Via Francigena

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The Via generates economy: statistics at the Stati Generali del Turismo

On Friday 28 and Saturday 29 October, the Italian ‘General States of Tourism’ meeting was held in Chianciano Terme (SI). This was the first national planning conference organised by the Italian Ministry of Tourism and promoted with the intention of arriving at the elaboration of the Strategic Plan for Tourism 2023-2027, through analysing the statistics, listening to and working together with all the operators in the sector, and increasing the quality and quantity of the national tourist offer.

Among the many strategic themes presented on which to focus to increase the country’s competitiveness in the global tourism scenario, sustainable and responsible tourism was also discussed. Analysing the statistics, the Director of the AEVF Luca Bruschi showed how the travel experience of walking must be considered a competitive asset within the Italian tourism offer. Here are therefore some of the numbers analysed during the meeting.

The numerical trends of tourism linked to the Via Francigena

The number of pilgrims on the Via Francigena is constantly increasing, and they currently arrive on the trail from 70 countries around the world (from Europe, mainly Italy, France, Germany, Holland, the United Kingdom, and the Scandinavian countries; and from outside Europe, mainly the United States, Canada and Australia). 8 out of 10 pilgrims will return to the Via Francigena as tourists to deepen their knowledge of the places and with a longer stay. The economy around the Via Francigena is already worth 25 million euro today and generates enormous cultural wealth for the villages crossed.

Through the AEVF credential distribution, the estimate of pilgrims who walked for at least one week in 2019 was around 50,000. During 2021, given the restrictions due to Covid-19, the estimated pilgrims were around 40,000.

Click here to see all the data for 2021

Identikit of the Francigena pilgrim

Statistics reveal that the pilgrim who walks along the Francigena route stays in the area for an average of 8-10 days and has a daily spending capacity of 50/60€ for those who walk long distances, while it increases significantly for those who move at the weekend or within the week. 80% travel on foot, 20% by bicycle. There is a slight predominance of women. Age ranges from 16 to over 80 years. AEVF estimated that 500,000 walkers and pilgrims have travelled the route for at least a week in the last decade (’12-’21). The period? People walk all year round, but mostly in spring and autumn: this means that this is qualified tourism in the period of deseasonalisation.

The motivations that drive modern pilgrims to undertake the long itinerary that leads to Rome and continues to the ports of Apulia are manifold and reflect the varied needs of contemporary society: for some, an albeit significant minority, the journey is a religious experience; others are driven by spiritual, cultural, landscape, gastronomic and sporting motivations, motivations strongly associated with the principle of slow mobility that contrasts with the frenzy that characterises modern life.

The IRPET data

According to a recent IRPET (Istituto Regionale per la Programmazione Economica Toscana – Regional Institute for Economic Planning of Tuscany) study, in the ten-year period 2010-2019, against an average regional increase in overnight stays of 23%, in the 28 municipalities along the route there were increases in the tourist sector of 49%, while in the municipalities within a radius of 5 km from the itinerary there were increases of 43%. These statistics prove that there is a competitiveness differential generated by the presence of the route in an area.

The Via Francigena as a promoter of slow tourism in Europe

It is important to continue to promote the tourist offer on the Via Francigena by strengthening the system of reception, route, maintenance and promotion. At the same time, we must enrich the network of partners with targeted collaborations designed for pilgrims’ flow. Among the latest partnerships activated by the Association is a special discount dedicated to those with a credential so that they can travel along the itinerary at a discounted price on one of Flixbus buses: an agreement emerged from analyses of pilgrims, who can now easily move between over 40 stages of the itinerary or return home at the end of their journey enjoying a 10% discount, with the possibility of transporting their bicycle. A best practice which could be extended to all 4 countries crossed by the trail, thus promoting the itinerary as a national ‘flagship product‘.

We must also keep in mind the two upcoming goals that will give even more visibility to the route: the candidature of the Via Francigena as a UNESCO heritage site and the Jubilee of 2025, for which we hope to see at least 100,000 pilgrims arriving on foot and by bicycle in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.


