The St. Augustine Route
The St. Augustine Route
The "Rose Path": 26 days - 620 km from Monza to Pavia, 10 days - 150 km from Pavia to Genoa.
The St. Augustine Route is a Marian pilgrimage to be walked in the name of the "Saint of Grace", a Way which in conceived to reach and connect fifty Marian shrines of Lombardy in its 26 stages. The route also touches three Lombard locations involved with Agostino da Ippona: Rus Cassiciacum (today Cassago Brianza, place of his conversion), Milan (the imperial capital city, place of his baptism) and Pavia, where the relics of the Saint are located to which the Way is dedicated. A saint born and died in Africa but who, for truly mysterious reasons, left his most important testimonies and historical memories in those three places in Lombardy.
The journey involves a considerable extension - in both directions - from Pavia to Genoa (the city where the Augustinian relics were landed in the seventh century, to be moved to Pavia along the old Via del Sale). The current length of the Italian routes is 770 km. It is possible to continue the route for a further 605 km in North African land, from Tunis-Carthage to Hippo and back, passing through Tagaste.
Together with the Augustinian places and the fifty Marian sanctuaries (many of which are in themselves very valuable from the historical and architectural point of view) the path of the Way is arranged in such a way as to include along the road the most important artistic sites and more generally of interest in the Lombard territory (churches, monasteries, ancient and modern monuments, parks, delight villas).
This Way has been prepared having as a sort of ideal reference the most famous Way of Santiago de Compostela, even if the Way of St. Augustine has peculiarities that are proper, with some interesting and original elements: first of all the original inspiration underlying this pilgrim proposal which is - institutionally - of Marian origin.
To enrich this almost unique patrimony of testimonies of faith in the Virgin, the presence of Saint Augustine in Milan and the now clarified domicile in Rus Cassiciacum (today the Municipality of Cassago Brianza) also join. And the symbol of this conversion, of this change of life in Augustine is represented by the famous "belt" that Our Lady of Sorrows gave apparently to Saint Monica, Augustine's mother. Symbol, this of the belt, of Saint Augustine first and of fidelity to the Augustinian Rule then, as such adopted by his religious Order.
Unlike other paths, the St. Augustine Route has in fact the characteristic of being in its first phase, as has already been specified, closed and circular, a route that brings the pilgrim back to the starting point of the route, after the its complete execution.
This closed circularity offers symbolic elements of meditation, which are quite evident above all in the Augustinian belt as a symbol of commitment and constancy in one's faith, in one's ideality, in one's existential vocation: image of a path of life that moves and returns to the Spirit. Belt as an Augustinian symbol of intimate adherence to one's creed, conquered after a demanding journey of conversion.
And while being explicit - as we have seen - the Marian, Augustinian and spiritual religious value of this Way, nevertheless it can also be well interpreted and realized in a more secular key, that is, practiced only for the purpose of detaching oneself for a few days from one's own concerns : a moment of leisure and intelligent holiday on foot or by bicycle, a real path of sustainable tourism in an area of Italy that is still little known to most, but nevertheless very rich in monumental and somewhat fascinating landscape testimonies.