THE VIA FRANCIGENA ASSOCIATION
THE PIAZZA GRANDE MEDIEVAL TOWER NOT ONLY HOUSES THE CASA CREMONINI TOURIST OFFICE, BUT ALSO THE EUROPEAN VIA FRANCIGENA ASSOCIATION AND ITS OFFICES. THE STAFF OF THE TOURIST OFFICE WELCOME PILGRIMS AND ISSUE CREDENTIALS FOR THOSE DECIDING TO START THEIR PILGRIMAGE FROM FIDENZA ITSELF.
Today we’ll take you to the heart of Fidenza, also called Borgo San Donnino. The starting point is Piazza Grandi, where the town’s medieval tower watches over the ruins of its Roman bridge which once, centuries ago, made it possible to ford the Stirone river and gave access to the town. From the second half of the 14th century the battlemented tower was an integral part of the defensive walls built at the behest of the powerful Visconti family who ruled the town. Standing with your back to the tower you get a wonderful view of the cathedral devoted to martyr Donnino. Behold the building’s exceptionally beautiful façade which is attributed to Benedetto Antelami. What you are contemplating is a story sculpted into the stone, comprising episodes and holy figures from the Old and New testaments, the story of the saint’s life, pilgrims and testimonies to faith. If you walk along the right-hand side of the building, passing along Via Micheli and Vicolo del Teatro you get to Piazza Verdi with the Girolamo Magnani Civic Theatre.
It was built in the 19th century on the remains of San Francesco’s Church. Still now a venue for top quality art and theatre, it was inaugurated on 26 October 1861 with Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘Il Trovatore’. Just a stone’s throw away is the town hall, built in the 13th century and modified on various occasions over the years, now a major feature of Piazza Garibaldi. An obelisk, cafés, shops, the main street promenade – you’re in Fidenza’s beating heart now. Continue along Via Berenini to Palazzo delle Orsoline, an 18th century building and once residence for the Orsoline nuns. This is the site of the M. Leoni Civic Library, the Luigi Musini Museum of Risorgimento, the Emanuelli Painting Gallery, the Youth Centre and the Fossil Museum. Nearby you can visit the early 18th century building complex which once belonged to the Jesuit Fathers. In addition to the boarding school, the complex comprised Gran Madre di Dio’s Church with its baroque façade and a tall belltower overlooking the town. It is now time to return to our starting point without forgetting to stop a moment to have a look at the façade of 16th century San Michele’s Church and the various decorative elements of the buildings overlooking the town’s two main streets.
STARTING POINT/FINISHING POINT Casa Cremonini
LENGTH 2.5 km
ROAD SURFACE TYPE tarred road
DIFFICULTY LEVEL easy
TIME REQUIREDApprox. 1 hour
POINTS OF INTEREST
You must have an app that opens kml files on your device, in order to view the itinerary on your phone, like for example Google Earth. The GPX files must be installed on the gps using the app given by the provider.