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The Way stage by stage

Home Ways Italian Way The Way stage by stage


All the material useful to travel the Italian branch of the Celestial Path from Barbana to Mount Lussari or vice versa is summarized in the table at the Useful material page.

The "Heavenly Way" is a route brought back to life thanks to a group of people belonging to different associations, coming from very different backgrounds. Most of them didn't know each other, but they had one thing in common: they were all pilgrims, women and men embarking on a journey to reach a spiritual destination. Many of us have experienced the Way of St. James (to Santiago).

We are Italian, Slovenian, Carinthians and Friulian people. We love our region and we want it to be a peaceful place, one of fraternity and friendly coexistence among different people and cultures. This is why we made an international route where pilgrims of different nationalities can come together to reach the same destination: the Sanctuary of Mount Lussari. For centuries the people of Friuli-Venezia Giulia have come here to revere the image of the Virgin Mary. They used to reach this place following trails that we succeeded in uncovering thanks to the creative and religious marks left along the way by the pilgrims, over the years.

The Heavenly Way was opened in summer 2006 with the blessing of our bishops. It consists of 3 itineraries each starting in a place of historic and religious significance. The first itinerary starts in Italy, from Aquileia, the town where the Gospel was first announced and from where the missionaries started their journey toward the heart of Europe to spread the Word of the Lord. The second itinerary starts in Slovenia, from Brezje, a village near Kranj representing the most important place of invocation to the Mother of God in this country. The third itinerary starts in Austria, from Gurk, a town near Klagenfurt with a wonderful 8th century church which is actually a relevant place both for the history of Carinthia and the cultural/religious identity of Central Europe. The pilgrims take a journey on foot leaving from 3 different places and meet in Camporosso to ascend Mount Lussari together, reaching a summit of 1790 m.

The Italian itinerary starts in Aquileia and crosses Aiello, Cormons, Castelmonte, Cividale, the Gran Monte park and the Resia and Dogna valleys. The Slovenian itinerary starts in Brezje and crosses Jesenice, Kranjska Gora, Rateče, Fusine and Tarvisio. The Austrian itinerary starts in Gurk and crosses Sankt Veit, Klagenfurt, Maria Wörth, Maria Gail, Arnoldstein, Coccau and Tarvisio.

We did this pilgrimage for the very first time from 7th to 15th August, assisted by friends who helped us to carry out this "baptism". Thanks to this experience, we now know what to improve and adjust to improve the route for future pilgrims. On June 2007 the Way was metaphorically "delivered" to the pilgrims. The pilgrims start the journey whenever they want, organising the itinerary the way it best suits them, choosing among the several trails available.

The Iter has been so far a local pilgrimage, but now it is hopefully evolving into something bigger: it is becoming part of a wider and international network of pilgrimage routes. With this in mind, all of us are working hard to provide pilgrims with safe and suitable trails across our beautiful region, as well as promote the most beautiful and relevant places and the cultural aspects of the area.

A detailed Italian guide of the Heavenly Way entitled "Il Cammino Celeste - A piedi da Aquileia al Monte Lussari" ("The Heavenly Way - from Aquileia to Mount Lussari on foot"), Ediciclo publisher-Portogruaro is already available to the public. The guide is 178 pages long, it features 120 colour pictures, 35 geographical maps (1:25,000 scale) with trail details and descriptions. Ask your bookseller to order a copy of the guide, or alternatively you can order the guide from Edicico's website: "Il Cammino Celeste" - Ediciclo Editore.

Please note that what we are talking about is not (and is not intended to be) an organised trip. There is no registration, no organisational structure and no personnel to inform the hospitality points of your arrival (you must inform them yourself). The Way is an "open trail", a collection of suggested itineraries among which you can choose the best for you. For us, and from an historic and religious point of view, it represents a Path of Faith, but everyone is free to walk it and live it in a personal way, while still honouring and reflecting the "spirit of the true pilgrim”. This website is dedicated to the Friulian route (from Aquileia to Mount Lussari) Austrian route and the Slovenian route are under construction.

The Friulian path suggested is divided in 11 stages. Pilgrims may organise their journey according to their personal interests and needs, as in every pilgrimage. Indeed, you may choose whether to follow the standard itineraries or take a personalised one. You can choose accommodation different from those most commonly recommended and also take interesting alternative routes such as the one suggested to reach the “Abbazia di Rosazzo” (Rosazzo Abbey) or the Gran Monte or along the cycle path to Pontebba.

Finally, we truly hope that whoever embarks on this pilgrimage, regardless of the reason, has a heart full of humility and is ready to embrace whatever this experience offers.

