Via Francigena

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Infinito Cammino: a journey to promote universal accessibility

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

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

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

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

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

To contribute to the fundraiser, click here:

WITHOUT YOU WE CANNOT WALK. WAYS FOR ALL

Cammino accessibile

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

Here’s how we can get involved:

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

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

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The new agreement with Flixbus to travel along the Via Francigena at a discounted price

Starting today, pilgrims on the Via Francigena will be able to use the services of FlixBus to move between more than 40 stages of the route, or return home at the end of the walk at a special price – with the possibility of also transporting their bicycles.

To take advantage of the discount it will be sufficient to have the Via Francigena credential, the official document that certifies, through stamps, the passage of the pilgrim through various stages of the route. By following the procedure indicated on the Association’s website, in just a few steps pilgrims will be able to obtain discounts dedicated to them for reservations through the free FlixBus app.

Thanks to the many intersections between FlixBus’s network and the Via Francigena, it will be possible to reach (or depart from) more than 40 stops along the route in Italy, Switzerland, France and England with the well-known green buses. Out of these, more than 30 stops are located in Italy, and include cities such as Rome, Turin, Bari, Parma, Siena and Matera, but also smaller, more remote locations such as Oulx, in Val di Susa, or Candela, in the area of Foggia. Those who travel the Via by bicycle will also benefit from the agreement, thanks to the extension of bike transportation to 75% of the FlixBus fleet.

The agreement between this operator and our Association aims to encourage green forms of tourism within the reach of all budgets, enhancing innovative itineraries to better promote the heritage along the route.

This is an important collaboration that offers a useful service to the thousands of pilgrims who travel the Via Francigena. The connection between walking and public means of transportation makes it possible to provide travelers with different alternatives to reach their starting point, intermediate points or to return home at the end of the experience. This is a technical partnership based on sustainability and on care for the environment – elements that are closely linked to the philosophy of the Via Francigena“, said the Association’s President Massimo Tedeschi.

We are happy to sign an agreement with the European Association of Via Francigena ways that we are certain will allow us to give a greater contribute to the relaunch of tourism in Italy in a sustainable perspective“, said Andrea Incondi, managing Director of FlixBus Italia. “We want to persist in doing our part to connect people with the territory and with the priceless heritage offered by our country, enhancing the areas which are normally less attended by tourist flows: in this way, the potential of our hidden treasures will not remain unexpressed“.

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Valsusa Slow Fest: voices and places for experiential tourism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information:

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

Info: info@vallesusa-tesori.it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Updates on signposting along the Via Francigena in the Region of Lazio

Signposting is an essential element of the route for pilgrims traveling along an itinerary such as the Via Francigena on foot or by bicycle; the EAVF, in all four countries crossed by the Via, is constantly in contact with national and local institutions in charge of maintaining the routes to make sure they are kept clean, accessible and always well signposted, especially at the crossroads.

In the Italian section there are many friend associations of the EAVF, as well as professional workers and volunteers who contribute to this choral action: on the Via Francigena in Lazio north of Rome, for example, members and friends of CAI (Club Alpino Italiano) in Viterbo’s section physically maintain the route, while south of Rome the Gruppo dei Dodici is particularly active.

Thus, it is our friend associations, whom we thank from the bottom of our hearts, that make this essential service for pilgrims and hikers possible. Maintenance and signage activities on the route are carried out in close collaboration with municipal administrations (in Italy they are the entities in charge of operating upon such issues) and with the coordination of regional administrations – following the guidelines of EAVF’s Vademecum for the Via’s route, published in 2016 and yearly updated.

This spring, a technical team led by the EAVF in close synergy with the Region of Lazio travelled all the stages of the Via Francigena in Lazio – both north and south of Rome – to place additional ‘light signage’ in more than 1,200 points across the region. These adhesive markers – coloured white and red for the walking route and white and blue for the biking route – provide a practical and quick supplementary system that points pilgrims in their direction along off-road routes and paved roads, in the areas where it is not possible to place other types of signs or markings.

Regione Lazio represents a best practice – an example to be pursued for the maintenance of the Via Francigena route, in which the collaboration among multiple bodies and entities ensures fully viable and signposted paths.

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Rome: new pilgrims’ reception and Testimonium pickup point

Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica, in preparation for the 2025 Jubilee, installed a new reception point for pilgrims arriving in Rome from the Via Francigena.

After going through the State Police controls, you can find the reception point just before climbing the stairs that access the Portico of the Basilica, on your right side.

In this reception point in the Vatican you can collect your Testimonium, the official certificate certifying the pilgrimage to Rome ‘devotionis causa’, recognized to all those who have traveled at least 100 km on foot or 200 km by bicycle – as verified by the stamps present on the credential.

The reception point will be open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

For communications and reservations, please contact the appropriate office:

email: accoglienza@fsp.va

Tel: +39 06 6982 (switchboard) and ask for extension 82137

Cellphone: +39 366 5775511

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The ferry from Dover to Calais restarts service for foot passengers

P&O Ferries resumed foot passenger service on the ferry between Dover and Calais as of Friday June 17th.

This finally allows Via Francigena pilgrims departing from Canterbury to cross the English Channel and reach France.

This is very good news after the uneasy situation that had been ongoing from March to now. We hope that this service will be maintained on a regular basis.

As a reminder, P&O Ferries is the only carrier offering foot passenger service across the English Channel, while neither DFDS nor Irish Ferries, the other companies operating on this route, have plans to offer foot service in the short term.

For those interested in crossing the Channel via ferry, you can reserve a seat directly on the P&O Ferries website. Updates on the service are also available in real time on the company’s Twitter profile.

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The docufilm about our journey on foot along the Via Francigena has been released

One year after ‘Via Francigena. Road to Rome 2021. Start Again!‘, the 3,200 km relay march we covered last summer, the journey has become a docufilm. The movie collects stories of travellers along the epic voyage from Canterbury to Rome, up to the “Finibus terrae” of Santa Maria di Leuca, in Apulia, but it also highlights ongoing projects that enhance territories along the Via.

The European march led indeed to the production of a docufilm paying tribute to the memorable four months walking through England, France, Switzerland and Italy along Sigeric’s historic route, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the European Association of Via Francigena ways.

Do you want to watch the docufilm?

Register to watch it now by CLICKING HERE

If you are a public administration or an association and wanto to organize a screening of the docufilm SEND YOUR REQUEST

“Last year, with this great crossing of over 3,000 kilometres – two thirds of which in Italy – we bet on the relaunch of slow tourism: data confirm that the ‘start again!’ – slogan of the initiative – was a good omen. The number of people walking along the Via Francigena, in Italy and in other countries, confirmed this. The actions supporting the candidature of the Via Francigena as a UNESCO World Heritage Site have also achieved important results“, said Massimo Tedeschi.

More than 3,500 travellers followed the Road to Rome on foot together with 28 bloggers, 11 video-makers and dozens of journalists together with Tik Tok influencers, youtubers and Instagrammers. As a result, we created 16 regional videos, 55 reels, 1000 high-resolution photographs, 117 blog articles in English, Italian and French, 117 podcasts, a magazine entirely dedicated to the event, and 500 articles published across the international press.

Human paths were revolutionised within the journey, said Myra Stals, the face of Road to Rome who walked the entire journey, describing it as ‘an experience that involved my whole body and head, because walking every day through 16 regions and 638 municipalities was an experience moved by the heart. I call forth the willingness of all young people to find the space and the desire to set out on their own personal journey’.

Compared to 2019, there is an evident increase in the number of young people who decide to walk the Via Francigena: those under 17 make up for 5% (2% in 2019), while 13% are in the 18-24 age group. The highest percentage is in the 45-54 range (21%). The presence of young people on the route is an element of great importance that testifies to the attractiveness of this experiential and cultural journey, even for a target group that was little present on the Via until now. The itinerary is already being visited by 80 countries around the world: a success in which the growing presence of women was decisive, with the extra gear of an unprecedented Literary Pilgrim Relay from the Ilaria Canali “Girls in Gamba” community.

The docufilm ‘Road to Rome’, presented in Rome at the ENIT – Italian Tourism Agency headquarters, was attended by the Italian Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia, ENIT’s Director Roberta Garibaldi, ENIT Marketing and Promotion Director Maria Elena Rossi, together with Massimo Tedeschi, EAVF’s President, Sergio Valzania, writer and historian, and Myra Stals, EAVF’s social media manager.

