La Via Francigena

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The name of “Acqua pendente” can be found mentioned in the itinerary of the journey which the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sigerico made in 994 when returning from Rome to his bishop’s throne: a list of the places he stopped off in, containing eighty names which certify the most important road of the Middle Ages, 2500 kilometres (1500 miles) long. The route described by the Archbishop, amongst other places, touches on Acquapendente, Bolsena and Siena, until reaching France and then England. The long and, until that moment, new road journey was given the name “Romea” road, that is, the road travelled by the many pilgrims who went to Rome to the tomb of Saint Peter. It was also called “Francigena” or “Francesca”, as confirmation of its particular function as a connection with the vital regions of free (franco) rule. In fact, with the passing of time, the “Francigena” progressively took on greater importance in that it also became an artery of commerce, a road used by important travellers and vehicles of cultural exchange. Acquapendente, like all the cities and towns situated along this artery, owes much of its growth to the passage of the road which helped to increase the demand for local craftsmen and to spread Romanesque art with elements of style which were also of northern origin, present, amongst others, in the Crypt of the Saint Sepulchre. Today, this road is still a “living road”, considered the most beautiful tourist itinerary in Italy; in fact, there are many projects for the creation of routes for bicycling and horse-riding, including new locations for accommodation. All this, to allow the traveller of today to experience the feelings which, over the centuries, many illustrious wayfarers committed to writing in their autobiographies and in the diaries of their travels.