Pilgrim’s progress: Marcel Descarveaux, 75, of Montreal, Canada, is walking the entire Via Francigena solo, from Canterbury to Rome. He’s eight weeks in, with two more to go. We encountered this gentle pellegrino at a hostel next to the Pieve di Chianni. The small parish church was itself visited by one of the original pilgrims, Sigeric, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who made the journey to Rome in 990, more than a thousand years ago. Marcel holds up his passport of stamps collected along the way. He seems to be a very happy man. •
For the nomination: "sometimes they come back"..... Via Francigena is the common name of an ancient road and pilgrim route running from France to Rome, though it is usually considered to have its starting point much further away, in the English cathedral city of Canterbury. As such, the route passes through England, France, Switzerland and Italy. The route was known in Italy as the "Via Francigena" ("the road that comes from France") or the "Via Romea Francigena" ("the road to Rome that comes from France"). In mediaeval times it was an important road and pilgrimage route for those wishing to visit the Holy See and the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul.