Tracks of Ancient Pilgrims

07 September 2010 Published in Le Marche Itineraries
Arriving on foot at dusk at the Santuario della Santa Casa, Loreto Arriving on foot at dusk at the Santuario della Santa Casa, Loreto image © Copyright Delicious Italy

Following in the footsteps of pilgrims and other medieval travellers has grown in popularity in the last decade, not just as a holiday idea but also to experience the actual tracks for spiritual reasons and to rediscover an more human pace of life.

The Via Francigena has seen a massive tourist investment across many regions of Italy, but here are three routes from Loreto which will help you discover many other places of religious faith in Le Marche. They are 'La Via Romea', 'La Via Salaria' and 'La Via Lauretana'.

It is important to remember that a pilgrim could travel about 50km per day before needing to rest and refuel. Plan your own trip accordingly and stop off along the way as much as possible to visit smaller historical locations and relics.

Via Romea

The first was the path taken by the pilgrims from Rome to the Adriatic coast. It passes Fano before rising into the Metauro Valley and the localities of Monte Giove, Cartoceto and Fossombrone. It then carries on past Gola del Furlo, Acqualagna and Cagli. Sassoferrato, Fabriano, Jesi, Ancona then Loreto.

Via Lauretana

The Via Lauretana became popular in the second half of the 1400's after the construction of the Basilica della Santa Casa in Loreto. It follows the path of the Chienti Valley with the Passo del Cornello at Serravalle its most western point in Le Marche.

Via Salaria

Finally, the mythical via Salaria which enters Le Marche near Arquata del Tronto, heads past Acquasanta Terme, Ascoli Piceno and reaches the coast near Martinsicuro

We have actually travelled the length of the Via Salaria in Le Marche and included an extension to The Holy House of Loreto (above), or Santa Casa di Loreto. very much a fundamental stop as a religious and cultural destination then as now.

A number of events are held during the year, the main celebration day is the 10th of December. Look out for the annual palio of Loreto called Corsa del Drappo which takes place on the 7 September each year, a horse race through the town's streets.