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THE ROAD TO THE MONASTERIES

Description

Close to Piacenza, parallel to the Pilgrim's Way (Via Francigena), which headed to Tuscany through Cisa pass, there was the less known Via dei Monasteri Regi. It connected Fiorenzuola (haven of an ancient monastic tradition) to Borgotaro towards Bratello pass, until it reached the Pilgrim's Way close to Pontremoli.

The path
The pilgrims that came from  Piacenza stopped in Fiorenzuola, then continued to Castell’Arquato, a Longobard and Medieval castrum.
They reached Lugagnano and Lavernasco (the ancient name for Vernasca), which castle is recorded for the first time in a document from 1015 addressed to the monastery of Tolla. Pilgrims continued to Morfasso, with the abbey of S. Salvatore and S. Gallo di Tolla, of which scattered ruins are still visible today because of the land composition and possibly because the building materials were re-used for other buildings. 
Later on, the path went past Cogno and Gazzo to reach Bardi, a centre under the rich Longobard abbey of San Silvestro di Nonantola, until it connected to the Abbots' Way from Bobbio. 
Down from Bardi along Noveglia valley, the pilgrims reached Gravago, anc ancient monastery of Benedictine monks dedicated to San Michele Arcangelo, of which only few elements remain standing, like the sacristy and the church. Then through Bratello pass, the easiest among those leading to Lunigiana from Parma province, the pilgrims reached Pontremoli and the Pilgrim's Way through Pieve di Vignoia, or the castle of Grondola, which dominated the road to the pass to Tuscany. For the domination of this castle many noble families from Piacenza, Parma and the Malaspina family have fought over the years.

Telephone
Comune di Vernasca tel. +39.0523.895223
Email
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Information Office
Last update
Monday, 13 February 2017
News and information edited by the Tourist Information Office of the Municipalities of Bobbio, Borgonovo V.T., Castell'Arquato, Piacenza and Vigolzone