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Road to Rome 2021: Pilgrim Stick has arrived!

The pilgrim stick – our Olympic torch – which will be passed from pilgrim to pilgrim during the relay march “Via Francigena. Road to Rome 2021” has arrived!The event celebrates both the EAVF foundation, which took place on 7 April 2001 in Fidenza (Parma, Italy), and the 27th anniversary of the recognition of the Via Francigena as a “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe“, granted in 1994.

The Road to Rome is a great moment of celebration, a long relay march on foot and by bicycle along 3,200 km of the Via Francigena. The walkers will carry a pilgrim stick as an Olympic torch passing it to the next group, step by step, along the entire journey.

Hazel stick sourced 3 years ago by Michael Walsh near Holycross Abbey in Tipperary, Ireland will be used in this initiative. It has been seasoned, cleaned and prepared with over 10 coats of boiled linseed oil to get it ready for its journey.

The artwork was completed by a local artist Julie Helen Sharp and the cord grip was made by a stick maker Declan O Shea.

The stick was blessed by the Parish Priest of Holycross, Fr Celsus Tierney on 26 Feb 2021, praying for all those who will take part in this long walk.

Special thanks to the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome, who suggested us to obtain the walking stick and drove the whole process. 

More information about the Road to Rome 2021 here

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170 Graduate Students in Erasmus in Europe thanks to the Via Francigena

The opportunity is reserved to new graduated students who have obtained a high school diploma in a school along the Via Francigena: 21 students have already departed, and 49 more are getting ready to leave.

This was possible thanks to the project “FORREsT: new skills FOR expeRiEntial Tourism”, of which EAVF is a leading partner, and which falls under the wider project Erasmus+.

The project aims at reacting to new international tourism trends (experiential and sustainable tourism), and at promoting the economic and productive development of areas affected by the crossing of the Via Francigena. The overarching target is the valorization of small local communities, which have a common pattern in their European cultural identity: the Via Francigena. The 21 students who are already travelling are spread across France and Spain, and some of them have already finished their experience and returned home.

The students have the possibility to undertake an educational / working internship in European organizations within the abovementioned working sectors. This is possible by obtaining a scholarship that includes:

  • language preparations and proficiency through the European platform OLS

  • roundtrip airplane tickets to the internship destination

  • insurance coverage for the entire stay period

  • accommodation; professional, organizational and logistic tutoring and monitoring

  • proof of attendance and certification

One year later, the project F.O.R.R.Es.T. 2.0 – FOsteR an euRopEan identity through the Trainees mobility” also started and is now ongoing. If the first edition was offered to graduates in high schools along the Via Francigena between Aosta and Rome, the “FORREsT 2.0” project speaks to 100 young graduates along the entire Italian route of the Via Francigena, from Valle d’Aosta to Puglia, once again offering working experiences in Spain, England and France.

More information:

Here are some of their reflections at the end of the experience:

“This activity certainly had a positive impact on my interpersonal relations, helping me develop an increased objective perception of the working environment”.

Francesco Caraccia – France

“This experience can give each of us the possibility to discover and improve many aspects of ourselves. We have been stimulated in countless ways: from the private to the working realm of experience. I can only speak positively of this project, and I am satisfied of what I learned about tourism, a sector I had no experience with”.

Gaia Colalucci – Spain

“It was a very educational experience; I discovered a new country, a new culture and made many friends. I also had the opportunity to walk into the working world as a translator, which is what I am now studying at the University. I would recommend anyone not to doubt about leaving, possibly for unknown destinations, to learn about new cultures and allow the mind to open as much as possible”.

Giulia Galli – Spain

“I leave with a heavier baggage, full of experiences and with an awareness I did not have before. I discovered that I am ready to work and to manage the marketing of a company. I really liked the experience; I am sure it opened my eyes on a working field I ignored beforehand. Now it is my duty to remain curious and eager to learn more and more!”

