The "Cammino di Sant'Agostino", also called "the Route of the Rose" because of the shape of its itinerary, is almost entirely in Lombardy. The 620 km, divided into 26 stages which touch and connect fifty Marian Shrines in Lombardy, draw a rose.
Passing through 7 provinces, the Route touches three Lombard towns where Agostino di Ippona stayed during his life: Rus Cassiciacum, today called Cassago Brianza, where Agostino lived (as reported in his "Confessions"); Milan, the imperial capital and the place where he was baptized and Pavia, where St. Augustine's relics are preserved.
In its central part, the Route meets the most important artistic sites of the Brianza area: churches, monasteries, ancient and modern monuments, parks and villas. For information on each stage, please visit this link on the In-Lombardy site.
Free download of the full guide of The Route of the Rose
Among the 26 stages, we suggest some of them we consider of particular historical and artistic value and of which we could verify accessibility (with the exception of Cassago Brianza).
Santuario di Santa Maria delle Grazie
The Santuario di Santa Maria delle Grazie is the place from which the Route starts. It was built together with the nearby convent between 1463 and 1465, when the Friars Minor settled in this peripheral area, outside the walls that surrounded Monza and next to the Lambro river.
The church was built in Lombard Late Gothic style, in exposed brick; in 1600 the portico in baroque forms was added to the façade and the nearby stone bridge was built, for the pilgrims visiting the miraculous image of the Virgin, still preserved in the church. Information on the accessibility of the sanctuary can be found at this link
Duomo di Monza
Its origins date back to the end of the sixth century, when it was founded as a chapel of the nearby royal palace by Queen Teodolinda. At that time, it was located in a peripheral area of the small village of Monza, close to the river. Between 1300 and 1600 it was built in its current style. The central nave and the side aisles can be visited without obstacles; for information on the accessibility of the Cathedral of Monza, please visit this link
To visit the chapel of Teodolinda, it is necessary to show the ticket of the Museo del Duomo. The ticket is free for people with disabilities and their carers.
Museo del Tesoro del Duomo di Monza
Lovers of history and art cannot miss this visit: here in fact are preserved fourteen centuries of history with unique masterpieces in the world. Inside the Teodolinda Chapel there is the Corona Ferrea (iron crown), which was used from the Middle Ages until the 19th century for the coronation of the kings of Italy. Admission is free for people with disabilities and their carers and a manual wheelchair is available for visitors.
The charm of the Teodolinda chapel is also due to one of the most extraordinary fresco cycles of the Italian late Gothic which, on a surface of about 500 square meters, tells the story of the queen. For more information on the frescoes, please click on this link
Information on the accessibility of the Museum and the chapel can be found at this link
Also in the heart of Monza, 500 meters from the Cathedral, it is possible to visit the Church and the Convent of the Carrobbiolo. They were built around 1260 to host the Order of the Humiliates. Today only the perimeter walls in terracotta and the bell tower remain of the medieval construction.
Cassago Brianza is a municipality in the "Valle del Lambro Park", which extends along the river Lambro for 8 thousand hectares and borders to the South with the Park of the Villa Reale di Monza. Here St. Augustine stayed between 386 and 387 with his mother Monica; this was the period of his conversion and preparation for baptism.
Inside the "Parco Storico Archeologico di Sant ‘Agostino" there is the so-called Fountain of St. Augustine, probably of Roman origin, that in the eighteenth century became a place of devotion by people.
For more information on the archaeological complex of Cassago Brianza please visit the site of the Municipality and for further information on the Archaeological Park, please visit the site of the Associazione storico-culturale Sant’Agostino
The stretch of the Route that heads South and represents the stem of the rose, goes from Monza to Pavia. An important stop is in the city of Milan, where there are the two places representing the heart of spiritual life: the Duomo and the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio.
Il Duomo (The Cathedral)
An unmissable stop for those visiting Milan, the Cathedral is dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente, better known as the "Duomo di Milano".
Located in the centre and symbol of the Lombard capital, it is the sixth largest Christian church in the world by surface. Its construction began in 1386 and continued, according to different phases, until the beginning of the 1900s. The Visconti phase (1387-1447) was decisive. During this period, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, founded the "Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo" with the aim of carrying out the planning, construction and conservation of the Cathedral.
To better prepare your visit, it is useful to visit the site of the Duomo
Inside the Cathedral there is the Archaeological Area where the Early Christian Baptistery is located, with the baptismal font wanted by Sant'Ambrogio in 387.
Information on the accessibility of the Cathedral, the Early Christian Baptistery and the Terraces can be found at this link
Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio
Continuing the "Cammino" in the direction of the Certosa di Pavia, we stop at the Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio, one of the oldest churches in Milan; it is not only a monument of the early Christian and medieval era, but also a fundamental point in the history of Milan and of the Ambrosian Church. In fact, it was Bishop Ambrogio, the patron of Milan, who wanted its construction, which took place between 379 and 386 in an area where martyred Christians had been buried during the Roman persecution. The basilica we see today, built between 1088 and 1099, a unique example of Lombard Romanesque architecture, has the same plan of the earlier Paleo Christian basilica.
For more information on the accessibility of the Basilica, please click on this link.
Certosa di Pavia
The Certosa di Pavia is one of the most important Renaissance masterpieces in Italy. It is a beautiful monastery built by the end of the 1300 by the Visconti family and completed a century later by the Sforza. Cistercian monks, who live at the Certosa, organize guided tours and cultivate the surrounding fields.
The visit includes: the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the "Chiostro Piccolo" and the "Chiostro Grande". For information on the accessibility of the Certosa, please click on this link
In front of the Church, along the southern side of the courtyard, there is the Palazzo Ducale, the former summer residence of the Visconti-Sforza dynasty and guest house for high-ranking guests, that today is the prestigious seat of the Museum of the Certosa di Pavia.
For information on the accessibility of the Museum, please click on this link
For more information on the Certosa, please visit the following website:
San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro
For the cult of Sant'Agostino, the city of Pavia is a must. That's why the last stage of the Cammino is represented by the "Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro" where the relics of Agostino are preserved. The relics are preserved in the "Ark of St. Augustine", an imposing marble monument that, through its bas-reliefs, tells the story of the life of the Saint and the journey taken by his relics from Cagliari to Pavia, the capital of the Lombard kingdom, by the will of King Liutprando.
For all information on the accessibility of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro, please visit this link
For more information on the Basilica, please visit the website: https://santagostinopavia.wordpress.com/la-basilica/