The Saint Augustine Walk is a 620 km long itinerary which starts in Monza and ends in Pavia, on the footprints of the Saint of Hippo. The itinerary touches 50 Marian shrines of Lombardy.
The Walk takes its name from Saint Augustine of Hippo, who came to Cassiciacum (modern-day Cassago) after his conversion. The time spent by the Saint in Brianza is documented in his “Confessions”. The symbol of this conversion, this change in Augustine’s life is the famous “belt” which the Madonna gave to Augustine’s mother, Saint Monica, in an apparition. The Marian pilgrimage touches three places in Lombardy which are related to the figure of Augustine of Hippo:
- Cassago Brianza, the anciet Rus Cassiciacum, the place of his conversion
- Milan, the imperial capital where he was baptized
- Pavia, where in the basilica of San Pietro in Ciel D'oro the remains of the Saint are keeped
However, the route also allows the walker to visit Brianza’s most important artistic and historic sites (churches, monasteries, ancient and modern monuments, nature reserves, parks and stately homes) starting from the Sanctuary and convent Santa maria delle Grazie in Monza, near the river Lambro.
A peculiar characteristic of the St. Augustine Walk is the shape of the path, which draws a stick figure rose. This rose has its flower in Brianza Como, Lecco and Monza, the leaves towards the east and west along the Province of Monza and Brianza, Milan, Bergamo and Varese, the stem to unite the city of Monza, Milan, Pavia and Genoa in a long axis running north-south, the roots connect cities "Augustinian" Tunis-Carthage, Hippo and Tagaste, on African soil.
The flower is a circular route, about 350 kilometres long, starting and ending in Monza. Ideally it is a 15-day walk, an eco-sustainable pilgrimage, which links 30 shrines to the Virgin Mary.
The stops of the path in Monza and Brianza province:
- Santuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie - Monza
- Santuary of Our Lady of Mercy - Vedano al Lambro
- Santuary of the Madonna del Borgo - Lissone
- Santuario della Madonna della Brughiera - Biassono
- Santuary of Santa Maria Assunta - Rancate di Triuggio
- Santuary of Our Lady of St. Valeria - Seregno
- Santuary of the Pilgrim Mother - Desio
- Santuary of Santa Maria della Frasca - Cesano Maderno
- Santuary of the Madonna del Lazzaretto - Ornago
- Santuary of Our Lady of the Rosary - Vimercate
- Santuario della Madonna del Castagno - Muggiò
The eastern leaf is a 99 km route from Milan to Monza along the Villoresi and Martesana canals and touches 8 Marian shrines.
The western leaf develops westwards from Monza to Milan and it is 91 km long along the Villoresi canal.
The stem of the rose links the cities of MOnza, Milan and Pavia along the Naviglio Grande and the Naviglio Pavese and touches 4 Marian shrines.
“The circular nature of the Walk provides symbolic and meaningful elements that are clearly reflected in the emblem chosen for the Walk itself but also, and above all, in the Augustinian belt, a symbol of commitment and constancy in one’s ideals, in one’s existential vocation: the image of a path of life that leads on and returns to the Spirit. The belt as an Augustinian symbol of intimate attachment to one’s faith, attained after a long and arduous walk.”
The symbol of the Saint Augustine Walk
The symbol is based on the circle of 12 stars on a blue background (the logo of the European Union), overlapped by a second elliptical circle of yellow stars representing the 25 shrines and the closed circular nature of the Walk. Inside the two circles of stars lies a stylized representation of the royal crown that is the symbol of Monza and, more generally, of the whole of Brianza.
The route was planned as a walk of Marian inspiration. Never has the veneration of the Madonna been made so evident as it is in Brianza’s many places of worship and, more generally, in the displays of faith manifested in shrine images, chapels and Marian grottoes. Although its religious and spiritual value is obvious, the Walk can also be enjoyed, on foot or by bike, by the non-religious looking for an ‘intelligent’ holiday: a real sustainable tourism experience in a still little-known area.
The walking tour is described in Renato Ornaghi’s "Il Cammino di Sant'Agostino", published by Opificio Monzese delle Pietre Dure.
On the official web site of The Saint Augustine Walk are available:
- electronic maps in GPS format
- maps which shows the extension of the route till Expo 2015 site, Malpensa, Linate and Orio al Serio airports
- maps which shows the extension of the route in North Africa (Tunisia and Algeria)
- discussion forums
The Walk and the Shrines to the Virgin Mary along the Saint Augustine Walk
Day 1 – 21.7 km
Monza – Shrine of Santa Maria delle Grazie - Start
Vedano al Lambro – Shrine of Madonna della Misericordia 7.4
Lissone – Shrine of Madonna del Borgo 1.8
Triuggio – Shrine of Santa Maria Assunta 12.5
Day 2 – 26.2 km
Seregno – Shrine of Madonna di S. Valeria 12.0
Desio – Shrine of Madonna del Pellegrino 4.0
Cesano Maderno – Shrine of Santa Maria della Frasca 10.2
Day 3 – 27.1 km
Cucciago – Shrine of Madonna della Neve 22.4
Cantù – Shrine of Madonna dei Miracoli 4.7
Day 4 – 24.4 km
Alzate Brianza – Shrine of Madonna di Rogoredo 24.4
Day 5 – 15.4 km
Inverigo – Shrine of S. Maria della Noce 8.6
Monguzzo – Shrine of Nostra Signora di Lourdes(Our Lady of Lourdes) 8.8
Day 6 – 20 km
Caslino d’Erba – Shrine of Madonna di S. Calocero 20.0
Day 7 – 15.8 km
Valmadrera – Shrine of Madonna del Latte 15.8
Day 8 – 14.3 km
Pusiano – Shrine of Santa Maria Madonna della Neve 14.3
Day 9 (10) – 47.3 km
Cassago Brianza – Domus Augustini 22.1
Barzago - Shrine of Madonna di Bevera 25.2
Day 10 (11) – 20.3 km
Valgreghentino - Shrine of Madonna di Czestochowa 14.9
Airuno - Shrine of Madonna Addolorata 5.4
Day 11 (12) – 31.9 km
Colle Brianza – Shrine of Madonna del Sasso 8.7
Montevecchia - Shrine of Beata Vergine del Carmelo 23.2
Day 12 (13) – 23.3 km
Merate – Shrine of S. Maria Nascente16.0
Imbersago - Shrine of Madonna del Bosco 7.3
Day 13 (14) – 32.9 km
Cornate d’Adda – Shrine of Madonna della Rocchetta 9.3
Ornago - Shrine of Beata Vergine del Lazzaretto 23.6
Day 14 (15) – 29.7 km
Vimercate – Shrine of Beata Vergine della Misericordia 8.2
Monza – Shrine of Santa Maria delle Grazie 21.5
Total length of the Saint Augustine Walk: 352.4 km