Not the Camino

Patrick

New Member
I was doing a little thinking, in preparation for my journey on the Francigena next May, and was considering what was going to be different.

My experience on the Northern Camino (LOVED it) was largely and happily solitary, with delightful but only occasional encounters with other pilgrims. I think I already know to expect that on the Francigena, and I'm content with that.

But...I enjoyed the historical connection between the various Caminos to Santiago, and the development of the roads, as the kingdoms of Spain were regained from Moorish control, as a way to permit pilgrims to make their way. So in 2017, when I was making my way from Hendaye in France, to Hondarribia in Spain, the bridge was named the Pont saint-Jacques / Puente de Santiago, though it is 700 kilometers from Santiago. I'm guessing that the original bridge was built for pilgrims, and then subsequent bridges that replaced it carried the same name. That kind of historical connection and consciousness follows the way all across Spain on the Northern Route. I had noticed something similar on my briefer Portuguese Camino in 2015. There were scallop shells and images of St. James built into the architecture of the churches, bridges and even park monuments all along the way. These reminders kept centering me. I was a part of something ancient and new, something adventurous and nourishing. I might have been alone at the moment, but I was still a part of something much larger than my self, or my present moment.

I'm guessing that may not be the case for the Francigena.

For those who've done the Francigena, if you have a moment, am I right in thinking there is much less consciousness of the Francigena in the minds of the people we meet, and the buildings we see?

If so...I'm guessing I have to plan on carrying the historical sense of pilgrimage to Rome along with me unsupported by all the little architectural grace-notes. Could you also share any thoughts of how to stay in a sense of pilgrimage without the exterior supports?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
For those who've done the Francigena, if you have a moment, am I right in thinking there is much less consciousness of the Francigena in the minds of the people we meet, and the buildings we see?

If so...I'm guessing I have to plan on carrying the historical sense of pilgrimage to Rome along with me unsupported by all the little architectural grace-notes. Could you also share any thoughts of how to stay in a sense of pilgrimage without the exterior supports?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
I would say that there is at the moment there is less consciousness of the Francigena in most of the people you see but that there is much connection with pilgrimage in the buildings you see.

As yet there are not the commercial numbers required to make the VF as well documented architecturally as a route as the CF. The the buildings are there and the scholarship has been done just not in a handy book for the route but spread over many books and pamphlets.

Once you get to Rome there are many Architectural Reference books such as Palladio's Rome, The Einsiedeln Itineries and many others
 

sharon w

New Member
We are currently walking the Via. We started in Lucca and there seem to be quite a few pilgrims at this time of year. So, maybe the spirit of the via will grow with increased numbers. We have met plenty of pilgrims. One night there were 47 of us in one Ostello, so I think it’s popularity is increasing.
 

Pilgrim b

Member
The Tuscany stretch, from Lucca to Siena will fill you with a life time of memories as the land enfolds you, and your mind with gratitude! Do remember this isn't Spain and you are correct "there is much less consciousness of the Francigena in the minds of the people" although the Tuscan tourist board are working on it , plenty of way markers no trouble there , Not so many water stops though, so fill up or top up, your not too likely to find another one soon, unless there happens to be a village bar /shop on your path but don't rely on that! Think on, we walked in early October 2018 and temperatures were 35 to 37 degees C most days beautiful memories but keep hydrated
Buen Camino Patrick
 

Patrick

New Member
The Tuscany stretch, from Lucca to Siena will fill you with a life time of memories as the land enfolds you, and your mind with gratitude! Do remember this isn't Spain and you are correct "there is much less consciousness of the Francigena in the minds of the people" although the Tuscan tourist board are working on it , plenty of way markers no trouble there , Not so many water stops though, so fill up or top up, your not too likely to find another one soon, unless there happens to be a village bar /shop on your path but don't rely on that! Think on, we walked in early October 2018 and temperatures were 35 to 37 degees C most days beautiful memories but keep hydrated
Buen Camino Patrick
I appreciate your advice. I'm glad about the way markers...I'm going to miss the yellow arrows and the scallop shells, but I look forward to the newness of Italy and the Francigena. I'll keep your encouragement to have water in mind when I pack. Thank you for your kindness in responding, and the poetic, enticing description of the "land enfolding." I am eager to be on the road.
 

Avromal

New Member
I would say that there is at the moment there is less consciousness of the Francigena in most of the people you see but that there is much connection with pilgrimage in the buildings you see.

As yet there are not the commercial numbers required to make the VF as well documented architecturally as a route as the CF. The the buildings are there and the scholarship has been done just not in a handy book for the route but spread over many books and pamphlets.

Once you get to Rome there are many Architectural Reference books such as Palladio's Rome, The Einsiedeln Itineries and many others
There is a great little museum in Lucca totally dedicated to pilgrims walking the VF. Running film outlining the history. Interactive exhibits. Was quite nicely done and enjoyed the visit.
 

