In the Middle Ages, walking pilgrimages were popular. Today, they're more popular than ever.
The first major medieval Camino, or walking pilgrimage, was the Via Francigena which connected Canterbury, England to Rome by way of France, Switzerland, and northern Italy. Some pilgrims continued south to Apulia where they boarded ships to the Holy Land.
In the past, there were also local Caminos. These allowed pilgrims the chance to visit shrines or sanctuaries closer to home.
Today, many of these Caminos have been re-created. Although the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) to Compostela in Spain remains popular, many of the Italian Caminos are being discovered and are gaining in popularity each year.
Unlike the St. James Camino, the Caminos in Italy are not congested or crowded. They are mostly off road in the mountains, hills and valleys in central Italy along dirt trails far removed from street noise and busy towns.
The most popular is the Way of Francis (known in Italian as the Via Francigena Francescana or La Via di Francesco). There is also a more contemplative journey in the footsteps of St. Benedict (San Benedetto). There is, as well, a shorter journey from Assisi to Loreto, known as the Via Lauretana, the Way of Loreto.
Click below for more information on the various Caminos in Italy: