Last November an agreement was signed between the European Association of the Via Francigena Ways and the European Federation of the Saint James Ways. This historic agreement initiated a collaboration between the two cultural routes recognised by the Council of Europe in 1994 and 1987 respectively, and travelled each year by thousands of pilgrims from all over the world.
The three-year collaboration includes among its main objectives the valorisation of slow and sustainable tourism and of the cultural heritage linked to pilgrimage routes; the dissemination of good practices; the joint creation of a network involving bodies and associations focused on responsible tourism; and the co-participation in actions, events and projects aimed at promoting European pilgrimage routes. The two pilgrimage routes have been investigated within the European Horizon 2020 project rurAllure (2021-2023), aimed at promoting the cultural heritage and the main European pilgrimage routes.
Thanks to this new agreement, the Presidents of the two itineraries Massimo Tedeschi and Ildefonso de la Campa Montenegro signed the commitment of the respective Associations they represent. An event that occurs in a particularly important three-year period for the world of walking: in addition to the Jubilee of 2025, in 2023 the French Way celebrates its 30th anniversary as a UNESCO heritage site, while in 2024 AEVF celebrates the 30th anniversary of the recognition of the Via Francigena as a Council of Europe cultural itinerary. “An agreement of enormous importance which sees the two most important European routes working side by side, with mutual benefits generated by this operational synergy. A first significant result will be the close relationship that can be established between the regions of Galicia and Lazio, crucial points of the Way of St. James and the Via Francigena” commented Massimo Tedeschi.