Via Francigena

From Frost to Fire, an Incredible Thousand-Year Journey along the Via Francigena

Picture of Redazione AEVF
Redazione AEVF

Four travellers from four different countries who have travelled the Via Francigena to Rome. An abbot who, on a magical night, opens the doors of the monastery and welcomes them. “Di Gelo e di Fuoco” lands in Italian bookshops and tells the incredible journey of a thousand years along the Via Francigena.

The novel, produced and published in Italy by D&M Editions, is ready to conquer the Italian public with all its charm and literary mystery. After years of work, the story created and written by Guido Fiandra with Pierluigi Fabbri, Fabrizio Fangareggi and Andrea Zauli arrives in the hands of readers. Four authors with four different styles for four characters. A single historical fresco in which reality and fantasy intertwine.

The official presentation is scheduled for 10th April at 6pm at the CIVITA headquarters in Rome. The event will be presented by Gianni Letta, author of the preface of the novel, with Tullio Solenghi, Carmen Tejedera and Pino Calabrese, the authors, Sandro Polci, creator of the European Festival of Vie Francigene and the European Association of Via Francigena Ways (EAVF) sponsor of the novel.

It is a job that started many years ago – says Guido Fiandra – the first idea came to me when I read a newspaper article dedicated to Sigeric, archbishop of Canterbury, of whom I knew nothing. While researching him, I came across the Via Francigena. I remember that we began to talk about the Francigena and I was really curious about this character, who wrote a 79 stage travel journal during his journey back from Rome in 990.

Inspiration came while thinking about ‘Impossible Interviews’, a wonderful radio program of the 1970s, in which great Italian writers interviewed characters from history and culture, as if they were still alive. What if I did a similar thing? And brought together characters from different times and places, couldn’t they be there all together? Hence the idea that led to the development of the story – continues Fiandra – On a magical night, a week after the secular Jubilee of 1899, the eighty-year-old abbot Francesco hears a knock on the door of the abbey of San Filippo al Marta and goes to open it. In front of him are four wayfarers who have travelled the Via Francigena to Rome and that night is the penultimate stage of the journey. The incredible thing is that from the clothes they wear and the way they speak it’s clear that the four travellers – Sigeric bishop of Ramsbury (990); Maria Rodriguez from Spain, of humble origins who no longer knows whether she is Jewish or Christian (1350); Goetz Von Berlichingen, a German captain of ascending nobles (1550) and Jean Baptiste Fournier, first revolutionary now wealthy French wine merchant (1825) – they not only come from four different nations, but from four different eras. How is what happened possible? And what surprises are in store for that night?”

“Di Gelo e di Fuoco” is a story that was first conceived as a television mini-series, what with Fiandra being mainly a director and screenwriter and for many years a teacher of the Course of ‘Direction and Scriptwriting’ at the Bologna Film Academy.

“Initially I thought that a story of this kind would be better as a TV series, but I did not get the feedback that I hoped. – says Fiandra – The project was considered too expensive and historical-fantastic series of great impact had not yet been realised. But the Via Francigena was still relevant and, a few years later, Sergio Valzania had the idea of ​​a radio broadcast, which was talked about a lot. It was then that I thought of using another form of narrative: writing. I proposed the idea to three people with whom I had already collaborated – two of whom had also written some fantastic historical books together – and the four of us began an exciting journey that lasted two and a half years.”

History, imagination and modernity are the ingredients for a piece of work that tells a journey as a metaphor for life, a reflection on ourselves, the journey that we start chosen for the goal we want to reach, only to discover that the true essence of our experience is the act of travelling itself.

“After 15 years from the beginning of this adventure, the novel has now been released in bookshops, thanks to D&M Editions who believed in the potential of our novel. Together with my writing partners I am happy and who knows if, thanks to the publication, we might find a producer and TV network interested in developing our story? – highlights Fiandra – In the meantime, we hope that fans who have been travelling the Via Francigena for years and all readers like it. “

In addition to the paperback, the novel can be purchased at a reduced price online at and can also be downloaded in e-book format. For further information please visit:

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