Via Francigena

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Signposting in Puglia region: Enhancing the Via Francigena in Southern Italy!

The first inspections of the works in progress for the installation of the signposting have been completed. This action will contribute to enhance the route of the Via Francigena in Southern Italy.

The signposting works in Puglia region, Italy, are being carried out by the Regional Strategic Agency for Sustainable Development of the Territory (ASSET) in collaboration with the Department of Tourism, Cultural Economy, and Territorial Enhancement of the Puglia Region, and with the European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF), which is committed to the realisation of actions for structuring the route through its operational arm, Francigena Service srl.

The project includes the installation of vertical and horizontal signposts and 40 information and welcome panels in Italian and English, as well as the verification of the safety of the route along the entire Apulian route, which crosses more than 50 municipalities. Moreover, thanks to these activities that focus on the development and safety of the route, the ‘restyling’ of signposting in Apulia continues: the first “cippi” (milestones inspired by the Camino de Santiago) were already introduced an year ago (read more here).

This time, the technical inspections and site visits focused on the Via Litoranea section (Manfredonia – Bari), where the “cippi” and directional signage have been installed up to the borders of the municipality of Giovinazzo. The placement of numerous informational and welcome signs has also been verified, with their installation set to take place in the coming weeks.

This project confirms the strong interest of the Puglia Region in making the Via Francigena increasingly safe and accessible, paving the way for significant structural investments not only to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists near the most delicate passages, but also to develop tourism in the areas surrounding Sigeric’s route. The results of this significant project will be presented on October 18 in Monte Sant’Angelo during the AEVF General Assembly.

Small but significant steps toward a more welcoming and continuously evolving Via Francigena in Southern Italy!

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Retracing Thirty Years of the European Certification of the Via Francigena

2024: A SPECIAL YEAR FOR THE VIA FRANCIGENA, WITH MEETINGS, EVENTS, CONFERENCES, WALKS, AND MANY MOMENTS OF INTERNATIONAL DIALOGUE, RETRACING THE THIRTY YEARS SINCE ITS CERTIFICATION AS A CULTURAL ROUTE OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE.

The Cultural Routes Program was launched by the Council of Europe in 1987 with the aim of demonstrating, through a journey through space and time, how the cultural heritage and culture of different European countries contribute to creating a shared cultural heritage. The dossier was presented by the then Department of Tourism of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Italian Ministry of Tourism, in agreement with the coordination committee led by the Emilia-Romagna region. The final decision by the Council of Europe was made in April 1994.

The program of celebrations – officially started last March in London with an event dedicated to Sigeric’s Diary – is dense and rich with initiatives involving the entire European route, from England to Puglia!

To celebrate this splendid anniversary, the European Association of the Via Francigena has also created a new section on the website www.viefrancigene.org.

This is a space to tell the story of the Via Francigena of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, which includes a timeline retracing the last thirty years of the Via Francigena’s history, an events calendar, and a collection of thoughts, testimonies, and reflections on the Via Francigena.

Finally, the creation of this new space is accompanied by the launch of the initiative “For me the Via Francigena is…”, aimed at collecting the individual testimonies of all Via Francigena enthusiasts through short videos. Click here to find out how to send us yours!

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The EAVF pays tribute to its president Massimo Tedeschi, who passed away today

The European Association of the Via Francigena pays tribute to its great President, Massimo Tedeschi, who left peacefully after fighting an illness in recent months.

Massimo Tedeschi was a visionary who, on 7 April 2001 along with 34 municipalities and provinces, founded the Association of Italian Municipalities on the Via Francigena, which was transformed in 2005 into the European Association of the Via Francigena. Over these 23 years, the network has grown significantly, always emphasizing its international dimension, starting with its recognition as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, embodying values of dialogue, peace, and tolerance.

EAVF was built day by day around European values, serving as an example of grassroots cooperation among territories and a bridge of dialogue between peoples.

Under the leadership of its president, Massimo Tedeschi, AEVF organized and carried out a walking event “Road to Rome 2021” from Canterbury to Santa Maria di Leuca, on foot and by bicycle, to celebrate the association’s 20th anniversary. During this four-month event, the Francigena delegation met with all the municipal administrations and associations along the route.

Massimo Tedeschi leaves an important legacy to the entire European Association of the Via Francigena. There will undoubtedly be moments and ways to thank, remember, and celebrate the great President who had the vision and foresight to unite the territories to achieve a single goal: a unified Via Francigena, 3,200 km long, that collaborates to enhance the European route certified in 1994 by the Council of Europe.

“The European vision of Massimo was farsighted and crucial for the growth and enhancement of the Via Francigena. Continuing on the path he laid out with the same commitment and determination that characterized him is our duty to him. For me, Massimo was not just the President of EAVF, but above all, a brotherly friend whom I met 23 years ago and will never forget.”

