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The ancient patriarchal way

Home Ways Italian way The Ancient Way

Towards the Sanctuary of Mount Lussari

The Iter is a pilgrimage that winds through the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. It is shorter than the pilgrimages leading to Rome, Jerusalem or Santiago de Compostela, but longer than other pilgrimages running across one region towards a single sanctuary. Iter Aquileiense means “the Way of Aquileia”. It joins the town of Aquileia - once seat of the ancient Patriarchate - to Mount Lussari and its Sanctuary through a route dotted by churches, places and cities particularly relevant to the region’s history.

The ancient route of the Iter has been reconstructed thanks to historical sources, written documents, reference points within the landscape itself, artistic votive constructions, but also thanks to the memories of older members of the community. Indeed, the Iter can be seen as a “trail of the memory”, a journey through the territory and through history. We managed to bring it to light retracing the whole route first, and then mapping it, but it is the presence of pilgrims walking the Iter that truly brings it back to life.

The Iter will lead you across the Friuli region from the sea to the mountains. Along the way you will see tiny votive churches and beautiful ancient altarpieces to keep you company throughout your journey and you will also see the remains of ancient centres managed by monastic and chivalric orders. The Iter will be soon marked by blue trails, but please bear in mind that the trails described in this website have actually been retraced and reconstructed from scratch, step by step. Indeed over the years the original paths had been replaced by railroads, roads, bridges and villages, cancelling the original trails, moving and rerouting the ancient path that our forefathers used to walk. Despite this, thanks to in-depth research, we managed to rebuild an iter faithful to the original. To this end, suggestions and memories of the older members of the community who still remember how to reach most of the churches on foot, even those far away, proved to be of critical importance.

In addition to its patriarchal origins, the Way is also of particular significance to the Marian cult. Indeed it is after the Marian cult that the route was named "the Heavenly Way". The Way actually links several Marian cult sites and all along the route you will see beautiful niches, altarpieces and images of Mary, not to mention a number of lesser-known art treasures! The slow pace of your journey will also allow you to be carried away by the beauty of the landscape turning from lagoons and plains into rivers and small towns, from the Collio vineyards and the river valleys into the pre-Alps mountains and the Julian Alps. This journey will surprise you with many beautiful things to see, but also with the intriguing variety of dialects you will hear on your way through Friuli.

But the Iter doesn’t just stop in Friuli: it crosses the borders of Italy and joins our Region to Austria and Slovenia thanks to two new Ways leading to the Lussari Sanctuary. After all, the Friuli-Venezia Giulia has always been a "land of passage" because of its geographical position, and become home to people from the East as well as from the West, the North and the sea. Let's open up and welcome our neighbours as well as those who come from far away.

Let's start this journey through the Iter Aquileiense, let’s meet "iterum", along the way, as in the past.

Every pilgrimage has its own history, a history made by those who walked it and by those who will walk it again, step by step. The Heavenly Way is waiting for you, add your journey to its enduring legacy!