Via Francigena


Via Francigena at the Forum on Cultural Routes in Łódź, Poland  

On 20 – 23 September the EAVF participated in the Annual Advisory Forum on Cultural Routes, organised by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. 

This event conducted in Polish at Łódź served as a dynamic platform for cultural exchange and cooperation among various stakeholders in the realm of heritage and cultural routes, in particularly gathering over 250 participants – representatives of the 47 cultural routes, ministries and 40 members states, actors from the sector of tourism and culture and international organisations.  

The forum focused on the role of cultural heritage in the construction of a peaceful and democratic society explored the post-industrial heritage with a several study visits over Łódź, former center of textile industry.  

The Via Francigena, one of the oldest cultural routes certified in 1994, was featured in a panel discussion focused on creative industries with the presentation of the EAVF project manager Sami Tawfik, who showcased best practices of the association – the European project “rurAllure” and the ongoing photo contest “Share your Route 2023”. “rurAllure”, the Horizon 2020 project, is dedicated to digital mapping of heritage, research and cooperation between the routes, while the photo contest allows interaction with walkers and creates a dynamic visual collection of the route from the point of view of a pilgrim.  

On the last day of the event, Elena Dubinina, European projects manager, presented the upcoming Training Academy on Cultural Routes, which will be hosted on 4 – 7 June 2024 in the Italian city of Brindisi along the Via Francigena by the region of Apulia in cooperation with the EAVF. 

By participating in this forum, the Association reaffirmed its commitment to preserving and celebrating the rich cultural tapestry of Europe, making strides towards a more connected and culturally enriched continent.  

More information here.


French Departments working on the Via Francigena 

On Thursday 28 September, the European Association of the Via Francigena ways took part in the working and consultation day on the Via Francigena with the French Departments that are crossed by the Via Francigena.  

Representatives from Haute-Saône, Haute-Marne, Doubs, Aube, Cabbalr and the FFR were present at the event. The meeting was organised by the Haute-Saône at the instigation of its president Yves Krattinger and took place in Champlitte, the municipality hosting the headquarters of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways in France since 2017. 

After initial greetings by Mayor Patrice Colinet and an introduction by President Krattinger, who opened the proceedings, speakers included Martine Gautheron, EAVF Vice-president, Jacques Chevin, EAVF manager for the development of the VF in France, Didier Depauw and Christophe Bolot, respectively Councillor and Director of the Communauté d’Agglomération Béthune-Bruay, Artois-Lys Romane, and finally Jean-Jacques Sombsthay, Vice-president of the Haute-Saône.  

The French departments, on the initiative of the Haute-Saône department and in cooperation with EAVF, have started to work on the structure of a permanent ‘Route Committee’ (following the example of the ‘Voie Bleue’ cycle route) aimed at coordinating activities to develop and animate the route from Calais to Jougne. Among the objectives are also those of improving hospitality for pilgrims, producing the new FFR guidebook, reinforcing signposting and maintenance, investing in the promotion of the Route in view of 2024 which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the European certification of the Via Francigena. Without forgetting the UNESCO heritage and candidacy.  

During the meeting, Director Luca Bruschi and European Projects Manager Elena Dubinina also intervened for EAVF. 


The Via Francigena at the TTG Rimini trade fair with the project ‘The roads to Rome by rurAllure’

The Via Francigena will participate in the 60th edition of TTG Travel Experience, one of the biggest events in Europe dedicated to B2B tourism, held every year in Rimini.   

From 11 to 13 October, the EAVF Association awaits the public, technical partners and sector professionals in Hall C4/121 at the stand ‘Ways to Rome’: this is an initiative organised by rurAllure, the European Horizon2020 project, in which EAVF participates, focused on the enhancement of cultural heritage along the main pilgrimage routes in Europe. The Francigena will take part in this important event together with the Romea Germanica and Romea Strata teams, the other two Vie Romee, the routes that end in Rome.  

During the exhibition event, rurAllure has organised two meetings, both scheduled for Thursday 12 October:  

– from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. the meeting ‘Ways to Rome – scaling up pilgrimage and slow tourism experiences across EU regions’ will be held in Diotallevi Room 2 – South Hall;  

– from 1.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. there will be the conference ‘Beyond overtourism | Digital tools and innovative methodologies for the valorisation of pilgrimages’ at the Be Active Arena in Hall 54. 