Sara Marconcini – Spain

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The “Walk of light” of Francisco Sancho arrives in Champlitte on the Via Francigena

Francisco Sancho, originally Spanish, then resident in Vicenza, transformed his pilgrimage in a full expression of Christian life. He has been walking for many years along all the key European pilgrim routes. We have met him in Champlitte on the 10th of March.

Luca Bruschi, director of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways, with Jacques Chevin, responsible for the development of the Swiss and French sections of the Via Francigena, met the pilgrim in Champlitte, starting point of the 40th stage of the Via. The city, since 2016, hosts the French EAVF headquarters. This morning, the city mayor Patrice Colinet gave his greeting and welcomed the traveler in town.

Francisco, with his pluriannual walk, is bringing forward his project “Walk of Light”: a trip in which, at each stage, he spares a moment of prayer and lights a candle, to leave, by the end of the journey, a “trail of light” and serenity.

His journeys:

2014: together with backpack, walking stick and faith, he left from the doorstep of the Basilica dei Santi Pietro e Paolo in Rome to start an itinerary that brought him to the tomb of Saint James in Compostela.The way back brought him to Le Puy en Velay, to surpass the Alps in the Val di Susa, and cross the north and center of Italy to reach Assisi and then return to Rome along the footsteps of San Francesco.

2015/2016: he leaves towards Santiago de Compostela and, passing by Brussels, he pushes himself up to Norway, where he visits the tomb of Sant’Olaf a Trondheim. He goes back to Rome passing through Cracow in occasion of the World Youth Day in 2016.

2019/ today: the 6th of July 2019 he starts a spiritual journey to Santa Maria di Leuca with the aim of connecting all the major faith destinations in Europe, the same ones that pilgrims and wayfarers walked since the Middle Ages. He expects to return to Santa Maria di Leuca for Easter 2021.

This is how Francisco shares his story:

I already walked, during my 25 years of pilgrimage, most of these routes. I collected unforgettable experiences, met extraordinary people, who became my best friends. I collected witnesses, images, stories and episodes, but I also learned about pain, unbearable difficulties, I looked into the most hidden and dark faces of my soul, I met the uncertainty of living…with no doubt, the man who left is not the same one that returns.

In every place I crossed, I lit a lumen, recited a prayer and attempted to bring serenity, so that, when I will look back at the end of my journey, I will see a trail of light, a “Walk of Light”.

When I return, I wish to tell the story of my journey, physical and spiritual, through a series of photography exhibitions, across various Italian cities. My dream is to share with everyone my life experience and possibly get people closer to the idea of walking, meant as a spiritual and cathartic experience… Only God knows how much, today, it is necessary to slow down, at a walking pace, have the opportunity to meditate and observe the beauty of the world that surrounds us”.

It is possible to support Francisco Sancho’s journey here. The fundraiser will allow him to:

– Complete the Walk of Light, contributing to the little resources he needs to sustain himself: some food and a bed for the night;

– Organize events “Walk of Light” around Italy. “Walk of Light” is a photography exhibition that tells the story of his pilgrimage in Europe;

– Create and moderate a Facebook community, where anyone – pilgrims, wayfarers, passionate followers and interested people can share experience, suggestions, and support each other’s journeys.

“Thanks to the help of dear friends, I was able to confirm my first photography exhibition in Monte Sant’Angelo (FG), a loved city, from the 18th of June to the 11th of July 2021”.

Website: boanerges.es

Instagram: @franciscosanchopellegrino

Facebook Profile: Francisco Sancho Boanerges

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Calais: a rose breed dedicated to the Via Francigena

A “Via Francigena” rose was created in the city of Calais supported by the Association for the Enhancement of the Architectural Heritage of Calais (AMVPAC). The rose is the subject of a subscription, which sales will be used to renovate and enhance the Calais Notre-Dame church and the surrounding gardens.

Calais, the first outpost of the Via Francigena in France, has been the EAVF member since 2018. The municipality has been active in the work of the association, contributing to the development of the route in France and beyond.

In the Calais area the Via Francigena winds along a beautiful path that joins the North Sea and immerses itself in nature, passing through Sangatte and other picturesque villages. The fine sand, with its different colours changing with the seasons, becomes the leitmotif of this exciting “maritime” stage.

