They are called the Vie Francigene of Sicily and, like the ones that connected France to Rome, they are the ancient routes taken by pilgrims who went to Messina from all over Sicily, and then continued their pilgrimage to Rome, Santiago de Compostela or Jerusalem.
Some of those medieval roads have now completely disappeared, others have been transformed into more modern state roads and others are still small country roads.

The Association Friends of the Vie Francigene of Sicily, through the careful study of  a team composed by archaeologists, historians and topographers, since many years is working to this project with the aim of reconstructing the Roman road network. They previously test the route firsthand and then provide new pilgrims with information, maps, useful advices. They are progressively creating a network of facilities so as to provide accommodation, hospitality and all walkers can need along the way.

Some examples:

  • The Magna Via Francigena, follows the Roman Via Aurelia and, passing through Castronovo di Sicilia, connects Palermo to Agrigento. Today, a 160 kilometers route connects the Arab Balarm to the Rock of Agrigentum, through ancient historic paths and ancestral landscapes. For those who do not feel comfortable taking the entire route, the path can be fragmented into 9 comfortable legs of about 20-25 kilometers each.
  • The Palermo – Messina stage, through the mountains, crosses Madonie, Nebrodi and Peloritani Mountains and is the Montana variant of the Middle Aged Marina
  • Via Francigena Fabaria, so called because it passes through a district of Vizzini, named Fabara. It goes from Gela towards Maniace and Bronte, where it intersects with the Palermo-Messina through the mountains;
  • Via Selinuntina, a Roman road that from Marsala goes to Syracuse, currently taken from Marsala to Gela:
  • Via Francigena mazarense, from Mazara to Palermo, witnessed by a certificate that speaks about a via Francigena laying in a district Marsala… there is also a variant towards the valley of Jato;
  • The Palermo-Messina route through the coast nowadays is almost entirely traced back to the SS 113 linking the two Sicilian capitals
  • The route that from Lilibeo – the current Marsala –passed through Mazara, Selinunte, Agrigento and Gela and then entered the plains of Vizzini  and  Catania; from here, climbing Mount Etna to the west, it reached the Abbey of S.Maria di Maniace and connected Montalbano with the other routes.

Downloadable itineraries:

Magna via Francigena: Itineraries