Via Francigena

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POP hostels in Puglia: hospitality within everyone’s reach  

Thanks to the European project The Rout Net, financed by the Interreg Greece-Italy 2014-2020 programme, the first POP Hostels network is born in Puglia.  

The acronym POP stands for Pubblici Ostelli di Puglia (Public Hostels of Apulia) a network of public hostels located along the Via Francigena in Southern Italy.

The official inauguration of the first hostel in Minervino, which now has 18 beds, was in Lecce on 19 July.

The Hostel of Minervino, in fact, together with other POP hostels along the Apulian Paths represents an opportunity to relaunch a new format of welcoming pilgrims, under the banner of slow and sustainable tourism, in which culture and history of the territory do not take second place. On the contrary, they coexist just like the upgraded hostels, which integrate perfectly with the surrounding landscape without altering its authenticity.

 

For the next few years, Apulia’s tourism promotion aims to go beyond the idea of mass tourism, in favour of a welcome that is inclusive and open to the needs of pilgrims in every season. 

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Between the Susa Valley and Vercelli, authenticity is on the Francigena route with Visit Piemonte

Visit Piemonte and Via Francigena together to help you discover Piedmont 

The Via Francigena winds its way for over 3,000 km, amidst nature, history, food and wine and cultures that meet; each of its stretches offers a unique and inimitable heritage and the Piedmontese routes between the French border and the Susa Valley and between Vercelli and Turin cross classic tourist routes and more. Click here to discover all the stages. 

Archaeology-loving pilgrims may come across medieval villages characterised by ancient buildings, discovering even more unique and precious treasures inside, such as the urn of Saint Eldred preserved in the parish church of Novalesa, at the foot of the Moncenisio Pass, or the 16th-century frescoes in the parish church of Saint John the Baptist and the Chapel of Saint Christopher in the hamlet of Oulme in Salbertrand.  

Ancient and new flavours mingle along the way thanks to festivals and folklore events with ancient roots, such as the Fiera Franca of Oulx – Fiera del Grand Escarton, the dance of the Spadonari of Venaus or the re-enactment of the Battle of the Chiuse between the Charlemagne and Longobard armies at S. Ambrogio in Turin, at the foot of the iconic Sacro San Michele.Ambrogio di Torino, at the foot of the iconic Sacra di San Michele; and with the overlapping of the Via Francigena with the Strada Reale dei Vini Torinesi, where over its 600 km it is possible to taste no fewer than 25 DOC wines produced from local vineyards: such as the noble and rare Carema wine, which is born exclusively in this location, characteristic for its vineyards clinging to the terraces created by man on the mountain slopes. Not to mention the opportunity to enjoy dishes prepared according to tradition and seasonality everywhere! 

To fully enjoy this immense local heritage, what could be better than relying on the local experience of those who cultivate love and care for the territory every day? So Via Francigena and Visit Piemonte are ready to take you on an authentic journey! 

Why a partnerhsip between Via Francigena and Visit Piemonte?  

Visit Piemonte DMO is an in-house company of the Piedmont Region and Unioncamere Piemonte and represents a reality that works for the promotion of the region’s territory; a participatory path, because just as the Via Francigena route is made up of exchanges between territories and pilgrimsə, so too the company works in continuous synergy and dialogue to build and constantly strengthen a common vision on the road to take to enhance Piedmont’s richness in the eyes of the world. 

Visit Piemonte works for the development of sustainable tourism with a European outlook, thanks also to projects such as M.I.T.O. – Integrated models for outdoor tourism in the ALCOTRA space, which aims to create international tourism based on outdoor activities, through the promotion of natural heritage and involving public and private entities. 

The richness of a journey is more intense if it is travelled together 

Via Francigena and Visit Piemonte are ready to make the path across Piedmont a new, accessible and inclusive experience, far removed from the classic wine and food or nature itineraries of the beaten tracks and closer to the true and authentic essence of this land, whose ancestral history has left evident marks in the soil and stone, as in the customs and processing of products. Thanks to the pilgrim experience, this essence can be grasped in every way: because the walk is no longer a simple passing visit to a place, but an encounter between the itinerary and the routes that cross it. 

