Sigeric’s Stopover XI, Abricula
Le Briccole is a group of abandoned buildings along the Via Francigena. It is where Archbishop Sigeric stayed when he walked the Via Francigena in 990 AD. But, in those days it was called Abricula. Today Le Briccole is only accessible on foot. So you have to walk to see it! And it is about half way between San Quirico d’Orcia and Radicofani.
History of Abricula
Documentary evidence indicates that Le Briccole is the historical Abricula. The reference ‘Ospitale San Peregrini de Obricolis’ indicates that there was a Church of San Pellegrino at Abricula. And its ruins can be seen today. It was once a village with a long history of owners. In the tenth century, it was owned by the Viscounts of Campiglia. Later, the monks of San Salvatore’s Abbey cared for it. Then, the Salimbeni family owned the village of Abricula in the thirteenth century. Today it is still privately owned sheep farming land.
Church of San Pellegrino
Today this is all that remains of remains the Church of San Pellegrino. Its Romanesque features can still be seen. The most obvious feature is the portal with an architrave supporting a rounded arch. However, less obvious is the ashlars at the base of the building. And, the precision of the finely cut stones is still evident.
Le Briccole Today
Stage 36 of the Via Francigena is a long and tiring walk of about 35 km with very few places to stop and rest. The walk begins at San Quirico d’Orcia and ends at Radicofani. Le Briccole is about half way. There are very few places to stop along the way and several rivers to cross. Le Briccole must have been a very welcome place to stop in the medieval days of pilgrimage.
The Via Francigena and Le Briccole
It is a long and tiring walk from San Quirico d’Orcia to Radicofani, but the UNESCO listed landscape makes it worthwhile. Additionally, you walk through history and actually visit three of Sigeric’s places where he rested. But, I have to say, it would be good if we still had Le Briccole to divide the walk!