The Earth Week Festival reaches its 10th edition

La Settimana della Terra” (Earth Week) is a popular science festival addressing the topic of GeoScience in Italy. The festival, now in its 10th edition, took place this year from 2 to 9 October 2022.

How many times have you walked through breathtaking landscapes and wished you knew more about your surroundings? Or have you been on a hike and only learnt later that around you, close by, there were wonderful caves, ancient lakes, rivers and prehistoric settlements to be discovered… We often simply appreciate the beauty that surrounds us, but have no deep knowledge of the land we are walking through.

In order to make the Italian territory known to the general public, through its extraordinary geological, environmental and natural heritage, ‘The Earth Week’ was born 10 years ago. The Week is the brainchild of two passionate and experienced university professors, geologist Silvio Seno and palaeontologist Rodolfo Coccioni. It is an annual event lasting an entire week in October. Professionals including geologists, researchers, climatologists, archaeologists, astronomers, and researchers participate and create popular events throughout Italy. For the occasion, the events are called ‘Geoevents‘.

Since 2012, over 1,800 ‘Geo-events’ have been created in many locations. The festival offers open doors at museums, research centres and astronomical observatories, educational and experimental workshops, exhibitions and shows, conferences, lectures and seminars, artistic and musical activities, food and wine, as well as many hikes and walks for walkers and nature lovers.

As well as an experience across science, The Earth Week is also an opportunity to raise environmental awareness. We are facing an uncertain future due to ongoing climate change caused by our lifestyles. Are we sure of what lies ahead? What can we do to recover the relationship we have with nature and improve our quality of life?

Given its aims, the Festival embraces and supports slow, sustainable and responsible tourism. Such tourism respects environmental resources and, through slowness, generates knowledge and care for local treasures. The appreciation of natural heritage is often enjoyed together with other cultural attractions and local products.

Discover here our section on environmental responsibility and the role of walking routes in sustainable development.

Italy has a unique quantity and variety of situations to learn about, and we have a responsibility to preserve and protect them. Getting close to these jewels of nature and experiencing them means contributing to sustainable tourism, the promotion of which is one of the objectives of our Association,‘ says the festival co-founder Silvio Seno.

A unique festival, inviting people to discover the wonders of our country and to take care of our planet. Only in this way can we truly protect Italy’s heritage.


12 unmissable places along the Via Francigena in Lazio south of Rome

The Via Francigena south of Rome is an extraordinary journey in time and space, allowing us to see historical memories from different periods juxtaposed among each other. In this article, we will present 12 unmissable places, presented in the order you will come across them as you travel along the route from Rome to the border with Campania.

1. The Regional Park of the Ancient Appian Way

The largest protected urban area in Europe and a green belt following the Regina Viarum, south of Rome. History and nature come together and create a unique landscape, containing remains of mausoleums, Roman villas and aqueducts.

2. Castel Gandolfo

A town famous for having been the summer home of various Popes for centuries. As well as admiring the wonderful panorama of Albano Lake, walkers can visit the gardens and the papal villas: unmissable places.

3. Nemi

Another village built in a beautiful panoramic location is Nemi, overlooking the volcanic lake that shares the same name. In the town, you can visit the ancient Temple of Diana Aricina and the Museum of Roman Ships, built in the 1830s to hold the two gigantic ships of Emperor Caligula (37-41 AD) that were recovered from the lake, unfortunately lost in a fire in 1944.

4. Cori

The town is a hub of historical and natural attractions: along the route, walkers will pass through the beautiful green space surrounding Giulianello Lake, and on arrival in the historical town centre, they can visit the Chapel of Santissima Annunziata, which holds one of the most important paintings in Lazio from the late-gothic period. They can also visit the Saint Oliva monumental park, where a medieval church incorporates the remains of an antique temple, a 14th century chapel featuring frescoes, a renaissance cloister and a convent.

