The Via Francigena, also called Franchigena, is a main road used in the past by pilgrims to reach the three major Christian places in the medieval era: Santiago de Compostela, Rome and Jerusalem. The groups of pilgrims walked on foot 20-25 km per day, and were marked by three signs of recognition (the shell for Santiago de Compostela, the key to St. Peter's in Rome, the cross for Jerusalem).
The road was also used for the movements of armies and for commercial purposes. This continuous passage of people led to the construction of hospices, villages, monasteries and castles, which, being kept intact until today let us admire interesting examples of Romanesque architecture.
The city of Lucca, because of its location, was a focal point of the routes to Florence, Parma, the Po Valley, Luni and Pisa. It was reached by the road "via de supra", which crossed the old town of Feliciano, and the road "via de subtus", which passed through the ancient Lombard village of Tempagnano.
The merchants of the city of Lucca were able to make the most of the economic traffic generated by the numerous pilgrimages. This led to the increased of the wealth of the town.
The historical importance of the Via Francigena has been kept alive thanks to important studies and research, but especially thanks to the pilgrims who continue to travel it over time.