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Call for influencers, bloggers and content creators

Are you an influencer and looking for an unforgettable experience this autumn? Are you sporty, adventurous and curious about discovering new places? Then we are looking for someone like you! 

In September and October 2022, the French Hiking Federation (FFRandonnée) and the European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF) are organising the J’aime Francigenaparticipative events. 

The programme includes three hiking events of 2-3 days each organised by the FFRandonnée and EAVF, which will take you through some of the most significant stages of the cultural route of the Via Francigena (GR®145) in France

  • Hike 1: 21-23 september from Vitry-le-François to Brienne-le-Château (Grand-Est, Marne et Aube) 
  • Hike 2: from 30 september till 2 october from Bruay-la-Buissière (parc d’Olhain) to Blessy (Hauts-de-France, Pas-de-Calais) 
  • Hike 3: 7-9 october from Mamirolle to Saône and Besançon (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Doubs) 

These events are free and open to the public. Each walk along the Via Francigena will cover on an average of 10 – 12 km per day and will be accompanied by a certified guide who explain about local cultural heritage. Representatives of local authorities, the FFRandonnée and the EAVF as well as walkers, tourists, locals, a videomaker and influencers will participate in each hike. These events will be publicised in the media and press and via digital marketing and will receive greater public attention in France, presenting the Via Francigena and the Cultural Routes.  

By joining us, you will have an opportunity to: 

  • Experience a ‘slow travel’ adventure, walking with your backpack along the Via Francigena, the historic pilgrimage route linking northern and southern Europe. 
  • Explore rural areas off the beaten track, discover cultures and traditions, taste authentic food and confront yourself every day! 
  • Contribute to the revival of sustainable tourism in Europe. 
  • Increase your visibility, your reputation and strengthen your image on an international level. 
  • Cultivate new collaborations and find new partners. 
  • Be relayed on social networks and the AEVF website (the EAVF website receives more than 4 million visits per year and has 69,000 followers on Facebook and 26,000 on Instagram). 
  • Accommodation, travel expenses and meals are fully covered by the organisers. Remuneration or partial remuneration may be provided.  

 Terms and Conditions 

To apply as a ‘J’aime Francigena’ Ambassadeur you must be fluent in French. 

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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 viefrancigene.org. 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.

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Thanks to Zurich, here are the new signs dedicated to the Via Francigena in Tuscany

Thanks to the partnership between Zurich Italia, leader in the insurance sector, and the European Association of Via Francigena ways, 7 metallic signs describing the Via Francigena have been placed in the territory of the Aggregation Toscana Centro Sud.

The first signs were installed in Fucecchio, Montaione, Castelfranco di Sotto and San Miniato, between the provinces of Florence and Pisa. They were then also added in Gambassi Terme, Castelfiorentino and S. Croce sull’Arno. In addition, paper pocket maps of the itinerary in this area are available at all local tourist offices.

The maps, which are available to pilgrims passing along these stages, show all the services available such as fountains along the path, connections to public transport, resting spots or first aid points – and much more.

Zurich therefore chooses to support sustainable development and the ecological transition also through the promotion of slow and responsible tourism in its territory. We wish to thank our partner for its contribution to the local enhancement of the Via Francigena route and its walkability.

Discover all the details of our partnership

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FORREsT 2.0: students explore Europe through the Francigena route

The European Association of Via Francigena ways (EAVF) is lead partner of the transnational mobility project called “FORREsT 2.0 – FOsteR an euRopEan identity through the Trainees mobility“, within the framework of the Erasmus+ Programme, for students located along the Via Francigena.

The project offers the opportunity for one hundred graduates from Italian schools located along the Via Francigena to carry out a work experience in the field of slow tourism abroad. They will be able to travel for 62 days in France, United Kingdom or Spain thanks to the contribution that the European Commission, through the EAVF, is making available to them.

The project aims at responding to the new international tourism trends (experiential and sustainable tourism) by promoting the development of specific professional skills in the relevant sector, in order to ensure the economic-productive development of the areas affected by the presence of the Via Francigena, with a perspective on enhancing local communities which share a European cultural identity expressed precisely through the Via Francigena network.

The young participants have the opportunity to carry out a training/work placement in European realities in the aforementioned sectors thanks to a grant that will provide a series of services, including: the identification of the placement and the host organisation the linguistic preparation via the European OLS platform;the cultural and pedagogical preparation of the trainees; round-trip air travel to the traineeship destination; insurance coverage for the entire duration of the stay; accommodation; professional, logistical and organisational tutoring and monitoring; and the issuing of certification and certificates.

