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Romea Germanica Way


Via romea germanica

Towards the end of the 12th century, Alberto was born, who, in 1232, became the Abbot of the Benedictine Monastery Santa Vergine Maria in Stade, at the time an important Hanseatic port city located at the mouth of the Elba river in Germany. In the monastery, which was very influential thanks to its estates, the Abbot Alberto recognized the need for a more rigid ecclesiastic discipline, like the model of the Cistercian rules.


Needing the permission of Pope Gregory IX in order to make this change, Alberto began his journey to Rome, the center of Christianity. The Pope gave him his blessings for the reform, but the monks and archbishop in charge, the archbishop of Brema, refused as they were more interested in a balance of power with the House of Welf than in making an effort to reform the monastery.


Disappointed, Alberto left his job as abbot and entered the monastery of the Frati Minori di San Giovanni (dedicated to the ideal of Franciscan poverty), in the city of Stade. Here he dedicated himself to writing, besides some theology works, the so-called Annales, a chronicle in Latin of the most important ecclesiastic and political happenings at that time. Within this work, there is a dialogue between two monks, Tirri and Firri, who discuss the best ways to take on a pilgrimage to Rome. In the dialogue, written as a story, a common style in the Middle Ages, the Abbot provides various itineraries with precise information on places and the distances between then, on the conditions of the roads and exact indications on the length of each leg in German miles. The original manuscript is housed in the Herzog August Library of Wolfenbuttel, in Germany. The path indicated by the Abbot Alberto as the Melior Via(best way) to reach Rome from Germany corresponds today to the official route of the Via Romea Germanica.


The term "Romei" in the Middle Ages referred to Christian pilgrims traveling to Rome from all over Europe to venerate the tomb of the apostle Peter. The pilgrimage to Rome was, in the Middle Ages, one of the three "peregrinationes maiores" along with the Holy Land and Santiago di Compostela, but it reached its peak starting in 1300, year of the first Christian Jubilee. Among the routes most used were the one that from the Brennero Pass came down through Veneto and into Romagna, then crossing through the Apennines at the Serra Pass towards the Eternal City. The old path between Veneto and Ravenna (today called strada Romea, in antiquity Popilia) was abandoned before the 10th century in favor of alternative, more inland, routes. A certain number of pilgrims found hospitality and comfort in the monasteries located on islands among the brackish waters that characterized the Ferrara coast. Among these the most important was most definitely the Benedictine Abbey of Pomposa. About twenty kilometers south of Pomposa the pilgrims reached Comacchio, a settlement that already existed in the early Middle Ages along a side road of the Via Popilia. An inner road went from the Po towards Ferrara passing through the territory of Argenta, where the suggestive Pieve di San Giorgio was built, the oldest church in the province of Ferrara, founded in the 7th century.


The association Via Romea Germanica issues the Pilgrimage Credentials.




In the Ferrara section, there are some various routes that can be taken by bike:



Ferrara-Ostellato and Pomposa-Comacchio.


In detail


Countries crossed: Germany, Austria, Italy

Regions crossed: Trentino Alto Adige, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio

Legs: the Italian section leaves from the Brennero Pass, goes through Bolzano, down to Trento, runs along the Valsugana, arrives in Padua and then goes down to Rovigo. The trail in Emilia Romagna coming from Polesella (Ro) enters the Ferrara Province in Ro, passing through Ravenna, Forlì, Bagno di Romagna and then crossing the Serra Pass and continuing on to Arezzo. Then, Cortona, Lake Trasimeno, Orvieto, Montefiascone (where it links to the Via Francigena), to reach Rome.

1st leg: Polesella (Ro) – Ferrara 20 km

2nd leg: Ferrara – Traghetto 30 km

3rd leg: Traghetto – Argenta 17 km

4th leg: Argenta – Anita 24 km

5th leg: Anita – Casalborsetti 26 km

6th leg: Casalborsetti – Ravenna 18 km

7th leg: Ravenna – Forli 30 km

8th leg: Forlì – Cusercoli 32 km

9th leg: Cusercoli Santa Sofia 20 km

10th leg: Santa Sofia Bagno di Romagna 25 km

11th leg: Bagno di Romagna Casa Santicchio 18 km


Variation by bike 127.9 km:


1st leg: Ferrara – Ostellato 40.8 km

2nd leg: Ostellato – Pomposa 29.5 km

3rd leg: Pomposa - Mesola 22.2 km

4th leg: Mesola - Goro 19.9 km

5th leg: Goro – Comacchio 32 km

6th leg: Comacchio SantAlberto about 25 km


Length: the entire itinerary Stade (Germany) - Rome (Italy): 97 legs, 2,221 km. In Italy there are 49 legs, 1,046 km. The Emilia Romagna section is 260 km long.


Level of difficulty: low except for the length of some legs; the route does not have any particular technical difficulties.


Discover the route leg by leg






Tourist Information Office Ferrara

Castello Estense Telephone 0532/209370-299303


Tourist Information Office Argenta

Piazza Marconi 1 - Telephone 0532/330276


Tourist Information Office Ravenna

Tel. ++39 0544 35755 - 35404


Tourist Information Office Forlì

Telephone 0543.712435


Tourist Information Office Cesena

Telephone 0547.356327


Tourist Information Office Bagno di Romagna

Telephone: +39 0543-911046

Last modified May 03, 2017

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