Natural continuation of the Via Spluga, the via Francisca goes southwards to Sorico, at the northernmost point of Lake Como.
A route of ancient origins, fallen into disuse along with other major routes during the early Middle Ages, in the thirteenth century, thanks to commerce, it returned to being used. Its name probably comes from the ancient French verb "franchir", literally "to cross" or from the Latin "franca", that is "public".
The Via Francisca, whose entire route can only be explored on foot, offers striking natural views and attractions of great historical interest, like the Collegiate Church of San Lorenzo in Chiavenna, the wonderful views of the Pian di Spagna Reserve and, for those who walk it, the Romanesque church of San Fedelino. An overview of the entire route can be found in the InLombardia website
Collegiate church of S. Lorenzo Chiavenna
The religious complex of the Collegiata, whose origins date back to the fifth century, has been repeatedly renovated. Today it is formed by its tall bell tower, built between the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century in order to replace the Romanesque one, the refined quadrangular portico with its Renaissance forms and the octagonal baptistery. Inside the baptistery you can admire the beautiful baptismal font of the Romanesque period: a monolithic tub of soapstone of about 6 meters in circumference, on which the ceremony of the Holy Saturday is carved, during which the baptismal water was blessed and baptism was administered. The interior of the church is entirely frescoed
Here you can find information on accessibility.
From the small courtyard to the right of the church, you can access the Museo del Tesoro,formed by three rooms where you can admire religious objects that are particularly significant for local history and art: there are paintings, liturgical books, rich and precious vestments and liturgical objects, some beautiful polychrome wooden statues of the Virgin and Saints of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and a very rare eleventh century music code. But the flagship of the entire collection, a masterpiece of medieval jewelery, is the Peace of Chiavenna: a wonderful gospel blanket whose name comes from the fact that in the modern age it is offered to the faithful to kiss during the exchange of peace.
Here you can find information on the accessibility of the Museum.
Also in Chiavenna, where Via Francisca intersects via Spluga, we suggest to visit the nineteenth-century Bottonera mill, the Paradiso Botanical Archaeological Park and the Archaeological Museum of Valchiavenna. For a presentation, please click this link
Another stop that we recommend is at the foot of Monte Berlinghera, in Sorico: here in fact, there is the Church of S. Fedelino, the oldest Romanesque monument of Lombardy, made by the Comacine Masters. The small temple with an almost square plan was built where, according to tradition, in the year 298 the Roman soldier Fedele, converted to Christianity, was killed by the imperial guards for not wanting to renounce his belief and was buried right in the spot where today stands the votive temple.
The building has a single nave with a square shape (3.5 m per side), on which the semicircular apse oriented towards the east is directly connected, in the direction of the rising sun as preached by the medieval symbolism.
For more information on the church, please click here