Via Francigena


The Via Francigena participated in the biannual meeting of rurAllure, an EU Horizon 2020 project

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.


The Via Francigena attends the rurAllure General Meeting, the EU cooperation project

On 5 – 9 September the EAVF takes part in the biannual General Meeting of the European Project rurAllure, the three-year project financed by the European Commission within the Horizon2020 programme, focused on the promotion of heritage located in the vicinity of the main European cultural routes.

The Via Francigena, the Way of Saint James, the Via Romea Germanica, the Romea Strata, the Way of Mary and that of Saint Olav will be the main itineraries of this intense four days of conferences and site inspections organized between Bratislava and Budapest from Stuba – Bratislava University of Technology and KIFU, the Hungarian government agency for technological development. 

Representatives from over 16 entities including cultural associations, cultural bodies and organizations will discuss the challenges and developments of the four pilots on which the project is based: from the thermal heritage of the three itineraries that lead to Rome, to the literary pilot of the Ways to Santiago de Compostela, passing through the ethnographic heritage of the Norwegian way to Trondheim up to the naturalistic variety of the Way of Mary. 

The agenda of the Meeting includes a follow-up on the technological platform and on the sustainability objectives of rurAllure. On 7 September the group will leave Bratislava to reach Budapest via Esztergom. The city is located on the right bank of the Danube on the border with Slovakia and will allow participants to explore some of the main points of interest on the Way of Mary. 

AEVF will be represented by Elena Dubinina, Simona Spinola and Nicole Franciolini: this is the fourth edition of the General Assembly of rurAllure, after the meetings in Padua along the Via Romea Strata in January 2022 and that of Vila do Conde in Portugal along the Way of Saint James held in September 2021, after a kick-off online meeting


“Share Your Route” photo competition: share your Via Francigena with us

This photo contest is for all pilgrims, walkers and tourists from all over Europe to share their experience on the Via Francigena and other routes! Participating is very simple! 

Just follow these few steps: 

1. Publish a post on your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter profile that speaks about your travel experience and the cultural heritage you have discovered along the route. 

2. Tag the location, @rurAllure (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and the page @ViaFrancigena (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) along with the hashtags #rurallure and #viafrancigena.  

Write a short text below your photos describing your experience, along with impressions, travel tips or whatever comes to mind. You have time until 31 October 2022. Don’t forget to keep your profile public, so that your post doesn’t escape us, that would be a real shame! 

On 7 November we will announce the winners of the competition: up for grabs many prizes kindly offered by our partners, including Ferrino, Garmont and many other brands – expert technical equipment for hiking. 

Furthermore, if you have traveled several routes and want to share other photos as well, you can post your shots following the same rules, tagging only the @rurAllure page and using the hashtag #rurallure.  

Here are all the other itineraries participating in the competition: 

Too many photos to choose from? Problem solved, you can publish them all! A special category of is dedicated to the user who submits the most photos and to the author of the most interesting publication. 

For more information read the Terms and Conditions. 


The EAVF actively collaborates with the European project rurAllure linked to the enhancement of the heritage of the pilgrimage routes of all Europe, including the Via Francigena, focusing in particular on the mapping of the thermal heritage of Roman and Etruscan origin concentrated between Tuscany and Lazio. 


On the way towards a Via Francigena accessible to all

On Saturday 9 July, our Association organised a workshop dedicated to blind people in Bagno Vignoni, in the heart of the Val D’Orcia in Tuscany, to bring those with visual impairments closer to the thermal heritage through a series of sensory experiences developed for the occasion by a team of experts from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

The village of Bagno Vignoni, known for its 16th-century ‘water square’ in which 50-degree thermal water flows and for its rich thermal heritage, belongs to the ‘Thermal Via Francigena‘ project of which the municipality of San Quirico d’Orcia is an official member. The initiative was attended by Massimo Vita and Niccolò Zeppi, the presidents of the Siena and Florence sections respectively of the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired, together with Stella Funduleit, a member of the association in Siena.