EAVF vicar Vice-President Francesco Ferrari.
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Join the “Francigena Photo Contest 2024”!

☀️ Summer is here! The European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF) wants to celebrate it with an exciting new initiative for all pilgrims who will be travelling the Via Francigena this summer!

From 21 June to 21 September, the “Francigena Photo Contest 2024” will be running, welcoming the stories of pilgrim adventures and awarding the best photos and reels of Your journey along the Via Francigena.

The contest, organised by the Swiss Association of the Via Francigena (SAVF – www.viafrancigenasuisse.ch) and promoted by the EAVF, is open to all pilgrims, cyclists, walkers, and hikers who will travel the European route during the summer of 2024.

To participate, just follow these 4 simple steps:
  1. Post one or more posts (not stories!) on Facebook and/or Instagram containing a photo or video (reel) of your journey along the Via Francigena
  2. Include in the caption:
    • A description
    • The location where the photo was taken
    • The hashtag #FrancigenaContest2024
  3. Don’t forget to follow and tag the profiles @viafrancigena_eu (on Instagram) and @ViaFrancigenaEU (on Facebook).
  4. …and now just wait for the results!
Keep in mind that:
  • To participate, your profile must be public!
  • If you post a gallery or album with multiple photos, only the first photo uploaded will be considered.
  • The absence of tags, hashtags, or a follow to the Via Francigena social profiles will result in disqualification.
And after 21 September?

The content uploaded by users will be evaluated by 30 September 2024 by an internal jury composed of members of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways and the Swiss Association of the Via Francigena, which will determine a winner for each of the following categories:

  • The most beautiful photo ➡️ win a Ferrino backpack and a Via Francigena-branded gadget
  • The most beautiful video/reel ➡️ win a pair of Garmont shoes and a Via Francigena-branded gadget
  • The most captivating anecdote/story ➡️ win a CAMCO merino wool garment and a Via Francigena-branded gadget
  • The funniest content ➡️ win a Via Francigena-branded t-shirt

⚠️ WE RECOMMEND YOU READ THE
TERMS AND CONDITIONS, AVAILABLE HERE!
👈

🍀 Good luck… and buon cammino!!! 👣 📷

The “Francigena Photo Contest 2024” is organised with the support of EAVF’s technical partners
Ferrino, Garmont, and CAMCO.

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Criticalities of the walking path

Stage 17 Piacenza-Fiorenzuola – Criticality at the Chiavenna Ford

We inform pilgrims in transit that the crossing of the Chiavenna Ford is currently presenting serious issues due to the heavy rains and floods of the past few weeks.

Please pay particular attention during the crossing, especially considering the weather forecast which predicts more rain.

Pilgrims who wish to split the stage to avoid the ford can take a bus from Pontenure to reach Fiorenzuola.

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The hostel for Via Francigena pilgrims reopens in Fidenza!

The San Donnino Hostel in Fidenza (Parma, Emilia-Romagna), a facility dedicated to welcoming young people and pilgrims, is reopening after being closed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Located in the heart of the historic center, it is just a few steps from the Cathedral of San Donnino, Piazza Garibaldi, and the commercial area, surrounded by numerous services and dining options.

Technical Details

The facility offers 10 beds in multiple rooms of 2, 3, or 5 beds. The overnight stay is priced at €20.00 per bed per night (including bed linen) + €0.50 per night for the tourist tax. The supply of shower linen is excluded and costs €2.50 (to be requested at the time of booking).

Guests have access to bathrooms with showers, a simple but fully equipped kitchen, and a laundry room with a washing machine, dryer, and drying rack. The building also has a stairlift for access by people with disabilities and a dedicated bathroom.

Check-in is from 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Check-out is by 10:00 AM. Payment can only be made in cash upon arrival. Breakfast or meals are not provided, but there are numerous dining options near the facility.

Fidenza, the Beating Heart of the Via Francigena

Fidenza is a place rich in significance for the Via Francigena!

The town in the province of Parma is located exactly halfway along the Via Francigena route from Canterbury to Rome and represents one of the vital hubs of the path, where various initiatives are organized to celebrate and promote it, such as the Francigena Fidenza Festival.

On this occasion, last April, the San Donnino Hostel in Fidenza was inaugurated, and it has already begun to take reservations. This is an important milestone that fills the gap for a pilgrim-friendly facility in the city!

➡️ Visit the technical details on our website ⬅️

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The EAVF Team explores the winter Via Francigena in Switzerland

On April 17th, Nicole Franciolini and Simona Spinola, respectively Social Media Manager and Communications Manager for AEVF, were welcomed by Gaëtan Tornay, Vice President of EAVF, President of the Swiss Association of the Via Francigena (SAVF), and Director of the Tourist Office Au Pays du St-Bernard based in Orsières, to discover the secrets of the winter Via Francigena in Switzerland.

