Via Francigena. The Road to Rome

New accessibility in the Cathedral of Fidenza: the Via Francigena for all

The route of the Via Francigena crossing Europe from Canterbury to Rome, has several stages that have particular artistic, cultural and religious value: Fidenza is one of these places, enhanced by the presence of its Cathedral and the Diocesan Museum.

The Cathedral has a centuries-long history.  Built between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, it was not designed to accommodate people with mobility difficulties.   A feature that today is necessity. 

A project has been initiated, starting with a study of the urban area surrounding the Cathedral, identifying the possible paths that lead to the historic monument to make it barrier-free. A direct access to the Cathedral along the Diocesan crossing Piazza Grandi, connected to the parking lot for cars and buses on Via G. Mazzini, just adjacent to it, has been identified. To make the route accessible to visitors with disabilities, the project includes adjusting areas where there is a gap in the sidewalk ad placing a platform of wood and steel over the cobblestones of the square, which are not viable for a wheelchair. The platform consists of a steel frame anchored to the ground by means of nails, thus avoiding damage to the old pavement, and making it removable. The frame is hidden by an overlying walkway consisting of wooden planks, which recall the colour and size of the wooden material used on the Roman Bridge in close proximity, which was recently renovated.

The entry into the Cathedral is facilitated by an oblique platform positioned in the left portal, made entirely of aluminium, and the placement of a new automatic swing door with shatterproof glass steel. The platform has not damaged the paving stone as it is resting on the ground via rubber feet that prevent movement.

The accessibility project of Fidenza Cathedral aspires to be an example for a new Via Francigena, leading to the creation of a route that is open to all and allowing everyone to benefit from the fascinating richness of architecture and testimonies of a place endowed with faith, history and art.

Luca Faravelli

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