Via Francigena, Walks in Lombardy
Via Francigena is one of the most important cultural routes recognised by the Council of Europe. At over 2000km long, the route starts out in England and crosses mainland Europe, passing through France and Switzerland before arriving in Italy.
In Lombardy, Via Francigena stretches for over 120km from Palestro through 20 municipalities in the provinces of Pavia and Lodi, taking in rivers, paddy fields, canals, water meadows, stunning hamlets seemingly frozen in time, castles, villas and old farmsteads.
The Region of Lombardy is part of the European Association of Vie Francigene and actively collaborates with the provinces of Lodi and Pavia, other regions in Italy and Europe and indeed the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism to benefit the areas visited along the route and to improve their tourist/cultural offering.
In 2016, during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy called by Pope Francis, the Region of Lombardy launched the "Year of Lombardy Tourism" to promote the natural beauty and cultural of Via Francigena, as well as celebrating the cultural heritage of Lombardy as a whole. The region is home to some truly unique places which deserve to be discovered by Lombard citizens and admired by tourists from all four corners of the globe.
Via Francigena in Pavia
The Pavia stretch of Via Francigena is composed of three stages for a total of 126km. The first begins in Palestro, passing through Robbio before arriving in Mortara, where Charlemagne defeated King Desiderius' Longobards.
The second starts out from Tromello, visiting the Santuario della Madonna della Bozzola di Garlasco – which even in the year 400 was already a destination for Christian pilgrims – before drawing to a close in the capital of the Longobard kingdom: Pavia.
The final stage – which ends in Lambrinia – is a homage to the province's peasant roots, including many reminders of life in the fields and several nods to figures such as Giuseppe Parini, Ugo Foscolo and Pietro Verri, who were among the illustrious guests to stay at the ancient manor house in Belgioioso.
Via Francigena in Lodi
Via Francigena enters the province of Lodi via the Mariotto bridge in Orio Litta, on the River Lambro. The route continues along the banks of the Lambro before following the River Po, deep in the Lodi countryside.
Pilgrims then arrive at the Transitum Padi in Sigerico, in the municipality of Senna Lodigiana, where pilgrims from Northern Europe used to eat and drink before crossing the river to continue their journey to Rome. Mountain bike lovers can enjoy a circular path created to link Orio Litta and Corte Sant'Andrea, passing through Ospedaletto, Senna Lodigiana and Mirabello on the way.