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Join the pilgrims on the Via Francigena to Rome, one of Italy’s five new Wonder Ways Words: Daniel Allen



Looking down from the ramparts of Itri Castle, I see an expanse of honeyed sandstone and terracotta that extends toward the craggy foothills of the Aurunci Mountains. Bathed in warm, early-morning sunlight, the undulating roofscape of this pretty Lazio town is quintessentially Italian.

Taking the chance to catch my breath, I stop to admire a view that’s long enchanted both locals and visitors. Charles Dickens, making a stop in Itri in the 19th century, likened the intricate architecture here to a ‘device in pastry’, while the town was also a popular waypoint on the European ‘Grand Tour’ undertaken by young English aristocrats.

Yet voyagers and vagabonds had been passing through Itri for centuries before Dickens arrived. The Appian Way, the Roman Empire’s most important paved road, once carried legions through the town on route to the Adriatic port of Brindisi. All in all, it seems as good a place as any to start my modest homage to Italy’s travellers of yesteryear.

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About National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Walk this way: Lofty passes through volcanic lunar landscapes; ancient pilgrim pathways strewn with churches and ruins; sumptuous forested trails opening out onto vineyards. a rambler’s reward is culture, ambience and wild scenery on the walking routes through Italy, France and Spain