The rose Via Francigena was created in 2018 by rose breeders Dominique Massad and Peter Beales. It comes from a family of a wild rose “rosa persica” discovered in 1784 during a long journey of the botanist and explorer André Michaux, in the Zagros mountains, between Iran and Iraq.

A rose in yellow tones, an age-old colour for warm feelings of friendship of optimism and wisdom, and in white tones to express purity and respect, created to pay homage to new beginnings and to express hope for the to come up. A rose that would become an attribute of all those who undertake a journey whether they are pilgrims, hikers or tourists.

The rose will be available for sale in June 2021. The prices vary between 28€ and 30€.

You can buy them (or order them) directly from Opal’fleurs (Place d’Armes), the shop has a small stock of rose stems and will be able to advise you on the maintenance of your plant.

You can also fill out an order form and send it directly to AMVPAC’s head office.

For more information (photos, prices, descriptions…) you will find the PDF link below.

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District 108L Lions Club International promotes the Via Francigena

District 108L Lions Club International is at the front line when it come to promoting peace, and the Via Francigena as Cultural Route of the Council of Europe represents the values of peace, respect, dialogue, democracy, and inclusion.

In District 108L (Umbria, Lazio, and Sardinia) the Via Francigena officially crosses through territories located within the region of Lazio and, in this regard, the district lions officer Sara Fresi has created a historical document entitled “Territories of Lazio crossed by the Via Francigena”. This document is a useful contribution for all those who wish to travel the Via Francigena and discover its picturesque landscapes and historical, cultural, monumental beauties. Following is the incipit of the document:

Territories of Lazio crossed by the Via Francigena, by Sara Fresi

In the 7th century the Longobards penetrated the Italian territory, occupying part of the peninsula at that time disputed with the Byzantines. They wanted to connect the Kingdom of Pavia with the southern duchies by means of a safe road across the Apennines, passing through the Cisa Pass: its name in ancient times was Mons Langobardorum, later called Via di Monte Bardone. It was basically a group of roads connected by consular and dirt roads. When the Franks took over in the Carolingian era, the Via di Monte Bardone changed its name to Via Francigena, or “road originating from France”.

Traffic along this route increased and, over the centuries, the road established itself as the main route linking northern and southern Europe, used by masses of pilgrims as well as merchants and armies. It also connected the three ‘Peregrinationes Maiores‘: Santiago de Compostela, the tomb of the Apostle Peter and the Holy Land. The European Network of the Vie Francigene is a legacy linking the present day to the cultural identities of the old continent.

A millenary route that crosses several European countries: England, France, Switzerland, and Italy. The Via Francigena in Italy crosses six regions: Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Lazio. The southern section of the Via Francigena, called the Via Francigena of the South, is a route of approximately 900 km that crosses five regions: Lazio, Campania, Basilicata, Molise, and Puglia. The stretch through the Lazio region is approximately 420 km long.

The whole document (in Italian) can be consulted by clicking here.

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The municipality of Saint Maurice (CH) becomes an EAVF member!

Saint Maurice, a small municipality in the Canton of Valais with great strategic importance, is located along the Swiss stretch of the Via Francigena, exactly halfway along the route followed by archbishop Sigeric on his journey to Rome. The European Association of Via Francigena Ways is incredibly happy to enrich its network with such an important institutional member, therefore we warmly welcome Saint Maurice and its representatives!

Saint Maurice is situated along the 51st stage of Sigeric’s itinerary and in Roman times was called Agaunum. It was located at a bottleneck formed by the Rhone river, thus taking on a role of great strategic importance. The famous Theban legion was stationed here, led by Maurice and exterminated at this location in the 3rd century for refusing to swear an oath to the gods before the battle because they had converted to Christianity. The martyrdom of St. Maurice and the legion turned ancient Agaunum into an important pilgrimage site along the Via Francigena.

