The experience on the Via Francigena
of Michael and Claire Malonelee

(One fascinating report of their long journey on entire Sigeric’s Via Francigena,
studied, prepared for a long time and then carried out with obstinacy and precision
for 99 days and 1800 km made all on foot)

Logo Francigena

     (by Enea Fiorentini)

I have known Claire and Michael Malonelee while I was walking on the Via Francigena in Tuscany, the 15th October, 2004.   I was leading a crowd of hiker-pilgrims, mostly members of our Association "Giovane Montagna" coming from the sections of Mestre, Modena, Padova, Venice and Rome, in the stage: Gambassi Terme - San Gimignano.
For further details on this our trek, you might read the account in the "Aggiornamenti su attività francigena" (News about our activity concerning the "Via Francigena") section on my web site, at the address:
In the climb towards Montecarulli, before arriving to the interesting villages of Santo Pietro, Pāncole and Cellole, on the top of one slope, after a walk between fields just plowed, we met two solitary pilgrims, with heavy rucksacks.   In seeing them as they came closer to me, they appeared to me very trained and equipped.   However, they were not so bronzed and they seemed coming from some locality not so far from where we found ourselves.
As it always happens when other hikers meet themselves on the same way and they share the effort of the march and the pleasure to be together in a natural place, we started to exchange some speech.   I discovered that they were English but, above all, that they left their house in the Essex in England, on the July 24th, that were approximately 82 days before.   They were directed to Rome, where they would be arrived by the October end, after 99 days and 1800 km of walking.
The astonishment was so remarkable in all us and, after to have express them ours compliments and wishes for the exploit, all asked them the details for the travel, the feelings and the motivations that had them pushed in this adventure.
We made together a little road, then they continued fast toward San Gimignano, while our group stopped near Pāncole for the lunch.
As we arrived to San Gimignano, locality of arrival of our first stage (of the three previewed this year on the Via Francigena, with the end of walk into Siena - after approximately 65 km), I had to re-enter urgently to Rome for previous engagements and I lost the Malonelee's traces.
I left the group under the guide of Paolo Bindi, my friend from Siena, a great connoisseur of Tuscany and of the Via Francigena; than he happily accompanied the group until Siena.   Paolo newly met Claire and Michael along the way between San Gimignano and Siena and had the opportunity to speak with them along.
Therefore, a friendship was established between them, that is going on.
Paolo accompanied the couple also in the last stage of their way: La Storta - Rome, until St. Peter's Square.
The path of this last stage, which is woving his way through the city of Rome, it have cost us months and months of study and walking.
All this research work has been necessary in order to find a logical and sure pedestrian passage, without being forced to walk on asphalt of the Via Cassia and the Via Trionfale (roads extremely dangerous for the intense traffic) as many other pilgrims still made and make.
Therefore it is logical to imagine the astonishment and the acknowledgment of Michael and Claire for the guide of Paolo in this last stage, for to have been lead fastly and without dangers to the inside of the Monte Mario suburban natural Park (the "Mons Gaudii" of the ancient Pilgrims).
Above all, for the huge panorama of Rome from the high and for the sight of the Saint Peter's Dome.
After the conclusion of this extraordinary pilgrimage, Michael has written one interesting report that he has sended to Paolo.   Through Paolo, I have obtained the permission of Michael and Claire to publish it on my web site.
The report is written in English and I thought to publish it in this language integrally but, for greater comfort of the Italian readers, I have translate it in Italian with the aid of Paolo, much more good than me in this type of translations.
Having obtained their consent, I enclose to the text also some of the many photos taken from Claire and Michael during their journey.
Obviously, I cannot close this introduction without thank Michael and Claire Malonelee for their courtesy and without to send them my compliments for their adventure!
I have to thank also Paolo Bindi for its aid that has concurred for the publication of this report.
And, at last, I'd like to wish all the visitors of these pages a good reading...

Claire and Michael
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Claire and Michael Malonelee whom have covered integrally
the Sigeric’s route, from Canterbury to Rome, photographed
close to Montecarulli in Tuscany, the 15/10/2004
(Photo by B.Romanelli)

  Michael Malonelee’s account in english   FROM ESSEX TO ROME ON FOOT   Cronaca di Michael Malonelee in italiano   A PIEDI DALL’ESSEX A ROMA

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Updated - 13/04/2006