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The History of Via Francigena

After Claudius Caesar led the second Roman invasion in AD43 a network of roads was built to connect Rome with the province of Britannia. Canterbury (Durovernum) lay on Watling Street, at an intersection that connected the heart of Britain to the vital ports of Dover and Richborough, and the military and trade routes running through Gaul to Rome.

The connection between Rome and Canterbury was sealed in AD596 when Pope Gregory the Great responded to a request from Ethelbert, the King of Kent, to dispatch Christian missionaries. St Augustine led the mission which arrived in 597and succeeded in converting the King and 10,000 of his subjects. St Augustine was consecrated as the first Archbishop of Canterbury, and in AD601 was granted formal jurisdiction over the church for the whole of Britain.

The road to Rome became a thoroughfare for clerics, kings and merchants, but also for members of the public. These people would make their pilgrimage to the resting places of St Peter and St Paul, often continuing by land and sea to Jerusalem, making it the most important pilgrim route in medieval Europe.

The road from Canterbury to Rome has had many names:Via Romea, Lombard Way, Iter Francorum, and the Frankish Route, but by the end of the 9th century it was identified as the via Francigena.

In AD990, Archbishop Sigeric the Serious travelled the length of the Via Francigena to receive the Pallium from Pope John VX. A member of his retinue recorded his route, listing the 80 principal stopping places.

After the reformation, pilgrimages between northern and southern Europe became less important and, as a consequence, parts of the Via Francigena fell into disuse, other sections became absorbed into the national road networks.

map of the Via Francigena Route

The Route

Find out about the route of the Via Francigena ancient walking route. Read more

pilrims on walking route

Modern Day Pilgrimage

Start your modern day pilgrimage in the beautiful city of Canterbury. Read more

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27 March 2015 to 27 March 2015

Kent Dance at Gulbenkian TheatreFri 27 Mar 2015Join one of the biggest societies on campus, for their biggest event of the year!

27 March 2015 to 27 March 2015

The Most Unnatural Thing at The Marlowe TheatreFri 27 Mar 2015A new play about hope, motherhood and how dreams lie on the other side of the Dartford crossing.

27 March 2015 to 27 March 2015

Film @ The Horsebridge: Gone Girl at Horsebridge Arts and Community CentreFri 27 Mar 2015On his fifth wedding anniversary, nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) is missing. Under pressure from police and a growing media frenzy, Nick's portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble.

27 March 2015 to 27 March 2015

Music: SLAP - residency at Sidney Cooper GalleryFri 27 Mar 2015Slap is a music/dance collaborative investigating imporovised performance in public spaces. Their work has been presented nstionally in a variety of different settings from music festivals to dance platforms.

27 March 2015 to 27 March 2015

Jumping Beaneys - Noddy, Big Ears and Friends at The Beaney House of Art & KnowledgeFri 27 Mar 2015Enjoy a Noddy story, a fun interactive tour of the Enid Blyton special exhibition and a creative Enid Blyton inspired art or craft activity.

27 March 2015 to 27 March 2015

Duke of Burgundy (18) at Gulbenkian CinemaFri 27 Mar 2015An intensely erotic melodrama that’s already received huge praise at early festival screenings.

27 March 2015 to 27 March 2015

Stone Mason Tour and Afternoon Tea at Canterbury Cathedral LodgeFri 27 Mar 2015Heather Newton, Head of Stone Masonry and Conservation, will give a fascinating overview of current projects and a rare opportunity to experience a behind-the-scenes tour of the Stone Masons' department.

27 March 2015 to 27 March 2015

Friends of Westgate Parks Wine, Wisdom and Raffle at St Stephen's Community CentreFri 27 Mar 2015Friends of Westgate Parks Wine and Wisdom and Raffle at St Stephen's Community Centre. Doors open at 7pm.

28 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

Kent Dance at Gulbenkian TheatreSat 28 Mar 2015Join one of the biggest societies on campus, for their biggest event of the year!

28 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

Grand Organ Recital at Canterbury CathedralSat 28 Mar 2015Performed by: David Newsholme - Canterbury Cathedral.

25 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas at The Marlowe TheatreWed 25 - Sat 28 Mar 2015The Children Touring Partnership present The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. The world premiere of a powerful and moving production.

28 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

The Marlowe Comedy Cabaret at The Marlowe TheatreSat 28 Mar 2015Our comedy and variety night brings you top stand-up comedy acts and a few surprises! Comedy from headliner Gareth Richards with Fin Taylor, Kevin Shepherd and Hayley Ellis. Contains adult themes and language.

28 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

BFI Travelling Cinema: A Coastal Tour 2015 at Whitstable HarbourSat 28 Mar 2015BFI Travelling Cinema: A Coastal Tour 2015 will be coming to Whitstable Harbour.