The Abbey of Saint Maurice was founded on the tomb of the martyrs in 515 by Sigismund, son of the Burgundian king. From that moment the Abbey played an important role, becoming the centre of veneration of the martyrs and the main abbey in the Burgundian kingdom, as well as a pilgrimage destination. The Abbey of Saint Maurice thus became the oldest Christian monastery in the West and has been operative uninterruptedly since its foundation. Bearing witness to this past are the commemoration of Saint Maurice every 22 September and the Laus perennis, the perpetual prayer of the canons at the tomb of the martyrs, a custom that has continued for 1500 years.

Even today, Saint Maurice is the seat of ecclesiastical institutions and is known for its basilica and its church treasure, which contains rare masterpieces of sacred goldsmith’s art. Wars, fires, and falling rocks have repeatedly destroyed the funerary oratories, churches, and monastic buildings built in the 4th century at the foot of the cliff overlooking the site. The church was destroyed in 574 during a Lombard raid, but was rebuilt and enlarged based on the same floor plan under St. Gontrand (561-592). Numerous reconstruction phases and extensions followed.

The Trésor de l’Abbaye, one of the richest in Europe, consists mainly of reliquaries, including for example “St Martin’s Vase” and Theuderic’s casket both dating back to the 7th century A.D., as well as Charlemagne’s aquamanile from the 9th century and the so-called “bag of Saints Innocent and Candide” from the 12th century.

This small jewel of nature, art, and history has been a valuable part of the Via Francigena over the past centuries and now hand-in-hand with EAVF will continue to amaze pilgrims and visitors alike in the decades to come!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

The Castle of Saint Maurice

– Technical information about Via Francigena Switzerland stage 07 Aigle – Saint Maurice

– Technical information about Via Francigena Switzerland stage 08 Saint Maurice – Martigny

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Erasmus + international mobility for the Via Francigena youth

The European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF) presented its second consecutive Erasmus + transnational mobility project “FORREs.T. 2.0 – FOsteR an euRopEan identity through the Trainees mobility” on 5 October 2020 in the Palazzo Farnese in Piacenza.

F.O.R.R.Es.T 2.0” offers international work experience in the field of tourism, marketing and corporate information systems to 100 Italian graduates residing along the Via Francigena – in northern and southern Italy. The project foresees 62 days of mobility in France (40), the United Kingdom (20) and Spain (40).

Thanks to the grant of the European Commission, the EAVF will be able to support their travel, accommodation and subsequent and costs. The project has a duration of two years and is aimed at young people who graduated between 2020 and 2021. The internships will take place within one year from the acquisition of the title.

The EAVF is lead partner of a consortium of 15 schools in Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio, Campania, Basilicata, Apulia together with the Tuscany Region, the Tourist Promotion Agency of the province of Turin, the Italian Youth Hotel Association and Radio Francigena. A technical partner of the project is Euro Glocal s.r.l.

The press conference on 5 October 2020 was attended by Jonathan Papamarenghi, councillor for Tourism, Culture, Registration and Europe of the municipality of Piacenza and the EAVF president Massimo Tedeschi. The project was presented by Luca Bruschi, EAVF director.

In upcoming weeks, specific info-days will be organised in schools, announcing a list of selected students who will participate in the project.

The mobility will carefully follow Covid-19 health protocols in line with national focal point and schools.

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Walk with us! Take part in “I love Francigena” event on Saturday 17 October

Walking event I love Francigena will take place on 17 October 2020, joining the celebration of the World Tourism Day 2020.

“I love Francigena” walk from Fornovo di Taro (Parma) to Corte di Giarola, Collecchio will allow visitors and locals to discover one of the Via Francigena variants.

Participants will have a chance to enjoy a splendid parish church of Santa Maria Assunta in Fornovo, which preserves a famous statue of a medieval pilgrim on its façade. During the walk the hikers will explore paths in the Taro Park and the Naviglio Taro canal, surrounded by greenery. There they visit splendid Corte di Giarola with its museums, to discover the history of the Taro Park and the river ecosystem.

