Via Francigena

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“Via Francigena for All” awaits you at “Fa’ la cosa giusta!” 2024

The accessible tourism project by the Piedmont Region will be among the protagonists at the “Fa’ la cosa giusta” fair scheduled in Milan from March 22nd to 24th. A dedicated stand and a specific event will promote the “Via Francigena for All” project in Milan. This project was presented by the Piedmont Region in 2022 during a call for proposals from the Office of the Prime Minister on accessible and inclusive tourism for people with disabilities.

In particular, the talk-show scheduled for Sunday, March 24th at 3 p.m. in Piazza Terre di Mezzo will focus on the added value of training for tourism operators. This training enables visitors with disabilities to independently experience the Via Francigena through a range of services tailored to their specific needs. Speakers will include Franco Lepore, President of UICI Piedmont; Serafino Timeo, President of ENS Piedmont; Bruno Migliorati, President of CAI Piedmont, and an operator who participated in the training sessions. The journalist and writer Fabrizio Vespa will moderate the discussion.

The “Via Francigena for All” initiative, built around the historic route and cultural itinerary of the Council of Europe, concerns Via Francigena’s segments of the Canavese Ivrea-Viverone route and the Susa Valley variant Villar Focchiardo-Avigliana, along with neighboring territories. This initiative aims for innovation by embracing inclusive experiences from all angles. At the stand, visitors can obtain information about the cultural, naturalistic, sports, and gastronomic tourism offerings along the route, as well as updates on the project’s progress.

Numerous initiatives have been implemented or are underway: after making tourist offices accessible, training hospitality operators, and offering extracurricular internships in tourism for people with disabilities, the coming months will see the completion of green and accessible rest areas, the installation of multisensory panels along the routes and at 20 sacred sites (with visual, tactile, and Braille graphics, QR codes, NFC audio-video, and sign language in Italian and foreign languages). There will also be mapping of accessibility and usability of routes and tourist contexts for autistic adults. In May, there will be the “Walk in Blue” in support of Autism and the “I love Francigena” walk in collaboration with the European Association of the Via Francigena ways. In September, there will be the closing event.

For further details on project partners, updates on scheduled events, and ongoing developments, visit this link.

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Via Francigena, European Cultural Route: Celebrations of Thirty Years Kick Off at the British Library in London

Celebrations have begun for the thirty-year anniversary of the Via Francigena, certified in 1994 as a Cultural Route by the Council of Europe.

A two-day event full of meetings and of great cultural significance took place in London. On the proposal of the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome (CPR), on Friday, March 1st, a ceremony was organized featuring moments of exchange and reflection at the British Library, where the ancient manuscript of the English Archbishop Sigeric is preserved.

Origins and Reconstruction of the Route

The precious two-page document recounts the 79 stages undertaken during the return journey from Rome to Canterbury in 990 AD, after receiving investiture with the pallium from Pope John XV.

It was around Sigeric’s diary that the foundations were laid in the 1990s to reconstruct the historic Via Francigena, or rather the Road to Rome as it was then called. The written account of this 79-day journey undoubtedly enabled the commencement of significant work in studying, researching, and analyzing the route, with the aim of tracing the itinerary of what has become the Via Francigena as we know it today.

The curtain rises on the thirty-year celebrations

In the symbolic setting of the British Library, steeped in culture and literature, the manuscript was celebrated with stories, reflections, and anecdotes from both past and recent history. Bishop Sigeric can certainly be considered one of the precursors of great travelers: today, we might imagine him as a modern travel blogger narrating his journey experience, noting the places traversed and the people encountered along the way.

The event saw the participation of Connie Nolan, the delegate councilor of the City of Canterbury, Luca Bruschi, the director of the European Association of Via Francigena Ways (EAVF), and the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome, with President Nick Dunne, Vice President Brian Mooney, and Giancarlo Laurenzi, honorary president, who enlivened the event. Also present were Sandy Brown, the author of the “Cicerone” guides on the Via Francigena, and William Pettit, formerly responsible for international relations at the City of Canterbury, who participated in the first official meeting in Bologna in 1993 at the headquarters of the Emilia-Romagna region, for the construction of the candidacy dossier for the cultural route.

Luca Bruschi briefly traced the history of this significant certification by the Council of Europe, the first organization for cooperation between European states created after the end of the Second World War, founded in London in 1949 and now comprising 46 member states, including the United Kingdom.

