"Hiking for a week or a month on a historic pilgrimage? Trail in Europe has become a popular Peter way for people from all over the world to rejuvenate themselves. It's gotten so that Spain's popular community. Santiago is even starting to feel a little crowded sometimes times. If you'd prefer a quiet or pilgrim route. Italy may have the answer. Sandy Brown and errands Italia have covered hundreds of miles on the historic walking trails of of Italy. And they WANNA help you give it a try. They've recently helped to found an organization called American pilgrims to Italy. And it's designed to help people like you would meet a plan. Pilgrimage hike in Italy in Sandy has written a detailed guide to tracking the way of Saint Francis from Florence to Assisi and then to Rome there joining us now on travel with Rick. Steves Steph's to recommend trails. That Saint Francis may have himself tracked Erin and thanks for joining us. Thanks for having US happiness. So Europe has these these venerable hikes. That are really long and it has these pilgrimage trails. That really have a a a little bit of a different meaning Aaron. What's the difference between just a long multiday hike in Europe that can be famous and established and a pilgrimage? Well to me pilgrimage signifies. This is a long walk to place of spiritual meaning and so to me. The first one that I ever did was the way of Saint Francis and so oh walking along pads in stopping in towns where he had been in there were stories about him had more of a spiritual context to it than just trekking. The camino goes to the supposed tomb of Saint James Ferried in Santiago de Compostela. Yes that would be the goal. People in the Middle Ages walked from Paris all the way to that northwest corner of Spain with that goal in mind Martin. Luther hiked from way up in Germany all the way to Rome. He was told to hike down there. It was kind of personal. What would you call it Sandy? A personal ordeal or a personal. I think you could say a pilgrimage also committed jar and then when he got to Rome he walked up the steps of this Accra scholar on his knees and had quite an experience. Enrollment was life changing for him so life changing that started the reformation. He did a lot of thinking and he got to Rome. I understand when when he got up to the top of those depths he kind of goes. This is all make sense exactly. It's a time when you think about these things. Isn't it now when we think about Italy. You guys are both specializing in Poke Mitch. Trails in Italy Saint Francis would be the the star of these things Send you wasn't St Francis relate to these pilgrimage trails well the VA Francesco Chess. Go the way of Saint. Francis is a modern connecting of the various different sites from Saint Francis Time and so for instance when he had a big experience the stigma experience at Santiago de la Berna. That's connected then with Google where he spoke with wolf and see see where he was born and had his last days. Okay so this is a modern. Lacing together of these stops people who want to get into whether they want to hike an excuse for hiker to actually get into the the whole life in the teaching of Saint Francis they would do this. Walk the name of your book is tracking the way of Saint Francis Triumph floors to CD-ROM. So that's what that would be. And then we hear about the FRANCI. JANA the via French ejecta is an historic walk. And so it's a little different. From the way of Saint Francis in terms of it was put together in the ancient world or in in the Middle Ages actually because there was a priest by the name of Cyrillic that was elevated to the episcopacy and he was supposed to appear in Rome to receive his Palim. which is the symbol of his office and so he walked with a retinue from Canterbury across France Switzerland down through Italy and arrived in Rome and then instructed his secretary to take notes of the way back and those notes were all contained at the Cathedral and Canterbury where they sat for thousand and years and then thousand years later people said well what is this and they put together the Modern Day via French agenda following that same modern modern day Revisit of this now does that relate to canterbury tales at all. It doesn't away because well. In case of Canterbury Tales they were ending at Canterbury Burri and the case of this. They were starting at Cantor. Okay now would. Saint Francis have actually walked on that trail on the difference. You know although it's very possible possible that he walked portions of it in order to get up to the community Santiago Kaz. He did walk. The community. Santiago did only twelve fourteen but the a piece of the way of Saint Francis that's historic that he was summoned to Rome by Pope innocent the third and he walked from. CCD Rome and ended up at the Saint. John Lateran Church. So that's one of the stops on the way of Saint Francis and it follows roughly his okay if you were so inclined you could leave a C. C. N. B. Meditating on in Saint Francis and his teaching and his experience all the way to Rome. That's actually the goal right and then the finishing point would be Saint Peter's or exactly what well we stop at Saint John Lateran But we end up at Saint Peter's then in my book I include the Pilgrimage Churches of Rome. Yeah as an option at the end because there are seven urban historic pilgrim churches. And it's about a twenty five kilometer walk and you hit. All seven of this. Church is quite an interesting walk in modern day Rome but touching on medieval medieval and ancient sites. Sandy Brown is the author of the CICERO trekking guide to the way of Saint Francis and Errands Italia heads and organization that prepares the American travelers to explore the pilgrimage trails of Italy. We have links to their websites with this week. Show at Rick Steves Dot com slash radio so sandy. When you come to Piazza del Popolo I I try to think of it? Like a pilgrim five hundred years ago. Yeah what do you think when you come to Piazza. No Popolo one thing is before you get there you would have crossed the Ponti Mill View. And that's a wonderful wonderful historic place because that's where the vision of Constantine was where the cost went back in three twelve or three ten or something. Exactly yes then and you follow the road in to Piazza del Popolo. And of course would you would say and what I would say. I is go into the Santa Maria Church and look at the car of Agios right right so that's a piece that you have to do and then we would want people to walk along the ancient streets that had toward the Vatican so so there's the street where they made the beads that go on the rosaries uh-huh and that's a street that we'd want people to go and sort of skirts along the top of the You you know a couple of other. Like Piazza NAVONA. Right on the way to Saint Peter's and if you're a pilgrim you would know that I go down this boulevard to that obelisk and then I looked to the left after nicey a dome and then I looked on there and I see a statue and you you would know how to navigate through the city by these long beautiful elegant streets that lead to great landmarks works. Yes and specially the pedestrian streets so by the time a pilgrim gets to Rome. They've walked maybe a hundred or a thousand or seventeen hundred kilometers commodores. So they're also looking for a bed and a cafe and Wanted to do the kind of walk. It'll get him in the most economical kind kind of way to their destination but then when they arrive in Saint Peter's there is a certificate that it can receive if they've walked at least one hundred kilometers. It's the equivalent on the Community Santiago. Is that Compostella. This is called the testimony. I'm okay and so that's a nice treat for us and I was going to ask you about this. I know when you go to community Santiago. You clicked this passport. Talk about the credential in the practical reason for that when you are a pilgrim in Italy heading to Rome so the credential or they called the credence Ya gala. It's of paper. That's like your passport. That's what differentiates you as a pilgrim from. Just anybody else traveling. So certain places. We'll give you discounts on your lodging. If you have your credential in basically every town you stop and you get a stamp along the way and then when you arrive at Your Final Destination Chan that sort of your proof that hey. I'm pretty awesome because I just did this. Really Amazing Walk and these are the stamps to show it in Rome. Is there actually a a regular place that you go and you can. There's there's somebody there and their job is to stamp this credential yes you go to the pilgrims office and I did not have to wait at all we went in. I was walking with with four friends and we arrived. We had to fill out a piece of paper and it was actually quite emotional thinking you know this is. My journey is officially Dinan. I'm filling out this paper showing where I started. And you get your final stamp and then you receive your like Sandy said your testimony them and then you have a souvenir for this gassing to remember and it's probably a beautiful moment"