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The Via Francigena in Lombardy: balancing history and landscape

Nature, art and history combine along the Via Francigena in Lombardy to offer all kinds of interesting corners and panoramas: 5 significant steps for full immersion in beauty.



Via Francigena: Chignolo Po, Photo by: Fulcanelli / Shuttersock.com


From natural parks to cities of art, historic towers and rice fields, from religious complexes to farmhouses, the Via Francigena in Lombardy changes its look at every corner, revealing one surprise after another: here are 5 significant steps to discover its varied landscapes and architecture.

The crenellated tower of Palestro

Via Francigena: Torre Merlata di Palestro

Also known as Torre dei Visconti, who once dominated the village, the imposing XII century Torre Merlata is all that remains of the Mediaeval castle owned later by the local Borromeo feudal lords. Built using red bricks with a square ground plan and a crenellated crown, it stands on the edge of a natural terrace of the River Sesia embellishing the town of Palestro, in the heart of the Lomellina Pavese area.

Via Francigena

Rice fields and the Ticino Park

 

Via Francigena: rice fields in Bassa Lomellina


The peaceful and relaxing countryside around Pavia, dotted here and there by canals, copses and farmhouses, is characterised by the spectacle of traditional Lombard rice fields, especially in the Lomellina area not far from Pavia. The broad spaces of the Ticino Valley Park open out here - a protected natural area located along the banks of the river, with many oases as well as ancient towers, castles and holy buildings.

Valle del Ticino Park

Via Francigena

 

Pavia

Pavia: Covered bridge

Standing on the banks of the River Ticino, this beautiful town with an important historical past boasts a huge artistic and architectural heritage well worth discovering. Many points of interest absolutely include the Covered Bridge connecting the historic centre with the Borgo Ticino district originally located outside the city walls and the Broletto with its evocative internal portico courtyard, the heart of ancient institutional life.

Pavia

Via Francigena

 

The Benedictine Grange at Orio Litta

Villa Orio Litta

The small town near Lodi, snuggled between the embankments of the rice fields, boasts this ancient Benedictine complex dating from even before the year 1000. Its main feature is above all the panoramic tower overlooking the embankment of the River Lambro, where today's pilgrims travelling the Via Francigena can still find refuge. The magnificent Villa Litta Carini, a sumptuous, late-Baroque noble residence in the town, is also worth seeing.

Orio Litta

Via Francigena

 

Corte Sant'Andrea at the crossing over the River Po

Via Francigena, Corte Sant'Andrea

The main bank of the River Po embraces this detailed farmhouse complex in the Lodi lowlands. It is an important Mediaeval crossroads on the ancient ford used by pilgrims travelling the Via Francigena to cross the river into Emilia Romagna, which is why it is also called Sigeric's Ford. Today, the ferry with wooden boards has been modernized and returned to operation to commemorate its important role.

Corte Sant'Andrea

Via Francigena

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Via Francigena, Lombardy