Via Francigena

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The EAVF pays tribute to its president Massimo Tedeschi, who passed away today

The European Association of the Via Francigena pays tribute to its great President, Massimo Tedeschi, who left peacefully after fighting an illness in recent months.

Massimo Tedeschi was a visionary who, on 7 April 2001 along with 34 municipalities and provinces, founded the Association of Italian Municipalities on the Via Francigena, which was transformed in 2005 into the European Association of the Via Francigena. Over these 23 years, the network has grown significantly, always emphasizing its international dimension, starting with its recognition as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, embodying values of dialogue, peace, and tolerance.

EAVF was built day by day around European values, serving as an example of grassroots cooperation among territories and a bridge of dialogue between peoples.

Under the leadership of its president, Massimo Tedeschi, AEVF organized and carried out a walking event “Road to Rome 2021” from Canterbury to Santa Maria di Leuca, on foot and by bicycle, to celebrate the association’s 20th anniversary. During this four-month event, the Francigena delegation met with all the municipal administrations and associations along the route.

Massimo Tedeschi leaves an important legacy to the entire European Association of the Via Francigena. There will undoubtedly be moments and ways to thank, remember, and celebrate the great President who had the vision and foresight to unite the territories to achieve a single goal: a unified Via Francigena, 3,200 km long, that collaborates to enhance the European route certified in 1994 by the Council of Europe.

“The European vision of Massimo was farsighted and crucial for the growth and enhancement of the Via Francigena. Continuing on the path he laid out with the same commitment and determination that characterized him is our duty to him. For me, Massimo was not just the President of EAVF, but above all, a brotherly friend whom I met 23 years ago and will never forget.”

EAVF vicar Vice-President Francesco Ferrari.
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Join the “Francigena Photo Contest 2024”!

☀️ Summer is here! The European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF) wants to celebrate it with an exciting new initiative for all pilgrims who will be travelling the Via Francigena this summer!

From 21 June to 21 September, the “Francigena Photo Contest 2024” will be running, welcoming the stories of pilgrim adventures and awarding the best photos and reels of Your journey along the Via Francigena.

The contest, organised by the Swiss Association of the Via Francigena (SAVF – www.viafrancigenasuisse.ch) and promoted by the EAVF, is open to all pilgrims, cyclists, walkers, and hikers who will travel the European route during the summer of 2024.

To participate, just follow these 4 simple steps:
  1. Post one or more posts (not stories!) on Facebook and/or Instagram containing a photo or video (reel) of your journey along the Via Francigena
  2. Include in the caption:
    • A description
    • The location where the photo was taken
    • The hashtag #FrancigenaContest2024
  3. Don’t forget to follow and tag the profiles @viafrancigena_eu (on Instagram) and @ViaFrancigenaEU (on Facebook).
  4. …and now just wait for the results!
Keep in mind that:
  • To participate, your profile must be public!
  • If you post a gallery or album with multiple photos, only the first photo uploaded will be considered.
  • The absence of tags, hashtags, or a follow to the Via Francigena social profiles will result in disqualification.
And after 21 September?

The content uploaded by users will be evaluated by 30 September 2024 by an internal jury composed of members of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways and the Swiss Association of the Via Francigena, which will determine a winner for each of the following categories:

  • The most beautiful photo ➡️ win a Ferrino backpack and a Via Francigena-branded gadget
  • The most beautiful video/reel ➡️ win a pair of Garmont shoes and a Via Francigena-branded gadget
  • The most captivating anecdote/story ➡️ win a CAMCO merino wool garment and a Via Francigena-branded gadget
  • The funniest content ➡️ win a Via Francigena-branded t-shirt

⚠️ WE RECOMMEND YOU READ THE
TERMS AND CONDITIONS, AVAILABLE HERE!
👈

🍀 Good luck… and buon cammino!!! 👣 📷

The “Francigena Photo Contest 2024” is organised with the support of EAVF’s technical partners
Ferrino, Garmont, and CAMCO.

