Via Francigena

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EAVF Assembly: over one hundred international delegates met in Viterbo

The city of Viterbo (Lazio) wonderfully welcomed the international representatives of the European Association of Via Francigena Ways (EAVF) who held the General Assembly within a rich cultural programme.

Two intense days on the Via Francigena took place in Viterbo with great participation by institutional delegates, associations and universities of EAVF’s network. The EAVF General Assembly met again in presence after the event in Canterbury last 27 April: the Mayor of Canterbury (UK), Ben Fitter-Harding, was in the front row at the meeting in Viterbo, confirming the important role of ‘cultural bridge’ that the Via Francigena represents by uniting the four countries involved.

Also from northern Europe, representatives of the Bethune Agglomeration (Hauts-de-France, FR) were present, while from the opposite geographical pole, i.e. the Apulian section in southern Italy, there were representatives of the Puglia Region (Bari) and the Brindisi e le Antiche Strade Association (Brindisi). A long route of 3,200 km through England, France, Switzerland and Italy, which in Viterbo brought together people from all over the European axis of the Via Francigena.

The significant participation in the General Assembly of six vice-presidents is worth mentioning: Tricia Marshall (Municipality of Canterbury, UK), Gaëtan Tornay (Pays du Saint-Bernard, Orsières, CH), Francesco Ferrari (Municipality of Orio Litta, IT), Francesco Gazzetti (Region of Tuscany, IT), Silvio Marino (Region of Lazio, IT) and Aldo Patruno (Region of Puglia, IT).

The Assembly, led by President Massimo Tedeschi, began with greetings from the Mayor of the City of Viterbo Chiara Frontini.

Here are the main points on the agenda of the meeting:

  • brainstorming on the new strategic plan 2023-2025 of the European Association of Via Francigena Ways, a document which will be created in a participatory way and shared with all members, institutions and associations;
  • progress of the candidature as UNESCO World Heritage;
  • main animation activities carried out in these ten months of 2022 along the entire route;
  • the European Heritage Atlas project along the VF;
  • the project to promote and develop the accessibility of the Via Francigena in Lazio, supported by the Lazio Region and implemented by EAVF in collaboration with local associations.

During the conversations between members, special attention was paid to the specifics of the route and to accommodation, with reference to the important topic of universal accessibility of the itinerary.

In this context, new members were welcomed, spanning from north to south: Municipalities of Amettes (Pas de Calais, Hautes-de-France, FR), Dampierre-sur-Salon (Haute-Saone, Burgundy-Franche-Comté, FR), Union of Communes Grand Pontarlier (Doubs, Burgundy-Franche-Comté, FR), Clées (Vaud, CH), Aigle (Vaud, CH), Massongex (Valais, CH), Sembrancher (Valais, CH), Fiorano Canavese (Turin, Piedmont, IT), Lessolo (Turin, Piedmont, IT), Castelforte (Latina, Lazio, IT). The total number of EAVF members increased to 216. Three new ‘friend’ associations also joined: Associazione Costiera di Calafuria APS (Livorno, Tuscany, IT), Sezione Club Alpino Italiano di Viterbo (Viterbo, Lazio, IT), Associazione Via Francigena in Tuscia.

Aside the Assembly, numerous cultural events were organised by Viterbo’s municipal administration:

  • the inauguration of the Pilgrim’s Monument (with the signatures of hundreds of pilgrims from all over the world)
  • the guided tour of the historic centre, the visit of the underground Viterbo and the Museum of the Knights Templar, and the visit to the botanical garden. In Piazza del Plebiscito, there was a performance by the flag-wavers and musicians of the Centro Storico committee.

Finally, the I Love Francigena thermal by rurAllure‘ walk was organised on Saturday 15 October. A 6-km walk to discover the local section of the route, highlighting the thermal and cultural heritage that characterises Viterbo. The event, which was attended by 30 people, was realised as part of the European ‘rurAllure‘ project (Horizon 2020 programme) involving EAVF.

The next meeting of EAVF’s members is the General Assembly in Calais (Hauts-de-France, FR) in spring 2023.

