After finishing a very lovely Way of St Francis from Florence to Assisi and Rome I experienced for myself the changes I’d been hearing about in the process for receiving the testimonium certificate for walks like this and the Via Francigena ending in Rome. Here’s a quick walk-through for walking pilgrims on any route looking to receive their testimonia:
- Testimonia are given inside the security barriers at St Peter’s Basilica. This means you must find a place to store your backpack and/or bike before you receive your testimonium.
- Back at St Peter’s Square, pilgrims with credentials can skip the long security line by going directly to the first metal detector under the colonnade and showing your credential to the security officer. He or she will direct you immediately to the metal detector at the front of the line.
- After clearing the metal detector, head to the “Coat Check” area (see photo below) to the right of the steps leading into the basilica. There you’ll find another metal detector and a plainclothes guard behind a glass booth. This is where you’ll receive your testimonium.
- The guard(s) will stamp your credential (Francesco pilgrims make certain that they stamp the first page of your credential where it says, “Sigillo del Luogo di Arrivo) and will also hand you a blank testimonium certificate. They anticipate that you will fill out the certificate yourself, but it’s ok to ask them to fill it out for you, which I did. They will also give you a large envelope to protect your testimonium.
- Congratulations! You can celebrate your achievement with a photo anywhere you’d like. We took ours inside St Peter’s.