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From Canterbury to Fidenza: An Interview with Councillor Connie Nolan

Connie Nolan, a councillor delegated for the city of Canterbury, met with the President and staff of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF) in Fidenza during the last edition of the Francigena Fidenza Festival, which this year reached its fourth edition.

For Nolan, it was an opportunity to personally experience a segment of the Via Francigena route as well as visit the EAVF headquarters. She actively participated in some of the festival’s activities, which this year included over fifty initiatives. Specifically, the councillor took part in a scientific conference organised by the University of Parma and EAVF, dedicated to the development of the Via Francigena and its cultural heritage, and she gave an interview to the staff.

Canterbury, the zero kilometre point of the Via Francigena, has been a member of the EAVF since 2005 and participates in numerous initiatives that can be consulted here, in preparation for the 30th anniversary of the route’s recognition as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe.

The English city council is also supporting the establishment of the Francigena Britannica, an extension of the Via Francigena linking London and Canterbury along a 150-kilometer stretch of the path, which recently saw a delegation at work to certify this extension.

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Walking the Francigena Britannica: from London to Canterbury

A delegation from the EAVF and the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome worked on the verification of the “Francigena Britannica” route and held institutional meetings in London, looking towards the certification of the extension of the Via Francigena.
LONDON AND ROME CONNECTED: THE FRANCIGENA BRITANNICA PROJECT

London and Rome are drawing closer, thanks to the Via Francigena. More precisely, the credit for this natural connection goes to the ancient Via Britannica, which links the English capital with the city of Canterbury, the zero kilometre of the itinerary certified in 1994 by the Council of Europe.

And it was precisely in London on 5 May 1949 that the Council of Europe – the first international organisation to emerge in Europe after the Second World War – was founded. the London Treaty was actually signed by 10 founding countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Sweden. The Via Britannica and the Via Francigena, therefore, strengthen the bridge of connection between the United Kingdom and Europe through peace, intercultural dialogue, exchange, and cooperation, but also through the recovery of historical paths and slow tourism.

THE CONFRATERNITY OF PILGRIMS TO ROME PROJECT

The Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome (an association of volunteers founded in 2006 and affiliated with EAVF) which brings together the world of Anglophone walkers, has been carrying forward the project for the recognition of the Francigena Britannica for some years now: a 145 km route to be covered in six stages on foot that starts from Southwark Cathedral in London and rejoins the Via Francigena in Canterbury. The project, which has been under study and development since 2021, has already been submitted to the European Association of Via Francigena. A well-structured dossier from a historical, scientific, and pedestrian route point of view, with reference also to the usability of the route and the cultural heritage present along the municipalities crossed.

The itinerary intersects seven paths that are already well signposted: Thames Path, Green Chain Walk, Darent Valley Walk, Pilgrims Way, North Downs Way, Medway River Walk, and Stour Valley Way.

INSTITUTIONAL MEETINGS IN LONDON AND FIELD INSPECTION OF THE ROUTE

From 9 to 13 June, a technical inspection of the route took place, attended by Luca Faravelli, EAVF project manager and Giancarlo Laurenzi, honorary president of the CPR. This field inspection was accompanied by important institutional meetings, in which EAVF director Luca Bruschi also spoke. The meetings were held with Caroline Hicks, Head of Economic Development at Dartford Borough Council and Will Norman, London’s first Commissioner for walking, cycling and slow mobility routes. The city of London has for many years placed the theme of slow mobility, particularly pedestrian and cycling, at the heart of its urban development policies. The Francigena Britannica represents an extraordinary pedestrian link from London to Canterbury, and then continues on the Via Francigena to Dover and enters the mainland at Calais. The global public of pilgrims who reach London by air will thus be able to set off directly from London, walking along the Thames and following the path of the Via Britannica.

The AEVF delegation also met CPR President Nick Dunne and Vice President Brian Mooney in London. Institutional visits continued in the city of Canterbury, EAVF partner municipality since 2005, which is strongly supporting the development of the Via Francigena.

