👣 16 km by foot – Thursday 23 September
We left Sessa Aurunca crossing its cute little roads while children were going to school and kicked the day off with a long downhill road that led us into the woods. We were very happy to walk in the shade of the trees: despite autumn officially started, it’s still 30°C and very sunny here.
For the entire Campania section of the Via Francigena, Annalisa Galloni will be walking with us; she is a licensed environmental guide, as well as our ambassador for these stages, and she will be our personal tour guide, telling us everything about these beautiful territories.
The first half of today’s stage was mostly flat and it led us to the town of Fontanelle quite easily – although not perfectly signposted. Here, next to the main church, we were lunch guests of the local Pro Loco association.
After this break, we started walking along the ‘Cammino dei Giganti’, literally ‘the trail of giants’. Again, we walked in the shade, mostly across fruit trees, and grasped a bunch of wild figs to keep our sugar levels high. We walked through ferns, kernels, figs, and olive trees, interrupted now and then by little chapels, votive altars and churches surrounded by wild greenery.
We then arrived in Teano, destination of today’s stage. We were first welcomed by the Pro Loco Teano association, and particularly by Pasquale, who accompanied us to the ‘Duomo’, the Cathedral of Teano, where the bishop was waiting for us and gave us his blessing. Pasquale then led us to the Archeological Museum, currently closed, which had opened exclusively for us! The building is in itself very interesting: it is the only Gothic construction, north from Napoli, which is not a church. It was then even more surprising, inside the museum, to discover that Teano, today a small town, used to be a big and important city for the ancient Romans. We learned much about the Sidicini population and how this land evolved over time from the paleolithic age onwards. The museum also holds one of the largest existing mosaic nativity scenes, and a reproduction of the ancient amphitheater of Teano. Can you believe that this theater could host more than twice as many people than those that fit in the Arena in Verona?!
We had an institutional meeting with Rosanna Romano, Director General for Tourism and Culture (TRADUZIONE direttrice generale del turismo e della cultura) for Regione Campania and Nadia Murlo, Councilor for regional cultural heritage. With them we had an in-depth talk about the situation of the Via Francigena del Sud and its infrastructure. We agreed that it is very important to enhance the hospitality and facility systems in order to boost the attractiveness of this section of the route, which is incredibly full of potential. Not only: it is also essential to build a network of local associations, diocese, and institutions in order to spread the culture of walking trips and pilgrimages – currently mostly unknown to locals – and to shed light on hidden heritage sites that tourist have yet to discover. Ultimately, I personally think there has been a very important knowledge-sharing moment with Giovanni D’Agliano, former manager of tourism promotion in the region of Tuscany, explaining his experience in the development of the Via Francigena in his region, now one of the most developed ones along the entire route: this is very valuable input for a region that is just now starting this process! I wish them the best of luck.
– Walking along the Cammino dei Giganti
– The incredible Archeological Museum in Teano
– Very valuable knowledge-sharing during an institutional meeting in Teano
Myra Stals, social media manager (EAVF)
Angelofabio Attolico, EAVF’s responsible for the Via Francigena del Sud
Simona Spinola, communication expert (EAVF)
Giovanni D’Agliano, EAVF’s collaborator
Annalisa Galloni, RTR ambassador
Joanne Roan, Ragazze in Gamba