Via Francigena

Pilgrims return to Cadeo after 900 years

Picture of Redazione AEVF
Redazione AEVF

A new project that enhances the territory and the ancient path in Cadeo has been launched. After nine centuries Cadeo welcomes pilgrims with a new hostel. The official opening of the Ospitale Ca’ Dei, the hostel dedicated to pilgrims traveling along the Via Francigena, took place on Sunday 19 July 2020.

The hostel was founded on the premises of the former Canonical Church of Cadeo, thanks to work of a parish priest and a team of eight volunteers from the parish. The first pilgrims arrived in the hostel on 18 July, even before the official inaugural ribbon was cut.

The house can currently accommodate up to nine pilgrims: there are four rooms with bathrooms, common areas and a kitchen (currently not available due to the health emergency). This project was possible thanks to support received from the territory and local stakeholders.

The Mayor Marco Bricconi and the Massimo Tedeschi President of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways EAVF were present at the official inauguration.

“In recent years we as administrators have fallen in love with the project to enhance the Via Francigene, – explains the Mayor. – Together with five other municipalities from Piacenza province, we presented a pilot project in France, which gave birth to a new square next to the Town Hall of Roveleto, welcoming pilgrims and citizens with greenery and freshness.”

The construction of the small square is part of “Francigena in Comune” project, which enhances the stages of Calendasco, Gragnano, Pontenure, Cadeo, Fiorenzuola and Alseno, and which aims to raise awareness about the Via Francigena, the Cultural Route of the Council of Europe since 1994.

“In this post Covid time, Francigena is becoming very important – said Massimo Tedeschi, – pilgrimage is a travel mode compatible with the situation we are experiencing. In this time, the Cadeo hostel is the only one open in the Fidenza-Piacenza section and that connects Piacenza to the Cisa Pass “.

“The first pilgrims who stopped in our hostel are three boys, travelling by bicycle from Varese. They are only 17 years old, they are very young, and this seems to me a splendid sign”, commented Don Umberto Ciullo, parish priest of Roveleto.

When the boys arrived at the hostel in Cadeo, after 180 kilometers by bicycle, they found the town’s mayor and parish priest waiting for them. The undertaking of the three young men turned into something memorable: being the first three pilgrims of a historic hostel.

Giulio Balderi, Riccardo Maria Altea and Stefano Savoldi left on Saturday morning, 18 July from Mornago (Varese) to travel a stretch of the Via Francigena, up to Viareggio. Their story was told by VareseNews, the online newspaper of the province of Varese.