Florence – On the via Francigena, an ancient pilgrimage route from France to Rome, travelers will find more than over-crowded cobblestone streets and miles of Renaissance art, they’ll find Tuscany as it was meant to be.
In Medieval times, the via Francigena was the only road connecting Canterbury to Rome and was full of travelers and pilgrims exchanging clutures, goods, ideas and experiences along the way. Many towns along the road were created or adapted to best fit the needs of the travelers. One of those towns, Monteriggioni in the providence of Siena, will host the Slow Travel Festival this month, celebrating the pilgrimage as well as other types of slow travel.
Slow travel is an off-shoot of the slow food movement that started in Rome in the 1980s as a protest to a MacDonald’s opening in the city. The slow movements are meant to encourage people to get back to a time where things like food and travel were experienced rather than consumed.
The Slow Travel Festival is aptly positioned along the via Francigena, one of the oldest forms of slow travel. The pilgrimage embodies the ideals of slow travel. It’s about the experience on the road as much as it’s about the destination. Slow travel isn’t seeing as many highlights in as few days as possible or checking things off a mile-long “bucket list.” Slow travel is about immersing yourself in another way of life. It’s about the people you meet on the road. And it’s about experiencing other cultures as they were meant to be experienced.
The Slow Travel Festival, which will be held in Monteriggioni on October 9, will feature events about the culture of slow travel. It will also inaugurate the openings of Abbadia a Isola, a hostel-type accommodation for travelers on the via Francigena, and a free drinking fountain on the road.
Taking the pilgrimage of via Francigena is a chance to see a part of Tuscany that has long been overlooked by other travelers. For more information about the pilgrimage, and other types of slow travel, visit www.slowtravelfest.it.