For the realisation of this project, the European Association of Via Francigena ways has set up a specific national consortium of fifteen school institutes from Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio, Campania, Basilicata and Apulia. Project partners are also the Region of Tuscany, the Tourism Promotion Body of the Province of Turin, the Italian Association of Youth Hotels and Radio Francigena.

Here is the witness of Irene, a participant in the project (in Italian):

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Grande Latium – Walk in Safety: interventions for the enhancement of itineraries

The Region of Lazio has approved the Grande Latium – Cammina in Sicurezza project, which is part of the “Caput Mundi” national funding plan regarding the implementation of interventions aimed at sustainable and cultural tourism.

The project, funded by the PNRR, will also have an impact on the Via Francigena: rest stops equipped with seats and solar panels to recharge phones or bicycles will be installed halfway through each stage.

The project was created with the intention of increasing the number of usable tourist assets: many sites will be upgraded and made available to all, unlike happens today. It also aims to find sustainable alternatives to traditional tourism routes outside the historic center, that encourage slow tourism. The project has been cited as a virtuous example by Minister Massimo Garavaglia and Mayor of Rome Roberto Gualtieri.

Silvio Marino, for Regione Lazio, explained how the need for such rest stops was born: “While writing the project, we thought of the many people who may arrive to the point of buying their shoes but then never decide to leave, to start walking. We decided to try to make the itineraries in Latium truly safe and walkable for all.”

Often people are worried about getting lost, about not making it the the end. That’s why halfway through each stage we will try to set up an equipped rest stop, with the possibility of recharging cellphones or bicycles and having internet connection. In short, a walk in absolute safety that does not lose the charm of discovery and the flavor of fatigue“, Marino concluded.

Also speaking about the project was Lazio’s Councillor for Tourism and Local Authorities, Valentina Corrado: “Lazio is leading the way in telling the story of a yet unexplored Italy – the one made of inland and lesser-known precious territories. Francigena North and South, St. Francis’ Way, St. Benedict’s Way, Via Amerina and Natural Parks Walk represent an irreplaceable way to discover small towns and lesser-known villages, an ideal line that connects natural beauty, art and archaeology, as well as representing important tourism infrastructure“.

Corrado added that “with this intervention we intend to improve the usability of our paths and give a boost to flows while expecting the Jubilee in 2025, an appointment that will attract a substantial number of pilgrims: welcoming them properly will be our precise duty. “Caput Mundi” is the perfect synthesis of a synergistic work initiated to enhance the immense artistic, cultural and tourist heritage of Rome and Lazio.”

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Francigena as UNESCO heritage: Italian regions and ministries join forces for the candidacy

The path that aims to lead in 2025 to the recognition of the Via Francigena as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) takes another decisive step forward with the renewal of the memorandum of understanding between the seven Italian regions of Sigeric’s itinerary, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This was decided at a meeting held on July 6 in Florence at the presidency of the Region of Tuscany, with the participation of President Eugenio Giani, the Undersecretaries of State of the Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs, Lucia Borgonzoni and Benedetto Della Vedova, the President of the European Association of Vie Francigene Massimo Tedeschi, Maria Pianigiani, UNESCO Focal Point of the Ministry of Culture, and Roberta Pesci, UNESCO section chief of the Cultural Cooperation Office in the multilateral sphere of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Representatives of the Italian regions crossed by Sigeric’s Via Francigena attended: Jean-Pierre Guichardaz, councillor for Cultural Heritage and Tourism of Valle d’Aosta; Stefano Bruno Galli, councillor for Autonomy and Culture of Lombardy; Alessandro Piana, vice-president of Liguria; Andrea Massari, president of the Province of Parma, for the Region of Emilia-Romagna; and Roberto Ottaviani, director of the Lazio Tourism Agency.

The protocol“, said Undersecretary Borgonzoni, “marks another fundamental step toward the recognition of the Via Francigena as a World Heritage Site. A challenge that began years ago, which the Ministry of Culture has been able to promptly take up, working tirelessly alongside the regions. The inclusion of this historic route in the UNESCO list would give a strong boost to the cultural and social, tourist and economic growth of the territories involved.”

EAVF’s President Massimo Tedeschi recalled the various steps of the candidacy process, “which began in 2010 with the initiative of the Province of Siena, resumed in 2015 in Fidenza with the meeting of municipalities that relaunched the project. In 2017 a preliminary analysis of the Italian route was carried out by EAVF, commissioned by the Regions of Tuscany and Lombardy. In 2020, the European thematic study encompassing the entire Via Francigena of Sigeric, from Canterbury to Rome, was carried out by EAVF. The next crucial step is to involve the five countries of the Via Francigena – United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Italy and the Vatican – in the approval of the European thematic study, thus allowing each country to proceed with its own candidacy.”