NEXT APPOINTMENT IN MONTE SANT’ANGELO, PUGLIA, WITH THE AEVF ASSEMBLY

The outcome of this inspection of the route will be presented by the CPR at the next AEVF Assembly on 18 October 2024 in Monte Sant’Angelo (Foggia, Puglia). Ample space will be dedicated to the presentation of the project that will see EAVF members as protagonists for the approval of this cultural extension of the path, whose European route nevertheless always provides for Canterbury as the zero kilometre city.

It will be an important moment to write a new and beautiful page in the history of the Via Francigena, together with all the members and friends of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways.

THE FRANCIGENA BRITANNICA AND ITS STAGES, IN SHORT

The historic pilgrimage route that runs from Southwark Cathedral in London to Canterbury is called the Via Britannica. This is the route described by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century Canterbury Tales. This itinerary therefore represents an important pilgrimage route in its own right, but also a logical extension of the Via Francigena in the United Kingdom.

The stages:

  • Londra (cattedrale di Southwark) – Abbey Wood – 17 km
  • Abbey Wood – Dartford – 21 km
  • Dartford – Otford – 20 km
  • Oxford- Peter’s Bridge – 24 km
  • Hollingbourne – Broughton Lees – 21 km
  • Broghton Lees – Canterbury – 24 km
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The Via Francigena and the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe met in Brindisi

The Via Francigena splendidly celebrated the anniversary of its European certification (1994-2024) in the international context of the Training Academy 2024, marked by dialogue and cooperation.

The city of Brindisi and the Apulia region became the capital of European cultural routes: from June 4 to 7, at the “Accademia degli Erranti – Statio Peregrinorum” headquarters, a training event was held involving 100 representatives from 37 routes, coming from 22 countries. The forum was part of the celebrations of the Via Francigena, which celebrates its 30th anniversary of European certification in 2024.

The European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF) had the honor of organizing this event, together with the European Institute of Cultural Routes, which supported the realisation of this international showcase in a symbolic place of the Via Francigena in Southern Italy, namely the city of Brindisi.

At the inauguration ceremony, moderated by Rosy Barretta of the “Brindisi e le Antiche Strade” Association, speakers included Mayor Giuseppe Marchionna, the director of the tourism department and EAVF vice president Aldo Patruno, the president of the Italian National Tourism Agency Alessandra Priante, Maria Giusi Luprano from the Italian Ministry of Culture, and finally Stefano Dominioni, director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes in Luxembourg and executive secretary of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.

The Academy featured six working sessions focused on themes of governance, tourism, mobility, cooperation, and international project planning. These sessions saw great participation and interaction among the contributors.

For the Via Francigena, speakers included Luca Bruschi, EAVF director; Elena Dubinina, EAVF European projects manager; Angelofabio Attolico from the Apulia region and EAVF technical manager for the development of the Via Francigena in Southern Italy; Anna Introna and Basel Sai, also from the Apulia region. A specific session was dedicated to slow tourism projects along the Via Francigena with EAVF partners. Tullia Caballero from SloWays brilliantly moderated the panel, where important best practices were shared by showcasing Flixbus for mobility (Marco Zucchetti), Ferrino for technical equipment (Giorgio Rabaiolo), and CAMCO for technical clothing (Matteo Corrado). Valerio Barchi also spoke, sharing his experience as a traveler on the Italian section of the Via Francigena and the creation of “Bona Via!”, the first comic book dedicated to the journey.

During the Academy, there was a strategic meeting between EAVF and the European Federation of Saint James Way, represented by the Spanish President Ildefonso de la Campa, to lay the groundwork for strategic projects in view of the 2025 Jubilee.

During the four days, the cultural programme that was organised to accompany the event also played an important role. The international delegation was able to get to know the city’s museum, cultural, and archaeological heritage, as well as walk a short stretch of the Via Francigena. Local gastronomy was also at the centre of the event, with tastings, street food, and the discovery of local companies and producers, as well as musical shows and artistic performances.

In addition to EAVF’s organisation, the event was supported by the Apulia Region and the Municipality of Brindisi, with the cooperation of the “Brindisi e le Antiche Strade” Association, coordinated by Antonio Melcore. On-site coordination was handled by Catherine Hannequart.