Welcoming the group were Marco Bartoli and Virginia Pecci, respectively Deputy Mayor and Head of Tourism of the Municipality of San Quirico d’Orcia, who kicked off the proceedings: “We believe it is fundamental to try to understand the needs of every type of audience because this landscape belongs to everyone, no one excluded“, said Bartoli. “Thanks to the meeting, it was possible to lay the foundations for a very interesting and forward-looking project, which allowed us to look at Bagno Vignoni from another point of view, optimising efforts so that our heritage is within everyone’s reach“. Starting from this, we went through a brief excursus on the history of the village and its central pool, which through the centuries has found water as an element of crucial importance – as confirmed by the inscriptions dedicated to pagan and then Christian deities. Circumnavigating the square, the group was guided by the sound of the water flowing from the central pool into the canal, now partly covered, and then gushing into the Parco dei Mulini.

Supporting the walk were some relief maps and 3D models made by geologist Riccardo Rocca, allowing participants to understand the geographical conformation and geological composition, including elevation differences and Braille indications.

It was not a guided tour, but a shared moment where the feedback of those present had a fundamental weight in creating an itinerary that is increasingly accessible to those with visual disabilities and to anyone who wants to walk“, explained Simona Spinola, communications manager of The itinerant workshop, with which the participating group was very satisfied, at the same time providing indications for the development of the project and pointing out the need for improvements to the path in the countryside, concluded with a “sensory tasting” of some water collected at thermal sites along the Francigena and others that can be bought at the supermarket, in order to understand their properties and characteristics through smells and taste.

The Spanish team, composed of archaeologist Silvia González Soutelo, geographer Laura García Juan and geologist Miguel Gómez-Heras, emphasised that inclusive knowledge is one important way to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: following the philosophy of ‘nothing done for us, without us’, people with disabilities are a fundamental part of the creation of inclusive dissemination content and not mere recipients. The initiative took place within the Horizon 2020 European project rurAllure, born to map out and disseminate rural heritage and sustainable tourism near major pilgrimage routes across Europe.


The new agreement with Flixbus to travel along the Via Francigena at a discounted price

Starting today, pilgrims on the Via Francigena will be able to use the services of FlixBus to move between more than 40 stages of the route, or return home at the end of the walk at a special price – with the possibility of also transporting their bicycles.

To take advantage of the discount it will be sufficient to have the Via Francigena credential, the official document that certifies, through stamps, the passage of the pilgrim through various stages of the route. By following the procedure indicated on the Association’s website, in just a few steps pilgrims will be able to obtain discounts dedicated to them for reservations through the free FlixBus app.

Thanks to the many intersections between FlixBus’s network and the Via Francigena, it will be possible to reach (or depart from) more than 40 stops along the route in Italy, Switzerland, France and England with the well-known green buses. Out of these, more than 30 stops are located in Italy, and include cities such as Rome, Turin, Bari, Parma, Siena and Matera, but also smaller, more remote locations such as Oulx, in Val di Susa, or Candela, in the area of Foggia. Those who travel the Via by bicycle will also benefit from the agreement, thanks to the extension of bike transportation to 75% of the FlixBus fleet.

The agreement between this operator and our Association aims to encourage green forms of tourism within the reach of all budgets, enhancing innovative itineraries to better promote the heritage along the route.

This is an important collaboration that offers a useful service to the thousands of pilgrims who travel the Via Francigena. The connection between walking and public means of transportation makes it possible to provide travelers with different alternatives to reach their starting point, intermediate points or to return home at the end of the experience. This is a technical partnership based on sustainability and on care for the environment – elements that are closely linked to the philosophy of the Via Francigena“, said the Association’s President Massimo Tedeschi.

We are happy to sign an agreement with the European Association of Via Francigena ways that we are certain will allow us to give a greater contribute to the relaunch of tourism in Italy in a sustainable perspective“, said Andrea Incondi, managing Director of FlixBus Italia. “We want to persist in doing our part to connect people with the territory and with the priceless heritage offered by our country, enhancing the areas which are normally less attended by tourist flows: in this way, the potential of our hidden treasures will not remain unexpressed“.


