A stop-off of primary importance for pilgrims of the Via Francigena is Cabriolo with its pieve is dedicated to Archbishop and martyr St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury, who is supposed to have stayed here in 1167 on his way to Rome. Next to the church, the Templars built a “mansio” around the year 1200 in order to provide pilgrims with hospitality and comfort; the hospice was destroyed by a fire, rebuilt and refurbished in the centuries that followed. The present building is a 19th-century enlargement of the original hospice.

A scenic road will lead you to Bargone and its majestic castle, which belonged to the Bishops of Parma first and then to the noble Ghibelline Pallavicino family. Continuing along the route, you’ll reach Tabiano Bagni, a renowned spa town which is also known as the “Città del Respiro” (the Town of Breath), and, a little uphill, Tabiano Castello. This castle, together with those of Bargone and Scipione was part of a triangular defensive and protected system. The way back to Fidenza passes through two picturesque valleys – Siccomonte and Cogolonchio.  In Siccomonte, a place of transit for pilgrims heading towards Rome, you can visit the 16th-century church dedicated to San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist) and its high bell tower.

For more information: www.valsiccomonte.it

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