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On the trail of King Olav, in authentic Norway

Seven days of walking on the Norwegian paths of St. Olav, a beautiful Nordic route inaugurated in the late 1990s. A route that was recognised, like the Via Francigena, as a Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in 2010, this is authentic Norway to St Olav

I came to Trondheim at the end of June on the occasion of the European Horizon 2020 project rurallure, a three-year project that enhances the main pilgrimage routes and their cultural heritage. It was therefore an opportunity to meet the Norwegian contact persons of the Association for the Route of St. Olav. Olav Way (ACSOW) who are in charge of the management and valorisation of the St. Olav Route, a path of great beauty that has many points in common with the Via Francigena: it is in fact a linear itinerary with homogeneous route indications and signposting, there is a final destination with an increasing number of walkers coming from all over the world, there is a pilgrim reception system, there is a network of municipalities involved along the itinerary, there is an active European organisation that, on a mandate from the Council of Europe, valorises and promotes the itinerary.  

At the end of the conference, backpack on my shoulders and walking sticks, on 2 July I set off in the footsteps of King Olav together with Elena Dubinina, project manager of the European Association of Vie Francigene which is coordinating the ‘rurAllure’ project on behalf of AEVF. An opportunity, therefore, to learn directly in the field about the operation and management of the route, to verify its reception, signposting and to meet the local communities.  

Before starting the authentic Norwegian route to St. Olav, we retrieved the credential, another element that the St. Olav route has in common with the Via Francigena. The pilgrim’s passport is an instrument that still has great symbolic value in every pilgrimage.

The stages of the journey from Oppdal to Trondheim 

DEPARTURE WITH THE CREDENTIAL FROM OPPDAL

Here we are ready for the 170km long walk, starting in Oppdal, easily reached by train from Trondheim. We covered stages of 21 and 28 km, but often the numerous uphill and downhill slopes seemed to dilute the number of kilometres we covered. The first impact we had was with the weather: on the first day there was rain, wind, cold, sun and heat with us. All concentrated in just a few hours!  

VILLAGES AND NATURE

The villages you pass through are often small clusters of houses or you encounter individual farms with grazing animals. It is nature in all its beauty that is the protagonist of the journey from the first kilometres. Stretches of plains and gentle hills alternate with lakes, but there are also numerous steep climbs and marshy places that test the pilgrims’ stamina. What is also striking are the scents that constantly accompany the pilgrims’ steps. We meet few pilgrims on foot, while there are many who overtake us on bicycles. However, you are never alone: you are in the company of birds of prey, sheep, horses, cows at many points along the way. There is no shortage of animals!  

WELCOMING

The welcome at the stage points with the warmth of the host people is a highlight of the walk. We started with the Langklopp farm, which also houses a horse stable. The second day at the Meslo farm where the dinner prepared by the owner Inger is hard to forget. On the third night, we arrived at A (like the first letter of the alphabet, but with a dot on the ‘a’), in a small picturesque farmhouse with all wooden walls. Even the fireplace had to be lit, given the un-Mediterranean temperatures. Another nice memory. We continue to Lokken Vert, a place with an ancient mining history where there is a small hotel that accommodates pilgrims. Then it is the turn of Skaun, in the parish seat next to the beautiful, well-preserved Protestant church. Spartan but essential hospitality. On the sixth day, we are in the small town of Sundet, which is reached after ferrying the Gaula river by rowing boat with the ‘Charon’ John Wanvik, who transports the pilgrims from one bank to the other. Wayfarers can then stop to sleep in his beautiful farmhouse, which dates back to 1100.   