The docufilm about our journey on foot along the Via Francigena has been released

One year after ‘Via Francigena. Road to Rome 2021. Start Again!‘, the 3,200 km relay march we covered last summer, the journey has become a docufilm. The movie collects stories of travellers along the epic voyage from Canterbury to Rome, up to the “Finibus terrae” of Santa Maria di Leuca, in Apulia, but it also highlights ongoing projects that enhance territories along the Via.

The European march led indeed to the production of a docufilm paying tribute to the memorable four months walking through England, France, Switzerland and Italy along Sigeric’s historic route, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the European Association of Via Francigena ways.

Do you want to watch the docufilm?

Register to watch it now by CLICKING HERE

If you are a public administration or an association and wanto to organize a screening of the docufilm SEND YOUR REQUEST

“Last year, with this great crossing of over 3,000 kilometres – two thirds of which in Italy – we bet on the relaunch of slow tourism: data confirm that the ‘start again!’ – slogan of the initiative – was a good omen. The number of people walking along the Via Francigena, in Italy and in other countries, confirmed this. The actions supporting the candidature of the Via Francigena as a UNESCO World Heritage Site have also achieved important results“, said Massimo Tedeschi.

More than 3,500 travellers followed the Road to Rome on foot together with 28 bloggers, 11 video-makers and dozens of journalists together with Tik Tok influencers, youtubers and Instagrammers. As a result, we created 16 regional videos, 55 reels, 1000 high-resolution photographs, 117 blog articles in English, Italian and French, 117 podcasts, a magazine entirely dedicated to the event, and 500 articles published across the international press.

Human paths were revolutionised within the journey, said Myra Stals, the face of Road to Rome who walked the entire journey, describing it as ‘an experience that involved my whole body and head, because walking every day through 16 regions and 638 municipalities was an experience moved by the heart. I call forth the willingness of all young people to find the space and the desire to set out on their own personal journey’.

Compared to 2019, there is an evident increase in the number of young people who decide to walk the Via Francigena: those under 17 make up for 5% (2% in 2019), while 13% are in the 18-24 age group. The highest percentage is in the 45-54 range (21%). The presence of young people on the route is an element of great importance that testifies to the attractiveness of this experiential and cultural journey, even for a target group that was little present on the Via until now. The itinerary is already being visited by 80 countries around the world: a success in which the growing presence of women was decisive, with the extra gear of an unprecedented Literary Pilgrim Relay from the Ilaria Canali “Girls in Gamba” community.

The docufilm ‘Road to Rome’, presented in Rome at the ENIT – Italian Tourism Agency headquarters, was attended by the Italian Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia, ENIT’s Director Roberta Garibaldi, ENIT Marketing and Promotion Director Maria Elena Rossi, together with Massimo Tedeschi, EAVF’s President, Sergio Valzania, writer and historian, and Myra Stals, EAVF’s social media manager.

“Paths that transform travelling into widespread places. A fil rouge, a storytelling made of people who meet along the way marking a return to authentic experiences. The trip charged us with expectations and emotions that have been enhanced with the arrival in Italy of the “Road to Rome” relay that had a tangible impact on all the Peninsula and all its unique cultures and lifestyles” declares ENIT’s Director Roberta Garibaldi.

Intesa Sanpaolo, the project’s main partner, also supported the presentation. Intesa Sanpaolo has in fact enthusiastically supported this exciting journey to discover enchanting places and villages, convinced that the promotion of cultural and sustainable tourism, which enhances the artistic and cultural heritage of territories, can also have important returns in favor of communities and geographical areas that are sometimes less well-known to the general public but no less interesting – and rich in opportunities.

Road to Rome was possible thanks to main sponsors and partners such as ENIT, Intesa Sanpaolo, SNAM and Puglia Promozione, as well as the valuable support of regions, administrations, local associations and numerous gold, silver, bronze and technical partners.

Discover the official partners of the project

The docufilm will be available to all members of the European Association of Via Francigena ways (municipalities and local associations) and to project partners. It will soon be on the official channels of with the three versions in Italian, French and English.


