Rediscovering Italy’s Pilgrim Route: La Via Francigena del Sud


Fellow reporter and friend Eric Sylvers is on the road again, this time he and three friends are walking the lower half of Italy’s pilgrim route to where the boats once left for Jeruselem, the Via Francigena del Sud, 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Rome to Otranto, Puglia.

While the northern part of the trek — from the Gran San Bernardo Pass in Switzerland to Rome he did in 2007 was fairly well marked, this leg sounds like the epitome of the road less traveled.

His daily blog, with tons of photos and video, about the peregrinations tells of having “celebrity status” in Campania and getting lost:

“Just before Amorosi we had been through a town called Ruviano were we made the acquaintance of Giuseppe, who left nearby Avellino for the United States when he was 19 and lived there for 50 years before coming back to retire to his native Campania four years ago. Colorful Giuseppe kept us occupied for quite awhile and so it was with the slowest of paces that we made our way towards Solopaca, our intended stop for the evening before our push to Benevento tomorrow.

After getting lost in the hills near Solopaca for a good 90 minutes we came to the very disheartening realization that as there was nowhere to sleep in the town and we were going to have to walk further and away from Benevento. Disheartening as that was, we eventually ended up in a small hotel on the edge of a picturesque small lake. The walk, which was under a scorching sun, had us weaving around some hills until we had some proper climbing on the approach to Solopaca.”

Fascinating — though I’m more likely to sign up for the trek when it’s a little less adventurous…

Image courtesy / copyright @ Eric Sylvers