THE ARRIVAL

The arrival and welcome in Trondheim has a special flavour: here is the beautiful Pilgrim Centre, one of twelve on the route. We are welcomed by Ingeborg Collin, director of the centre, and then by two kind volunteers who hand us the pilgrimage certificate, which we must keep carefully. Before arriving at the facility that accommodates pilgrims, we make our way to Trondheim Cathedral. The last few kilometres are also warmed by the sun, which makes this finale even more beautiful where we finally meet the stone indicating the zero kilometre of the route! The finish is always a moment that, at least personally, brings with it many emotions, shades of colour and contrasting vibrations. On the one hand there is a veil of sadness because the walk ends, on the other there is an immense joy linked to the experience just lived. The walk in its simplicity makes me truly happy.  

The next morning, when I wake up, my body always has a few moments of strangeness because I had got used to the backpack. Instead, it is now time to let the backpack rest, ready to go. A beautiful journey.  

9 Tips for tackling the Saint Olav walk 

A BIT OF HISTORY  
Who was Olav Haraldson, who lived between 995 and 1030 and became a saint almost immediately after his death?   
During his adventurous life, Olav was an important figure for Norway, considered a kind of national independence hero and founder of the kingdom. He imposed the Christian faith on the population in 1016 and fell in battles at Stiklestad. Soon afterwards, his fame grew exponentially due to the devotion shown to him by the faithful, which helped to promote his canonisation.   
 
TRONDHEIM, THE DESTINATION  
The majestic Gothic Nidaros Cathedral, or Nidaros Domkirke, was actually built from 1070 on the tomb of St Olav. It is now the end point, the zero kilometre of this beautiful European cultural itinerary.   
Today, pilgrims can choose numerous alternatives among the many routes dedicated to St. Olav that cross Norway, although the main route is the one from Oslo to Trondheim for 650 km, to be covered in 28/30 stages.  On the final stage in Trondheim, pilgrims receive their pilgrimage certificate.  

  
WHAT DIFFICULTY DOES THE PATH PRESENT?  
It is a path studded with natural beauty, forests, authentic landscapes, sometimes wild and unspoilt. But beware, it also requires commitment and effort as several stretches require a minimum of experience and training. One variable to be managed well is the weather, for which one must be prepared for rain, wind, cold, sun and heat. The suggestion is to have good technical equipment.  
The ideal time to walk it is June, July and August, when, among other things, there is a burst of light that envelops travellers practically 24 hours a day.   
  
GUIDES AND SIGNPOSTING  
The walk is on the whole well signposted, although at some junctions the path can be lost. There is no official app, but you can follow the tracks on the site, which can also be used remotely.  

However, it is possible to use the AllTrails App, which contains more than 100,000 hiking trails worldwide, and which offers a discount on the premium version at this time. The app, once the location is indicated, shows the ‘trails’, i.e. the routes in the area, which can be sorted by difficulty and other characteristics; it also allows you to register your own trail and receive targeted alerts. These features allow you to safely walk or cycle your route thanks to the GPS activity tracker. It should be noted that the premium version allows you to download the maps to consult them offline.

There are several guidebooks in circulation in different languages. For the Italian language, one was recently published by the Terre di Mezzo publishing house, by Roberto Montella. A guide that is at the same time also a story, very engaging. 


ACCOMMODATION   
You sleep in very different facilities: from Pilgrims Centres (there are 12 along the main route), to farms run by private families, religious facilities, hotels and B&Bs. Prices vary widely, on average from 15 euro for spartan facilities to 35 euro for those with more facilities. It is often possible to take a complete package with breakfast, dinner and box lunch for the next day at a price ranging from 50 to 90 euro per day. It is however possible to cook for yourself in many accommodations.   
 
The tent? Many people use this means to sleep outside at night. You can camp in the middle of nature, pitching your tent wherever you want. There are also numerous Gapahukers (open shelters and canopies) along the route where one can stop for food, rest and sleep.   

EQUIPMENT  
I suggest a rucksack of 40-50 litres, also because the temperatures oblige you to equip yourself well. What to put in your rucksack: Apart from all the traditional clothing that you can take along the Via Francigena, in addition to the essential first-aid medical kit, a windproof jacket (also consider cold temperatures) and a good mackintosh that is guaranteed to last at least 4-5 hours in the rain should not be missing. Better also gaiters to cover your ankles when it rains. Definitely Gorotex waterproof shoes, high or medium, but even low ones are fine in my opinion. A pair of waterproof trousers are certainly useful. Finally, don’t forget trekking poles.