The town, located in the Canton of Valais, is situated at the foot of the Mont Blanc massif, on the road to the Col du Grand Saint-Bernard, which, at 2,473 meters in altitude, marks the highest point of the entire Via Francigena route, as well as the border between the Swiss and Italian sections of the path, which enters the Aosta Valley from the Col. 

The staff thus traveled part of the eleventh stage of the Swiss Francigena, from Bourg Saint-Bernard to the Col du Grand Saint-Bernard, the gateway to the Italian Alps, in a magnificent winter panorama: abundant snowfall and sub-zero temperatures required the use of snowshoes and all necessary safety equipment – shovel, probe, and ARVA – under the careful guidance of an expert. Along the way, two small shelters offer a safe resting point for ski mountaineers and travelers, with a ready-to-use fireplace, a kitchenette for tea or a quick hot meal, and a phone to call for help if needed.

An unforgettable experience, made even more special by the overnight stay at the Hospice du Grand Saint-Bernard, open 365 days a year, which welcomes travelers and enthusiasts of ski mountaineering and winter sports. The structure, built in 1050 by the canons of the order of Saint Augustine, has 120 beds and offers various lodging options with the possibility of having breakfast, lunch (also packed) and dinner in a context of sharing and simplicity. Connected to the Hospice is a hotel that opens in June when the valley in front, completely frozen during the colder months, reveals the picturesque lake. A few meters from the complex, the customs mark the border between Switzerland and Italy, where the statue of Saint Bernard watches the passage of pilgrims.

The Col du Grand Saint-Bernard has always been a place of particular importance since the time of the ancient Romans who worshiped Jupiter Penninus, protector of travelers, while in the Middle Ages, Saint Bernard of Menthon had a monastery built there to provide hospitality to pilgrims heading to or returning from Rome. The imposing monastery was further expanded in the nineteenth century and now houses a museum dedicated to the history of the pass, open during the summer months. 

The entire complex of the Hospice and adjacent structures is easily accessible by car during the warmer months by taking the SS27 road, which is closed and impassable due to snow from October to early June.

It is impossible to talk about Saint Bernard without mentioning the famous dogs originating from Central Asia, which have served at the pass since 1650 as guard and rescue dogs in case of avalanches. These splendid specimens, present at the Col 12 months a year until 2005, spend the coldest months at Barryland, the foundation that traces the history of the pass and the Saint Bernard breed with a permanent exhibition: currently, the foundation is being expanded and by 2025 will offer visitors new themed areas.

The snowshoe hike at minus 10 degrees confirmed to the staff that the Swiss Francigena can be traveled year-round, even on its most challenging stages, as long as one carefully checks the weather and prepares for the ascent with appropriate equipment, suitable physical preparation, and the company of a certified guide who can assess the risks and dangers of an area of unique beauty, where nature dominates among breathtaking valleys and slopes.

“Reaching the hospice of Grand Saint Bernard in winter is a unique experience, and the contrast with the busy road during the summer and the numerous tourists who visit the place is surprising. Personally, I greatly appreciate the winter atmosphere, especially in the truly special setting of the hospice”

Gaëtan Tornay
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Historic Pilgrim Hostel Reopens in Siena, Tuscany

“CASA DELLE BALIE” REOPENS. A NEW BEGINNING FOR HOSPITALITY FOR PILGRIMS AND HIKERS IN SIENA.

Sigerico SpA, in collaboration with the Municipality of Siena, is pleased to announce the reopening of the “Casa delle Balie”, the first and historic hostel dedicated to pilgrims walking the Via Francigena and the Via Lauretana, as well as to all hiking tourists. After a period of inactivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the temporary hospitality offered to Ukrainian women fleeing the war, the facility will be active from Friday 29 March 2024, marking an important return to normality and tourism in close contact with nature, culture and art.

The “Casa delle Balie”, once a refuge for abandoned children and today a hub of hospitality for wayfarers, sportsmen and women of the Strade Bianche and temporary inhabitants of sustainability, is a landmark in Siena, located in the suggestive alley of San Girolamo, in the heart of the historic centre, a few steps from the Siena Cathedral and integrated into the Santa Maria della Scala complex. Its history, which sees it rooted in the social and cultural fabric of the city as a place of welcome, is renewed today with its reopening. An unmissable stop for those looking for an authentic experience in the heart of one of the most fascinating centres in Italy, a reference point for walks and slow tourism.

