Albert was born in the late 12th century and became abbot in 1232 of the Benedictine Monastery of the Holy Virgin Mary in Stade, then an important Hanseatic port city located at the mouth of the Elbe River in Germany.
In the convent, which was very influential due to its land holdings, Abbot Albert recognized the need to incorporate a stricter ecclesiastical discipline, following the model of Cistercian rules.
Having to obtain permission from Pope Gregory IX in Rome for this purpose, he began the journey to Rome, the center of Christianity.
The pope gave his approval to the desired reform, but the brethren and the relevant archbishop, the archbishop of Bremen, rejected it, interested more in a balance of power with the House of Welfen than in further efforts to reform the monastery.
Disappointed, Albert resigned his position and entered the convent of the Friars Minor of St. John (devoted to the Franciscan ideal of poverty), of the city of Stade.
Here he devoted himself to writing, in addition to some theological works, the so-called Annales, a Latin chronicle of the most important ecclesiastical and political events of his time.
Included in this work is a dialogue between the two monks, Tirri and Firri, about the best routes for a pilgrimage to Rome. In the dialogue, written in the form of a story, as was often done in the Middle Ages, the Abbot provides several routes with precise data on places at distances to be crossed, road conditions, and exact indications of the length of individual stages in German miles. The original manuscript is in the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbuttel, Germany. Abbot Albert’s journey, is today the official route of the Via Romea Germanica. (Monk Albert – Brief History)
MANUSCRIPT ABBOT ALBERTO DI STADE
Photographic excerpt of the manuscript held at the Wolfenbuttel Library in Germany, made for the Via Romea project
Annales Stadenses – Wolfenbuttel.
MAP OF THE TRAVEL OF MONACO ALBERT (c. 1236).
Indication of the routes taken by Monk Albert on the outward (Via Francigena) and return (Via Romea Germanica – the Melior Via). Map Annales Stadenses
MAP – VATICAN MUSEUMS – MAP GALLERY
The Vatican Gallery of Maps has an artistic, geographical, but also symbolic interest: the set of all the maps represented is a prefiguration of a spiritual, as well as geographical, unity of Italy. It was commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII and is the work of several artists Girolamo Muziano, Cesare Nebbia, the two Flemish brothers Matthijs Bril and Paul Bril, Giovanni Antonio Vanosino da Varese, and Antonio Danti who decorated and frescoed it between 1580 and 1585, following the instructions of the Dominican geographer Ignazio Danti, a native of Perugia. It is interesting to see the areas of Italy placed along the route of the Via Romea Germanica, because despite the distance of more than three centuries, the territory is not very dissimilar to that seen by Monk Albert in 1236. Here is an example on Lake Trasimeno.
TOLLBOOTHS – PROPOSED RECOVERY OF ANCIENT ROMAN ITINERARY AND TRANSLATION ANNALES STADENSES-ITINERARY
Proposal for the cultural recovery of the ancient Via dei Romei with the translation of the parts of the Annales Stadenses in which the Albert Monk’s Way is mentioned. Prof. Giovanni Caselli, 2006
TOLLBOOTHS – DOCUMENT ON THE VIA ROMEA IN CASENTINO
The study of the Via Romea in Casentino, a place where many ancient roads meet, is presented.
MOUNTAIN COMMUNITIES FORLIVESE AND CESENATE – VIA DEI ROMEI
Report on the Vie Romee in the Province of Forlì-Cesena, prepared by Caterina Mambrini, Giuliano Marcuccini, William Rossi Vannini in 1995 in view of the Jubilee of 2000
GREENHOUSE PASS – REPORT SUPERINTENDENCE AREZZO
Archaeological report of the investigations carried out at Serra Pass in 1999 (edited by Luca Fedeli.
LUIGI POLO – A SURVEY OF ANGUILLARA VENETA – PD
Anguillara Veneta (Padua) is a town in the Po Valley, between Ferrara and Padua. A transit point through the centuries, it saw the passage of the monk Albert, who specifically mentions it in the ANNALES STADENSES. Louis Polo does this research, focusing on both reclamation and the passage of famous people during the past centuries.