 
CUISINE  
On this trip, you also come into close contact with the local cuisine.   
Norwegian specialities range from game to cheese to fish, all to be accompanied by local craft beers. 


LOCAL COMMUNITIES  
Local communities, often gathered in small villages between valleys and mountains, begin to welcome with enthusiasm the arrival of travellers from all over the world. The inhabitants are also the first people to be asked to fill their water bottles with water if the need arises.   
It was especially nice to stop and talk to the inhabitants or the owners of the facilities. 

For more information on the route, you can go to the website of the Association for the Route of St. Olav Way (ACSOW)  
https://www.acsow.org/en/frontpage/  

Author: Luca Bruschi, EAVF Director

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Original ideas for a do-it-yourself tour along the Francigena Sud in Lazio

Can one think of the Via Francigena as a holiday destination? 

The DMO association ‘Francigena Sud nel Lazio’, set up to promote and enhance the villages and other places of interest along this stretch of the Via Francigena, offers the opportunity to immerse oneself in the local reality by creating ad hoc packages to suit everyone’s needs. Just take a look at the stages crossed by this area to experience days that are always new and full of discoveries. 

Between visits to historic places with an ancient past that is lost in myth, tastings of typical dishes and products, and the suggestion of unique and picturesque landscapes, you will be spoilt for choice to experience unforgettable days of culture, gastronomy, history and nature: many experiences and moments of leisure to combine with outdoor sports activities, as well as the experience of walking itself. 

Wandering through time and space 

If you want to go with a group of friends with whom you share a passion for extreme sports or good food, what better solution than a paragliding experience over the Agro Pontino or climbing in the Gulf of Gaeta… strictly over the sea! you can visit the fish market and buy local delicacies. Once you have finished shopping, you will then have the opportunity to prepare your favourite ‘marine’ dish under the expert guidance of a professional chef at his restaurant, and then taste the result of your work. 

For those interested in art and history, there are many ancient villages with an ancestral flavour along this stretch of the Via Francigena, such as the villages of Nemi, Fondi and Cori. However, culture also means experiencing folklore and taste…. in these areas it is in fact possible to immerse oneself in local traditions, participating in grape harvest days, “olive experiences” with targeted tastings or musical masterclasses, to learn how to play the ancient instruments of the shepherds. On the site, it is possible to consult the main points of interest of the Francigena Sud in Lazio to better structure one’s own itinerary. 

Time for nature and relaxation 

The Via Francigena is a cultural itinerary in which nature is one of the undisputed protagonists: walking or cycling along some of its stages allows you to disconnect from the frenzy of everyday life and rediscover yourself. The Southern Francigena in Latium responds perfectly to these needs, thanks to the ample presence of parks, paths to be travelled by bicycle or on horseback, lakes in which to do SUP or boat trips and birdwatching activities to discover the local fauna. In addition to all these activities, DMO offers unique moments to enrich the Francigena experience, such as yoga lessons in the vineyard and the harvesting of aromatic herbs on site, to name but a few. On the site it is possible to consult events and proposals scheduled throughout the year, as well as to contact the staff to request ad hoc packages for a 5-sense immersion in one of the most beautiful parts of the Francigena. 

Contacts: 

LANUVIUM TRAVEL, Genzano Rome 

commercialerm@dmofrancigenasudlazio.it 

 SPIRIT OF THE TRAVEL, Rome

commercialelt@dmofrancigenasudlazio.it 

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Call for tenders: management of the Via Francigena website

The European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF) is looking for experts or service providers to entrust the service of restyling and maintaining the website of the Via Francigena, reference point for pilgrims and all those working for the promotion of the cultural itinerary. 

The website is available in three languages and contains interactive and georeferenced maps, as well as content concerning news and services on the route and EAVF’s activities. 

