Meeting at their constitutive General Assembly in Aigle on 5 May, the municipalities involved by the Via Francigena – a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe that crosses the cantons of Vaud and Valais – decided to found the Swiss Via Francigena Association.
A European cultural route
The Via Francigena connects the city of Canterbury in England, to Rome and, since 2019, to Santa Maria di Leuca in the south of the Italian peninsula. This route was recognised as a cultural itinerary of the Council of Europe in 1994. It crosses Switzerland by entering through the Col de Jougne or the Col de Sainte-Croix to reach Orbe, Cossonay, Lausanne, Vevey, Aigle, Saint-Maurice, Martigny, Orsières, Bourg-Saint-Pierre and the Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard.
The Swiss municipalities crossed by the Via Francigena wanted to set up a Swiss association to focus on the promotion of the itinerary in Swiss territories. The new president Gaëtan Tornay says: “The association wants to realise simple and concrete projects by creating promotion tools (leaflets, website, social networks, newsletter, etc.) but also events such as guided walks. It also wants to become a link between public and private actors to strengthen the reception of walkers, which must be at the heart of our concerns“.
This promotion/animation/coordination work will be carried out in close collaboration with the European Association of Via Francigena ways (EAVF), which has been active since 2001 in England, France, Switzerland, Italy and the Vatican State. Its President Massimo Tedeschi welcomes the birth of the Swiss Association of the Via Francigena (ASVF) with these words: “We need local references to help us better promote this magnificent European route in each country concerned. The creation of the ASVF is, therefore, a big step forward!“
Source: Press Release of the Swiss Via Francigena Association