5. The Norba Archeological area

The area was founded in the 5th century BC, in an area dominating the entire Pontina plain. It had been destroyed in 81 BC, in an incident where the residents preferred to kill each other and set fire to their houses rather than let the area fall to enemy hands and leave them with something.

6. Sermoneta

Dominated by Caetani castle, it is another marvellous town along the Via Francigena in Southern Italy. Before taking on the climb towards the historical centre, you can visit the Valvisciolo abbey, one of the most impressive masterpieces in Romanic-Gothic-Cistercian style. At the foot of the town, the Ninfa Garden is worthy of a visit, a typical English garden constructed in the 1920s in the area occupied by the medieval town of Ninfa, of which today only some ruins remain.

7. Fossanova Abbey

The abbey is situated within the municipality of Priverno and is one of the oldest examples of Gothic-Cistercian art in Italy. The complex was completed at the end of the 12th century after transforming a pre-existing Benedictine monastery, and was later given over to the Monks of Burgundy guided by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux.

8. Terracina

The historical centre of Terracina is a place where the marks of Roman, medieval and modern history can all still be seen, such as the ancient Appian Way which passes through Piazza del Foro, and is still cobbled to this day. Further examples are the Roman Theatre, the Capitolium, the Cathedral of Saint Caesarius built on the ruins of a Roman temple, Castello Frangipane, Palazzo Braschi. The town is dominated by the Temple of Giove Anxur, built in the Roman era on Mount Saint’Angelo, in a beautiful position from which you can admire the beautiful panorama looking out over to Mount Circeo and to the Pontine islands.

9. Valley of Saint Andrew

One of the most suggestive parts of the ancient Appian Way south of Rome is through the Valley of Saint Andrew, between Fondi and Itri, forming a three-kilometre path parallel to the modern Via Appia. The Roman Road was built on the rocky side of the mountain, held up by strong walls up to 12m high, which date back to the third century BC, the era of Appio Claudio, the builder of the road.

10. Gaeta

Gaeta offers visitors a spectacular view from the historical centre and from the Angevin-Aragonese Castle, made up of two linked buildings that were built in two different historical periods. The lower building was built during the period of Angevin governance, and the higher building was ordered to be built by Sovrans during the reign of the Kingdom of Naples, part of the Aragonese dynasty. Before arriving in the town centre, the Via Francigena passes by Serapo Beach, from which you can see the Sanctuary of the Montagna Spaccata. The sanctuary was built in the year 930 by the Benedictine Fathers on the ruins of a Roman General’s villa.

11. Cicero’s tomb in Formia

Although around 1.5km from the Via Francigena, the tomb in Formia is worth visiting: it can be found along the Via Appia and is a mausoleum dating back to the Augustan era. It is where Cicero, the famous Roman politician and orator, is supposedly buried. Additionally, in the town hall building dating back to the 1700s, Formia plays host to the National Archeological Museum, which displays an impressive collection of excellent sculptures dating back to the period between the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD.

12. Minturno Archaeological Area

Before leaving the Lazio area, you cannot miss the Minturno Archaeological Area, an ancient port city that was part of the Pentapolis Aurunca, destroyed by the Romans in 314 BC and subsequently rebuilt. Next to the archaeological area, the bourbon bridge which crosses the Garigliano river was the first iron suspension bridge ever to be built in Italy, built between 1828 and 1832.


10 unmissable places along the Via Francigena in Lazio north of Rome

Along the ancient pilgrimage way, as well as the spiritual highlights, numerous places stand out for their historic and social value, not forgetting their beauty. In this article, we will present 10 unmissable places in Northern Lazio, presented in the order you will come across them as you travel along the route from the border with Tuscany to Rome.

1. Proceno Castle

A historical building that dominates the first urban area the Via Francigena passes through on entering Lazio. It has been owned by the Cecchini family since 1644. Part of the castle has now been converted into a hotel.

2. Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Acquapendente

Consecrated in 1149, it is a fascinating place which features two staircases carved into the rock leading to the sacellum. This holds the oldest copy of Jesus’s sepulchre, giving Acquapendente the nickname of “Europe’s Jerusalem”.

3. Basilica of Saint Christina in Bolsena

It dates back to the 11th century. As well as holding the relics of the Saint, it became famous for the eucharistic miracle that happened in 1236: while a Bishop was holding Mass, at the moment of the consecration, the sacramental bread bled. From then on, the event has been celebrated during the Corpus Christi festival.

4. The panorama from the Pilgrim’s Tower in Montefiascone

The view makes it worth undertaking the tiring climb to the summit of the Papal fortress which dominates the historical town centre. From here you can take in the breath-taking views of Bolsena Lake and a large part of the Tuscia area.

5. The San Pellegrino area of Viterbo

One of the biggest medieval areas of any city in Europe. It hosts wonderful examples of 13th century architecture, with its maze of streets, towers, arches and medieval buildings.

6. The Torri di Orlando in Capranica

A monumental collection of two Roman funeral monuments dating back to the first century BCE and a bell tower belonging to a Benedictine church from the 10th century. A peaceful place enriched by large oak trees where, according to the tale, paladin Orlando loved lying down to rest.

7. Roman Amphitheatre in Sutri

One of the most surprising historical constructions along the whole Via Francigena: it is an amphitheatre that had over 9,000 seats and had entirely been dug out of the hillside. It was rediscovered between 1835 and 1838 by the local population.

8. Sanctuary of the Madonna of Sorbo in Formello

Built in the 15th century on the ruins of a castle that previously dominated the Sorbo valleys. It became a pilgrimage location dedicated to the Madonna: according to the story, she had a shepherd’s lost hand grow back.

9. The Veio archeological area

An Etruscan city that was a famous rival to Rome for its control of the Tevere river, conserves important monuments like the Portonaccio Sanctuary, and the oldest painted tombs of Etruria: the tomb of the Roaring Lions and the tomb of the Ducks.

10. Monte Ciocci in Rome

A green space in Monte Mario park. It is here where pilgrims arriving in Rome can first see the great cupola of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Here, they will understand why in medieval times it was called Mons Gaudii, “the mountain of joy”.


Homeless, Fearless, Borderless: the nomadic life of Ciriaca+Erre

Ciriaca+Erre is a Swiss-Italian artist from Matera. Since 22 April 2022, World Earth Day, she has begun a life as a nomad and pilgrim, returning to inhabit the planet as her home. She left on foot without money, from the caves of her home town, Matera, and headed for Africa – to the cave where Homo sapiens survived the Ice Age. She thus created her latest performance, which combines art and life: ‘2 years, 2 weeks, 2 days, Homeless Fearless Borderless‘. A slow journey of awareness, back into human history.

Ciriaca discovered her passion for travel at the age of 18, travelling through India. Her artistic practice ranges from painting to photography and urban installation, from performance to video. She has won important prizes and exhibited in various museums, galleries and institutions, from Italy to Switzerland and as far as England. She has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, in New York, Los Angeles, Moscow and Berlin, but has always tried to actively take art outside of museums. She has produced several works on human rights and women’s rights for which she has travelled to Africa in search of remote villages where women condemned as witches are still isolated.

Here is our interview with Ciriaca+Erre:

How did this project come about?

‘It was born during the pandemic in response to the fear that dominated the world and the borders that became increasingly suffocating to the point of exiling us into our homes. It was born to regain courage and confidence in ourselves, in others and in life, overcoming intimate and social boundaries. It is born to return to inhabiting the planet as our true home. It is born in order to ‘experience’ life as a journey of awareness, inspired by the book ‘Siddhartha’ by Nobel prize winner Hermann Hesse – 100 years old this year – written in the very place where I lived the last few years in Switzerland.