Register: 20 places available for 17 October. Enrolment is open till 13 October. Sign up here

The event is organized by the EAVF with the contribution of the Cariparma Foundation and the support of Municipalities of Parma, Collecchio, Fornovo Di Taro, Sala Baganza.

The main objective is to promote travel along the Via Francigena via:

  • Environmental education,
  • Sustainable and slow tourism,
  • Involvement of local communities and stakeholders,
  • Route maintenance and signage,
  • Promotion and visibility.

“I love Francigena” is a series of annual walking events, celebrating the cultural route of the Via Francigena and offering a unique opportunity to enjoy sections of the path, its cultural and natural heritage and local gastronomy.

A typical “I love Francigena” day will be an easy 10-20 km walk (depending on a section of the Via Francigena) mediated by a local guide who explains interesting facts about natural surroundings and history of the Francigena with a few sightseeing stops and a reception in the end of the hike. The hike is free of charge and a shuttle bus is organised from the final point.

The EAVF conducts “I love Francigena” since 2017, co-organising the event together with Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions (I LOVE CAMMINI framework) in Italy and Bourgogne – Franche-Comté in France with kind support of local municipalities and associations.

World Tourism Day 2020:

Organised by the World Tourism Organisation UNWTO, the World Tourism Day 2020 is feted on Sunday 27 September 2020 under a focus on “Tourism and Rural Development”. This day celebrates the sector’s unique ability to drive economic development and provide opportunities outside of big cities, including in those communities that would otherwise be left behind. World Tourism Day 2020 also highlights the important role tourism plays in preserving and promoting culture and heritage all around the world. The Via Francigena crossing 3000 km of rural areas from Canterbury to the harbours of Italian Apulia via France, Switzerland and Italy, provides significant opportunities for economic development of rural areas and enhancement of their cultural and natural heritage.

Anti_Covid measures:

Each participant is required to present a filled in self-certification form, which can be downloaded here. Please consult the information brochure of the Italian Association of Environmental Hiking Guides (AIGAE). Participants are required to have personal health protection equipment with them.

Clothing:

Backpack with snacks and a good supply of water (1,5 l. per person recommended), trekking shoes (vibram sole recommended, visit the Garmont technical sponsor website). Recommended: waterproof cape.

Technical information: length of the stage 9.8 km, positive difference in height 70 meters, duration 3 hours (stops excluded).

Difficulty: tourist (easy)

Meeting point: 2.30 pm in Fornovo di Taro

Google coordinate of departure: https://goo.gl/maps/6yHMyjDgaQaa5WFJA

Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Via Cesare Battisti, 7, 43045 Fornovo di Taro (PR)

Expected arrival: 5.30-6.00 pm at the Corte di Giarola (Collecchio). Free shuttlis provided.

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Walk with us! Take part in “I love Francigena” event on Saturday 26 September

Walking event I love Francigena will take place on 26 September 2020, joining the celebration of the World Tourism Day 2020.

“I love Francigena” walk between San Pancrazio (Parma) to Collecchio will allow visitors and locals to discover one of the Via Francigena variants between Parma and Parco del Taro, Italy.

The walk will start from the Romanesque parish church of San Pancrazio and will shrtly immerse into fields south of the Via Emilia, shaped by the Roman centuriation more than 2,000 years ago: irrigation canals, rows of mulberry trees and ancient agricultural courts. After passing the church of San Martino di Madregolo, the group will skirt the green banks of the Taro river park until reaching Collecchio: here we visit the parish church of San Prospero, with its splendid Romanesque baptismal font.

Registration: 20 places available. Enrolment is open till 23 September. Sign up here

The event is organized by the EAVF with the contribution of the Cariparma Foundation and the support of Municipalities of Parma, Collecchio, Fornovo Di Taro, Sala Baganza.

“I love Francigena” is a series of annual walking events, celebrating the cultural route of the Via Francigena and offering a unique opportunity to enjoy sections of the path, its cultural and natural heritage and local gastronomy.

The main objective is to promote travel along the Via Francigena via:

  • Environmental education,
  • Sustainable and slow tourism,
  • Involvement of local communities and stakeholders,
  • Route maintenance and signage,
  • Promotion and visibility.