In addition, the website is linked to the main social channels and to the official Via Francigena App, a potential new version of which is the subject of the call for tender. 

Click here for more detailed information about the call for tenders

Proposals have to be sent to the e-mail address: segreteria@viefrancigene.org by 15-09-2023.  

The proposals will be evaluated by a technical committee set up by EAVF. 

For further information and questions please contact the beforementioned email address. 

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EAVF joins the Cooperation Network on Pilgrimage Routes by rurAllure project 

On 26 – 29 June in the cities of Lillehammer, Gjøvik and Trondheim in Norway took place a General Meeting for rurAllure – European Horizon 2020 project and network focused on enhancement of cultural heritage along the European routes.

The EAVF, project partner in charge of communication and research of thermal heritage along the Via Francigena, was represented by Luca Bruschi, director, Elena Dubinina, responsible for international relations and European projects, and Simona Spinola, communication manager.

The event, organized by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), was attended by 40 representatives of the cultural routes involved in the three-year project, from the Camino de Santiago, Via Romea Germanica, Via Romea Strata, the Way of Mary and the St Olav way together with numerous partners from all over Europe and local stakeholders related to slow tourism.

At the center of the meeting was the launch of the first European Cooperation Network along the Pilgrimage Routes

The rurAllure network was founded on 27 June 2023 in Gjøvik by the Foundation Home Viator for Via Romea Strata, the European Association of the Via Francigena ways on behalf of the Via Francigena and MUTKE – Mária Út Közhasznú Egyesület for the Way of Mary.  

The network, open to all stakeholders working on historic walking routes, is focused on promotion of sustainable slow tourism, exchange of best practices at European level, networking and project development. 

The Meeting in Norway also provided an opportunity to conduct a study trip along the St Olav Way in Norway, managed by the National Pilgrim Center. The route, which connects Oslo with Trondheim along 640km, has its terminus in the majestic Nidaros Cathedral.

The EAVF team visited a few regional pilgrim centers in charge of the route development in the territories crossed and cultural sites such as house museum of Sigrid Undset, one of the most important writers in the country, winner of a Nobel prize;  Maihaugen – an open air museum in Lillehammer and a few traditional stave churches in Norway.  

The final event of the meeting was hosted by the Nidaros pilgrim center in Trondheim with opening speeches by Ingeborg Collin, its director and Hans Morten Løvrød, director of the National Pilgrim Center and the European route of St Olav.

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Diet along the route: 5 ways to recharge your batteries

Nutrition should always be balanced, both to ensure the right amount of energy and to satisfy the palate. If you practice outdoor activities, such as hiking or cycling for one or more days, you should balance nutrients in the right proportions. Experts recommend considering in your diet 50% carbohydrates, 20% fat and 30% protein for a proper balance and well-being, especially when active outdoors.

During a walk, especially during the more strenuous stretches, it is important not to burden the stomach, but to recharge the body with protein-rich foods, such as legumes, cheese, eggs, fish and meat. These are important foods in the Mediterranean diet, a model considered to be on the safe side for health and longevity, helping to strengthen muscles, containing 40 per cent of the body’s protein, and supplying it with the protein it needs before and after exercise.

So how can a correct food intake help you during your journey?

1. Say yes to ‘Carbohydrates’, but make sure not to exaggerate

Compared to protein, the intake of carbohydrates plays a more important role during physical activity, because they are the necessary fuel for all phases of the walk. A nice plate of rice, accompanied by vegetables and fruit, facilitates the assimilation of starches and thus provides lasting energy. Be careful with your choice and quantity, because in addition to weighing you down, a disproportionate consumption of bread, pasta, rusks, biscuits, etc. can lead to bloating and drowsiness. Better to opt for complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain and oat products, which do not create glycaemic peaks and give a sense of satiety thanks to their slow-release of energy.