…and whatever route you take: "May it be a good one".

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Technical notes

The Itinerary:

The Heavenly Way is a new pilgrimage route. As such it is still evolving, and this affects many aspects of the itinerary.

The Iter is made up of a variety of routes and existing paths that were already available to walkers. All have been inspected, therefore even if the road you are about to take is a cart track or a trail, don't worry: most of the time it will be accessible, the only potential obstacle being snow. However don't forget that although part of the Way, these roads are not maintained by dedicated personnel and the "unexpected" could always be around the corner, even if you are walking plains: road works in progress or detours could force you to modify course. Unfortunately it is not always possible to have up-to-date news about the road conditions, therefore in case of problems, do not hesitate to report them in writing to: camminoceleste@libero.it.

The Heavenly Way can be walked end to end from June to September only. In winter the roads are often covered by snow and in some cases snowfall is so heavy that more than half the whole iter is unaccessible and the pilgrims can walk only the initial four stages, up to Cividale.

Considering its varying altitude, the Heavenly Way can therefore be quite demanding at times and there is no comparison between the Santiago Way and the Heavenly Way at all. The Heavenly Way is just 220 km long, but you will have to ascend more than 6000 m and then descend almost 3000 m. This means pilgrims must be ready for a physical challenge.

One more thing: it is well known that walking in the mountains is more than just gentle slopes and nice trails through the woods. This means that despite our efforts, sometimes we couldn't avoid some routes where pilgrims will have to be particularly careful because of the width of the trail, the slope or the steep side of the mountain and so on... Anyway, it goes without saying that it pays to be careful at all times and not just when walking the above-mentioned routes. However there are no tracks that require technical skills.

The guide clearly highlights the few difficult sections along the way. Apart from these sections, all the other routes are easy to walk and require no particular caution or skills. If you suffer from vertigo or similar problems you can take one of the many alternative roads that run at the bottom of the valley, but they are paved.

There is one more important aspect to consider: footwear. When you walk across a plain trekking sandals are good, and light trekking shoes are usually enough to walk forest roads. Nevertheless sometimes forest roads and trails in particular may require a pair of hiking boots or at least ankle boots to support your feet and ankles. In addition to this, don't forget that Eastern Friuli is one of the rainiest areas in Italy.

Please note that the starting and finishing points of some stages are sometimes intentionally "generic" or take churches, squares and so on as a point of reference, to allow pilgrims to find the road to take, independently of their accommodation. As far as the names of small villages are concerned, you will find them all on the guide, but don't expect to find relevant road signs along the way, especially if you walk country roads. To help you orient yourself we matched the texts of the guide and almost all the crossroads on the maps with numbers allowing you to ascertain your current position.

Moreover the itineraries are marked by white-blue signposts, to help you take the correct road when there is a choice of more than one. 500 are the signs placed both from the sea to the mountain and vice versa. The Celestial Way is among the most well-marked in Italy.

Accommodation and hospitality points:

As far as accommodation and hospitality points are concerned, you will find the dedicated PDF "Stages in detail and accomodation" under the section: Useful material.

The Credential:

As for the Santiago pilgrimage, the Heavenly Way has its Credential too. The Credential is the document whose primary function is to attest the traveller/pilgrim.

You can download the Credential from the webpage Useful material under the section "Pilgrim's credential ", or you can also collect it from:

Isola di Barbana

Santuario di Barbana at the gift shop, phone 0431.80453
or at the sacristy of the Sanctuary


Souvenir Aquileia di Folla Silvia
street Patriarca Popone 2 - Aquileia
phone 0431.919045
e-mail: souvenir.aquileia@libero.it

Libreria Souvenir alla Basilica square Capitolo 4 - Aquileia
phone 0431.917698

Bar Al Barut street Julia Augusta 72 - Aquileia
(near the Forum on the state road, opens at 6.00 in the morning)
phone 0431.918696

Aiello del Friuli

Aiello, Mr Pantanali Aurelio
street G. Marconi 65 - Aiello

Italian language only:
phone 324.7776584

Bar Centrale street XXIV Maggio - Aiello
phone 333.1006320

Cartoleria da Mali square Roma 2 - Aiello
phone 0431.886162

Useful suggestions

If this is your first pilgrimage or if you are not an expert hiker, you will find useful suggestions contained in the PDF file "The Heavenly Way - suggestions" under the section Useful material.

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All the material useful to travel the Italian branch of the Celestial Path from Barbana to Mount Lussari or vice versa is summarized in the table at the Useful material page.