“The Cultural Routes Programme was launched by the Council of Europe in 1987, with the aim of demonstrating, through a journey through space and time, how the cultural heritage and culture of the various European states contributed to creating a shared cultural heritage. The candidacy dossier was presented in 1993 by the then Department of Tourism of the Prime Minister’s Office, Italian Ministry of Tourism, in agreement with the coordinating committee led by the Emilia-Romagna region. The final decision by the Council of Europe was deliberated in April 1994″, Bruschi recalled, also mentioning another important milestone for the Via Francigena, 2001 when 34 representatives of local authorities, invited to Fidenza (Parma, Emilia-Romagna) by the then Mayor Massimo Tedeschi, founded the European Association of Via Francigena Ways.

The cultural program between walks and conferences

The second day, Saturday, March 2nd, also held significant cultural meaning, always in connection with the celebrations of the thirty years of the Cultural Route of the Via Francigena.

In the morning, a guided walking tour took place involving symbolic locations, starting from Westminster RC Cathedral, where inside is the list of all the English Catholic bishops who in the past (before and after the Reformation) traveled to Rome to receive papal investiture with the delivery of the pallium. The urban trek, led by expert guide Eammon Mullally, accompanied pilgrims through the streets of central London, with stops at Lambeth Palace, Westminster Abbey, and ending at St. George’s RC Cathedral in Southwark, in the picturesque district along the Thames.

The walk was followed in the afternoon by the CPR‘s Annual Conference (titled: Via Francigena: before, during, and after the journey), attended by 75 people from England, Ireland, and the United States. A great opportunity to strengthen collaboration with AEVF and to share future cooperation projects. Three significant testimonies were presented: Dawn Champion of the British Pilgrimage Trust focused on personal preparation for the journey, David Andrew, an ecologist from Natural England, shared his experience on the Via Francigena, and Philip McCarthy, a doctor and writer, recounted his commitment to promoting the journey in dioceses in England and Wales. In the session dedicated to the celebrations of the thirty years of the Via Francigena, Luca Bruschi, director of AEVF, Connie Nolan, delegate councilor of the City of Canterbury, and finally Giancarlo Laurenzi, honorary president of CPR, intervened, introducing the new project (under study) of the Britannica route, a 150 km connection from London to Canterbury, which has deep cultural significance.

The Via Francigena gains even stronger cultural value with this tangible involvement, at institutional and associative levels, of the British world. It contributes to growing the international dimension of the route, enhancing its extraordinary heritage.

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1994-2024: 30 Years of the Via Francigena, Cultural Route of the Council of Europe

In 2024, the Via Francigena marks a significant milestone: it’s the 30th anniversary of its certification as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe.

The Cultural Routes Program was initiated by the Council of Europe in 1987, aiming to demonstrate, through a journey across space and time, how the cultural heritage and traditions of different European states contribute to a shared cultural legacy. The dossier for the Via Francigena was presented by the then Department of Tourism of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Italian Ministry of Tourism, in coordination with the coordinating committee led by the Emilia-Romagna region. The final decision by the Council of Europe was made in April 1994.

The introductory part of the dossier recalls that “this work aims to be a technical-scientific contribution for further investigations on themes related to the Francigena route. It should be seen as a working tool for public administrations and interested economic operators who, from now until 2000, will have to undertake actions for environmental, cultural, and touristic enhancement necessary for the preparation of a competitive offer at the European level.”

INITIAL INSTITUTIONAL INITIATIVES

The celebrations of the 30th anniversary kick off on March 1st in London, with a symbolic meeting at the British Library, which houses the ancient “Diary of Sigerico”: the manuscript from 990 A.D. served as the historical basis for reconstructing the contemporary route of the Via Francigena. The European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF) participates in this event along with the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome and the city of Canterbury.

The European Association of the Via Francigena ways is preparing to celebrate this significant event with two General Assemblies scheduled for April 26th in Vevey (Canton of Vaud, Switzerland) and October 18th in Monte Sant’Angelo, Puglia. Alongside the Assembly, there will be study visits, walks, exhibitions, cultural events, conferences, and many social gatherings. Significant celebratory moments are planned for the Vevey event, including the inauguration of an exhibition on the Via Francigena with panels displayed in the “Place du Marché” and an official “declaration” to reaffirm the cultural values ​​associated with the Via Francigena route.

