Switzerland has a complicated history of interaction between cantons cut off from each other by mountain ranges and often with differences of religion, language and custom. It was frequently split between Burgundians and German princes but became a confederation of cantons from the late medieval period. The Reformation resulted in external and internal wars as some cantons became Protestant. After Napoleon’s conquest, a republic was declared then, from 1848, the Confederation of cantons was re-established.
Today three languages (German, French and Italian) are recognised at national level but a local language Romansh is still in use in some cantons. The route runs through only the French-speaking areas. Although some cantons were once exclusively Protestant or Catholic, nowadays the countryside tends to be Catholic, with many small chapels, and the towns Protestant.
The Laatin name of Switzerland, Helvetica, is often used to avoid having to translate the country name into different national languages – for example on the currency.
Websites and Maps:
The Via Francigena is waymarked as route 70 and a special Swiss map is devoted to it. Check here