In the middle ages, the Via Romea Germanica was one of the main arteries between the Germanic world and central Italy. By the Via Romea Germanica, we mean the route that pilgrims from Scandinavia and central and eastern Europe took for Rome. The current itinerary follows the one enumerated in 1236 by Abbot Albert of Stade, who wrote a medieval travel guide for pilgrims in the form of an amusing dialogue between two fraudulent German monks called Tirri and Firri. The pair discuss the advisable roads to Rome and the Holy Land for pilgrims from northern Europe. According to Stade, the Via Romea Germanica, known also in the past as the Via di Stade or the Via Romea, dropped down into Italy via the Brenner Pass and descended through Alto Adige and Trentino, passing Vipiteno, Bressanone, Bolzano and Trento before crossing Valsugana and arriving at Bassano del Grappa (Veneto). From there it continued to Padua, Rovigo, Ferrara, Ravenna and Forlì, entering Tuscany by the Casentino Valley (province of Arezzo) and the historic Apennine gateway of the Serra Pass.
The Via Romea Germanica in Europe covers around 2,200 kilometres from Stade to Rome and crosses three countries, in 94 stages: 44 in Germany, 4 in Austria and 46 in Italy. In Tuscany it bisects the whole province of Arezzo, passing through Chitignano and Cortona before bending into Umbria, through the territory of Castiglion del Lago, Città della Pieve, and then Orvieto. It finally reaches Lazio, hitting Civita and then Montefiascone, from where it shares its last six legs to Rome with the Via Francigena.
It spans 1022km in northern Italy, with 53% of that on artificial roads (there are a good number of bicycle lanes) and 47% on dirt tracks. The Via Romea Germanica in Tuscany amounts to seven sections.