Via Francigena

“Francigena, word of pilgrims” – the latest work of the photographer Céline Anaya Gautier

Picture of Redazione AEVF
Redazione AEVF

Céline Anaya Gautier is a pilgrim and an internationally renowned photographer. Recently we have had an honour to speak with her during one of the live broadcasts on the EAVF Facebook page (click here if you had missed it!). We talked about her latest ambitious project: a journey along the Via Francigena with her youngest 7-year old son and publishing of a photographic book about the route.

This project intends to be much more than a collection of wonderful photographs and is designed to be a valuable contribution to unite all the Via Francigena territories in a strong network for promotion and enhancement of the path.

To better present this project, we want to tell you about Céline, her path as a photographer and as a pilgrim, and her love to the Via Francigena.

From the age of 6 to 18, Céline lived in Peru, her country of origin. Once back in France, she worked as a flight attendant and developed a passion for travel and cultural discoveries.

During one of her travels, faced with the misery of her homeland, she decides to go back and start collaborating as a freelance photographer in humanitarian actions. Her various travels put her in front of the misery of children, women, slaves … It was from these strong experiences that her first works were born in 2003, which slowly led her to be an esteemed photographer.

Internationally recognized, Céline wins numerous awards for her books and is published in hundreds of publications in mass media and press. “Being a photographer responds to the desire to testify, to transmit a reality that is captured beyond the first glance.

During her career Céline has always paid special attention to the rites of passage typical for ancient civilizations. In 2014 precisely because of her attraction to the power of a rite, she decides to have her first son, Santiago, at the age of 7, complete the Camino de Santiago. Her book “Dis Maman, c’est encore loin Compostelle“, published in 2015, tells us the story of this adventure.

Before this extraordinary experience, Céline had an opportunity to travel the Camino de Santiago 8 times in 18 years, making the strength and intensity of a long-distance itinerary her own.

Her second son Léandro, at the time was only one year old, but Céline plans to take him on the way too, at the end of his seventh year to make him live his ritual of passage.

For this next adventure, Céline plans to take a different route. That is why she began to explore the Via Francigena, walking some stages along the historic itinerary in June 2019, together with a friend.

“I travelled only 135 km from Canterbury to Wisques, but after traveling a lot along the Camino de Santiago, in the Andes in Peru and on other routes, I feel that the Via Francigena is for me, in its energy it is a deeply feminine route. It is an inner, solitary, silent and austere path. A path where time has kindly forgotten to wake up to leave space for pilgrims to marvel. Let yourself be amazed by the beauty of everything that surrounds it, as you approach its deep being. “

If initially her maternal instinct doubted that the Via Francigena was suitable for a 7-year-old boy, the adventurous woman in her immediately had, as for Santiago, a true love at first sight.

The Via Francigena is a route that crosses four European countries from north to south and a sea: great cultural diversity and historic importance of the places crossed is part of the beauty and extraordinary richness of this pilgrimage.

In front of the monument to the patrol of Dover, on the cliffs of Cap Blanc-Nez, it seems obvious to her as a result of this new love story, to give life to a new work, the book: “Francigena, word of pilgrims.” A photographic, intimate, spiritual and historic journey on the Via Francigena.

This book will be available for purchase on Christmas 2021. It will be possible to buy it in advance here:, in Amazon and in the bookstores.

Part of the presale revenue will be used to produce two exhibitions, one in French and one in Italian, of about fifty photographs and testimonies that will be offered free of charge to local authorities and associations wishing to promote the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome.

Some information on the project:

  • for the project to be feasible, 2,500 copies must be sold in advance;
  • support for this project will give rise to various economic, cultural, social and media spin-offs, with an immediate local impact for the territories involved;
  • the presale will also be used to print the book in three different editions, English, French and Italian, the three languages ​​of the territories on the Via Francigena. This will allow global communication on the entire route of the Via Francigena;
  • the book is self-published due to high production cost linked to the use of analog photography. Traditional publishing is reluctant to print a book in three languages ​​ with moderately high publishing costs;
  • the presale will be available through the EAVF network and other associations linked to the route, via the web, social networks and thanks to the support of local authorities, regions, associations, etc.
  • shipping costs will be charged to the customer.


Practical information: