Via Francigena is a road of 1700 kilometers that crosses the heart of Europe and leads to Rome. England, France, Switzerland, and Italy: a very long and varied route that winds its way through roads in the countryside, mule tracks and paths to be covered on foot or bicycle to enjoy the beauty of these enchanted places.
If going along the Via Francigena is an experience full of beauty and charm, the Piacenza section is one of the most exciting: in this area there is so much to be discovered and the traditional Emilia hospitality is a plus in the journey.
Starting from Lombardia, precisely Orio Litta, through the Sigerico ford to the town of Calendasco in the Piacenza Province 25 kilometers from Orio Litta. The route is the following: Orio Litta Corte Sant’Andrea, Soprarivo, Calendsco, Piacenza. From Orio Litta to the Sigerico ford across the river on a ferry to Soprarivo, where the route follows the riverbank of the Po river for a short stretch and continues along the road to Ponte Trebbia and straight to Piacenza. It is not possible to get water outside of urban centers, so make sure you have enough water with you.
Sights to see along the route
From Orio Litta to Piacenza: 22 km 5 hours walk
Orio Litta is a small town on the left bank of the river Lambro, only a few kilometers from where it flows into the Po river. A real corner of paradise in the middle of Bassa Lodigiana with a reception center for pilgrims. The Via Francigena crosses the Province of Lodi at Ponte di Mariotto on the Lambro river; you must reach the river, walk along the embankment and leave Orio Litta behind.
The Guado of Sigerico
Once the Po river has been reached, you must walk along the embankment for four kilometers until you reach Guado of Sigerico, where you will find taxi boats. The service operates every day from 4PM to 5PM (reservations are required tel. 0523/771607). This Roman “Ad Padum” is located in Soprarivo, where the consular roads to Milan and Pavia crossed the Po river. The Po river can also be crossed on the modern bridge, but pilgrims on foot or bicycles should pass this small, lovely ford by boat taking advantage of this transportation reintroduced since 1998 which covers a distance of 3.5 kilometers.
The Trebbia Bridge, recently reopened after a period of restoration and maintenance, dates to the year 1825. Duchesse Maria Luigia of Austria personally inaugurated the bridge.
The second part of the Via Francigena in the Piacenza territory winds through Piacenza, Pontenure and Fiorenzuola D’Arda for a total of 32 kilometers.
The route is very picturesque: it begins along the Via Emilia; once the Nure stream has been reached, the route continues along the Nure in the woods.
There are several refreshment facilities along the route: bar and water in Pontenure and Chero( depending on the season,) and water at the Paderna Castle.
From Piacenza to Fiorenzuola: 32 km for 7 hours walk
La Via Emilia
Via Emilia is an ancient Roman road commissioned by Consul Marco Emilio Lepido to connect Rimini and Piacenza and continues to Milan precisely at San Giuliano.
The Paderna Castle is a fortress surrounded by perfectly conserved ancient walls and a moat which brings visitors back to ancient times precisely the 9th Century when it was built. The Castel belongs to the Marazzani Family of Rimini since 1453. Worth special mention is the church of Santa Maria which dates to the original “castrum” of the 9th Century. The church has a Greek cross plan and powerful Roman columns.
The Castle can be visited from May 1st to the 25th of September on Saturdays and Sundays. (Closed the entire month of August.) Visiting hours from 10 to 12 . Address: Strada Paderna Montanaro , 10 – 29010 Pontenure (PC) Tel. 0523/511645.
The Nure is a stream that flows for the most part in the Province of Piacenza through breathtaking landscapes which were admired by Maria Luigia D’Austria. The source of the stream is in the Apennines of Liguria, in the Monte Maggiorasca Group, at Fontana Gelata at an altitude of 1479 meters and flows for 75 kilometers along the Nure Valley before meeting the Po river at Roncarolo, a hamlet near Caorso. The part that can be admired along the Via Francigena is the last section which runs along Pontenure, Piacenza, Caselle Landi and Caorso.