A Journey through History, Spirituality and Nature
The Way of the Holy Face is a pilgrimage route that links the Vatican City to the Basilica of the Holy Face in Manoppello (in Pescara), through 300 km to go and 12 stopovers. Each of them is characterized by special scenic, cultural and spiritual aspects, offering the pilgrims and tourists the precious opportunity to know an area of extraordinary historical and artistic interest. The route has also precious environmental qualities. Moreover, along the way, incoming tourists and pilgrims can also enjoy the special welcome that local communities reserve to them at each stopover.
For pilgrims, the route begins at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Then, it crosses the city of Rome and a number of smaller municipalities and tourist and religious sites distributed on the path of the ancient Roman road Via Tiburtina, which connects Rome and Abruzzo. At the end, the Way reaches the Basilica of the Holy Face in Manoppello (in Pescara), ideally retracing the route of the anonymous pilgrim who, once left Rome, brought The Veronica in Manoppello in the 16th Century – as reported by "relatione historica" by Fra’ Donato da Bomba (1640).
In the spirit of sobriety of the pilgrimage, travelers stay overnight adapting to local availability. At times accommodations are made available by the host municipalities, at other times small family-run accommodations are offered. Thus, pilgrims have always the opportunity to meet the local communities and to experience the traditional hospitality.
The pilgrimage is thus well experienced in its spiritual values, but also through a contemplative knowledge of the landscape to be discovered on foot, by bicycle and on horseback. It is a real path of sustainable tourism in an area that is still relatively unknown to most people, but very rich in monumental evidence and fascinating landscape.
On the Way of the Holy Face there are:
More than 30 municipalities, from Roma Capitale to other cities such as Tivoli and Guidonia, up to small villages of a few hundred inhabitants spread over 3 provinces (Rome, L'Aquila and Pescara).
4 Natural Parks: the Monti Simbruini Park, the ancient Abruzzo National Park, the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park and the Majella National Park.
A large number of Nature Reserves: the Aniene Valley, the Sagittarius Canyons, the Sources of the Pescara river and other territorial parks such as the one of the Lavino river.
Numerous and splendid architectural remains of the Franciscan and Benedictine monasticism, Cistercian abbeys and shrines, caves and hermitages, all related to the Abruzzese religious culture of the Middle Ages. Castles and fortresses as evidence of the history and power of the most important feudal families living in central Italy at that time.
Important archaeological sites such as the Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli or the Alba Fucens in Abruzzo, vestiges of the ancient Roman road Via Tiburtina Valeria and many examples of the Roman history and of the Italic peoples who lived between Abruzzo and Lazio.
Rural churches and springs along the stretches of the ancient Royal Tratturo (drovers’ path), memories of the transhumance tradition, typical of the Apennines’ pastoral culture.
All this is possible thanks to the commitment and determination of some municipalities spread over Abruzzo and Lazio. Their collaboration has been formalized in a Temporary Association ("Way of the Holy Face") whose leader is the Municipality of Manoppello. The association aims to coordinate the contribution of all members to ensure the success of the pilgrimage and the effective promotion of the Way. The main purpose is to make it a European route, known and crossed by travelers and pilgrims from all around the world.
The Way of the Holy Face therefore aims to become an important safeguard instrument and a way to promote and enhance the regional hinterland of Abruzzo and Lazio. The major priority of the project is to improve the quality of life in rural areas by means of various actions in order to create services not only in the field of tourism and culture, but also to protect the landscape and to promote the diffusion of technological innovation. Moreover, supporting the business creation and the employment development, especially related to young people.