In addition to the two EAVF assemblies, there’s the “Training Academy” on cultural routes scheduled for June 4th to 7th in Brindisi. The event, supported by the Puglia region with the contribution of the municipality of Brindisi and in collaboration with the “Association Brindisi and the Ancient Roads,” will host managers from 48 European routes and will focus significantly on the Via Francigena. EAVF is the organizing body.

CULTURE AND TOURISM

2024 also marks the relaunch of the UNESCO World Heritage candidacy dossier, led by the Tuscany region with financial support from the Italian Ministry of Culture.

On April 13th in Fidenza, during the Francigena Fidenza Festival (April 11-14), a scientific conference organized by EAVF with the support of the municipality and the collaboration of the University of Parma is planned to celebrate the 30 years of the cultural itinerary, with the presence of experts in history, tourism, geography, landscape, and anthropology.

The new website and app, in four languages, funded by the Italian Ministry of Tourism with the Lazio region as the lead, will go online by the end of the year. The project also includes an 18-month international promotion campaign for the Via Francigena. This communication and marketing activity will have implications for the entire European route of the Via Francigena.

The website, a true catalyst for all initiatives on the Via Francigena, introduces an important new feature in April: the launch of the new section dedicated to the thirtieth anniversary. A timeline that retraces the Francigena history of this period is planned, along with a collection of thoughts and reflections from authoritative “ambassadors” of the Via Francigena and testimonials from pilgrims. This material will help preserve the identity and history of the Via Francigena: “History is memory,” as reminded by the medievalist Jacques Le Goff, a great supporter of the Via Francigena, which he called “a path of cultures.”

The “Via Francigena” magazine’s June and December 2024 issues will also feature in-depth analyses and reflections on the last thirty years of history.

WALKS, ANIMATION, AND PROMOTION

There’s significant attention to animation in the territory with multiple initiatives and organized walks by EAVF in collaboration with project partners and local associations in the four countries traversed. We’ll also walk thanks to the new European ERASMUS Sport project “Hike,” starting in April. The areas identified for activities are in Italy, Greece, and Turkey.

EAVF is also participating in the significant relay “La Grande Randonnée vers Paris” organized by the FFRandonnée – French Hiking Federation, in anticipation of the Paris Olympics. Among the 10,000 km of planned walking throughout France, from March 31st to April 14th, the association will be present on the Via Francigena-GR145 trail in the territories of Doubs, Haute-Saône, Haute-Marne, Aube.

Promotion is also emphasized, with participation in important Fairs: “Salon Destination Marne” on March 16-17 in Châlons-en-Champagne; “Fa’ la cosa Giusta!” on March 22-24; “Festival Grandes Heures Nature” in Besançon on June 14-16.

2024 will certainly be an important year for the Via Francigena. We are ready to celebrate it, honor it, walk it, and bring it back to life to celebrate this anniversary to the fullest!

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The Via Francigena joins the project “One billion steps” in view of the Jubilee 2025

2024 will be a crucial year for the world of pilgrimages. On the one hand, the Via Francigena celebrates the 30th anniversary of its certification as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe in 1994. On the other, it is the year before the Jubilee 2025, in view of which there are numerous initiatives linked to religious and cultural tourism. These include the ‘1 billion steps for peace’ project, which our Association has decided to join. This is an international initiative in which one hundred European pilgrims’ paths will organise a few days of pilgrimage with hundreds of participants!

The initiative stems from the conviction that walking routes constitute an international community of peace, protection of nature, and brotherhood of peoples. And what better occasion than the eve of the 2025 Jubilee, which will officially begin on 24 December 2024 bringing a large influx of pilgrims to Rome as early as the end of this year?

In addition to the Via Francigena, the participating routes include the Romea Strata and the Via Romea Germanica (our Association has been collaborating with them for the last three years in a project for the valorisation of the thermal heritage within the Horizon 2020 European project rurAllure), the Via degli Dei, the Cammino Celeste, the Cammino di Sant’Antonio, the Via di Francesco, the Cammino Francescano della Marca, the Cammino Minerario di Santa Barbara, to name but a few.

To celebrate the closing of the initiative, a walk of brotherhood will take place in 2025, and a concert will be held with the handing over to the Holy Father of the ‘Declaration of the Paths of Peace’ signed by the adhering paths. To receive all the updates on upcoming initiatives, we recommend subscribing to the AEVF monthly newsletter.