Luca Bruschi

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I love Francigena Thermal hike in Viterbo

The EAVF continues offering thematic hikes in the series of “I love Francigena” events along the most beautiful stretches of the route.

This time the circular hike will be conducted on 15 October 2022 and will run around the city of Viterbo in the quest for its natural thermal baths with ever hot mineral water. The group will be accompanied by a guide and will have a chance to enjoy the healing properties of mineral waters by taking a bath in the pools upon arrival.

The event is offered the municipality of Viterbo, Region of Lazio and the rurAllure Horizon 2022 project in the framework of the EAVF General Assembly.

The city of Viterbo is known for its thermal springs and archaeological sites from Etruscan and Roman times and is on the final 70km distance from Rome, the Via Francigena terminus.

The previous hikes of “I love Francigena Thermal” took place in May  2022 in Bagno Vignoni and Gambassi Terme in Tuscany.

For more information and registration, visit the dedicated page “I love Francigena Thermal by rurAllure”.

DOWNLOAD THE SAVE THE DATE

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The Via Francigena celebrates the World Tourism Day 2022 together with UNWTO

The European Association of Via Francigena Ways (EAVF) is organising a series of hikes in France and Italy to celebrate the World Tourism Day 2022, held on 27 September under the slogan #RethinkingTourism. The “I Love Francigena” walking events were selected by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as a perfect example of sustainable tourism showcasing this celebration. 

The World Tourism Day was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1979. This year celebration stresses the importance of tourism for a greener, smarter and safer future. A special attention is paid to the post-pandemic recovery of tourism and its transformation into the tool of inclusive and accessible mobility, community empowerment and innovative change. 

The Via Francigena was already selected by the UNWTO as a “best practice” for sustainable development in the tourism sector in 2021, when the cultural route conducted a relay march along the 3200 km of the historic itinerary from Canterbury (UK), via France, Switzerland and Italy to Rome to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the European Association of Via Francigena Ways (EAVF). The richness and uniqueness of the areas crossed by the route, its history, landscapes, cultural and natural heritage, gastronomy traditions and local communities represent a strong basis for the development of both outdoor and cultural tourism offers. 

Join our hikes in France and Italy to celebrate the World Tourism Day 2022: 

Hike 1: from 21 to 23 September 2022 between Vitry-le-François and Brienne-le-Château (Grand-Est, France) 

Hike 2: from 30 September to 2 October 2022 between Bruay-la-Buissière and Blessy (Hauts-de-France, France) 

Hike 3: from 7 to 9 October 2022 between Mamirolle a Saône and Besançon (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France) 

Hike 4: 15 October 2022 in Viterbo (Lazio, Italy) 

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The 10% discount on FlixBus tickets for pilgrims continues

The collaboration between the European Association of Via Francigena Ways and FlixBus does not stop with the end of the summer, but will go forth in the coming weeks to continue offering an integrated, convenient and green travel solution for pilgrims who decide to undertake the route during the low season. In fact, FlixBus reserved particular care for the attenders of the Via Francigena, dedicating a special discount to them (it is sufficient to have an official credential).

By extending the collaboration over time, EAVF and FlixBus continue to pursue the objective of making the most of the territories which are covered by the agreement, revealing all their treasures and allowing people to discover them in a new and unprecedented way, thus encouraging the affirmation of increasingly sustainable modes of tourism according to the deseasonalisation and devolution of flows.

The agreement is active from July 2022

Discover the details of the collaboration and of the 10% discount by FlixBus

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Call for videomakers in France – September and October 2022

Within the project “I love Francigena”, the FFRandonnée and the European Association of Via Francigena ways are looking for videomakers to produce videos, photos and content for social networks.

In September and October 2022, the French Hiking Federation (FFRandonnée) and the European Association of Via Francigena ways (EAVF) are organising a series of hikes and meet-ups called “I Love Francigena“.

