The Magna Via Francigena, from Palermo to Agrigento, became a pilgrimage in 2017 and locals are embracing the new visitors
“Sola?” “Si, sola.” Wherever I went, I was asked the same question: are you alone? When I replied in the affirmative, people were shocked and disapproving. Lone female travellers are still rare in Sicily’s hinterland, and those on foot are rarer still.
I was walking the Magna Via Francigena – the Great Road of the Frankish Knights – a nine-day, 116-mile coast-to-coast pilgrimage from Palermo, the Sicilian capital in the north, to Agrigento in the south. The route, which follows ancient drovers’ paths, became a pilgrimage in 2017 and is little known outside Italy. It seemed the ideal crowd-free alternative to Spain’s Camino de Santiago.