It stems from the desire to live at a slower pace as opposed to a world that, after the pandemic, has gone back to speeding up as if nothing had happened. In all this there is the idea of living the present day by day, of letting go and simplifying.

This performance was born as an evolution of another performance I did a few years ago at the Museo della Permanente in Milan, where I donated over 500 personal objects from 80% of my clothes, motor bike, bicycle, chairs and more. Even then I felt that one day I would have gone further, leaving everything behind me.

It took me a year to prepare psychologically, rather than physically, to completely change my life. Of course, you can never really be ready for such a project… because, as in life, you learn as you go. Life is a journey of awareness’.

What are the added values of undertaking this journey alone?

‘A solo trip is a great act of self-confidence. Definitely a great challenge but also a great opportunity. This is a lonely journey but also one of connection with myself, with others and with nature.

Embarking on this journey alone as a woman is very significant for me, since my artistic research has often touched on themes related to women’s rights and their history. One of the milestones in this journey is also a visit to the world’s last matriarchal community in China.

Travelling alone allows you to grow, have confidence in yourself and your strengths, facing your fears. It allows you to open up to a very valuable inner dialogue, opening up internal and external landscapes that may surprise you. When travelling alone, intuition and instinct are awakened: we discover that we are much stronger than we think or others believe. Of course there are moments of fatigue and discouragement, in which the only travel companion that will give us support and motivation to build resilience… is ourselves.

Travelling alone is also a meaningful choice of freedom. But freedom comes with a great burden: that of responsibility. Being able to choose to change, to make mistakes, to respect our own rhythms, what to eat, where to go, what to see, when to stop, gives a wonderful sense of freedom. We are the solo makers of our choices and consequently we also take responsibility for them.

On this journey I do not feel alone – I feel like I am part of a whole again. I must say that sometimes I have felt more lonely being among many people or with the people I love’.

What is your goal?

‘The goal is to unite Life with Art, to return to “being” before “doing”, which is among the most difficult things to do today. The goal is to bring art and culture, which are a heritage of humanity, back to the streets. Just as the philosopher and mathematician Hypatia of ancient Greece also wanted.

Through this project I seek utopia and a more authentic life.

I am looking for new ways of living in harmony with nature, with oneself and with others, inspired by the first utopian ecological and vegetarian community in Europe, born in Switzerland in the early 1900s, on Monte Verità.

The goal is to undertake a sort of march for peace and for the planet.

In this pilgrimage I seek ‘humanity’ in the highest sense of the term. We forget that this name, which we have given ourselves, condenses significant and indispensable values such as solidarity, empathy and brotherhood, which we are losing sight of.

The aim is also to remind us that we are all migrants, as evidenced by the discovery of the so-called traveller gene (DRD4-7R) present in 20% of the population. Human evolution began with migration on foot from Africa: we are all migrants. I want to remind you that in the old days, pilgrims and travellers were not left outside to die but were welcomed into homes and given a hot meal.

I started walking because it is an act that is as much a part of our nature and human history as thought and speech are. It is a ‘symbolic’ act, revolutionary and peaceful at the same time. Every time we take a step forward, we leave our centre of gravity, a pre-established balance to find another. And this is what thought and art does, it questions something pre-established’.

Which stretches of the Francigena have you travelled?

‘I started my journey right from the caves of Matera, my home town, which is part of the Via Francigena. I immediately had to take a diversion to Apulia to visit one of the first utopian communities, where private property does not exist, and that is part of my research.

I was able to resume the Via Francigena in Southern Italy, in Apulia, passing through the significant stage of Monte Sant’Angelo, and from there towards Rome, with some necessary detours to pursue my research.

From Rome, I travelled along the ‘Via di Francesco‘: I would have liked to arrive in Switzerland on the Via Francigena but I had to take another route that touched on places significant to my project.

It was with great joy that I resumed the Via Francigena from Vileneuve, Switzerland. I resumed with a significant peace walk together with a Japanese Buddhist monk who has done walks all over the world and came especially from London.