EAVF will be present at the other meetings:

– on wednesday 11 October AEVF is scheduled to speak at the Lazio Region stand on the topic of “La Francigena direzione Giubileo”.

-on thursday 12 October from 2.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. there will be a meeting with Confartigianato to present the cooperation agreement at stand 301 – Confartigianato Imprese Cluster Turismo in Hall A7.

EAVF’s presence at TTG will be an important opportunity to make the Via Francigena known at an international level and represents a useful moment of confrontation on the development of innovative digital strategies to promote slow and sustainable tourism – a theme on which rurAllure has just ranked among the finalists of the international award promoted by ECTN – European Cultural Tourism Network (you can vote for the rurAllure project by clicking here), as well as a moment of reflection on the valorisation of the cultural heritage along the main routes leading to Rome.  

The address of the fair is: 155 Via Emilia, Rimini: see how to get there.

You can watch the TTG live by registering at this link.

Admission is free upon registration here


Inauguration of new hostels along the Tuscan-Emilian Via Francigena

For a pilgrim, hostels are more than just accommodations. They represent, in fact, a place of welcome and refreshment after the stages of the journey, but not only that: over time they have taken on a deeper meaning thanks to the stories of the wanderers that intertwine with those of their hosts, in an exchange of ideas and opinions.  

In addition, the opening of new hostels along the Via Francigena gives space for different opportunities and cooperation between local realities. Strictly speaking, it improves pilgrim reception and the services available accessible to all. Secondly, it allows the enhancement of each territory where the ancient path from Canterbury to Rome passes. All this with a view to the cultural, scenic, and economic enrichment of each individual place.  

For this, the Via Francigena hostels in the Tuscan-Emilian area that were recently inaugurated require special mention.

  • The Pilgrim Hostel in Camaiore, in the province of Lucca, is located inside the monastic complex of the Badia di San Pietro di Camaiore and has 24 beds divided into rooms for 4, 6 and 8 people. It represents a unicum in all of Versilia and is a model for new hostels throughout the Tuscan region. It is managed by the Società Coop Consortile Promozione Turistica Versilia, which organized the inauguration last September 9. An exhibition by artists Adolfo Saporetti, Pietro Paladini and Luciano Regattieri was set up for the occasion, and each pilgrim had the opportunity to discover Camaiore’s traditions and share travel memories.  
  • “Il pane e la rosa” (The Bread and the Rose) is the pilgrim’s home that was inaugurated in Montignoso in the province of Massa-Carrara last June 25. The hostel, which consists of eight beds, a kitchen and communal toilets, was reopened after many years thanks to the synergy between the Pilgrim Reception Association, the municipality and the parish of Santa Maria. In fact, “Il pane e la rosa” today represents a source of pride and socialization for citizens and pilgrims.  
  • Recently renovated hostels, on the other side, include the Hostel of Costamezzana, a hamlet in the municipality of Noceto in the province of Parma, and the Hostel of Felegara, in the Parma section near Medesano.  

The first one, formerly a school, following Jubilee investments in 2000 became an accommodation facility offering 22 beds and an elevator. It is open year-round and welcomes pilgrims, including those with disabilities.  

The second one was inaugurated last June and will be open to the public starting in 2024; it is the result of an urban redevelopment project and recovery of disused properties, aimed at having a second chance and offering services for pilgrims traveling along the Via Francigena in Italy.  

This was made possible with the help of Por-Fesr regional funds and cooperation between the Municipality of Medesano, local businesses and the Diocese of Parma and Cariparma.  

Redesigning hostels and hospitality is much more than offering a place to sleep. There is a lot at stake, and it concerns the development of the paths and the future of the Via Francigena. 


International Walk 2023: a multicultural walk to discover Lazio

The International Walk (IW2023) returns to the route of the Via Francigena in the South, in the direction of Rome, between 19 September and 4 October 2023, organised by the Associazione Gruppo dei 12 and promoted by the DMO ‘Francigena Sud nel Lazio’, under the patronage of the Lazio Region and the European Association of Vie Francigene (AEVF).