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Accessible Tourism along the Via Francigena at the centre of attention at BIT Milano Trade Fair

A new model of tourism along the Via Francigena, accessible and inclusive for everyone, was the strong message launched last Monday at the Piedmont region stand at the Borsa Internazionale di Turismo (BIT) in Milan.

During the event, “Tourism for All” was presented, the accessible tourism project realised with the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) funds to adapt structures and paths, with the aim of making them more accessible also to people with disabilities.

The project develops on two sections of the Via Francigena in Piedmont. The stretches involved in the project are Ivrea-Viverone, in the Canavese area, and Villar Focchiardo-Avigliana, part of the Susa Valley variant, together with other neighboring territories.

Ongoing activities include the systematisation of existing good practices for the reception of people with disabilities, the adaptation of infrastructures and tourist websites, the organization of accessible services, the training of tourism operators, the creation of accessible tourism experiences, and the construction of an adequate reception system. An important step will be the creation of a guide dedicated to accessibility in this stretch.

An important aspect is also the activation (ongoing) of extracurricular internships in the tourism sector for people with disabilities, carried out with the support of the Piemonte Lavoro Agency.

The meeting was introduced by vice president Fabio Carosso and moderated by journalist Rosalba Graglia.

Barbara Bellini, head of tourism for the Piedmont Region, outlined the outlines of the initiative, while the director of our association Luca Bruschi emphasized the international dimension of the Via Francigena, with reference to the numbers of attendance and the profile of its pilgrims, recently updated with the data of the just-ended year.

Danilo Ragona and Luca Paiardi, creators of the “Viaggio Italia” project, shared their experiences related to disability, hoping that this pilot project can materialise into a future guide and can be exported to other regions.

Valentina Sapienza and Giuliana Garavini, disabled interns of the “Via Francigena for All” project – already mentioned in this article -, presented their experience to the public.

There is still much work to be done, starting with a new cultural approach of institutions able to put universal enjoyment of our paths and trails at the center of territorial development policies. In this context, the work of the Piedmont region represents a significant starting point, as well as a pilot project that offers a model to be taken up, hopefully, in other Italian regions.

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A study on accessibility along the Via Francigena: the “Via Francigena for All” project with AllTrails

Walking along the Via Francigena is an experience that encompasses history, culture, and amazing landscapes. The European Association of the Via Francigena ways is taking significant steps to make this experience accessible to everyone, including those with motor, visual, and auditory disabilities.

In collaboration with AllTrails, an app specializing in mapping and tracking trails, the Association has conducted an in-depth mapping project along two segments of the Via Francigena in Piedmont: the Valsusino stretch from Villar Focchiardo to Avigliana, and the Canavese stretch from Ivrea to Viverone.

This project has been an integral part of the broader “Via Francigena for All” initiative, led by the Piedmont Region through the Regional Directorate for Coordination of European Policies and Funds – Tourism and Sport. Project partners include the Local Tourist Promotion and Welcome Agency Turismo Torino e Provincia, the Ecclesiastical Region of Piedmont with the Regional Consultation for Ecclesiastical Assets of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta, and the support of Visit Piemonte, a partner of EAVF.

The primary goal of the project was to assess the feasibility of inclusive use of the Via Francigena. The collaboration with AllTrails allowed for precise trail mapping, identification of challenges, and provision of useful information to hikers, regardless of their physical abilities.

The accurate mapping, carried out in close synergy with the B-Free Association, has identified solutions to make parts of the trail accessible that were previously considered challenging for people with disabilities. This targeted effort aims to open the doors of the journey to a wider audience, offering everyone the opportunity to experience the emotion of the Via Francigena.

The “Via Francigena for All” project not only aims to make tangible improvements to the accessibility of the trail but has also raised awareness within the community and among walkers about the importance of inclusivity in tourism.

The commitment of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways and the partnership with AllTrails represent a significant step towards a walking experience that embraces diversity and celebrates accessibility for all. The app is available with a 30% discount for Francigena pilgrims and allows access to over 200 guides for less than 2 euros per month. 👉 Click here to take advantage of the offer.

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Accessible Tourism along the Via Francigena at the centre of attention at BIT Milano Trade Fair

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The Via Francigena in 2023: pilgrim numbers and estimates

The 2024 activities along the Via Francigena have begun and, as every year, we look at the site statistics and the numbers recorded by the European Association of the Via Francigena ways through the distribution of credentials.