A typical “I love Francigena” day will be an easy 10-20 km walk (depending on a section of the Via Francigena) mediated by a local guide who explains interesting facts about natural surroundings and history of the Francigena with a few sightseeing stops and a reception in the end of the hike. The hike is free of charge and a shuttle bus is organised from the final point.

The EAVF conducts “I love Francigena” since 2017, co-organising the event together with Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions (I LOVE CAMMINI framework) in Italy and Bourgogne – Franche-Comté in France with kind support of local municipalities and associations.

World Tourism Day 2020:

Organised by the World Tourism Organisation UNWTO, the World Tourism Day 2020 is feted on Sunday 27 September 2020 under a focus on “Tourism and Rural Development”. This day celebrates the sector’s unique ability to drive economic development and provide opportunities outside of big cities, including in those communities that would otherwise be left behind. World Tourism Day 2020 also highlights the important role tourism plays in preserving and promoting culture and heritage all around the world. The Via Francigena crossing 3000 km of rural areas from Canterbury to the harbours of Italian Apulia via France, Switzerland and Italy, provides significant opportunities for economic development of rural areas and enhancement of their cultural and natural heritage.

Anti_Covid measures:

Each participant is required to present a filled in self-certification form, which can be downloaded here. Please consult the information brochure of the Italian Association of Environmental Hiking Guides (AIGAE). Participants are required to have personal health protection equipment with them.

Clothing:

Backpack with snacks and a good supply of water (1,5 l. per person recommended), trekking shoes (vibram sole recommended, visit the Garmont technical sponsor website). Recommended: waterproof cape.

Technical information: length of the stage 14.7 km, height difference 80 meters, duration 4 hours (stops excluded).

Difficulty: tourist (easy)

Meeting point: 9.00 am in San Pancrazio (Parma)

Google coordinates of departure: https://goo.gl/maps/uT9rwRuS9nVCLNP38

Parish church of San Pancrazio Martire, Via Don Tito Pioli, 43126 Parma PR

Expected arrival: 14.30 Collecchio

Return to the starting point by shuttle.

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Garmont technical sponsorship of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways

Garmont and the EAVF join forces, united by their passion for walking and a philosophy to go beyond boundaries of the ordinary.
Hence the agreement providing benefits to the Via Francigena pilgrims:  20% discount for the Garmont footwear.

A pilgrimage has always been a rediscovery of the essential. When going on a trip, the first thought preparing a backpack is not “what do I wear?”, but “what can I leave at home?”.
That is why we focus on indispensable and expect maximum from each item.

Lightness, comfort and performance are essential characteristics for pilgrim’s items, expected to last hundreds of kilometers.

The EAVF is always keen on providing walkers with all useful information about the journey, including the most essential – footwear. Shoes, boots, sneakers. Each walk is different, each pilgrim has his or her own needs, but they all share one condition: an absolute quality. That is the philosophy which brought together Garmont and the EAVF.

The company from Vedelago (Italy) is famous for its high performance footwear for mountaineering, hiking and outdoor activities. For every person who loves living an active life, Garmont develops innovative and quality products characterized by its high technology. Garmont is ever committed to production of footwear capable of resisting the most demanding adventures, such as facing long walks along the Via Francigena. This ancient road has led pilgrims to Rome for thousands of years along the historic route traced by the Archbishop Sigeric, who left Canterbury and arrived on foot in the Eternal City of Rome. Today the official route measures over 3,200 km via England, France, Switzerland and Italy.

Garmont’s motto “Stay Wild” embodies EAVF principles of willing to cross limits of one’s ordinary and aspiring to overcome physical, mental and psychological boundaries.
The company is also particularly attentive to issues of social responsibility and conscious exploitation of resources as well as it supports important international missions to protect wildlife. These are the concepts shared by the EAVF, which were important for choicing a technical partner.

How to benefit from 20% discount:

Make a purchase on the official Garmont website.

Enter PILGRIMSHOES discount code before completing the order.