The municipality of Vetralla (province of Viterbo, Lazio) is located along the Via Francigena at 300 metres above sea level. Known for its characteristic medieval village and the woods of the Cimini mountains – the green lung of Tuscia – it is a land of important Etruscan, Roman, and Barbarian settlements and has a rich artistic and archaeological heritage.
In this borgo, along Via Francigena stage 42 Vetralla-Sutri, the mural ‘Il Cammino’ (The Way) created by painter Alessandro Ridolfi has just been completed. The artwork was realised on the initiative of a committee of local volunteers to enhance the places crossed by the Via Francigena in Vetralla.
The work depicts three different moments of the route travelled by the wayfarer, namely the departure from Canterbury, the first stage of the official itinerary, the stop in Vetralla, and the arrival in Rome, the final destination of the pilgrims on their way to the Vatican along the Italian section, before continuing on to Santa Maria di Leuca on the Via Francigena in Southern Italy.
The work was conceived in 2018 during a series of narrated walks by local committees along the Via Francigena, with the aim of raising awareness of the history of this important route of communications and cultural exchange. As stated in the press release, thanks to donations from participants and voluntary contributions, in 2020 it was possible to commit to Alessandro Ridolfi the first scene representing the arrival in Rome. In 2023, the donations needed to realise the other two scenes were collected, also thanks to the distribution of numbered postcards depicting the sketch of the painting.
Among the characters depicted are deceased friends who will thus continue to walk through the eyes of walkers and pilgrims from all over the world. Alongside the work, all the stages of the Francigena route from Canterbury to Rome have also been recorded. The names of the places were written by pilgrims and citizens who stopped to admire the mural during its creation, thus promoting the sense of involvement and belonging to the community that underlies the initiative.
(Photo of pilgrims from Andrea Natali’s Facebook profile)