28 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

Bon Giovi at The Kings HallSat 28 Mar 2015Considered by many as a band that will have you thinking the real Bon Jovi are in the house, be prepared for a night of pure rock!

24 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

Arden of Faversham at Playhouse Theatre WhitstableTue 24 - Sat 28 Mar 2015The play depicts the true story of the murder of Thomas Arden by his wife Alice together with her lover, and their subsequent discovery and punishment.

28 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

The Beaney Secret 7 Club at The Beaney House of Art & KnowledgeSat 28 Mar 2015Come along to a series of art workshops linked to the Enid Blyton special exhibition run by community interest company/social enterprise aim4 Partnerships.

28 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

Crochet Workshop at The Beaney House of Art & KnowledgeSat 28 Mar 2015Learn the basics of crochet. You should be able to create a scarf/blanket/shawl, etc. after the class in your own time. This session is suitable for complete beginngers at crochet.

28 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

Children in The Wind (U) at Gulbenkian CinemaSat 28 Mar 2015Sampei is a little rascal, the leader of his village gang but when his father is falsely imprisoned for fraud, his idyllic life falls apart. If only he can help his father to clear his name, everything will be all right again.

28 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

Paddington (PG) at Gulbenkian CinemaSat 28 Mar 2015Fantastic animation and a stellar cast make Paddington a real treat.

28 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

Romantic Masterpieces at Colyer-Fergusson BuildingSat 28 Mar 2015The Canterbury Orchestra Spring Concert features some of the most powerful and well-loved pieces from the Romantic period presented in the traditional format of overture, concerto and symphony.

28 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

Martyn Jackson (violin) and Petr Limonov (piano) at St John's Methodist ChurchSat 28 Mar 2015Mozart: Sonata in G major K379 Brahms: Sonata No.1 in G major Op.78 Debussy: Violin Sonata in G minor Bartok: “Ciaccona” from Sonata for solo violin Wieniawski: Faust Fantasy Sibelius: Two Humoresques

28 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

March Art Courses: Graffiti and Urban Art at Beach Creative Community Arts CentreSat 28 Mar 2015Focus on stencil art. Our two hour short courses provide an introductory experience to different art techniques.

28 March 2015 to 28 March 2015

Illustrated Book Workshop at Beach Creative Community Arts CentreSat 28 Mar 2015Illustrated Book workshop Catherine Francis-Yates. Each participant will make a unique illustrated book based on 'The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner'. This workshop will take place over three consecutive weekends at Beach Creative.

29 March 2015 to 29 March 2015

Dulcie May and the Mystery Cats at Gulbenkian TheatreSun 29 Mar 2015Dulcie May and the Mystery Cats, Arcelia & Patrick Channon. Beautiful Town Music present a new monthly night in the Gulbenkian Cafe, featuring the best in bands and singer/songwriters.

29 March 2015 to 29 March 2015

The Simon and Garfunkel Story at The Marlowe TheatreSun 29 Mar 2015Direct from London’s West End, an exceptionally talented cast tell The Simon & Garfunkel Story using original film footage and featuring a live band performing hits including Mrs Robinson, Homeward Bound and Cecilia.

29 March 2015 to 29 March 2015

Enid Blyton drop-in family art activities at The Beaney House of Art & KnowledgeSun 29 Mar 2015Drop in to the Learning Lab to enjoy Enid Blyton inspired art and craft activities. For families with children age 2 to12 years.

19 February 2015 to 29 March 2015

Create a Remembrance Poppy at The Beaney House of Art & KnowledgeThu 19 Feb - Sun 29 Mar 2015Create a special poppy in the Explorers and Collectors Gallery in honour of a local soldier, sailor or airman who died. Dedicate it to their memory and add it to the In Remembrance WW1 exhibition poppy display in the Drawing Room.

19 February 2015 to 29 March 2015

In Remembrance at The Beaney House of Art & KnowledgeThu 19 Feb - Sun 29 Mar 2015Images, objects and words commemorating the centenary of World War One and the role played by local people: including VAD nurses and The Buffs Regiment, as well as those experiencing hardship and loss on the Home Front.

29 March 2015 to 29 March 2015

NT Live - Behind the Beautiful Forevers (live) at Gulbenkian CinemaSun 29 Mar 2015Meera Syal returns to the National Theatre, directed by Rufus Norris.

27 March 2015 to 29 March 2015

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG) at Gulbenkian CinemaFri 27 - Sun 29 Mar 2015Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith et al return for the sequel to John Madden’s very funny, very touching first film about the hotel populated by British retirees looking for a fresh start.