I am still on the Via Francigena heading to Canterbury. I will miss this historic route that retraces the steps of the ancient pilgrims when I have completed it. A route kept alive today by those who, like me, cherish a different, slow and ecological way of travelling.

On these walking routes, I have had the opportunity to meet extraordinary people from all over the world with great human depth. To cross these small villages, inhabited by a few dozen or a few hundred inhabitants, and to find hospitality in families or municipalities that are sensitive to welcoming pilgrims, is truly precious. To know that you are retracing the steps of ancient pilgrims is exciting’.


5 tips for walking in the rain

Autumn is one of the best seasons to walk thanks to mild temperatures and the beautiful warm colours of foliage. However, if you set out in autumn you must expect walking at least in one day of heavy rain!

Anyone who has been caught unawares at least once in their life by autumn rain knows how unpleasant it can be: wet clothes that never dry out, cold hands and feet, muddy and heavy shoes… but hey, don’t let it get you down!

Rain requires preparation, that’s all. If you have everything you need with you and take it out at the right time, walking in the rain can be one of the most pleasant and romantic experiences of the season and of your life. It’s an opportunity for deep contact with nature, with our nature as human beings who, before civilisation, lived openly with every weather situation. For some people, rainy days are the best ones – the truly unforgettable ones, the ones of reflection and insight. That’s when important decisions for your life are made, the ones to be taken home after the journey.

We’ve therefore prepared a list of tips to ensure you have a good time even on rainy days:

1. Keep an eye on the weather

It seems obvious, but it is really important to take a look at the weather every night to prepare for the next day. You should also check it in the morning before departing. It is best to rely on official services such as:

Remember to prepare your hike carefully by studying your paths and routes, in order to avoid finding yourself in unpleasant situations: walking on slopes, rocks or logs that become slippery with the rain or crossing rivers swollen by heavy rainfall could lead to great difficulties in continuing, if not an interruption of the journey due to inability to continue. For this reason, we advise you to consult the All Trails app, partner of the Via Francigena, where you can find maps and directions but also tips and reviews written by other pilgrims who decided to hike in the rain.

2. Pick the right equipment

Whereas on a summer day a k-way is enough to shelter you from the rain, in autumn it’s a totally different story. First of all, it’s a good idea to wear a breathable and UV-proof technical shirt, which will prevent moisture from coming into contact with your skin. On top there should be a fleece layer, or a sweatshirt, and a waterproof jacket, given the autumn humidity even when it’s not raining. A poncho or PVC cape should be added on rainy days: light and foldable, it will not weigh on your backpack. It’s true, you won’t look particularly sexy in this outfit, but we can assure you that this is the most effective way to stay dry: practically, it’s like wearing an umbrella! Always keep your poncho in an easy-to-reach place so that you can quickly find shelter if the rain comes suddenly. Remember to also wear a waterproof hat, perhaps with a visor covering your eyes and glasses from the water.

As for the lower part of the body, shoes should of course be as waterproof as possible. Make sure they are not worn under the sole, to avoid slipping in the wet. Socks can also be waterproof, but bear in mind that your foot does not perspire when wearing them. The best is to wear waterproof ones only when rain comes. You can then remove shoes and socks as soon as you reach the end of the stage, allowing your feet to breathe. Gaiters are also useful, as they prevent water or mud from entering through the neck of the shoe.

Finally, we recommend a pair of plastic PVC trousers. Wearing the whole outfit, you can freely do whatever you want while walking in the rain: sit on the ground or on muddy benches, walk in tall grass, do the rain dance or open your mouth to drink the drops in those mid-stage sections where no one can see you.

3. Stay dry

Having survived the rainy day, the most important moment arrives: getting out of your wet clothes! A complete change of clothing is necessary to avoid potential hypothermia, so it is advisable to bring at least one extra change of clothing, including underwear, in this season compared to summer. We recommend that you bring a pair of sandals or flip-flops to immediately free your feet and let them breathe. The skin of the feet in fact weakens when wet, and the risk of having annoying blisters increases.

