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Home The Via dei Romei Bagno di Romagna and the openings to cross into the Apennines

Bagno di Romagna and the openings to cross into the Apennines

Bagno di Romagna - Trail of Chiardovo - Foto by Sereno RossiA hot springs center and resort, Bagno di Romagna is still a pleasing rest stop for today’s modern pilgrims who reach Rome via the E/45. The “Street of Great Communication” that runs alongside it remains true to its original Roman path along the Savio and Tevere Valleys, which the Romei used to reach Rome.


Up until the Middle Ages, Bagno was an important crossroads and rest stop thanks to its geographic location at the junction of roads that crossed over the Apennines between the Romagna and Tuscan plains, just south of the famous “Via Francigena”.  Here two streets met, and already had hospitalia, which broke away from the “Via Emilia” in Forlì and in Cesena.


The first route crossed over the mountains going up the Bidente (or Ronco) Valley: it was an important Roman pilgrimage road, noted in 13th century guides for the Northern European pilgrims ("Annales Stadense auctore Alberto" and "Iter de Londinio in Terram Sanctam") and considered the best for reaching Rome from Bologna.


The other, described in detail in 1371 ("Descriptio Romandiole" by Anglic de Grimoard), instead ran along the Savio River, passing through Mercato, Saraceno and Sarsina.


After reaching what was called at the time the “Balneum Sanctae Mariae”, a little castle protected by walls, the pilgrims found bars, a hostel, the assistance and comfort of the Camaldolese monks and even free access to the four hot springs, whose healing waters offered relief after a long walk.  The ancient parish church of S. Maria in Balneo, first officially noted in documents in 872, once part of a Camalodese monestary, is now the S. Maria Assunta Basilica in the main Ricasoli square.


The church is architecturally reminiscent of Tuscan Renaissance, but still houses parts of its original Romanesque building; worth seeing are a 15th century triptych by Neri di Bicci with the Assumption and saints. Along the main street there is also the 15th century praetorian building which once belonged to the Guidi family.


After having refreshed themselves, the Romei could then face the Apennines with renewed vigor, crossing over them – as recommended in the 13th century guides – using the “Serra Alps Road” to reach Arezzo and then Rome; or taking the easier “Coronaro Pass” which came out right in the Tevere (Tiber) Valley.  

For tourist information:
Local site: Bagno di Romagna

Last modified Feb 02, 2017

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