As you know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I spend nearly half a year in a small village just off the Via Francigena in the Lunigiana region of Tuscany. The Via Francigena (map of the Via Francigena in Italy) is a pilgrimage trail like the way-better-known Camino de Santiago de Compostela. But there’s a difference, the Camino de Santiago is the wide and distinct superhighway of pilgrimage trails. Thousands walk it, sleeping (and partying) in the hostels along the road. By contrast, the Via Francigena is the squiggly line on the map, indistinct in some places, a road you don’t expect to have signs. Or hostels.
As for me—the contrarian—give me a squiggly line on a map any day.
In any case, the reason for all this preamble is that I am anxiously awaiting my review copy of the book An Italian Odyssey: One Couple’s Culinary and Cultural Pilgrimage. My mouth waters, my brain tells me I should have gotten off my duff and walked the darn thing and wrote a book on the food along the way first, before Julie Burk and Neville Tencer had a chance to write their version.
But that’s water under the bridge. There are fascinating cities along the way, all gaining in importance, especially in the 12th and thirteenth centuries, because of the commerce and the safety of crowds that pilgrimage afforded. I can’t wait to hear the stories and read of the amazing regional cuisine I’m sure Julie and Neville found along the way.
You can follow them, by the way, on the blog called Little Green Tracs.
And just in case you can’t wait for my review, the book is published by little Verdera Media, and is available from Amazon: An Italian Odyssey: One Couple’s Culinary and Cultural Pilgrimage. It’s got a great review already on Amazon.
And remember: there is no better way to discover a place than by walking it.