The only major interregional route was the Via Francigena, travelled by pilgrims and merchants on their way to Rome and coming from France. The economic and commercial recovery of towns and cities ensured that these routes enabled the growth and development of the surrounding areas, sparking a revolution of the pre-existing road network. The Tuscan road network changed completely in the thirteenth century, with the introduction of major roads, beginning in towns and cities, and minor roads, connecting all smaller towns and villages with the main roads.
The reclamation for farming of the plains and improvements in road construction techniques proved decision to this end, although most of the routes could still only be travelled by beasts of burden. New settlements were founded around the increasingly central role of these routes, which were no longer just simple “roads of faith”. Florence gave rise to San Giovanni, Terranova, Castelfranco, Montevarchi and Figline, Pontassieve, Dicomano, Vicchio, Borgo San Lorenzo, Barberino, Scarperia and Firenzuola; Lucca founded Pietrasanta and Camaiore. Grosseto, Massa, Carrara and Prato were founded at the same time. Still today, these communities correspond to spirituality in precise places, of worship and of meeting points, but always born “along the route”.