there continued to Puglia, where you could embark to reach the Holy Land, destination of pilgrims and crusaders.

The pilgrimage to Rome, visiting the tomb of the apostle Peter, was one of the three peregrinationes maiores in the Middle Ages together with the Holy Land and Santiago de Compostela. For this reason, Italy was continuously traveled by pilgrims from all over Europe. Many stopped in Rome, others continued south to the port of Brindisi and from there they embarked for the Holy Land.

 

The first documents mentioning the existence of the Via Francigena date back to the 9th century and refer to a stretch of road in the town of Chiusi, in the province of Siena: the name Via Francigena is attested for the first time in the Actum Clusio, a parchment dating back to 876 preserved in the Abbey of San Salvatore on Monte Amiata. South of Rome the via Francigena is attested for the first time in Troia, on the via Appia Traiana, in the Privilegium Baiulorum Imperialium of 1024.

 

The presence of these routes and the large amount of people from all over Europe has allowed over time cultures, even very different from each other, to come into contact and create an intertwining of testimonies, signs, memories and languages ​​that have characterized the so-called Christian West.

Even today, the evidence of this passage that has strongly influenced the cities, villages and traditions of the places crossed can still be found in the area. A continuous passage that has given rise to communication between different European cultures, forging the cultural, artistic, economic and political basis of modern Europe.

Francigena was not really a way, but rather a bundle of ways, a system of roads with many alternatives and in the Middle Ages many pilgrims, after reaching Rome, continued on to the Holy Land. Thus the Via Francigena del Sud, via gerosolomitana (towards Jerusalem) or via romea for those who traveled in the opposite direction was forming. Today it is possible to follow the traces of ancient pilgrims, retrace paths rich in history (the ancient Appian Way, the Appian Way, the Casilina, ...) and find yourself living the sense of hospitality of the past.

From Rome to the coasts of Puglia, the Via Francigena del Sud winds its way in 30 stages through unique landscapes enclosed between sky and sea, cobbled paths between hills and mountains, ancient Roman roads in the small villages that dot Italy. From the Apennines to the sea coasts, from the most unspoiled nature to the artistic city streets, right where the first pilgrims passed a thousand years ago.

The path in the stretch that starts from Rome and reaches Terracina, arrives at the temple of Jupiter Anxur crossing the alleys of the ancient city of Terracina, among buildings and historical monuments, between hilly landscapes and coastal landscape. Getting to Terracina along the Via Francigena means being able to admire the beauties of a city suspended between the Roman and medieval periods. Appreciate the beauty of an extremely valuable cultural and artistic heritage and sink into the glorious Roman settlement.

 

The route allows you to admire the Church of Purgatory, an eighteenth-century building characterized by the symbolism of death, the Capitolium, a Roman temple dedicated to the triad Giove, Giunone and Minerva dating back to the 1st century BC, the Emilian Forum, built between the I cent. B.C. and the I century d.C., which was the center of civil and religious activity. The remains of an ancient Roman theater can still be seen in the Forum and a section of the ancient Roman paving on the Via Appia is covered. In the main square rises the structure of the Cathedral dedicated to San Cesareo, built on an ancient marble monument, whose portico columns come from ancient Roman buildings and whose frieze is decorated with scenes from the first crusade.

 

In the splendid setting of the historic center it is possible to immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the citizens and be able to savor the aromas, flavors and delicacies of a culinary tradition handed down from generation to generation. The journey continues through the narrow streets of the city until you reach the panoramic road that climbs Mount Sant’Angelo (or Monte Giove) and leads to the temple of Giove Anxur. From here it is possible to admire the whole Gulf of Terracina, from its white beaches bathed by a crystalline sea to the immense expanses, cultivated, that surround the city territory.