2. Lots of protein before the hike… for your muscle recovery!

In the days before the journey, protein-packed lunches and dinners of legume soups or fish accompanied by a portion of vegetables are essential as they contribute to cellular formation and to stocking up on energy. Pancakes with bresaola and parmesan cheese flakes, yogurt, honey and muesli, boiled, scrambled or soft-boiled eggs, on the other hand, are a good source of protein to start a walk or cycle, because these nutrients have a plastic function, i.e. repairing muscle tissue thanks to their richness in amino acids.

3. More protein: during and after the hike… but keep an eye on fat levels!

When choosing lunch, make sure you accompany a sandwich with legumes or fish to choose foods that are light and nutritious. Above all, this food is useful because a continuous supply of protein, when exercising, leads your body to produce energy and stabilise the glycaemic curve, preventing your muscles from tearing. Avocado can be useful for maintaining the reserve of ‘healthy’ fats, an indispensable source of energy and protein, but without overdoing! On the way back, to recharge and restore the glycogen energy reserve, a nice plate of legumes s- uch as chickpeas, beans and peas – can complement a well-deserved plate of pasta.

4. A valuable reserve? Build up a mine of vitamins and minerals

Walking or cycling a lot and for a long time, whatever the season, inevitably causes a lot of sweating and a loss of fluids, i.e. mineral salts. This is why – in addition to drinking regularly – it is essential to consume small quantities of fresh, dehydrated and dried fruit. In addition to hydrating the organism, fruit is easily digestible, ensures a continuous supply of vitamins that the body is unable to produce itself and offers support in the event of low blood sugar.

5. With ready-made meat, the backpack is lighter and more sustainable

For omnivores, meat protein allows to take in most of the essential amino acids, the ones that the body cannot produce by itself yet contribute to muscle protein synthesis: an excellent solution for muscle maintenance and tissue repair, which the body easily absorbs.

Meat is a source of minerals such as iron (heme), zinc, and selenium, which serve respectively for the formation of haemoglobin and thus oxygenation of tissues during physical activity, for tissue growth and repair, and support the visual and olfactory systems, as well as acting as antioxidants. A low iron intake can reduce your sports performance while travelling, as well as other functions. Another important component of meat is vitamin B12, which is involved in red blood cell formation, protein synthesis, tissue maintenance, and energy conversion.

Carrying meat with you during a hike poses the problem of how to preserve it so that it does not lose its nutritional properties, especially when temperatures rise, and of cooking it without weighing down your backpack. Fortunately, there are ready-made products on the market that can easily solve this dilemma, such as those proposed by Carne Montana. When choosing meat for your trip, always pay attention to the taste but also to the origin, and prefer brands that transparently communicate their commitment to the environment. Carne Montana has created practical, tasty and light products with 100% meat from Italian farms and produced in a short supply chain. A practical solution that fills the stomach, but not the backpack!

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Cycle path along the Via Francigena in the Susa Valley: 35 km inaugurated

From Caselette and Avigliana to Villar Focchiardo in the Susa Valley by bicycle: a dream, called Ciclovia Francigena, has now become reality. With the completion of the first two lots of the cycle path, covering over 35 km, on Saturday 3 June 2023, in the presence of the local administrators, the ribbon was officially cut on this great project for the sustainable promotion of tourism in the area, implemented by the Unione Montana Valle Susa. A cycle-tourist route along the Piedmont section of the Via Francigena – the realisation of which had been started during the previous administration – which joins the great 680 km VenTo (Venice-Turin) and AIdA (Alta Italia da Attraversare) cycle routes.

Click here to discover the route of the Susa Valley cycle route. The interactive map of the Via Francigena can instead be followed during the journey by downloading the AllTrails App.

The resulting itinerary, which winds gently along the valley floor allowing people to enjoy the beauty of the landscape off the busy roads, is still ‘work in progress’. Indeed, work is continuing on the continuation of the cycle path, with the aim of connecting Villar Focchiardo to Bussoleno (the third lot). But the real ambition is to go as far as Moncenisio, creating an overall itinerary of 62 km. In fact, the participatory planning with the municipalities of Val Cenischia will soon be concluded: once completed, it will then be necessary to seek funds for the implementation of the fourth and final lot.

