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Abbots Way




The Way of the Abbots, also called the "Francigena of the Mountains", starts in Pavia and goes through the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines in the territories of Piacenza, Parma, Massa Carrara and the towns of Bobbio, Coli, Farini, Bardi, Borgotaro, and Pontremoli, going towards Lucca and Rome.

This route, about 195 km long in total and more difficult than the much more well known Via Francigena, winds along trails, mule tracks and carriage roads that cross through valleys, fords and peaks with a total change in altitude of more than 5000 meters. The sections on paved roads are a small part and are located only in the most important towns on this route.


This walk was opened, with the support of the Lombard sovereigns, by the monks of Bobbio, who beginning the 7th century walked along this path during their trips from Pavia to Rome, before the Via Francigena of Monte Bardone (today called Cisa), which was in the hands of the Byzantines who controlled its passage, took on the role that we know so well today. With its being well connected to the monasteries of Gravago, Corte Torresana and San Giovanni in Pontremoli, Bobbio had complete control over the road to Rome through the northern Apennines, from the Penice Pass to the Borgallo Pass; a way used also to transport people and products from the estates of the Monastery in Oltrepò, Val Taro, Val Ceno and Tuscany and up to Bobbio.


The route was used, both coming and going, also by Irish travelers, both ecclesiastics and lay people, who on their pilgrimage to Rome stopped in Bobbio for a visit to the tomb of Saint Columbanus, the great Irish Abbot, founder of the local Abbey and father, with Saint Benedict, of western monasticism.


The Association "Via degli Abati", besides providing information regarding the itinerary, also issues the Pilgrimage Credentials.


In detail


Regions crossed: Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany.

Stops: in Emilia Romagna, coming from Pavia, leaving from Bobbio to reach Pontremoli. From Pontremoli it is possible to continue on to Lucca, or along the Via Francigena, or by taking the Way of the Holy Face. To get to Bobbio, go from Pavia to Colombarone (23 km), from Colombarone to Caminata (20 km) and from Caminata (PC) to Bobbio (25 km).

Keeping in mind places to stay overnight, this itinerary can be broken down as follows:

1st leg: Bobbio - Mareto 22 km

2nd leg: Mareto - Groppallo 16.5 km

3rd leg: Groppallo - Bardi - km 21.2

4th leg: Bardi - Borgotaro - km 33.3

5th leg: Borgotaro - Pontremoli 33.9 km

It is also possible to further divide up this itinerary to make it a little less difficult.

Length: Length: the walk from Bobbio to Pontremoli is 126.9km long; the total length of this itinerary is about 195km.

Level of difficulty: this itinerary does not have particular technical difficulties. The difficulty lies in the length and the incline of the various legs.





Tourist Information Office: IAT Bobbio +39.0523.962815


Hospitality structures:

Bobbio - Ostello Tamburelli tel. 340.54.92.188 -

Coli - Ostello tel. 0523.931010

Bardi - Rectory tel. 0525.72.350

Borgotaro - Rectory in San Pietro tel. 335.71.11.444 - 338.44.89.468


Province of Piacenza

Last modified May 03, 2017

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