Italy’s Via Postumia: Hiking Across an Ancient Road
Hikers Can Enjoy the Ancient Via Postumia, built in 148 BC.
By Andrea Vitiello
The Via Postumia was an ancient Roman road of northern Italy constructed in 148 BC by the consul Spurius Postumius Albinus Magnus.
It ran from the coast at Genoa through the mountains to Dertona, Placentia (the termination of the Via Aemilia) and Cremona, just east of the point where it crossed the Po River.
From Cremona the road ran eastward to Bedriacum, the current town of Calvatone, where it forked, one branch running to the right to Mantua, the other to the left to Verona, crossing the Adige river on the Ponte Pietra, the only bridge on the Adige river at that time, and then traversing the Venetian plain, crossing the Piave River at Maserada sul Piave until finally reaching Aquileia, an important military frontier town founded by Rome in 181 BC.
The Roman conquest of Liguria depended upon this road, and several of the more important towns owed their origin largely to it. Cremona was its central point, the distance being reckoned from it both eastwards and westwards.
Andrea Vitiello, member of the Amici della Via Postumia association, and mind behind its creation highlights how “the main pilgrim routes in Italy lead to Rome and have a North-South orientation.
By reviving the Via Postumia path, we thought of adding Italy to other European countries with routes to the Camino de Santiago. This has been done — Vitiello continues — by reviving the ancient consular Via Postumia, used by the anonymous pilgrim from Bordeaux, all those centuries ago.”
The idea of developing this walk was born in September 2013 in Krakow, to be precise, where the World Meeting of Associations of Saint James on the occasion of the 1200th anniversary of the rediscovery of the Saint’s body was taking place.
Listening to the works of the various World Associations, and European in particular, I realized that in the map of European routes, one leading to Santiago de Compostela from Italy was missing.
What was missing was a route marked with yellow arrows that crossed our country from East to West, or at least leading from Genoa to Menton along the Coast of Liguria.
On my return, I began to resume studies carried out in the past and thanks to the advice and opinions of scholars and pilgrims I began to retrace the steps of medieval pilgrims coming from the East.
The task was to create a route in our country that fitted into the map of the European Jacobean routes, enabling the pilgrim to slowly discover Northern Italy, linking cities rich in art, made of cycling lanes, footpaths, and low traffic roads, everywhere dotted with “Marvels” on the route. ‘
The Via Postumia, in fact, runs through nine UNESCO sites, it is a historical-cultural as well as spiritual route.
The Via Postumia aims at being a help and a stimulus to local micro-economies, an ideal choice in this age of poor spirits and many problems.
In this year many walkers and cyclists have discovered this new path, and they are all very happy. in these 940 kilometers, you will find nine UNESCO sites, six separate regions, excellent Italian food, ancient countries, rivers, lakes, hills, mountains. a very varied route rich in art, history and culture.
We are waiting for you on the Via Postumia.