Even more important is making sure that your clothes and all the contents of your backpack stay dry during rainy days. There is no nastier surprise than finding all your clothes damp when you get under a roof! To this end, we advise you to take precautions from the moment you pack your bag before setting out. Ideally, you should always keep your clothes divided in compartments, using special waterproof watertight bags that you can find in most sports shops. Otherwise, you can use plastic bags. This is also a great trick to keep your backpack tidy during the trip, and to keep your electronic devices sealed away! On top of this, you can cover the entire backpack with the classic waterproof rucksack cover when it’s raining.

4. Watch your step

The ground becomes more slippery with rain. Small streams of water can create along the path, which you should avoid as much as possible. In such cases, it is useful to have a pair of trekking poles or a walking stick.

When the rain is very heavy, it’s not a good idea to walk along the bank of a river, which could swell quickly. Rock walls are also dangerous as debris could fall down along them. The best place to walk during rain is in the forest: leaves provide shelter and roots collect water so that it does not accumulate on the ground surface. In the event of a thunderstorm, however, one must move away from the trees and the wisest choice is to seek shelter.

5. Smile

The rain will test you, that’s for sure, but the way you react to difficulty is your choice and yours alone. A day’s walk in the rain is, in this sense, a metaphor for life. We know how difficult it can be to stay calm when everything seems to be going wrong. If you really can’t cheer yourself up, our advice is… smile! A smile on your face is the first step towards positive thinking 😊

Finally, good physical preparation is even more important in cold weather: take a look at our dedicated section. If you have doubts, need advice or wish to exchange opinions with other walkers, check our Facebook community!


Pas de Calais: a participatory strategic plan for the Via Francigena

The Agglomeration of municipalities ‘Bethune-Bruay Artois Lys Romane’ in Pas de Calais, France, is preparing the Strategic Plan 2023-2025 dedicated to the Via Francigena – an important resource for sustainable and green tourism in the area.

Imagining and building together the Via Francigena of tomorrow‘ is the title of the meeting held in Allouagne (Municipality that joined the EAVF in 2022), in northern France, Pas de Calais. Local stakeholders were present: municipal administrations, tourism offices, universities, associations, economic categories.

Interesting ideas for working together on research, cooperation, recreation, service management and tourist enhancement on the Via were offered through 5 participatory workshops. Tourism is hence confirmed as an important driving force for the development of the territory from a cultural and economic point of view. The organisers also mentioned the important event ‘Road to Rome 2021. Start again!“. The passage of the event through Pas de Calais strongly rekindled interest in the Via Francigena. Furthermore, it enabled local authorities to work in synergy, with the prospect of its candidature as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In summary, Sigeric’s itinerary is at the heart of strategic development in a 250 km geographical area, which can be walked in twelve stages, from Calais to the Pays de Saint Omer, passing through the Béthune-Bruay area to Arras.

EAVF’s representatives

EAVF’s Director Luca Bruschi attended the event, stressing the importance of this initiative, which could be replicated in each of the 60 provinces crossed by the Via Francigena. Bruschi recalled that the results of these ateliers will be included in the three-year Strategic Plan that EAVF is working on all along.

Jacques Chevin, EAVF’s responsible for the development of the Via in France and Switzerland, also pitched. Indeed, he animated and coordinated himself the cooperation atelier.

Imagining and building together the Via Francigena of tomorrow‘ is the best slogan for continuing to raise awareness of the route. In 2024, it will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its certification within the Council of Europe.


Explor Games®: Sigeric in the land of the 4 rivers

In June 2022, the French Federation of Municipalities of the Four Rivers launched the app “Sigeric in the land of the four rivers”. It’s an Explor Games® game promoting historical, cultural and natural heritage of the area of the four rivers.

The game is mainly based on the important history that connects the Via Francigena with the river Saône. Explor Games® are adventure games
where players are the heroes! In a clever mix of treasure and digital scavenger hunt, participants alternate real and virtual world, game and information content.