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Via Francigena International Awards 2024

The European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF) has launched the third edition of the “Via Francigena International Award”, with the aim of highlighting the good practices implemented by its Members and Friends for the development and promotion of the itinerary.

EAVF Members and Friends are invited to submit their applications, one for each theme, briefly describing an activity related to the Via Francigena that has been carried out in in their reference region between 01.01.2023 and 31.12.2023. The application form lists 5 different themes: a maximum of 5 forms can be submitted, which means 1 activity per theme. Deadline for applications is Friday 30.06.2024.

➡️ Click here to apply for Via Francigena International Awards 2024 ⬅️

Good practices will be collected and made available to all Members and Friends within a dedicated section on the website www.viefrancigene.org/en/.

The three best good practices, selected by an international evaluation group nominated by the EAVF President, will be awarded at the next General Assembly, scheduled in Monte Sant’Angelo, Puglia, on Friday 18 October 2024.

Our sincere appreciation to all those who will participate!

👉 Discover the 2023 edition

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Siena Hosts the Presentation of the New Issue of the Via Francigena Magazine

The event, open to the public, will be held on June 19 in Piazza Duomo and will be followed by a tasting of the “bruschetta del viandante” and a guided tour of the Santa Maria della Scala complex, home to the historic pilgrim hostel recently reopened.

Fidenza, May 29, 2024 – On Wednesday, June 19, the new issue of the magazine “Via Francigena and the European Cultural Routes” will be presented in Siena, at Santa Maria della Scala in Piazza Duomo.

The 57th edition of the trilingual magazine (house organ of the EAVF), soon to be available on the website www.rivistaviafrancigena.it/en/, includes a special focus on Siena, the splendid Tuscan city traversed by the Francigena route, as attested by the diary of Sigeric, the English archbishop who in the year 990 covered the journey between Rome and Canterbury in 79 stages, after receiving the Pallium from the Pope’s hands. Even today, the official route crosses the city of Siena and its province for 120 kilometers, through hills, cypresses, and breathtaking villages such as San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Montalcino, San Quirico d’Orcia, Castiglione d’Orcia, Radicofani, San Casciano dei Bagni, as well as the Abbadia San Salvatore variant.

The route connecting Siena to Rome is one of the most frequented sections by wayfarers from all over the world, who reach the Vatican from the famous Piazza del Campo in about 14 days, after 285 km of pure beauty.

INSIDE THE NEW ISSUE

The new issue of the magazine features in-depth reports on the recent EAVF General Assembly in Vevey, Switzerland, accounts of international events such as the “Grand Randonnée FFR” towards Paris and the snowy experience at the Hospice of the Great St Bernard, as well as specials on places of interest related to the route such as the UNESCO heritage city of Mantua, along with practical tips for organizing the journey, thanks to the opening of the hostel in Medesano along the Parma stage from Fidenza to Fornovo.

The magazine includes an important editorial by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić, highlighting the crucial role of the Francigena route in promoting intercultural dialogue and European heritage on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the recognition of the Via Francigena as a cultural route of the Council of Europe. This is followed by a speech by the Italian Minister of Tourism Daniela Santanchè, emphasizing how the Francigena is among the emblems of slow tourism, as well as one of the main assets of the 2023-2027 Strategic Tourism Plan on which the Italian Ministry is working.

At the beginning of the presentation, which is open to the public, there will be a video link with the Itailian Minister of Tourism Daniela Santanchè and institutional greetings from the Siena’s Tourism Councillor Vanna Giunti, Regional Councillor of Tuscany Francesco Gazzetti, and EAVF Deputy Vice President Francesco Ferrari: this will be followed by speeches by Luca Faravelli, EAVF Project Manager, the magazine’s publisher Stefano Guidotti, the director of the Consorzio Prosciutto Toscano DOP Emore Magni, and Igino Morini from the Consorzio Parmigiano Reggiano’s Territorial Promotion. Chef Alessandro Pieragnoli, creator of the famous “bruschetta del viandante,” will participate, with a delicious tasting planned.

