The Francigena Way
The Francigena Street - Romea is the pilgrimage road that links the city of Canterbury with Rome. This road, besides being primarily a pilgrimage route, was also used by armies and for commercial purposes. Other minor streets linked with this road determined the fortune and the development of the villages that rose all around it: various religious structures (monasteries, parishes and so on) became hostels and hospitals for wayfarers.
Present pilgrimages present the same characteristics as medieval ones: groups of pilgrims walk for about 20/25 km per day. They go mainly on foot for penance and pass through the most important sites of religious interest. A pilgrim may wear symbols: the shell of Santiago de Compostela, the cross of Gerusalemme, Saint Peter's key of Rome.
Because of the great industrial and anthropic activities, the stretch that links Altopascio to Lucca, passing through Capannori, has been modified and will probably be modified again.
In the past, the strecth of via Francigena - Romea that links Altopascio to Lucca crossed, in the area of Porcari - Rughi, the Via Romana, that linked Florence to Lucca and was an extension of the Via Cassia. The road then ran through Capannori, in the fraction of Lunata, where rose the hospital of Saints Matthew and Pilgrim, a shelter for pilgrims. The hospital came under the Parish of Lunata located on that route. In the fraction of Lunata the road crossed Via Lombarda, extended to the fraction of Lammari (where pilgrims could rest in the Church of Saint Jacob or in the little church of Saint Christopher) and ran toward the Pizzorne. There were, of course, other alternative paths, as witnessed by ancient documents.
The historical importance of this road has been kept alive through studies and researches and, above all, by pilgrims that still travel it to Rome, even if fewer than once.