Via Francigena at the Training Academy on Cultural Routes

The EAVF took part in the first post-pandemic Training Academy on Cultural Routes, organised by the European Institute of Cultural Routes and hosted by the Impressionisms Routes in cooperation with the District of Seine-et-Marne and the Ministry of Culture of France. The event took place on 31 May – 3 June in Fontainebleau, France and gathered 37 cultural routes with representatives from 17 European countries. 

The 9th edition of this training was focused on cultural tourism and explored the topics of innovative emerging trends and strategies, especially in the post-Covid environment. Elena Dubinina and Jacques Chevin from EAVF presented the Road to Rome 2021 initiative and the European project rurAllure in informal workshops on cooperation and visibility during the event. They highlighted the importance of joint actions among the routes and local stakeholders to enhance visibility of the cultural routes brand.

The region of Fontainebleau is a crossroad of cultures and routes, as it connects the routes of Impressionisms, Stevenson, Napoleon and D’Artagnan, which the participants had a chance to experience on guided tours to Barbizon, hike through the Fontainebleau Forest, visit to the Castle and watch a performance of local theatre.  

Conclusions of the Training Academy focused on enhancement of cooperation and brand visibility as well as creation of national working groups on cultural routes will be presented at the annual forum on cultural routes, which will take place in Crete on 5 – 7 October 2022.  


I Love Thermal Via Francigena in Tuscany: traveling with rurAllure

On Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May, more than 50 people joined rurAllure to walk along stages 31 and 36 of the Via Francigena in Tuscany to explore the known and lesser-known treasures of these territories.

The European project rurAllure, of which the European Association of Vie Francigene is a member, has a founding objectives in enhancing the thermal heritage along the ‘Roman’ itineraries, i.e. those leading from all over Europe to Rome. Precisely with this focus, it organised two events open to the public and with free participation to promote the thermal territories along the Francigena in Tuscany.

Via Francigena Toscana

As rurAllure’s press release declairs, it has been ‘two days of beauty, including history, nature, culture and wine and food tastings to savour with all five senses the richness of the stages linking San Quirico to Castiglione d’Orcia and the one connecting Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano‘.

Terme Bagno Vignoni

EAVF joined the group for the entire weekend, visiting the Parco dei Mulini, the water square of Bagno Vignoni and the hypothermal springs of I Bollori e Putizza, along the banks of Rio Casciani, near Gambassi Terme. In addition to us, institutions, mayors and local councillors joined the group, as well as journalists and bloggers who shared the story of these two hikes through their communication channels.

The two walks were organised in collaboration with the municipalities of Castiglione d’Orcia, Gambassi Terme, San Gimignano and San Quirico d’Orcia, but also with the valuable support of Proloco Gambassi Terme and The Gambassi Experience.

Terme in Toscana Putizza

The Municipality of San Gimignano continues to believe in the Via Francigena, which represents our history and allows us to encourage healthy forms of tourism, made of people who walk and engage in outdoor activities to learn about our history and our culture‘, commented Carolina Taddei, Councillor for Culture and Education, Enhancement and Promotion of the Territory, Tourist Reception, International Relations, Image Protection, Twinning.

Paolo Campinoti, Mayor of Gambassi Terme, emphasised the importance of the Via Francigena, defining it as a ‘great opportunity for all territories not known to mass tourism to offer alternatives in the sphere of slow and sustainable tourism‘, while Claudio Galletti, Mayor of Castiglione d’Orcia, pointed out how the Via represents ‘an extraordinary vehicle for promoting tourism, which in recent years has contributed to increasing the visibility of Castiglione d’Orcia, playing an important role in increasing tourist presences‘.


The rurAllure project has developed a platform that offers pilgrims an overview of the best cultural locations along the route, including those that involve short diversions and that walkers would otherwise not be aware of.

Click here to discover all the stops and plan your visits


Thermal heritage in the Tuscan Via Francigena: seizing an opportunity

During the morning of 19 May, an informal technical meeting was held in Florence, at the headquarters of the Region of Tuscany, to discuss the project of the candidacy of the Via Francigena as a World Heritage Site. It was an operational meeting organised by EAVF to plan future actions following the European thematic study which has already been carried out.

