The European Association of Via Francigena ways took part in the 4th General Meeting of the European project rurAllure, dedicated to the enhancement of cultural heritage along the main cultural routes of Europe, together with the Way of St. James, the Via Romea Strata, the Romea Germanica, the Way of Mary and the Way of St. Olav.
It is a three-year project involving public and private partners and institutions from seven countries, financed by the European Commission and entirely focused on the potential of pilgrimages.
The project meeting was held on 5 and 6 September 2022 in Bratislava and Budapest, where the EAVF rurAllure team – consisting of Elena Dubinina, Simona Spinola and Nicole Franciolini – presented the status of the activities carried out since January 2021. The staff’s contribution is linked in particular to the promotion of rural heritage along the Council of Europe’s cultural routes – with a focus on mapping and dissemination activities for the main points of interest of the Via Francigena related to the thermal heritage of the three Ways to Rome addressed by the pilot project “Thermal heritage and others on the Ways to Rome“.
Completing the team’s activities are the development of a Via Francigena atlas and the organisation of events with free participation, aimed at spreading the message of an increasingly inclusive route. Among the best practices highlighted by the rurAllure Consortium are the weekend walks in Tuscany with free participation “I Love Francigena Termale“, organised in collaboration with the municipalities of Castiglione d’Orcia, Gambassi Terme, San Gimignano and San Quirico d’Orcia, but also with the precious support of Proloco Gambassi Terme and The Gambassi Experience. A moment of knowledge-sharing on the road, open to pilgrims and tourists discovering the Parco dei Mulini, the water square of Bagno Vignoni and the hypothermal springs of I Bollori and Putizza on the banks of Rio Casciani, in the surroundings of Gambassi Terme.
During the rurAllure meeting, the team of the Autonomous University of Madrid presented the workshop dedicated to blind people on the Via Francigena in Bagno Vignoni. The event, which happened last July, had the aim of bringing individuals with visual disabilities closer to the thermal heritage through a series of sensorial experiences on the field.
A workshop aimed at making the Via Francigena accessible to all, within the ‘Thermal Via Francigena‘ project of which the municipality of San Quirico d’Orcia is an official member. On the occasion of our walk, we were supported by relief maps and 3D models made by geologist Riccardo Rocca, which enabled participants to understand the geographical conformation and geological composition of the route, including height differences and indications in Braille.