A guided tour of the Santa Maria della Scala complex will follow, which houses the Casa delle Balie, where abandoned or unrecognized children were taken in: currently, the structure is a 25-bed hostel, reopened last March 29 after a period of inactivity during the pandemic. A place rich in history in the historic center of Siena, an unmissable stop for those seeking an authentic experience in the heart of one of Italy’s most fascinating cities.

For more information:

Simona Spinola, AEVF Communication Contact: simona.spinola@viefrancigene.orgwww.viefrancigene.org

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The Via Francigena is featured on the HIKE Project Website!

We’re delighted to announce important updates about the EAVF’s new European project HIKE with the official launch of its website today! The project’s objective is to guide participants along three iconic European paths, promoting healthier and more active lifestyles through tailored hiking events designed for all fitness levels. This new online platform provides detailed information about free excursions, and activities planned across hiking routes in three countries involved in the project. Here participants will find trail maps, event schedules, and registration procedures. The news section offers updates, insightful articles, and educational materials on healthy habits and lifestyles, while the media section showcases photos and videos from the events.

Together with the European Association of the Via Francigena Ways, the following partners are part of the project:

Culture Routes Society: A non-profit organization in Türkiye focused on creating and maintaining long-distance routes for walking, biking, and horse-riding. It oversees more than 20 local and international trekking routes catering to various interests of hiking enthusiasts.

Paths of Greece: A Social Co-operative Enterprise dedicated to promoting Greece’s cultural heritage and environmental conservation through hiking trails. They specialize in designing, implementing, and promoting trails based on historical footpaths, tailored to modern needs.

The project’s schedule includes:

September on the Via Francigena: Explore the scenic path in the sunny Apulia region of Italy. Two hiking weekends will take place on the coastal legs of the itinerary, from Bari to Monopoli and from Torre Canne (Fasano) to Brindisi, featuring cultural, sports, and gastronomic activities, along with unforgettable sunset celebrations. More details on the Via Francigena agenda here.

October in Greece on the Via Egnatia: Journey along the Via Egnatia in Greece, where you can trace the remnants of this ancient road engineered by the Romans. Explore stretches covering Edessa, Prophitis Ilias, and Arnissa, with stunning waterfalls, interactive workshops, and cultural visits to significant industrial heritage sites. Learn more about our walks on the Via Egnatia.

November in Türkiye on the Tolerance Way: Experience landscapes that have shaped civilizations, from gentle strolls through historical districts to vigorous treks across rustic settings. Events will feature diverse landmarks, including Izmit’s scenic waterside and Kayalar Nature Parks, the charming villages of Servetiye and Kırıntı, and the ancient aqueducts near Gölkay Park. Visit the Tolerance Way section for more information.

Stay tuned to our website for the latest updates, registration, and organizational details!

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The hostel for Via Francigena pilgrims reopens in Fidenza!

The San Donnino Hostel in Fidenza (Parma, Emilia-Romagna), a facility dedicated to welcoming young people and pilgrims, is reopening after being closed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Located in the heart of the historic center, it is just a few steps from the Cathedral of San Donnino, Piazza Garibaldi, and the commercial area, surrounded by numerous services and dining options.

Technical Details

The facility offers 10 beds in multiple rooms of 2, 3, or 5 beds. The overnight stay is priced at €20.00 per bed per night (including bed linen) + €0.50 per night for the tourist tax. The supply of shower linen is excluded and costs €2.50 (to be requested at the time of booking).

Guests have access to bathrooms with showers, a simple but fully equipped kitchen, and a laundry room with a washing machine, dryer, and drying rack. The building also has a stairlift for access by people with disabilities and a dedicated bathroom.

Check-in is from 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Check-out is by 10:00 AM. Payment can only be made in cash upon arrival. Breakfast or meals are not provided, but there are numerous dining options near the facility.

Fidenza, the Beating Heart of the Via Francigena

Fidenza is a place rich in significance for the Via Francigena!

