Centre for Continuing Education

Classic Journeys Course: The Road to Rome

History. See the future. It’s in the past.

The world as we know it today has been shaped by events of the past. Learn about history the smart way with History courses at CCE, The University of Sydney.

In this classic journeys history course we look at the background of the pilgrimage to Rome, and the preparations required for a journey across Europe along the ancient Via Francigena. The Via Francigena was an ancient route once used by medieval pilgrims and other travellers on their way from Canterbury to Rome. Throughout the ages, merchants, armies and members of the clergy traveled back and forth between Northern Europe and Rome carrying goods, money and information. The route is now once again being recognized as an essential part of Europe’s history and reminders of its past were still to be found along its course.


At the end of this classic journeys history course, participants will be able to:

  • Decide whether to undertake this journey.
  • Understand more of Europe’s history.
  • Know about historic sites to visit.
  • Develop a greater interest in traditional pilgrim customs.
  • Be aware of times and distances to cover in England, Switzerland & Italy.
  • Be more confident of designing their own itinerary.


This classic journeys history course will cover the following topics:

England – Canterbury to Dover

  • Introduce the pilgrimage along the Via Francigena.
  • Why walk? The benefits.
  • Explore the beginnings of the Rome pilgrimage tradition.
  • Participants sharing their travel experiences.

Switzerland – St. Croix to Grand St. Bernard Pass

  • Preparation for a walking journey.
  • Appropriate walking clothes, footwear and equipment.
  • Planning the walk – distances, times.
  • Crossing the Alps.

Italy – Lucca, Siena to Rome

  • Viterbo, Bolsena, Sutri.
  • Planning your walk.
  • Food, accommodation & luggage transport.
  • Planning the pilgrimage – distances, times.

Rome – the Eternal City

  • Christian sites in Rome.
  • Seven Pilgrim Churches.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • Rome’s attraction.
  • Time and Focus.

Intended Audience

This history course is suitable for people planning to travel the Via Francigena, or those who have a general interest in pilgrimages or walking journeys.

Delivery Style

This history course is delivered using a mixture of visual powerpoint presentations, readings by participants, discussions and a class quiz to assist with personal retention of the course material. The course is designed for people planning their own walking or general trips along the Road to Rome.

Recommended Reading

  • Pilgrimage: The great adventure of the Middle Ages, John Ure, Constable 2006.
  • The Path to Rome, Hilaire Belloc, Thomas Nelson 1908.
  • A Traveller in Italy, H.V. Morton, Methuen 2001.
  • The Search for Ancient Rome, Claude Moatti, Thames and Hudson 1989.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Certificate of completion