Click here to discover all our advice for preparing to cycle the Francigena.

Those who preceded me rightly thought of the bicycle as a pioneer for the development of the territory,” explained the president of the Unione Montana, Pacifico Banchieri. “Unfortunately, between thinking and succeeding in realizing such a project, many years pass and many difficulties have to be overcome. So if we manage, with so much effort, to inaugurate this important piece of the cycle path, we can say that it is a success and a great satisfaction for everyone, from the officials who worked on it to the administrations that took turns. I am convinced that this cycle path serves first and foremost as a service for our territory, available to citizens who want to get around by bicycle or do sport. But it can also serve to bring development and tourism and to make the valley richer, more beautiful and more attractive“.

For former president Sandro Plano, “this work is a symbol of how the Mountain Unions truly represent the essence of territorial policies. The cycle path embraces an entire valley and the fact that a body has thought of an infrastructure that links the whole territory is something that makes us reflect. I therefore want to thank the administrators who carried out the project, but above all the technicians, in particular Mauro Parisio and his colleagues, who did an exceptional job“.

[Press release by the Unione Montana Valle Susa Press Office].

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First square dedicated to Sigeric inaugurated in Auchy-au-Bois

In Auchy-au-Bois, a small French municipality of 500 inhabitants located in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Hauts-de-France region, the first square on the Via Francigena dedicated to Sigeric was inaugurated on Saturday 24 June.

It is an important example of how the Via Francigena is increasingly becoming an element of identity and a reminder of the cultural roots among the territories crossed by the European route. Today, a total of 715 municipalities see in Sigeric’s itinerary a uniting fil rouge.

This beautiful square, containing a large green space, a small library to exchange books, a shaded area and benches to rest, therefore becomes a meeting place between local inhabitants and the travellers who arrive on foot from all over the world by following the itinerary.

As Mayor Jean-Francois Del Place mentioned during the opening greeting, this square represents an important symbol for a small village enhanced precisely by the Via Francigena and its international cultural and tourist dimensions.

The square is an important “symbol of renewal for the village of Auchy-au-bois, but also a symbol of modernity, mobility of social inclusion that focuses on the use of public spaces.”

Institutional participation in the event was sustained with speeches by Bertrand Petit, MP for Pas-de-Calais; Olivier Gacquerre, Mayor of Bethune and President of the Agglomeration Béthune-Bruay, Artois-Lys Romane; Amel Gacquerre, Senator for Pas-de-Calais and Regional Councilwoman for Hauts-de-France; and Eddie Bouttera, Sub-Prefect of Bethune. Also present were Didier Depauw, councilor of the Agglomeration Béthune-Bruay, Artois-Lys Romane and Franck Laine, general manager of Bethune.

To testify to the validity of the initiative within the EAVF network, President Massimo Tedeschi, Vice President Martine Gautheron and Director Luca Bruschi attended the ceremony.

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Interruption of the VFS 6 stage from Sezze to Priverno (Lazio)

An interruption was reported on a section of the Via Francigena in Southern Italy in the municipality of Sezze. Due to repair works to a water conduit coming from the ‘Sardellane’ basin and serving the municipality in question, the latter deemed it necessary to issue Order No 91 of 15 June. It prohibits, as of the following day, pedestrian passage in this section of the Via Francigena coinciding with the works. It has therefore been necessary to temporarily modify the route of the stage in question in order to avoid pilgrims passing through the forbidden section.

➡️ View the temporary GPX track online: click here

➡️ Download the temporary GPX track: click here to download

In order to proceed safely along your route, we recommend downloading the AllTrails App, which contains more than 100,000 hiking trails worldwide, and which offers a discount on the premium version at this time.

The app, thanks to the GPS activity tracker, allows you to receive ‘trails’, i.e., routes in the area where you are hiking, and to select the best option based on the characteristics of the trails and the targeted warnings you receive from other users. In addition, in the premium version, it is possible to download maps to consult them offline.