29 March 2015 to 29 March 2015

University of Kent Symphony Orchestra at Colyer-Fergusson BuildingSun 29 Mar 2015Sibelius Karelia Suite together with Dvořák Symphony No 9 in E minor, 'New World'

27 March 2015 to 29 March 2015

Wild Tales (15) at Curzon CanterburyFri 27 - Sun 29 Mar 2015Inequality, injustice and the demands of the world we live in cause stress and depression for many people. Most face them on bended knee - but some of them explode. This is a film about those people.

30 March 2015 to 30 March 2015

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Holy Week Lectures at Canterbury CathedralMon 30 Mar 2015I: The Risk of Prayer The Lecture will be followed by a service of music, scripture and praywe for Holy Week sung by the Cathedral Choir.

30 March 2015 to 30 March 2015

Beyond Clueless (15) at Gulbenkian CinemaMon 30 Mar 2015A dizzyingly enjoyable look at that most nostalgic of cinematic landscape, the teen movie. Drawing upon over 250 teen films, Lyne offers a funny, engaging and evocative analysis of these films' unending appeal.

30 March 2015 to 30 March 2015

The Craft (15) at Gulbenkian CinemaMon 30 Mar 2015A quintessential 1990s teen horror flick. A troubled teenager moves to L. A. where she falls in with a trio of outcast girls who practice witchcraft but things go too far when they invoke an unexpectedly powerful spirit.

31 March 2015 to 31 March 2015

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Holy Week Lectures at Canterbury CathedralTue 31 Mar 2015II: The Cost of Reconciliation The Lecture will be followed by a service of music, scripture and praywe for Holy Week sung by the Cathedral Choir.

01 March 2015 to 31 March 2015

One Man Show at Horsebridge Arts and Community CentreSun 1 - Tue 31 Mar 2015Help Paul Elliot raise money to make a film and realise an ambition before he gets to old and dies. Lots of fun but maybe not for all the family.

25 March 2015 to 31 March 2015

Altered Textiles at Horsebridge Arts and Community CentreWed 25 - Tue 31 Mar 2015Altered Textiles is a dynamic group of women passionate about textile art, each having unique creative skills.

25 March 2015 to 31 March 2015

Sirens at Horsebridge Arts and Community CentreWed 25 - Tue 31 Mar 2015Rosie Burns Prints and sculpture based on the female form.

31 March 2015 to 31 March 2015

Performance Lecture: Music for Semionauts at Sidney Cooper GalleryTue 31 Mar 2015Music for Semionauts Dr Lauren Redhead

31 March 2015 to 31 March 2015

Carry Greenham Home (tbc) at Gulbenkian CinemaTue 31 Mar 2015Filmed over seven months at the Greenham Common women's peace camp.

20 September 2014 to 31 March 2015

Kent Freemasonry and the First World War at Kent Museum of FreemasonrySat 20 Sep 2014 - Tue 31 Mar 2015A new temporary exhibition at Canterbury's Kent Museum of Freemasonry displays many items relating to The Great War and freemasonry that will be of interest to historians, anthropologists, genealogists and masons alike.

30 March 2015 to 04 April 2015

Rebecca at The Marlowe TheatreMon 30 Mar - Sat 4 Apr 2015Kneehigh are one of the world's most acclaimed theatre companies and their productions include the international hits Brief Encounter and Tristan and Yseult.

14 March 2015 to 06 April 2015

Kent Association for the Blind Portrait Exhibition at The Beaney House of Art & KnowledgeSat 14 Mar - Mon 6 Apr 2015Stunning photographic portraits and moving life stories which challenge people’s ideas of what it is like to live with sight loss.

10 March 2015 to 11 April 2015

Louise Bourgeois at Sidney Cooper GalleryTue 10 Mar - Sat 11 Apr 2015Exhibition: Louise Bourgeois: Autobiographical Series and 11 Drypoints

31 January 2015 to 19 April 2015

Mystery, Magic and Midnight feasts at The Beaney House of Art & KnowledgeSat 31 Jan - Sun 19 Apr 2015Mystery, Magic and Midnight feasts, the many adventures of Enid Blyton

01 January 2015 to 30 April 2015

Armchair Artist Residency at The Beaney House of Art & KnowledgeThu 1 Jan - Thu 30 Apr 2015Our new Armchair Artist is Nicky Thompson, who will be in residence between January and April, exploring the Beaney, using the experience to take her creative writing practice in fascinating new directions.

01 January 2015 to 30 April 2015

Armchair Artist in Residence - Rob Turner at The Beaney House of Art & KnowledgeThu 1 Jan - Thu 30 Apr 2015Our new Armchair Artist, Rob Turner, will be in residence between May - August 2015.

01 January 2015 to 30 April 2015

Poet in Residence: Canterbury Roman Museum - Gary at The Beaney House of Art & KnowledgeThu 1 Jan - Thu 30 Apr 2015Gary is a writer and visual artist with long-term connections to Canterbury.

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