Sigeric the Serious: Via Francigena, Sca Cristina (Bolsena), Circa 990 AD

Submansio VIII – Sca Cristina

An underground tomb for a 10 year old female martyr called Cristina, found at the Bolsena Church of Santa Cristina, shows that she was venerated there as early as the 4th century. At St. Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, mosaics dated 6th century AD also show Christina carrying her martyr’s crown.


St. Apollinare Nuovo mosaic, from left to right: Vincentia, Valeria, Cristina, Lucia, Cecilia.

Volsinii, the roman town, also sits on the site of present-day Bolsena. The opinion of archaeologists is divided as to whether roman Volsinii was the same as the ancient Etruscan city of Velzna (Old Volsinii).  However, a few miles away, in modern-day Orvieto, was found a place of worship to Voltumna, the supreme god of the Etruscan pantheon. Historian Livy said that each year, the heads of the twelve Etruscan populi would meet at the sacred Fanum Voltumnae.


Sculpture found at Campo della Fiera, site of the Fanum Voltumnae, photo courtesy of

Lake Bolsena is the largest European lake of volcanic origin. Last eruption of the Vulsini Volcano occured about 100 BC. It has remained dormant since then. The lake is bordered by an updated form of the Via Cassia, the ancient Roman consular road and is supplied from the aquifer, rainfall and runoff, with one outlet at the southern end.


Lake Bolsena, Italy. Courtesy of


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