The Via Francigena is a cultural route system recognized by the Council of Europe, which connects the Italian peninsula with the world beyond the Alps and, as a pilgrim path, dates at least back to the times of Archbishop of Canterbury Sigeric, who described it on his return to Rome. It is divided into 80 segments of which Vercelli is the 43rd. It affords hikers a marvelous understanding of the landscape and history of nations of the past and present. Seeing that Vercelli was an important transit center for pilgrims and merchants and still today has a central position, the city is a permanent member of the Presidency of the European Association of the Vie Francigene.