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Via Francigena - day 1

Summer break is here and it is time to get out Rome again. The weather is heating up and the tourists are arriving on mass. I have decided to take look on the other side of Italy down the Adriatic coast south of Foggia.

An old pilgrim path that starts in Cantabury, England was used for centuries by pilgrims to travel to Rome. Some would continue through Rome towards the East Coast of Italy to the ports of Molfetta, Bari, and even right to the heal of Italy's 'shoe', Santa Maria di Lueca, to catch ships that would transport them across to Greece or even all the way to the Holy Lands. This path is know as the Via Francigena or the road that comes from France.

I will retrace the path from Foggia on foot all the way to Santa Maria di Lueca ( I hope), which I will estimate to take about 3 weeks traveling about 20km a day.

Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Manfredonia.

An early morning train from Rome and transfer at Foggia to manfredonia got me started on the trail.

Around Foggia at this time of the year reminds me alot the Port Pirie diocese around the Mid North and Eyer Peninsula in summer, hot, dry and brown with a few eucalyptus trees thrown in for good measure. Temperatures are mid to high thirties, a stark change to when I was at San Giovanni Rotondo, in February about 50 km North East from here, up on the platue when it was snowing.

In the distance is the platue the where St Giovanni Rotondo and Mount St Angelo, (St Michael's Cave) are.

Off the train from Rome was Manfredonia, at the foot of Mount St Angelo.

First Church Visited Santa Maria Maggiore, a restored Middle Age church with history dating back to the first century as a Christian worship site. It has a reconstructed 5 century basilica made of wire mesh.

Inside the 'wire basilica.'

Inside the main Church, it is very sparse but the stone has been cleaned up and it is very stunning. The church is still in use today although the site is valued for its Roman historical architecture.

While I was there steam of acheolists ( interns?) were busy excavating another site next door to the cathedral.

My first walk of the trip started here and took me to a campsite about 8km out of town on the coast. The road leading out of Manfredonia.

A buffalo farm on the way.

The camp ground driveway.

The camp ground beach with Manfredonia in the distance.

My digs for the night.

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