This spiritual trail starts in the Vatican and reaches the Basilica of the Holy Face of Manoppello (province of Pescara), an important religious tourism destination for pilgrims from all over the world. The sanctuary is home to a precious relic, that of the Holy Face veil, brought to Manoppello in about 1506 by an unknown pilgrim who arrived from Rome. The aim of the project is to develop a route of social tourism with strong spiritual and cultural values, making it an effective tool for awareness of sustainable tourism in the area, like that of the well-known Camino de Santiago de Compostela. The route is approximately 290km long and in a trek lasting ten days connects the Apennine territories of Lazio and Abruzzo. It is an eco-friendly itinerary of faith but also of leisure as its path travels through the most significant points of interest.
The path was mapped out taking into account several historical and cultural factors, and practical aspects for walking, mountain biking and horse riding. In many spots it hugs the ancient Via Tiburtina Valeria, one of the Roman consular roads in Italy, which connected the ancient city to Tibur (now Tivoli) and then Pescara. Religious traditions and culture in Abruzzo are closely linked to the presence of shrines that are strong tourist magnets for those with an interest in religion.
The first edition of the Cammino of the Holy Face set off on 7 May 2015 from Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican, and reached Manoppello on 16 May, the feast day of the Holy Face, with its traditional procession starting from the parish church in the old town and reaching the shrine.