“Heritage-Europe-Relaunch are the three keywords of Road to Rome” was one of the most significant sentences shared during meetings with mayors, the public and institutions who have welcomed the European march along the Via Francigena, at the end of each stage. A sentence full of meaning and full of expectations, which was not only spoken but has been put in practice along the road. Many agreements have been settled during “Road to Rome” between EAVF and municipalities; many pre-existent collaborations have been strengthened during the event: among these were the Ventotene Treaty, in the region of Lazio, the renewed agreement with the Fédération Française de la Randonnée and the Santa Maria di Leuca Manifesto, signed at the end of the very last stage.
The relay march along the Via Francigena, which started on the 15th of June in Canterbury, comes to its end upon arrival, on the 18th of October, at the sanctuary of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae.
Today, Fidenza is the “cultural capital” of the Via Francigena: a lab space for the development of Italian and European routes, calling together leading actors, ideas, proposals, and opportunities for confrontation. This is why the Francigena Fidenza Festival was born, with its first edition concluded last Sunday the 19th of September.
On the 27th of September we celebrate the World Tourism Day, a recurrence ideated by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1979 to celebrate the impact of the tourism sector on the social, political, cultural, and economic development of populations.
After 79 days on foot and bicycle, the Road to Rome group has officially reached Rome: the group of walkers, the EAVF delegation, and alongside, the Italian National Tourist Board-ENIT.
The Italian Minister of Tourism Massimo Garavaglia participated in the “Via Francigena – Road to Rome 2021” relay during the stage between Siena and Buonconvento, aboard a historical train provided by the railway managers Fondazione FS Italiane.
Sunday 29th of August the European relay, organized by the European Association of Via Francigena ways for its 20th anniversary with the support of ENIT, welcomed pilgrims and tourists aboard a historical train carriage from the 20s, for a unique experience.
During this appointment, the conference hall carriage on the train hosted a meeting focused on the presentation of the “Road to Rome” project and the collaboration with FS Foundation, resulting in an extraordinary Via Francigena stage, in which the Minister of Tourism also took part. Garavaglia remarked the importance of the Via Francigena route as a leverage of territorial tourism development, harmonizing slow mobility with historical villages and local communities. An authentic tourism made of people and local excellences, to promote the economic relaunch of territories. A recent Irpet study revealed a 63% growth of pilgrims along the Tuscan section of the Via in the last 10 years, with a decisive impact even in the post-covid summer, due to an increasing public interest towards walking trips and Green tourism.
“The only way to make your dreams come true is wake up”, declared Garavaglia, underlining the importance of investments of resources in forms of tourism that focus on the trip itself, rather than transportation. At the table with the Minister were sitting Massimo Tedeschi and Luca Bruschi, respectively EAVF’s President and Director, together with Myra Stals, social media manager for Road to Rome, Luigi Cantamessa and Monsignor Liberio Andreatta, respectively General Director and f.f. President of Fondazione FS Italiane.
From the 3rd of August to the 19th of October it is possible to participate to the first “Literary pilgrim relay” along the Via Francigena, organized by the Rete Nazionale Donne in Cammino group as an integration to #RoadtoRome2021.
While the Road to Rome group continues its trip across Italy, the last 14th of August another important relay march started from the Great Saint Bernard towards Rome, which will be reached on the 12th of September in 45 stages.
Important news is coming for those who are planning their next trip along the Via Francigena or other walking routes. Our website evolved in a new version, easier to navigate and increasingly complete of information.
From the 16th to the 19th of September 2021, in Fidenza (Parma), the first edition of the Francigena Fidenza Festival will take place: an international event dedicated to the Via Francigena and to all walking routes in Italy and in Europe.