“Thanks to the work done in synergy with Sigerico, we are making available to pilgrims again a place of welcome and hospitality, which is a historic location full of strong symbolic meaning. Connected to the Santa Maria della Scala complex, the “Casa delle Balie” played a precise social and solidarity role for the city, welcoming children abandoned by their families. Over time the building has changed its original purpose becoming a refuge for wayfarers. In recent times, however, the welfare nature of this space has continued, hosting young Ukrainian women who have fled the war in this very house. Today a new cycle begins, a cycle dedicated to the traveller, to those who stop in our wonderful lands through a unique urban stretch of the Via Francigena”.

Nicoletta Fabio, Mayor of Siena
The Accommodation

With a capacity of 25 beds spread across five welcoming rooms, the accommodation offers a variety of services designed to guarantee comfort and functionality for its guests. The “Casa delle Balie” covers an area of 350 square meters and has two independent entrances: the main one on Vicolo di San Girolamo (number 2) and a second access from Via de’ Fusari (number 48), specifically designed to facilitate access for disabled guests, with a room equipped with a bathroom to regulations.

Guests can enjoy a range of state-of-the-art services and a warm and welcoming atmosphere, thanks to the advanced heating and air conditioning system, free Wi-Fi, as well as a well-equipped laundry room with a washing machine and dryer, refrigerator, bathrooms with coin-operated showers, a terrace and a recreation room. Open all year round, except for December 25th, until October the hostel will welcome its guests from 3pm with check-in from 1.30pm to 6.15pm (winter hours will be announced shortly). Registration and payment (if not made previously) must be made at the Museo Santa Maria della Scala, Piazza Duomo, 2 from 1.30pm to 6.15pm. After registration, guests will be given an electronic key or access code and directions to their accommodation (room name and bed number), and the times for entering and leaving the building.

In line with its commitment to providing a high quality service, the Municipality of Siena has updated the rates to 25 euros per person per night including bed linen.

The “Casa delle Balie” is more than just a hostel: it is a meeting point for travellers from all over the world, a place where history and hospitality blend to offer a unique experience. We are ready to welcome back pilgrims and travellers to the heart of Siena, offering them an unforgettable stay.

Information and bookings:

Telephone: 0577-228788
Email: ostello@casadellebalie.it
Website with regulations: www.casadellebalie.it

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Via Francigena in Campania region: official signposting installed!

The year 2024 begins with good news for the Via Francigena in the Campania region and the pilgrims wanting to travel along it. The month of December 2023 ended with the start of the installation works of the official signposting along the path in Campania.

Campania region is crossed by approximately 250 kilometres divided into 9 stages and 3 official variants, from Sessa Aurunca to Buonalbergo, cutting through the provinces of Caserta and Benevento. An inestimable heritage of landscape, people, gastronomy, and culture that thanks to the Via Francigena can be discovered slowly, leaving the door open to unexpected revelations and surprising encounters.

The work started in Sessa Aurunca (CE) and will continue to the border with Puglia, with the installation of new bidirectional arrows and the application of paint signage.

This intervention was made possible thanks to the commitment of the Campania Region through the Campania Tourism Regional Agency and the contractor.

The new signposting complies with the indications of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways, collected in the “Abaco della segnaletica lungo la Via Francigena in Italia” and the “Vademecum of the European standards of the Via Francigena route”. This intervention is of great importance for the enhancement and safety of the Via Francigena in Campania, and adds to the efforts that volunteers, professionals, and Friend associations constantly make to contribute to the maintenance of the route.

Of the progress of signposting along the Via Francigena in Campania, we had already spoken on these channels in September 2021, during our great relay event ‘Road to Rome!’. The inspection carried out on that occasion had given the EAVF team and the representatives of associations and institutions on the road the opportunity to check the state of the route and to update the ‘light’ signposting affixing the new official stickers, especially near the crossroads.

The goal is to make the Via Francigena in Southern Italy ever more structured and marked, with a particular focus also on the safety of the route.

Small but impactful actions that make a difference, setting the tone for a positive start to the year… in the right direction!

👉 Are you already planning your journey along the Via Francigena in Campania? Take a look at the new guide by Terre di Mezzo dedicated to the Via Francigena in Southern Italy

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The European Association of the Via Francigena ways starts again with its activities and projects for 2024

2024 will be a special year as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the certification of the Via Francigena as a cultural route of the Council of Europe (1994-2024). The activities that will take place on the occasion of this anniversary want to turn the spotlight on the Via Francigena, a real driving force for cultural and sustainable tourism in the territories it crosses, but also a great peace project.

The two major moments for our association will take place in Vevey (Vaud) on 26 April and in Monte Sant’Angelo (Apulia) at the beginning of October with the EAVF General Assemblies.

Please find the letter addressed to the EAVF members and Friends by President Massimo Tedeschi and Vice-President Francesco Ferrari at the following link: https://www.viefrancigene.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/EAVF_Letter-from-President-and-Deputy-Vice-President_18.12.2023-1.pdf