The events organised by the FFRandonnée Grand Est and the EAVF consist of three hikes that will cross some of the most significant stages of the GR®145 Via Francigena in France:

  • Hike 1: 21 – 23 September from Vitry-le-François to Brienne-le-Château (Grand-East, Marne and Aube)
  • Hike 2: 30 September – 2 October from Bruay-la-Buissière (Olhain Park) to Blessy (Hauts-de-France, Pas-de-Calais)
  • Hike 3: 7 – 9 October from Mamirolle to Saône and Besançon (Bourgogne-FrancheComté, Doubs)

These events are free and open to the public. Each walk will be 10-12 km per day with a certified guide presenting the local cultural heritage. Representatives of local authorities, the FFRandonnée and the EAVF will also be present, as well as numerous walkers, inhabitants, tourists, a photographer/videomaker and a blogger.

Your commitment:

  • Walk with us along the route for 3 days (you need to be in good physical shape, walking an average of 10-12 km per day and carrying a backpack).
  • Produce 1 one-minute video for each walk (3 in total).
  • Produce 2 real-life 20-second videos for each walk (6 in total).
  • Produce 1 1-minute 30-second video interview per walk (3 in total)
  • Share a minimum of 40 HD photos (120 in total).

Terms and conditions:

Please let us know if you are available for all 3 events or just 2 or 1, specifying which one(s).

  • You must be in possession of all equipment, the drone and a licence to shoot with the drone.
  • Accommodation, travel expenses and meals are fully covered by the organisers.
  • Remuneration to be agreed.

How to apply?

Send your application to jacques.chevin@viefrancigene.org including:

  • Your CV and list of your social networks.
  • Your portfolio.
  • A detailed quotation.

Read the full terms and conditions here

The French Hiking Federation (FFRandonnée)
The French Hiking Federation, our partner and associated body, is an association between several organisations that ensure hikers’ access to marked trails. Its slogan is ‘Les chemins, a shared richness’. By delegation of the Ministry of Sport and thanks to the commitment of its collaborators, the FFRandonnée promotes hiking as a sport and leisure activity, organising hikes, events, and hiking education in schools.

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Daily Pilgrims’ Mass at St Peter’s Basilica

St Peter’s Basilica, in preparation for the Holy Year 2025 which is now very close, is offering a special Mass to pilgrims arriving at the tomb of the Prince of the Apostles – a targeted journey of spiritual renewal and regeneration.

Among the many initiatives planned and as established by H.E.R. Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, Archpriest of St. Peter’s Papal Basilica and Vicar of His Holiness for Vatican City, the “Pilgrim’s Mass” will be celebrated every day starting on 1 August 2022, at 6 pm. Before the celebration, at 5:30 pm in front of the bronze statue of St. Peter, pilgrims to Rome will be welcomed and accompanied to the tomb of the Apostle, where they will receive the “Pilgrims’ Blessing“.

Further information can be obtained by contacting the Parish Office or the Sacristy of the Vatican Basilica at the following contacts:

ufficioparrocchiale@basilicasanpietro.va

06-69883462-69883731

accoglienza@fsp.va

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FORREsT 2.0: students explore Europe through the Francigena route

The European Association of Via Francigena ways (EAVF) is lead partner of the transnational mobility project called “FORREsT 2.0 – FOsteR an euRopEan identity through the Trainees mobility“, within the framework of the Erasmus+ Programme, for students located along the Via Francigena.

The project offers the opportunity for one hundred graduates from Italian schools located along the Via Francigena to carry out a work experience in the field of slow tourism abroad. They will be able to travel for 62 days in France, United Kingdom or Spain thanks to the contribution that the European Commission, through the EAVF, is making available to them.

The project aims at responding to the new international tourism trends (experiential and sustainable tourism) by promoting the development of specific professional skills in the relevant sector, in order to ensure the economic-productive development of the areas affected by the presence of the Via Francigena, with a perspective on enhancing local communities which share a European cultural identity expressed precisely through the Via Francigena network.

The young participants have the opportunity to carry out a training/work placement in European realities in the aforementioned sectors thanks to a grant that will provide a series of services, including: the identification of the placement and the host organisation the linguistic preparation via the European OLS platform;the cultural and pedagogical preparation of the trainees; round-trip air travel to the traineeship destination; insurance coverage for the entire duration of the stay; accommodation; professional, logistical and organisational tutoring and monitoring; and the issuing of certification and certificates.