The agreement has already entered the operational phase with the next technical meeting convened on July 20. The Region of Tuscany will chair the coordination committee in which all signatories are represented. The European Association of Via Francigena ways will provide technical and scientific support.

In addition to the candidacy, actions to improve the infrastructure will continue, from safety to reception, signage and accessibility, to give daily and concrete answers to the thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world, who travel along the Via Francigena.

The unanimous hope is that by 2025, the year of the Jubilee, the dossier for the recognition of the Italian route of the Via Francigena in the UNESCO World List can be filed.

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Infinito Cammino: a journey to promote universal accessibility

Federica and Nico are two walkers in love with slow travel. They began their great adventure on 8 June 2022, and have since been walking the entire Via Francigena from Canterbury (in the UK) to Santa Maria di Leuca (in Puglia) for five consecutive months, observing a vegan lifestyle.

With their “Infinito Cammino” (Infinite Way) project, this young volunteering couple aims to promote the 3,200 km that make up for the Cultural Route, raising awareness on the issue of universal accessibility in each territory, stage by stage, step by step.

Today we have the opportunity to walk along the Via Francigena and tell about it, but we would like that in a future everyone can live this wonderful experience,” Federica and Nico explain. “In the walk everyone finds what they need: we have learned to value the small things that are then actually big, small gestures and smiles.”

For these reasons, the two walkers have launched a crowdfunding intended for the Free Wheels odv association, founded by Pietro Scidurlo and for which the two young walkers are volunteering. On several occasions the association has collaborated with the EAVF to promote the Via Francigena as an accessible destination for all.

Federica and Nico’s initiative aims to survey the most critical points along the route so that tomorrow this path too can be the subject of a project that includes the aspect of accessibility in the development strategy. This is a first, very first look that the association takes at the Via Francigena in its entirety. More surveys by other volunteers will follow, and new tools are needed to carry them out. The threshold to be reached is at least €6,000 to buy two e-bikes that will facilitate the work of Free Wheelds odv volunteers in creating paths intended for people with specific needs related to reduced mobility.

To contribute to the fundraiser, click here:

WITHOUT YOU WE CANNOT WALK. WAYS FOR ALL

Cammino accessibile

We can all join Federica and Nico’s journey for Free Wheels odv!

Here’s how we can get involved:

  • By supporting the crowdfunding campaign
  • By liking the Facebook and Instagram pages of Free Wheels odv
  • By sharing the journey through your network of friends, partners, associates etc.
  • By organizing events on the day of our arrival in our city
  • By spreading the word about the trip through the media and contacts with journalists and influencers
  • By offering a shower and a hot meal to the walkers on their journey
  • By walking with them for one or more stops and inviting friends and family: here is the calendar
  • By collaborating in promoting a vegan lifestyle
  • Through any other kind of collaboration to be proposed to info@freewheelsonlus.com

To contact Federica and Nico write to their Facebook Page or Instagram.

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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“.

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Valsusa Slow Fest: voices and places for experiential tourism

Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July EAVF will participate in the first edition of the Valsusa Slow Fest: two days dedicated to slow and proximity tourism that involve many partners, including transalpine ones.

The event is part of the project “The Via Francigena in the Susa Valley: voices and places for an experiential tourism“, which was among the winners of the call “In the light. Enhancing and narrating the cultural identities of territories“, promoted and funded by Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo.

On this occasion, EAVF will screen the docufilm of the Road to Rome 2021 event and present the new issue of the official magazine of the Via Francigena, edition number 53, with a cover and a special article dedicated precisely to the itinerary that crosses the Susa Valley. The magazine is in fact available through the official website of the Magazine, which in recent months has been renovated, fine-tuned and revisited with new, more user-friendly graphics that recall the graphics of the official EAVF website.

The Valsusa Slow Fest program will be divided in two days: Saturday will be dedicated to events, meetings and activities in the historic center of Susa, where a ‘village’ will be set up with stands related to outdoor, cultural and gastronomic activities in the area. On Sunday, experiential activities will be offered in the Susa Valley area both in the field of outdoor and cultural meet-ups.

On Saturday 9 July, at 9:30 a.m. in via Palazzo di Città, the speakers will address the macro-theme of slow tourism by analyzing its different aspects: after the opening and narration of the local governance on activities in the territory, in the morning we will discuss “Outdoor and slow tourism in local, regional and cross-border policies” and “Territorial realities in Italy are attentive to itineraries and slow tourism“.