The day continued with a round table, also organised by EAVF, focusing on the Thermal Via Francigena project and the sharing of activities within the European rurAllure project. One of the research areas of rurAllure sheds light precisely on the thermal heritage which is touched by the Tuscan Francigena route. Research partners University of Bologna, University of Padua, Iuav Venice, UAM Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and the Homo Viator Foundation are actively contributing together with EAVF. Elena Dubinina, international relations manager, Simona Spinola, communication manager, and Nicole Franciolini, project assistant, took part in the presentation.

The meeting was also an important opportunity to talk about environmental education, sustainable tourism, the involvement of local communities, the maintenance of the route, its usability through enhancement of public transports and, last but not least, all aspects connected to the promotion of the itinerary.

Taking part in the round table were Federico Eligi, Councillor at the Cabinet Office of the Region of Tuscany; Carolina Taddei, Councillor for Culture in San Gimignano; Marco Bartoli, Deputy Mayor of San Quirico d’Orcia; Erica Formichi, Municipal Councillor of Castiglione d’Orcia; and Paolo Campinotti, Mayor of Gambassi Terme. President Massimo Tedeschi and Director Luca Bruschi were present for EAVF.

Thermal springs become a richness within the local tourist offer and therefore make the Via Francigena more attractive, offering even more to its pilgrims. The Via is thus stronger if it is linked to thermal tourism. This is exactly the aim of rurAllure project“, emphasised EAVF’s President Massimo Tedeschi

Among the proposed ideas is the ‘I love Francigena Termale by rurAllure‘ event, a two-day walking tour (28 and 29 May) in which participants will discover on foot the thermal and cultural heritage located along the stages connecting San Quirico to Castiglione d’Orcia and San Gimignano to Gambassi Terme. This initiative is free of charge and open to everybody: the first of a long series of events to enhance an area that is so rich in opportunities.

Fill the form to participate


“I love Francigena termale by rurAllure”: come with us to the discovery of thermal heritage in Tuscany

Spring is back and with it come the walks organised by our Association, free of charge, to discover villages, heritage and territories crossed by the Via Francigena at a slow pace.

The next appointments will be on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May in Tuscany, to discover on foot the thermal heritage locations mapped thanks to the European project rurAllure along the stages linking San Quirico to Castiglione d’Orcia and Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano. This two-day event, entitled “I love Francigena termale by rurAllure” (see the programme in English here), will allow participants to immerge in the uniqueness of two stages bound by nature, history, art and gastronomy – with a special focus on the thermal sites located near the route, which have Etruscan and Roman origins. 

The Parco dei Mulini, where the energy produced by the water flow of the thermal springs was exploited until the end of the 19th century; the unique water square of Bagno Vignoni; the hypothermal spring of I Bollori and Putizza along the banks of Rio Casciani, near Gambassi Terme; these are just some of the most important stops on our programme. A certified guide will lead the group and we will have no lack of refreshment moments at many of the stopping points.

Pilgrims and enthusiast walkers will be joined on foot by the staff of rurAllure and the EAVF, local institutions and associations actively promoting slow tourism along the Via Francigena, and actors who are regularly verifying the state of the paths and the effectiveness of signposting. It will be an important moment for sharing and exchanging knowledge, with compulsory registration and free of charge participation.

☞ Want to join us? Follow these 3 simple steps:

Check out the programme at this link

Choose the stage and fill the form to make sure you’re on board

Find out how well you know the Via Francigena by taking our quiz

The event is possible thanks to the collaboration of the Municipality of Castiglione d’Orcia, the Municipality of Gambassi Terme, the Municipality of San Gimignano, the Municipality of San Quirico d’Orcia, Proloco Gambassi Terme and The Gambassi Experience.

How to become an “I love Francigena” partner

  • If you are a pilgrim, you can participate in all excursions both by staying connected to the EAVF channels (website, social media, newsletter) and, by following us with the hashtag #ILoveFrancigena. 
  • If you are a local authority, Region or private partner, you can participate in the co-organisation of the event by contacting us at the following email: