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Way of Santa Giulia: an evocative journey that starts from Livorno

The Way of St. Giulia is an evocative itinerary of a historical event, traced through the connection of Churches, Parish churches (dedicated to devotion to Santa Giulia) and other places of naturalistic cultural interest, which overlaps with the existing hiking network in a 467 km nature trail that goes from Livorno to Brescia.

In Tuscany it crosses 16 administrative areas involving, among others, the municipalities of Livorno and Collesalvetti.

The translation of 762 AD is the first historically verifiable information, but the hagiographic text that tells the story of martyrdom, probably composed in the 7th century, tells that Julia, a native of Carthage, is sold as a slave when the city is conquered.

Her master, Eusebius, in making a journey to Gaul, skirting Cap Corse, sees pagans who make a sacrifice to the gods and disembarks with all the sailors to attend the banquet.

Julia, who refuses to sacrifice to the gods, is crucified. The angels, who witnessed the death of the saint, announce it to the monks who live on the Island of Gorgona. They rush to a ship, lay the martyr’s body from the cross and take it to their island, where she is buried on May 22, the day on which the saint is still celebrated today.

Desiderius and Ansa (King and Queen of the Lombards), in 762 AD, translated the body from Gorgona to Brescia. So it was taken to the recently founded women’s monastery, where their daughter was abbess.

Hagiographic sources credit Queen Ansa and, in this, the translation of Santa Giulia differs from the others, not only because the protagonist is a female character, but also for the mode: queen “praecepit”, gave order, without other justifications.

Although the historical and hagiographic documents attest to the arrival of the relics in Brescia, there is no tangible trace of the passage of Lombard translation on the territory. A trace, however, could come from some ancient Churches named after the Saint: in fact, although it is not provable from a historical point of view that the churches were born as a result of this event, they still remain a testimony of the spread of the cult of Santa Giulia. The cult took place at least from the first Lombard age, as witnessed by the church of Santa Giulia in Lucca, near which a rich Lombard burial was found, dated to the middle of the 7th century.

The Association Il Cammino di Santa Giulia has as its statutory purpose the design, implementation, management of the project of the historical, naturalistic and spiritual itinerary, evocative of the translation of the corpus of the Saint. Planned in 25 stages per day, the project involves three Regions (Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy), 8 Provinces and about 62 Municipal Administrations.



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