After a lunch break at the gastronomic points of the local producers of the Susa Valley – Gusto ValSusa or in local restaurants, events will resume at 2:30 p.m. with “Turism along the Francigena – Voices and experiences of walkers and pilgrims“. This will be followed by an in-depth discussion on “The Via Francigena in the Susa Valley as a tourist and cultural driver“, to close with “The Via Francigena and the arts…

On Sunday 10 July for the entire day, it will be possible to participate in activities in the area with tour guides who have prepared tailor-made proposals for this occasion:

  • In the Gran Bosco di Salbertrand Park: 9:30 a.m. “The soul of the forest” – easy hike with Elena Bianco Chinto. At the park headquarters on Fransuà Fontan 1 Street, the documentation center Spazio Escartons can be visited. Also, in front of the park headquarters continues the work of the sculptors of “Istuara ‘d bo” who are making new wood sculptures to enrich the paths of the Park and the Colombano Romean Ecomuseum. Reservations required by Friday, July 8: tel. 3334244678 – erefbianchi@gmail.com
  • Cycle excursion “From Avigliana to the Foresto Gorge by Bike” with Duma c’Anduma. Info: https://www.dumacanduma.org/tour/da-avigliana-allorrido-di-foresto-in-bici/
  • 9:30 a.m. “Green Lake and Lake Lavoir” hike with Catia Pernigotto. Info and reservations: tel. 3387243283 – catia.pernigotto@gmail.com
  • 9 a.m. Hike to Toesca refuge “Take your time!” with Chiara Bellando of Iocamminonaturalmente. Info and reservations: tel. 3387799570 – info@iocamminonaturalmente.com
  • 10:30 a.m. Visits to the former Nobel Dynamite Factory in Avigliana. Info and reservations: ufficioiat@turismoavigliana.it – tel. 0119311873.
  • 3-6 p.m. opening of Castrum Capriarium (castle of the Conte Verde) in Condove. Info and reservations: tel. 3496483719.
  • 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. opening of Delfinale Tower in Oulx (also July 9). Info: Oulx Tourist Office, https://turismo-oulx.it/
  • 4 pm guided tour of the Castle of Countess Adelaide – Civic Museum in Susa. Info: castellosusa@gmail.com
Potrebbe essere un'immagine raffigurante il seguente testo "Con patrocinio della città di Susa VALSUSA SLOW FEST Outdoor Heritage VIAFRANCIGENA voci luoghip turismo esperienzialein VALLE DIS Eventi Incontri Attività Prodotti tipici 9 LUGLIO 2022 Susa Centro Storico 10 LUGLIO 2022 Attività esperienziali sul territorio SCOPRI| PROGRAMMA Maggior sostenitore Fondazione CONEA Torino TPE"

For more information:

https://www.vallesusa-tesori.it/it/stories/2022/05/11/slow-fest

Info: info@vallesusa-tesori.it

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Drought in the Po River: Danilo’s boat service is suspended

For the first time since 1998, the “Transitum Padi” boat, the shuttle for pilgrims along the Via Francigena across Sigeric’s ford on the Po River, has been suspended.

The lack of rainfall in recent weeks caused an extreme drought in the river which made crossing it with a boat particularly dangerous, as the risk of getting stranded or damaging the vehicle has increased. It was a decision that had never been made – in the more than 20 years of work of the ‘Charon of the Via Francigena’.

Ferryman Danilo Parisi decided to suspend the service over the weekend of June 19, after accompanying the last pilgrims from the Lodi side of Corte Sant’Andrea to Soprarivo on their way to Piacenza. It was an inevitable decision given the conditions of the river: even for a boat of only a few seats, crushing into the sand under the surface of the water or avoiding logs and debris became too dangerous.

The mayor of Caledasco Filippo Zangrandi spoke on the matter, explaining that “in order not to endanger the boat, the choice was made to interrupt the ford on the Via Francigena.” The Interregional Agency for the Po River AIPO, in fact, strongly advised against navigation for safety reasons, emphasizing that within the navigable channel there are stretches with depths below 50 centimeters.

The situation of Italy’s largest river is worrying, and the effects of climate change and rising global temperatures are evident and undeniable. There are many provinces in Italy which are taking regulation steps to limit the waste of water resources in these hot summer months, and we too join in urging you to pay attention to water consumption: while it is good to stay well hydrated while walking, at home we can avoid excessively long showers and running our taps for too long, for example when brushing teeth or washing dishes, but we can also limit the amount of water we use to water plants. Together we can help prevent major drought problems that this summer’s scorching weather puts before us.

For updates on suspension and resumption of the service contact Danilo Parisi: tel. +39 0523 771607