You only need a smartphone or a tablet to play. Download the app “Sigeric in the land of the four rivers” for free from Google Play or App Store.

Sigeric, archbishop of Canterbury, is popular for the Via Francigena as we know that he walked it in 990 to get the pallium from Pope John XV. He wrote the 79 stages of his journey back home on a parchment, today kept at the British Library in London.

We imagined that, while passing through the land of the four rivers, Sigeric would be robbed of his belongings. Here starts the adventure, since Sigeric cannot return without the legitimacy of his sacrament!

A game offering 4 paths, with 4 themes and 4 objects to collect, besides a themed walk! You’ll cross Champlitte with the Via Francigena, Ray-sur-Saône with its castle, the forest of Renaucourt and its arboretum, the majestic canal of Savoyeux, Dampierre-sur-Salon and its history.

The CC4R led the project with a total budget of 154,000 €. They were co-financed by the French government, the Region and the Saving Bank of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

All you must do is set out with Sigeric on this adventure as you walk along the Via Francigena!


New information point for the Via Francigena in the Veio Park in Lazio

The Veio Park, on the Lazio section of the Via Francigena leading to Rome, has intensified its information network also outside its territory, with a new information point dedicated to the itinerary.

The Lazio Region is increasingly enhancing and developing services for pilgrims on the Via Francigena, also in view of the Jubilee 2025. Just in these days, in fact, a new information point of the Park has been inaugurated in Nepi, at the Sansoni farm, with new maps and publications dedicated to ramblers to Rome. Within the Veio Park, based in Nepi, there are in fact also 27 kilometres of the Via Francigena: the last stages towards Rome. Nepi therefore represents an ideal ‘gateway’ to the protected natural area for pilgrims on their way to the eternal city.

It is also important to give value and promote,’ said Veio Park President Giorgio Polesi, ‘the points close to our protected area to stimulate knowledge of our places and points of interest. We have 27 kilometres of Francigena within the Park, passing through Campagnano, Formello, Isola Farnese, to reach La Storta and then Rome‘.

The inauguration, in a splendid natural setting along a stretch of the Via Francigena, was attended not only by Polesi but also by the Vice-president of the European Association of Via Francigena Ways, Silvio Marino, the Mayor of Nepi Franco Vita, the town Councillor of Monterosi, Maurizio Tamantini, the Councillor of Campagnano, Pietro Mazzarini, the Director of the Museo del Pellegrino, Michele Damiani, the Councillor Roberta Bellotti and the Councillor of Formello, Roberto Amadio. There were also Ilaria Bartolotti from the Italian Corps of San Lazzaro, Mario Porcu, President of the BCC of the Province of Rome, Danilo Casciani, Director of the Veio Park, and Fabio Neri, Head of security. Doing the honours, Giuseppe and Olivia Sansoni. Also present was the Sutri municipality’s tourism Councillor Claudia Mercuri.

The next information point, on which the Region is currently working, will soon be inaugurated in the municipality of Sutri, along the ancient Roman Via Cassia.

For further information: +39 338 8374598


Winning shots of the “Share your route 2022” photo contest

After four months, on 31 October 2022, the “Share your route” photo contest officially closed, with the participation of pilgrims, walkers and tourists from all over Europe to document their experience on the Via Francigena and other routes.

The initiative, organized by the European project rurAllure linked to the enhancement of the heritage along the routes, collected over 3,000 photos, of which more than half related to the Via Francigena.

A great result that contributes to improving the experience of those who travel the cultural routes on foot or by bicycle every year: congratulations to all participants!

Below are the names of the winners of the photo contest for the Via Francigena, who can request their prize by sending an email to

  1. Nappa Travels
  2. Antonio Mastropaolo
  3. Roy Bella e Papà

You can consult the complete list of winners and view the shots at this link

A special thanks to the partners of the initiative: Garmont®, Ferrino and SloWays.