“Paths that transform travelling into widespread places. A fil rouge, a storytelling made of people who meet along the way marking a return to authentic experiences. The trip charged us with expectations and emotions that have been enhanced with the arrival in Italy of the “Road to Rome” relay that had a tangible impact on all the Peninsula and all its unique cultures and lifestyles” declares ENIT’s Director Roberta Garibaldi.

Intesa Sanpaolo, the project’s main partner, also supported the presentation. Intesa Sanpaolo has in fact enthusiastically supported this exciting journey to discover enchanting places and villages, convinced that the promotion of cultural and sustainable tourism, which enhances the artistic and cultural heritage of territories, can also have important returns in favor of communities and geographical areas that are sometimes less well-known to the general public but no less interesting – and rich in opportunities.

Road to Rome was possible thanks to main sponsors and partners such as ENIT, Intesa Sanpaolo, SNAM and Puglia Promozione, as well as the valuable support of regions, administrations, local associations and numerous gold, silver, bronze and technical partners.

Discover the official partners of the project

The docufilm will be available to all members of the European Association of Via Francigena ways (municipalities and local associations) and to project partners. It will soon be on the official channels of www.viefrancigene.org with the three versions in Italian, French and English.

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Via Francigena at the Training Academy on Cultural Routes

The EAVF took part in the first post-pandemic Training Academy on Cultural Routes, organised by the European Institute of Cultural Routes and hosted by the Impressionisms Routes in cooperation with the District of Seine-et-Marne and the Ministry of Culture of France. The event took place on 31 May – 3 June in Fontainebleau, France and gathered 37 cultural routes with representatives from 17 European countries. 

The 9th edition of this training was focused on cultural tourism and explored the topics of innovative emerging trends and strategies, especially in the post-Covid environment. Elena Dubinina and Jacques Chevin from EAVF presented the Road to Rome 2021 initiative and the European project rurAllure in informal workshops on cooperation and visibility during the event. They highlighted the importance of joint actions among the routes and local stakeholders to enhance visibility of the cultural routes brand.

The region of Fontainebleau is a crossroad of cultures and routes, as it connects the routes of Impressionisms, Stevenson, Napoleon and D’Artagnan, which the participants had a chance to experience on guided tours to Barbizon, hike through the Fontainebleau Forest, visit to the Castle and watch a performance of local theatre.  

Conclusions of the Training Academy focused on enhancement of cooperation and brand visibility as well as creation of national working groups on cultural routes will be presented at the annual forum on cultural routes, which will take place in Crete on 5 – 7 October 2022.  

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Signing of the Memorandum between Via Francigena and the Way of Saints Cyril and Methodius

On 6 June 2022 at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Rome, representatives of the European Association Via Francigena ways and the European Cultural Itinerary of Ss. Cyril and Methodius signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between the two itineraries.

The ceremony took place in the presence of the Ambassador H. E. Hana Hubáčková; the Councillor for Mobility Policies of the Municipality of Rome Eugenio Patanè and the representatives of the two associations, the Municipality of Rome, the Region of Zlín and Silvio Marino for the Region of Lazio.

The Memorandum of Cooperation was created to offer cultural tourism alternatives along both routes, while creating development and marketing projects. Targeted programs are also underway to mark out parallel sections of both routes, for example between Tuscany and Rome, where the tomb of St Cyril is located. Both paths are part of the over 40 cultural routes certified by the Council of Europe, whose program currently involves 36 European countries.

The Via Francigena serves to develop dialogue between Anglo-Saxon and Mediterranean Europe. With this act we integrate Western Europe with Eastern Europe. Thus we can develop a dialogue throughout Europe, which is why this signature is so important“, said EAVF’s President Massimo Tedeschi.

Rome is approaching a very important appointment because in 2025 we will celebrate the jubilee. Therefore, the paths of faith will have an even greater significance that year than they do now“, added Councillor Patané. “That is why we are betting a lot on this asset because it is a cultural, religious, historical and also economic asset. Therefore, we are very happy to work with you over the next few years to make this agreement we have found concrete, to make what was signed today a reality“.

The Cyril and Methodius Route is based on a millenary cultural tradition, linked in particular to the culture of the Slavic countries. The route links the places where Saints Cyril and Methodius, co-patrons of Europe, worked and where their legacy was spread by their followers. More than 1,000 km of marked paths have already been created in the Czech Republic and Slovakia using the routes of Czech and Slovak hiking clubs.