JabbaPapa

Member
"The" Francigena has a similar network of secondary and alternative routes extending throughout Europe as the Camino, and many place names and churches, bridges, etc are named for the Way to Rome -- including BTW on several routes of the Camino itself !!

The Section of the Catalan Way between Montpellier and Barcelona/Montserrat is called the Cami Romieu, and fundamentally it's structured as the way to Rome, with several routes from Catalonia and the rest of Spain joining at Perpignan Rome-wards just as several routes join at SJPP.

And where you come across, in France, places or things called L'Hospitalet, or des pèlerins, or similar, these names can be from a connection with either the Rome Way or the Camino, or sometimes indeed both at the same time. I myself live right next to the old pilgrim route along the Via Aurelia, and it is simultaneously a secondary route of the Francigena and a part of the Provençal Way to Compostela (so really, there is zero practical difference from my own POV between the two, as right here they are identical -- in fact the waymarkers here point in both directions). The old chapelle Saint Roch up the mountain, the little church of Our Lady of Good Travel, the Saint James and St Roch chapels in Menton do seem perhaps to add up to more reference to the Camino than the Francigena locally, except that Saint Roch is a patron saint of all pilgrims, not just the Santiago ones, and his shrines are found throughout Italy as well along your Way to Rome. And there are many chapels and churches dedicated to St Peter along the various Ways to Rome throughout Europe, indeed the old parish church at Lourdes that was demolished after the town became a major Marian shrine was a church of St Peter, as Lourdes was and is on the Way to Rome from northern Spain, Navarra, and Gascony. Arles itself on the Arles Way to Compostela became so important simply from being a major crossroads of several major pilgrimage Ways to both Santiago (at least three major variants) and Rome (at least two) plus three or four routes from elsewhere into Arles.

Historically and indeed practically, unless you're on one of the most major routes traditionally associated with either Compostela or Rome very specifically, which basically means being either in Spain or in Italy, you'll typically find that most places associated with the pilgrimage in Europe involve both the Camino and the Way to Rome. Because nearly always, that place will either be a crossroads where pilgrims going either way could gather, or the road that you are on actually leads both ways.
 

Mike

New Member
I will be doing the Lucca-Siena section in March with a friend, and on a recent trip to Italy my wife and I walked all around San Gimignano. Even though the VF goes directly through this delightful little town I did not see a single route marker anywhere -- except a billboard with map at one of the city gates. I was a little surprised at this dearth of markings compared to the Camino. Everyone says that the VF route is adequately marked, though, so we shall see.
 

Patrick

New Member
I hope, after you've done your walk, that you post on your experience. It would be helpful to know just how well it has been route-marked through towns and countryside.
 

Pilgrim b

Member
I hope, after you've done your walk, that you post on your experience. It would be helpful to know just how well it has been route-marked through towns and countryside.
Patrick ,
You should have no difficulty from my experience, the Tuscany stretch is well marked throughout. Your main problem is you are not going to find anything like the number of bars etc for food or even water. This is also much the case as you enter Lazio untill you get very close to Rome.
You just have to be more aware of your needs, but the waymarking is fine.
Buen Camino
 

Patrick

New Member
Patrick ,
You should have no difficulty from my experience, the Tuscany stretch is well marked throughout. Your main problem is you are not going to find anything like the number of bars etc for food or even water. This is also much the case as you enter Lazio untill you get very close to Rome.
You just have to be more aware of your needs, but the waymarking is fine.
Buen Camino
Thank you Pilgrim b -- there weren't many bars/restaurants on the Northern camino either, but the late lunches as the main meal of the day in Spain worked out for me as I was able to get myself settled and grab a meal. I don't think Italians have that same late lunch as "main meal" arrangement. So, I will take your advice seriously. But if I missed a meal, here and there, my doctor might finally be happy.
 

JabbaPapa

Member
You should have no difficulty from my experience, the Tuscany stretch is well marked throughout. Your main problem is you are not going to find anything like the number of bars etc for food or even water. This is also much the case as you enter Lazio untill you get very close to Rome.
You just have to be more aware of your needs, but the waymarking is fine.
Buen Camino
If you tend more towards following the villages than following the waymarks, bars, restaurants, sometimes even li'l shops, will be encountered with greater frequency.

Having said that, my own personal experiences are coloured by the fact that they were 20 years ago ; the first third of my Way was through tourist-land so that food etc was never lacking ; and the rest of the way I was doing 30-40 K+ daily, so that given the distances covered, I was a lot more likely than others might be to find some sort of eating along the way.

But there's a fair amount of what they call "agriturismo" in the Italian countryside, and establishments of that nature may be of help to some pilgrims.
 
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