The year 2023 confirmed an important international presence along the itinerary, confirming the worldwide dimension of the Via Francigena, which is also increasingly demanded by a younger public and from non-European pilgrims. On this point, the English-language guidebook by the London publishing house Cicerone certainly played an important role. Cicerone Press published the three volumes Canterbury-Lausanne, Lausanne-Lucca, and Lucca-Rome. The presence of pilgrims in the Via Francigena in Southern Italy is also growing.

The number of pilgrims who filled in the questionnaire when receiving the credential was 3,840, about the same number as the previous year. As always, EAVF is speaking of estimates and not official statistics, as other credentials are also distributed, especially in Europe. At the same time, the number of people who travel 8-10 days sections of the route each year using the same credential over several years is increasing.

The number of EAVF credentials distributed was 15,667, and the number of pilgrim passport distribution points was 118, with an increase in France and Switzerland.

TRAVELLERS’ PROFILE

MODE OF TRAVEL

Pilgrims on the Via Francigena are still mostly on foot (86%), with a slight increase compared to the previous year. The remaining 14% travelled by bicycle, although a few individual pilgrims were recorded travelling some parts of the route on horseback.

AGE GROUPS

The age of those who walk the Via Francigena confirms last year’s trend, which had seen an increase in the number of young pilgrims. In 2024, the 25-34 and 55-64 age groups compete for the lead with 22%. Slightly below, with 21.4%, is the 45-54 age group. The 35-44 age group is at 14%, while at 10.6% and 10% respectively are the under-25 and over-65 age groups.

GENDER

The male component is 51% while the female component is 49%, with an increase in the second group compared to the previous year.

NATIONALITY

There is important data in relation to nationality. The year 2023 confirmed the international dimension of the Via Francigena, raising the number of countries represented along the route to 55*. The largest group of walkers remains Italian, with the share dropping by two points to 68% compared to 70% in 2022. It is important to point out the great boom of pilgrims from the United States, in second place as number of presences. Just behind, in order, are Sweden, France, and Australia. The interest for the Via Francigena outside Europe has ranged from South Africa to Colombia, from Singapore to New Zealand.

DEPARTURE PERIOD

One of the biggest deviations from the previous year is the month of departure, with April in first place (22%). Nearly one out of four pilgrims set off at that time. September follows at 16.5%, then August at 14% and May at 13%. June and October are at 9% and 7% respectively.

STARTING AND ARRIVAL POINTS

In terms of place of departure, 2023 records an all-Tuscan podium, with Lucca (13%), San Miniato (11%) and Siena (7%). The city of Lucca was in first place the previous year as well, thus confirming itself as a privileged starting point for those who set out on the Via Francigena with the aim of reaching Siena or Rome. Among the starting points, Bolsena, Gambassi Terme, and Rome ranked first on the list.  The Great St. Bernard Pass (Switzerland) and the city of Canterbury (United Kingdom) were also in the top 10, followed by Fidenza (Emilia-Romagna).

As far as pilgrimage destinations are concerned, in first place is Rome, with 44%. The arrival in the Eternal City, at the Tomb of Saints Peter and Paul, represents an important goal for those who set out on their journey. In second place is Siena, at 24%. Important destinations that were also frequently reached were Santa Maria di Leuca, the endpoint of the Via Francigena in Southern Italy, the Great St. Bernard Pass, and Canterbury, for those who walked from south to north.

MOTIVATION TO TRAVEL

Sharing experience (50%) is the most frequently cited motivation: travelling along a pilgrimage route is first and foremost an opportunity to share experiences, a dinner with friends, a chat about the route or quality time in the hostel with wayfarers met along the way. At the top of the list of motivations are also cultural and tourist reasons (at 38% and 35%), as well as spiritual and personal research (35%). These are followed by the interest in environment, sport, and food and wine tourism.

ALONE OR IN COMPANY?

Data shows a contrast with 2022, when 54% of respondents said they preferred travelling with three or more people. Last year, travelling as a couple ranked first (39.5%), followed by travelling alone (36.5%) and finally in a group – at least three people – (24%).