For the realisation of this project, the European Association of Via Francigena ways has set up a specific national consortium of fifteen school institutes from Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio, Campania, Basilicata and Apulia. Project partners are also the Region of Tuscany, the Tourism Promotion Body of the Province of Turin, the Italian Association of Youth Hotels and Radio Francigena.

Here is the witness of Irene, a participant in the project (in Italian):

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Grande Latium – Walk in Safety: interventions for the enhancement of itineraries

The Region of Lazio has approved the Grande Latium – Cammina in Sicurezza project, which is part of the “Caput Mundi” national funding plan regarding the implementation of interventions aimed at sustainable and cultural tourism.

The project, funded by the PNRR, will also have an impact on the Via Francigena: rest stops equipped with seats and solar panels to recharge phones or bicycles will be installed halfway through each stage.

The project was created with the intention of increasing the number of usable tourist assets: many sites will be upgraded and made available to all, unlike happens today. It also aims to find sustainable alternatives to traditional tourism routes outside the historic center, that encourage slow tourism. The project has been cited as a virtuous example by Minister Massimo Garavaglia and Mayor of Rome Roberto Gualtieri.

Silvio Marino, for Regione Lazio, explained how the need for such rest stops was born: “While writing the project, we thought of the many people who may arrive to the point of buying their shoes but then never decide to leave, to start walking. We decided to try to make the itineraries in Latium truly safe and walkable for all.”

Often people are worried about getting lost, about not making it the the end. That’s why halfway through each stage we will try to set up an equipped rest stop, with the possibility of recharging cellphones or bicycles and having internet connection. In short, a walk in absolute safety that does not lose the charm of discovery and the flavor of fatigue“, Marino concluded.

Also speaking about the project was Lazio’s Councillor for Tourism and Local Authorities, Valentina Corrado: “Lazio is leading the way in telling the story of a yet unexplored Italy – the one made of inland and lesser-known precious territories. Francigena North and South, St. Francis’ Way, St. Benedict’s Way, Via Amerina and Natural Parks Walk represent an irreplaceable way to discover small towns and lesser-known villages, an ideal line that connects natural beauty, art and archaeology, as well as representing important tourism infrastructure“.

Corrado added that “with this intervention we intend to improve the usability of our paths and give a boost to flows while expecting the Jubilee in 2025, an appointment that will attract a substantial number of pilgrims: welcoming them properly will be our precise duty. “Caput Mundi” is the perfect synthesis of a synergistic work initiated to enhance the immense artistic, cultural and tourist heritage of Rome and Lazio.”

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Rome: new pilgrims’ reception and Testimonium pickup point

Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica, in preparation for the 2025 Jubilee, installed a new reception point for pilgrims arriving in Rome from the Via Francigena.

After going through the State Police controls, you can find the reception point just before climbing the stairs that access the Portico of the Basilica, on your right side.

In this reception point in the Vatican you can collect your Testimonium, the official certificate certifying the pilgrimage to Rome ‘devotionis causa’, recognized to all those who have traveled at least 100 km on foot or 200 km by bicycle – as verified by the stamps present on the credential.

The reception point will be open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

For communications and reservations, please contact the appropriate office:

email: accoglienza@fsp.va

Tel: +39 06 6982 (switchboard) and ask for extension 82137

Cellphone: +39 366 5775511

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The ferry from Dover to Calais restarts service for foot passengers

P&O Ferries resumed foot passenger service on the ferry between Dover and Calais as of Friday June 17th.

This finally allows Via Francigena pilgrims departing from Canterbury to cross the English Channel and reach France.

This is very good news after the uneasy situation that had been ongoing from March to now. We hope that this service will be maintained on a regular basis.

As a reminder, P&O Ferries is the only carrier offering foot passenger service across the English Channel, while neither DFDS nor Irish Ferries, the other companies operating on this route, have plans to offer foot service in the short term.

For those interested in crossing the Channel via ferry, you can reserve a seat directly on the P&O Ferries website. Updates on the service are also available in real time on the company’s Twitter profile.