The Abbots’ Trail, also called the Pilgrim’s Way in the mountains, moves along the Apennine between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna in the provinces of Piacenza, Parma, Massa Carrara in the territories belonging to the Municipalities of: Bobbio – Coli – Farini – Bardi – Borgotaro – Pontremoli.
The trail is about 125 km long, more challenging than the renowned Pilgrim’s Way, because it unwinds along mountain paths, mule tracks, dusty tracks once treaded by carts, moving through valleys and steep tracks for an altitude gap of over 6000 metres overall. The trait Bobbio-Pontremoli is marked in red and white horizontal lines (CAI path) and is also georeferenced with GPS.
In 2012 the path linking Pavia with Bobbio was discovered. This was possible by following the indications of the Longobard historian Paolo Diacono. This trail, passing by Caminata, Pometo, Canevino, Cella and other historical villages, is 66 km long. It can be considered a continuation of the Abbots’ Way, which becomes the Apennine variant of the Pilgrim’s Way, connecting Pavia and Bobbio to Pontremoli.
In the early Middle Ages, from 600 to 1000, this was the path that the abbots used to tread to reach Rome. A trail also used to transport people and goods from the properties of the monastery located in Taro and Ceno valleys and in Tuscany towards Bobbio.
The path was also treaded back and forth by Irish travellers, both religious people but also laymen who, in their pilgrimage to Rome, used to stop in Bobbio. Here they visited St. Columba’s tomb, the Irish Fransciscan monk who contributed to the religious conversion of Lombards in the area.
Today the trail has been reopened, allowing visitors to fill their lungs with the atmosphere from long ago. The path still bears signs from the Middle Ages with springs, fountains and hostels.