THE TESTIMONIUM IN ROME

An important piece of news concerns the reception of pilgrims in Rome. Last year, the service of the Fabbrica di San Pietro was activated, with a dedicated desk in the Cathedral. The reception desk is open from 07:30 to 18:30 every day. On Wednesdays (if there is the Papal Audience in the Square) from 13:00 to 18:30. In addition, a Pilgrim’s Mass is celebrated every day at 18:00 at the Altar of the Cathedra. A total of 3,319 pilgrims from 55 different countries (33 European and 22 non-European) filled in the optional statistics when receiving the Testimonium. The most popular months were August (563 forms), September (660 forms), and October (537 forms). The international geographical origin is quite in line with the EAVF credential data: in order Italy, Germany, the United States, France, and Australia. The large German presence, which does not appear with high numbers in the EAVF credentials, is justified by the fact that pilgrims usually use the credentials distributed by a national tour operator.

THE ARRIVAL IN BRINDISI

In 2023, the hospitality of the Statio Peregrinorum in Brindisi, Apulia, supported the distribution of the lay testimonium at the Accademia degli Erranti (Ex Convento delle Scuole Pie), a wonderful monumental venue where the A.P.S. Brindisi e le Antiche Strade offers numerous services for pilgrims, wayfarers, and walkers (open Monday-Saturday 10am-12pm and 4pm-8pm). A total of 133 pilgrims were welcomed and 103 testimonium were handed out.

VIA FRANCIGENA: WEBSITE AND APP ACTIVITY

Also the website statistics highlight the growing interest in the itinerary, with around 450,000 unique users recorded and almost 3 million page views at www.viefrancigene.org.

66% visited the site on smartphones, 31% on desktops and 2% on tablets. 62.41% of visitors came from Italy (67.86% in 2022), but the good news is the increase in visitors from France (8.88%), Switzerland (3.72%), the United Kingdom (3.70%) and the United States (3.23%). The total number of international visitors increased by 5% compared to 2022.

On our website, 53% of visitors are men and 47% are women. The age breakdown is as follows: 25-34: 25.6%; 35-44: 25.5%; 45-54: 21.5%; 18-24: 16.6%; 55-64: 16.3%; 65+: 9.7%.

The most visited page was the ‘Itinerary’ page with 152,179 views.

The most visited stage was ‘San Gimignano-Monteriggioni’, with 16,726 views.

*data extrapolated from the distribution of the EAVF credentials and the handing out of testimonium in Rome.

WHAT DID PREVIOUS YEARS LOOK LIKE? 👉 Have a look at the data on the ‘Statistics’ page

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15 million allocated by the Italian government for walking routes in Italy

Positive news for the Via Francigena and slow tourism comes from the approval of the 2024 budget law by the Italian government.

With reference to the revitalisation and tourist promotion of the ‘religious pilgrimage routes’, the fund for the infrastructure of the ‘walking routes system’ in Italy has been refinanced for 2024, 2025, and 2026 by a total of 15 million euros. With these resources, it will be possible to fund many projects that were admitted in the Italian Ministry of Tourism’s recent call for proposals.

Five projects on the Via Francigena had already been accepted for funding in 2023 within the walking routes fund. Beneficiaries were the Province of Siena (Tuscany), the municipalities of Saint-Oyen (Valle d’Aosta), Pontremoli (Tuscany) and Berceto (Emilia-Romagna), and the Diocese of Massa Carrara-Pontremoli (Tuscany). Thanks to this recent extension of the ministerial fund, other territories are also included in the list: municipalities of Campagnano (Lazio), Otranto and Poggiardo (Puglia), Donnas (Valle d’Aosta), Santo Stefano Magra (Liguria). (Link to the complete list: https://www.ministeroturismo.gov.it/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/Cammini-religiosi_Graduatoria-delle-domande_v01.pdf).

The Jubilee of 2025 is also at the core of the manoeuvre: a fund of 75 million euro in the year 2024, 305 million euro in the year 2025 and 8 million euro in the year 2026 for the planning and implementation of works and interventions functional to the event has been established.

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Flixbus and EAVF renew agreement to promote new forms of responsible travel

FlixBus and our Association have renewed their agreement for 2024, offering reduced fares to pilgrims on their pilgrimage route who use the green buses to travel between stages, reach their starting point or return home at the end of the journey.

The agreement is valid throughout the network, and is supported by a number of EAVF’s partners, such as DMO Francigena Sud in Lazio and Visit Piemonte, who wish to encourage people to discover their territories travelling at a slow pace and in a responsible manner, combining walking with bus transportation.  