The town in the province of Parma is located exactly halfway along the Via Francigena route from Canterbury to Rome and represents one of the vital hubs of the path, where various initiatives are organized to celebrate and promote it, such as the Francigena Fidenza Festival.

On this occasion, last April, the San Donnino Hostel in Fidenza was inaugurated, and it has already begun to take reservations. This is an important milestone that fills the gap for a pilgrim-friendly facility in the city!

➡️ Visit the technical details on our website ⬅️

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The EAVF Team explores the winter Via Francigena in Switzerland

On April 17th, Nicole Franciolini and Simona Spinola, respectively Social Media Manager and Communications Manager for AEVF, were welcomed by Gaëtan Tornay, Vice President of EAVF, President of the Swiss Association of the Via Francigena (SAVF), and Director of the Tourist Office Au Pays du St-Bernard based in Orsières, to discover the secrets of the winter Via Francigena in Switzerland.

The town, located in the Canton of Valais, is situated at the foot of the Mont Blanc massif, on the road to the Col du Grand Saint-Bernard, which, at 2,473 meters in altitude, marks the highest point of the entire Via Francigena route, as well as the border between the Swiss and Italian sections of the path, which enters the Aosta Valley from the Col. 

The staff thus traveled part of the eleventh stage of the Swiss Francigena, from Bourg Saint-Bernard to the Col du Grand Saint-Bernard, the gateway to the Italian Alps, in a magnificent winter panorama: abundant snowfall and sub-zero temperatures required the use of snowshoes and all necessary safety equipment – shovel, probe, and ARVA – under the careful guidance of an expert. Along the way, two small shelters offer a safe resting point for ski mountaineers and travelers, with a ready-to-use fireplace, a kitchenette for tea or a quick hot meal, and a phone to call for help if needed.

An unforgettable experience, made even more special by the overnight stay at the Hospice du Grand Saint-Bernard, open 365 days a year, which welcomes travelers and enthusiasts of ski mountaineering and winter sports. The structure, built in 1050 by the canons of the order of Saint Augustine, has 120 beds and offers various lodging options with the possibility of having breakfast, lunch (also packed) and dinner in a context of sharing and simplicity. Connected to the Hospice is a hotel that opens in June when the valley in front, completely frozen during the colder months, reveals the picturesque lake. A few meters from the complex, the customs mark the border between Switzerland and Italy, where the statue of Saint Bernard watches the passage of pilgrims.

The Col du Grand Saint-Bernard has always been a place of particular importance since the time of the ancient Romans who worshiped Jupiter Penninus, protector of travelers, while in the Middle Ages, Saint Bernard of Menthon had a monastery built there to provide hospitality to pilgrims heading to or returning from Rome. The imposing monastery was further expanded in the nineteenth century and now houses a museum dedicated to the history of the pass, open during the summer months. 

The entire complex of the Hospice and adjacent structures is easily accessible by car during the warmer months by taking the SS27 road, which is closed and impassable due to snow from October to early June.

It is impossible to talk about Saint Bernard without mentioning the famous dogs originating from Central Asia, which have served at the pass since 1650 as guard and rescue dogs in case of avalanches. These splendid specimens, present at the Col 12 months a year until 2005, spend the coldest months at Barryland, the foundation that traces the history of the pass and the Saint Bernard breed with a permanent exhibition: currently, the foundation is being expanded and by 2025 will offer visitors new themed areas.

The snowshoe hike at minus 10 degrees confirmed to the staff that the Swiss Francigena can be traveled year-round, even on its most challenging stages, as long as one carefully checks the weather and prepares for the ascent with appropriate equipment, suitable physical preparation, and the company of a certified guide who can assess the risks and dangers of an area of unique beauty, where nature dominates among breathtaking valleys and slopes.

“Reaching the hospice of Grand Saint Bernard in winter is a unique experience, and the contrast with the busy road during the summer and the numerous tourists who visit the place is surprising. Personally, I greatly appreciate the winter atmosphere, especially in the truly special setting of the hospice”

Gaëtan Tornay