Perhaps the most important road, for Italy, during the medieval age
Via FrancigenaÂ was one of the most important, or perhaps the most important, roads in Medieval Italy, since it connected Â the trans-alpine region and Rome. A vast number of pilgrims speaking different languages, from different countries, means and cultures have crossed it in increasing numbers since the XI century, making it an important meeting and cultural exchange point. Its name comes from the fact that it was "generated" by the French and at times also called the â€śroad founded in Franceâ€ť (Strata Francigenarum). You shouldn|"t imagine Via Francigena as the only artery that diagonally crossed medieval Europe from north to south, but as something much less defined and rather more complex. Documented sources reveal that there were many Â«FrancigeneÂ» roads in medieval times and that there weren|"t different routes of the same road, but different routes of equal importance. The big medieval powers didn|"t create big roads
like in the Roman times, nor did the medieval roads offer a steady passage. There were in fact Â«areas of roadÂ» andÂ Â«flow directionsÂ» without any chosen itineraries since everyone (traders and pilgrims) had various options open to them and planned their route each time, using the local Via francigena in the zones they crossed. When you wanted to indicate the destination, rather than the starting point, it was called â€śVia Romeaâ€ť, with reference to the pilgrims direct from Rome, but you can find it indicated in other sourcesÂ in different ways: the "King|"s Road (Via Regia), Â the "count|"s public road" (Via Publica Domini Comitis), the "pilgrim|"s road" (strata pellegrina or pellerina), or even, almost to emphasis its double use, the "public pilgrim|"s and trader|"s road" (strata publica eregrinorum et mercatorum). To learn further details of the Valdostane road itinerary on ViaÂ Francigena you can read the travel notes by the Archbishop of CanterburyÂ Sigerico who in the last decade of the
X century, on his return fromÂ Rome (where he was called to receive his papal investiture), he noted the main stages of his journey (in Valle d|"Aosta he mentions Publey, a district near Montjovet,Â Augusta â€“ Aosta -Â Â andÂ Sce RemeiÂ - Saint-RhĂ©my) or the travel diary by the Icelandic abbot Nikulas of Munkathverache who travelled this road around 1154 on a journey fromÂ Thingor to Rome, stopping inÂ Â«Bjanardz spitaliÂ», that is the GranÂ San Bernardo hospice,Â inÂ Throelaborg (Etroubles), andÂ Augusta (Aosta) and, lastly, in Pont-Saint-Martin which, as the old customs area of the Italic kingdom, was called Kamar, meaning Â«chamberÂ».