The Way of St. Augustine is a Marian walking trail inspired by the life of Saint Augustine and designed to link fifty Marian shrines spread along the road, in Lombardy. The route takes in three of the most important towns of Lombardy which are significant to the story of Augustine of Hippo: Cassago Brianza (formerly, Rus Cassiciacum i.e.the place of his conversion), Milan (the imperial capital city, i.e. the place of his christening) and Pavia where the remains of the Saint (to whom the Way is dedicated) are buried.
The long distance path can be walked in either direction from Pavia to Genoa (i.e the city where the Augustinian remains were carried by boat in the 7th century on their way to Pavia, along the so-called Salt Way.) The total length of the Italian route is 926Km but it is also possible to continue the trail for further 605Km to the Northern Africa, from Tunis-Carthage to Hippo and back, passing through Tagaste.
(The Way passes by the site of the 2015 Universal Exposition.)
The Way of the Rose: flower, leaves, stem and roots
One of the most peculiar features of the Way of St. Augustine is its pattern which looks like a stylized rose.
The flower pattern of the Way of the rose is found in the region which is called Brianza which encloses the cities of Como, Lecco and Monza, the leaves extend eastward and westward along the provinces of Monza-Brianza, Milano, Varese and Bergamo, the stem links the cities of Monza, Milano, Pavia and Genova along a route running northward and southward. Finally, the roots tie the African Augustinian cities of Tunis-Carthage, Tagaste and Hippo.
The pattern of the flower is a closed circular 352-Km long footpath which can be approximately walked in 15 days: it starts and ends in Monza, comprising thirty Marian shrines and passing through Rus Cassiciacum, the town where Augustine had lived for several months and converted to Christianity, just before his christening in Milan.
The Eastern Leaf
It is a 91-Km long footpath that runs eastward from Milan to Monza, along the Villoresi and Martesana channels, passing by 8 Marian shrines and assuring pilgrims coming from the airport of Orio al Serio in Orio of a direct link by foot.
The Western Leaf
It is a 91-Km long footpath that runs westward from Monza to Milan, along the Villoresi channel and the so-called Expo 2015 “Waterways”, passing by 8 Marian shrines and assuring pilgrims coming from the airport of Malpensa in Milan of a direct link by foot.
It links the cities of Monza, Milan, Pavia and Genoa along both the Naviglio Grande and the Naviglio Pavese and extending southward along the Salt Way in the Apennines. It passes by 4 Marian shrines for a total of about 384 Km (assuming different “there and back” walks from Pavia to Genoa).
They link the native places of Augustine on the African route, crossing the cities of Tunis-Carthage, Tagaste and Hippo. The trail can be walked in 30 days from Tunisia to Algeria and back for a total of about 605 Km.