Giovanni Caselli published a comprehensive book on all the Roads of Rome in Italy, a book now out of print. You can download the full PDF here:
THE WAYS OF ROME.
Roman expansion occurred along pre-existing road routes communicating with the territories of antagonistic peoples, so the stages of Roman expansion in Italy also indicate the chronology of the growth and development of the road system.
Download PDF Download Roman Roads Map
The Appian Way arose in this context, as a military route that allowed for faster communication with the southern borders of the conquered territory. The road was later extended as other territories fell under Rome’s rule.
The Via Aemilia traces a foothill track that originates from connecting centers undergoing urbanization to the terminals of the secondary ridges of the Apennines on the Po-Adriatic side. The Emilianoromagnolo Apennines offer a ‘comb-like’ ridge structure: from the main watershed descend parallel secondary ridges, at their terminals in the plains develop agricultural centers that exploit the fertile alluvial soil and communicate with the direction of the Apennine ridge.
It was the third major route of Roman expansion in chronological order and the first of the two great roads to the north in order of importance; it traversed Umbria and the Marches, arriving on the Adriatic coast at Fanum and ending at Senigallia.
The Alps consist of a corrugation of the earth’s surface in the shape of a semicircle that starting at the Cadibona Pass, close to the Ligurian Sea, runs westward then curves northward and then eastward until it tapers off with the Carpathian and Dinaric Alps in the eastern plains of Europe and the Balkans. This great corrugation is characterized by series of transverse valleys, crowned by rocky peaks of considerable height; communications from the Italian peninsula to Europe, whichever direction they face, must negotiate these rocky ridges.
PIERO BARGELLINI – PILGRIMS IN ROME
From the book “The Four Churches” the Basilicas of St. Peter’s in the Vatican, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. Mary Major, and St. John Lateran are briefly described.
GIOVANNI CASELLI and PRINCE CARLO of England.
Prof. Giovanni Caselli, a historian and walker, has long been concerned with the “Historical Routes” that have traversed all of Italy and Europe since the Middle Ages, and on which culture, religion, trade, and the very life of peoples have walked for centuries. Giovanni Caselli is a founding member of our Via Romea Germanica Association; but he was among the first to talk about rediscovering the Francigena, and this photo shows him with Prince Charles of England in Val d’Orcia in 1986, illustrating the ancient Way to him; the Prince followed up with a letter of appreciation from him
GIOVANNI CASELLI – URBAN AND ARCHITECTURAL EMERGENCIES ON THE VIA ROMEA DI STADE IN CASENTINO
Prof. Giovanni Caselli presents his study of Casentino, the area that stretches from the Romagna Ridge over the Tuscan mountains and hills toward Arezzo
ILARIA DI COCCO and PIER LUIGI DALL’AGLIO – THE LINE AND THE NET.
In this part of the Volume “La Linea e La Rete” edited by the Italian Touring Club and the Emilia-Romagna Region, the authors describe the Historical Viability in Emilia-Romagna and in particular, referring to the “Annales Stadenses,” of the Via Romea Germanica, also including the characteristics of the Bidente Valley.
GIORGIO INNOCENTI GHIACCINI – VIA ROMEA IN CASENTINO
In this research, the author summarizes his historical research in Casentino, indicating events, roads, villages, etc., related to the passage of pilgrims and wayfarers. Useful for understanding the Via Romea Germanica and its history in this part of Tuscany.
OSIRIDE GUERRINI – (Ravenna) – A JOURNEY OF SEQUENCES ON THE ROMAN ROAD: HISTORY OF A COASTAL ROAD.
Ravenna has been of fundamental importance for pilgrimages and connections by sea and land: not only because of its History, but also because of the continuous environmental and geo-morphological variation, related to subsidence, the shifting of the Adriatic coast, the variation of the course of rivers and marshy areas, land reclamation, and the birth of real “islands.” In this report, the author accurately and in great detail describes Ravenna’s communications from the Roman Empire to recent centuries.