The Via Francigena cultural route


The Via Francigena history

The Romans laid down the road back in the first century AD to connect the imperial lands north of the Alps with Rome. In 990 Sigeric «the Serious», Archbishop of Canterbury, travelled from Rome back to his home in England. He described the stops along the way in a diary. This description forms the basis of the Via Francigena

With the proclamation of holy years from 1300 onwards, the road to Rome developed into an important pilgrimage route. It gradually became less important in the 17th century, but has recently been rediscovered.

In 1994 the Via Francigena was designated a European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe.

The Via Francigena in Switzerland

In Switzerland, the itinerary of Sigeric mentions Yverdon as first stop after Pontarlier in France, Orbe, Lausanne, Vevey, Aigle, St-Maurice, Orsières, Bourg-St-Pierre and the Gd-St-Bernard pass.

The Swiss stage runs through a variety of landscapes and is without doubt also one of the most spectacular pilgrims’ paths in Europe. The route from Sainte-Croix to Vuiteboeuf leads past unique sections of cart tracks then alongside the quiet Venoge to Lac Léman. Stops at Romainmôtier Abbey and the Roman mosaics in Orbe are highly recommended.

From Lausanne, the ViaFrancigena runs through the vineyards of Lavaux to the bend in the Rhone. From the ancient city of Octodurus, it winds through the narrow pass shaped by the wild waters of the Drance to the northern slopes of the Grossen Sankt Bernhard-Pass. In Val d’Entremont, medieval villages line the route, which peaks in the aptly-named Combe des Morts.

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In order to make the route more suited to discovering the country, other locations for stops have been added to enhance the traveller’s route.

Via Francigena Orsières-Bourg-St-Pierre

Via Francigena Bourg-St-Pierre - Grand-Saint-Bernard

The Via Francigena cultural route
1937 Orsières

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