The Valley of Nievole River, this area between Florence, Lucca and Pisa, is filled with historical significant relics because of its closeness to the old Francigena Road, one of the most important pilgrimage tracks of the World, connecting Canterbury to Rome, and to Jerusalem, during the Medieval Age.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Sigerico, used to describe the path of its pilgrimage to Rome during X Century in order to be officially received by the Pope, on that road that on the XII was to be called already the Francigena Road.
His travel diary actually is quite relevant testifying the communication within europe during the Medieval Age: a thick net of tracks which the pilgrim could choose depending on seasonal weather, or actual wars, or on particularly praised relics, such as in the Lucca Cathedral, or in the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala.
The Francigena Road linked the Mediterranean area with the North Sea area, largely becoming a commercial track for men and robes, being one of the biggest impact factors for the european commerce development.
The most important stage of the Tuscan Leg of the Francigena Route for our territory (Valdinievole) is the one arriving and departing from Altopascio, once covered with infested woods and home of the Hospital of Tau chevaliers, as the San Jacopo Maggiore fresco testifies, depicting Sant Jacopo, pilgrims patron, getting to Altopascio on a TAU marked boat.
The Francigena Route is now an important cultural, natural and artistic path through pure landscapes, enriched by artworks or relics, legends or traditions: such an evocative track that implicates a sustainable and ecologic form of travelling, respecting traditions and environment.