20 years of the alpine tract of the Via Francigena

Saturday 02 Sep. 2017
Saturday 02 Sep. 2017

The alpine tract of the Via Francigena was parcially constructed and open to pilgrims 20 years ago.  To celebrate its anniversary, the “Compagnons” of the Via Francigena have organised a commemorative celebration on the 2nd September 2017, at the Great St. Bernard hill.   

The event will reunite the valdostan and Vallese authorities, the tourist office personell of both sides of the Italian-Swiss border and the Friends of this historical route. 

When the route was first opened the Via Francigena had not get been mentioned.  It had, at the time, been nominated TAM (Tour Aosta-Martigny) by the italian and swiss municipalities.  The realisation of the Via, was made possible thanks to the work of the “Compagnons”, through a project working towards the employment of the unemployed.

The “Compagnons” principal concern, proud of the work, and rightly so, was the maintenance of the good condition and security of the route.  

They therefore chose to establish a day of inspection once a year.  The event initially took place on random dates, based on the availability of each member, but it became more and more difficult to organise.

It should have taken place in Spring, at the beginning of the best period to walk along the route.  However, in 2002, they didn't meet at all!

The “Compagnons” thus decided to establish a fixed date: the first Saturday after Easter.  The late Monsignor Roduit said: « Ah! But this is Quasimodo's Saturday! ». The name was much appreciated and from that moment on, every year, the visit has been organised on Quasimodo's Saturday!

An unyielding part of the Francigena, the alpine tract merits particular attention for its difficult geography.  

In winter, from November to June, the route is not practicable for excursionists, unless they have the appropraite equipment and are accompanied by a guide.  This route can however be crossed during the winder period, thanks to a bus service that regularly travels between the two cities, from Martigny to Aosta.

Excursionists that can't travel along the route during winter have the opportunity to walk along this prestigious route during the Summer, stopping at the Great St. Bernard hostel with its celebrated canines.