Municipalities of Parma, Collecchio and Fornovo di Taro, in collaboration with the Management Body for Parks and Western Emilia Biodiversity, developed a variant to the modern Via Francigena that reconnects Parma and Collecchio. The project was presented on 22 September 2020.
The proposed variant follows the eastern bank of the Taro river, which links Parma, Collecchio and Fornovo di Taro. In the Medieval times this route must have been one of many pilgrims’ roads leading to Rome or even to Jerusalem. It is an itinerary of indisputable historic, artistic and religious value. It also emerges pilgrims in one of the most important wetlands in Italy, famous for its rich birdlife.
Out of Parma, from Porta Santa Croce pilgrims leave the Via Emilia and partly follow residual paths of Roman centuriation, reaching Madregolo, with its parish church and a hospice. From here they continue to the Collecchiello hospice and along the eastern bank of the Taro to Corte di Giarola and finally to a parish church of Fornovo di Taro.
The 28 km route is entirely flat, with a vertical drop of 60 meters. The pedestrian path runs along the Via Emilia up to San Pancrazio, winding through minor paved roads with almost zero traffic (except for short stretches of Via Roma and Mulattiera road which are busy at the beginning and end). The second part is more adventurous and takes you to the woods which you can discover on foot and by mountain bike. The route is largely accessible on a specialised wheelchair as Triride, designed to travel on “off-routes” roads.
Finally, the variant presents a unique opportunity to taste local food and wine, renowned in and outside Italy. You can enjoy gastronomic delights directly from farms and production houses as well as in trattorias that proudly preserve the culinary tradition of the region.
Cariparma Foundation contributes to a walking event "I Love Francigena. Discovering territories on foot along the cultural itineraries", online promotion and creation of two information panels of the Via Francigena "Lungo Taro" from Parma to Collecchio, up to Fornovo di Taro.