The Via Francigena (the French Way) is a long-distance walk pilgrimage from Canterbury to Rome. It is said the route was created during the fighting between the Lombards and the Byzantines as both wanted more territory in Italy. The Lombards made the Via de Monte Bardone route to avoid the Byzantine areas that would connect the Kingdom of Pavia with southern cities. When the Franks conquered the Lombards, the route was renamed Via Francigena (French Way). During the first millennium, Santiago de Compostela, Rome, and Jerusalem became the Holy places of Christianity and Via Francigena turned into a central hub for the Christian faith. Many pilgrims taking this route would reach Rome and then continue on to Jerusalem – The Holy Land. There are several different routes to take to Rome, for example, there are routes coming from Germany and Austria, as well as Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.
This route begins in Vercelli and ends in Piacenza. The walk will consist primarily of walking along roadsides, over bridges, railways, and numerous dirt tracks around fields, as well as through quiet towns. It is challenging, a reasonable level of fitness is needed. But it is certainly doable, with the majority of the walk being flat with intermittent slight hills and inclines. There are many rivers along the way, where you have the option to either cross by boat or walk around through another town. All along the journey, there are plenty of magnificent sights to see such as churches, cathedrals and castles. This walk is very rewarding, as the countryside and towns provide a refreshing euphoria throughout the route and at the end.