The itinerary after Rome

In Lazio, the Via Francigena links 21 stages, entering Tuscia from the Val d’Orcia (Tuscany), then crossing the provinces of Viterbo, Rome and Latina as far as Minturno, continuing on into Campania. In Lazio the route passes through Rome and Ciampino, where it intersects the FlixBus network, offering advantages for those travelling the route but also for the local area: visitors arriving at the Roma Tiburtina, Roma Anagnina or Ciampino bus stops can set out on foot, discovering Lazio at a slow pace.

Our partner DMO Francigena Sud in Lazio promotes and enhances the itinerary in southern Lazio on the way to Campania and Apulia. The route passes through little-known villages abounding in scenic, natural, artistic, cultural and historical charm. A complete list of municipalities is available at this link.  

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The Via Francigena in Piedmont 

The Via Francigena has 13 stages In Piedmont, with two variants that cross the region, meeting at Vercelli and then heading towards Lombardy: one descending from Valle d’Aosta and the other proceeding from the west. In Piedmont the route passes through the towns of  Turin, Chivasso, Oulx and Santhià, where it intersects the FlixBus network, offering benefits for those travelling the route and for the local area. Encouraging the discovery of Piedmont at a slow pace, Visit Piemonte, a regional company for the promotion of incoming tourism, FlixBus and the Association of the Via Francigena ways promote a more authentic way of travelling, in close contact with local communities, which at the same time significantly reduces the environmental impact of the journey. Caring for the local community also means caring for the environment! 

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A new way of travelling 

Overtourism or tourist overcrowding has shed new light on the fragility of Italy’s national heritage and the need for a different approach to the promotion of tourism that is capable of generating wealth for local economies without jeopardising the balance and quality of life of the communities involved. 

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After all, it is the visitors themselves who are demanding the right to access new, more conscientious ways of travelling. A study entitled What motivates us to travel, conducted for FlixBus by research company Squadrati, revealed how more and more people are now expressing, among other things, a need for authentic travel experiences and a greater demand for sustainability.  To cite two of the most significant figures, 33% of those surveyed indicated a preference for ‘educational’ trips ‘to discover places and cities with the eyes of an explorer, not a tourist‘ (compared to 26% pre-Covid), and 41% specified that they wanted to ‘live an experience of enrichment, of personal growth‘ (compared to 31% pre-Covid).  

To learn more about EAVF’s partnerships, download our Media Kit

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Via Francigena in Campania region: official signposting installed!

The year 2024 begins with good news for the Via Francigena in the Campania region and the pilgrims wanting to travel along it. The month of December 2023 ended with the start of the installation works of the official signposting along the path in Campania.

Campania region is crossed by approximately 250 kilometres divided into 9 stages and 3 official variants, from Sessa Aurunca to Buonalbergo, cutting through the provinces of Caserta and Benevento. An inestimable heritage of landscape, people, gastronomy, and culture that thanks to the Via Francigena can be discovered slowly, leaving the door open to unexpected revelations and surprising encounters.

The work started in Sessa Aurunca (CE) and will continue to the border with Puglia, with the installation of new bidirectional arrows and the application of paint signage.

This intervention was made possible thanks to the commitment of the Campania Region through the Campania Tourism Regional Agency and the contractor.

The new signposting complies with the indications of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways, collected in the “Abaco della segnaletica lungo la Via Francigena in Italia” and the “Vademecum of the European standards of the Via Francigena route”. This intervention is of great importance for the enhancement and safety of the Via Francigena in Campania, and adds to the efforts that volunteers, professionals, and Friend associations constantly make to contribute to the maintenance of the route.

Of the progress of signposting along the Via Francigena in Campania, we had already spoken on these channels in September 2021, during our great relay event ‘Road to Rome!’. The inspection carried out on that occasion had given the EAVF team and the representatives of associations and institutions on the road the opportunity to check the state of the route and to update the ‘light’ signposting affixing the new official stickers, especially near the crossroads.

The goal is to make the Via Francigena in Southern Italy ever more structured and marked, with a particular focus also on the safety of the route.

Small but impactful actions that make a difference, setting the tone for a positive start to the year… in the right direction!

👉 Are you already planning your journey along the Via Francigena in Campania? Take a look at the new guide by Terre di Mezzo dedicated to the Via Francigena in Southern Italy