The history of the International Walk

The initiative came about thanks to the ‘Pilgrims Crossing Borders‘ event, a 3000km relay race that in 2015 took 60 pilgrims from Australia, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, the USA, the UK and Norway, through 15 countries in four months, from the city of Trondheim in Norway, via Rome, to Jerusalem, thanks to the work of Alberto Alberti, then President of the Associazione Gruppo dei 12 ODV, together with the German Via Romea Stadensis Association and the Italian Via Romea Germanica Association 

Then, as now, one of the main aims of the International Walk is to bring together people from different countries who, thanks to walking the walk together, can share an interest in and passion for all that characterises it, namely history, art, nature and spirituality, and which they can experience with every step along the VFS in Lazio.

International Walk 2023

For IW2023 (places were already sold out in autumn 2022) 22 pilgrims are expected to participate from: USA, Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Spain, Denmark and Belgium, who on their arrival in Rome will receive the Testimonium in St Peter’s Basilica.  

During the walk, the pilgrim is involved through a tried and tested format:  

  • greetings to the group of pilgrims from the municipal administration 
  • a welcome with local food and wine specialities 
  • entertainment with musical and/or folklore events by local associations 
  • short guided tours of the countries’ main historical/cultural/spiritual points of interest. 

The programme of the event foresees several destinations: 


The itinerary consists of a travel experience in which the route continually changes between paths through hills and countryside, sandy beaches along the Tyrrhenian coast, and the shores of 4 lakes, until venturing into forests and no less than 6 nature reserves that characterise this area of the Mediterranean maquis. There will of course be no lack of opportunities to come across Roman temples, Cistercian abbeys, monasteries and hermitages, castles and Renaissance palaces that characterise the villages along the VFS in Lazio. Passing through these places also means attending unique local folklore events where you can cheer your moments of rest with ancient music and performances, as well as getting to know the customs and traditions of the communities. 

The two weeks that make up the journey will therefore be dense and full of meaning, since in addition to the sight of spectacular landscapes, marvellous views and other beauties of the Francigena South in Lazio, the focus is on the pleasure of meeting and sharing both fellow pilgrims and the people living in the places, which will be a precious memory for each pilgrim participating in IW2023, who will thus arrive in the corners of three different continents around the world. 

To follow the story of the journey:

For further information, please contact the following addresses:  



The Wine Roads along the Via Francigena in Piedmont

“A word to the wise (is enough)” it is said: being a connoisseur or a neophyte in the field of oenology makes no difference, because by now it is well known to everyone that Barolo and Barbaresco are among the best known wines in the world from Piedmont, an Italian region devoted to the production of red wines (but not only), including Sizzano produced between Novarese and Valsesia (today a DOC wine), which according to Camillo Benso Count of Cavour could well compete with the famous Burgundy.  

The wine cellars of Piedmont are all deeply tied to their territory and the centuries-old traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation among the families of producers throughout the region. However, there are wine routes that are even more peculiar because they are linked to the history of the Via Francigena route that connects Pont Saint Martin to Vercelli via Ivrea. If one of the first pieces of advice given to those embarking on the route was to stock up on water, in less recent times pilgrims preferred to quench their thirst with the ‘nectar’ of the vine, which was offered to them, since water resources could be polluted and therefore a source of disease.  

Among the sentiments of those who now travel the Francigena itinerary, there is certainly no lack of curiosity to explore the local wine taste, and in the Piedmont region there is ample choice, considering that there are two wine-growing areas intertwined with the route: the Canavese area and the Val Susa vineyards, two of the four areas included in the ‘Royal Road of Turin Wines‘, recognised as a production itinerary of wine excellence in 2009 and no less than 600 km long. 

settimo vittore
The Wine Trail in Canavese on the Via Francigena

The wine route in the Canavese region includes three interconnected itineraries, but only one runs along the ancient route of the Via Francigena, namely the one that north of Turin extends to Carema, at the gates of Valle d’Aosta. Carema became one of Italy‘s 200 Slow Food presidia in 2014, precisely because of the close link between the area and the wine from its vineyards, namely Nebbiolo. Produced by a social winery founded in 1960, it is characterised by a ‘morainic’ flavour, metaphorically speaking, since the form of Carema vine cultivation is the Canavese pergola, or locally ‘tòpia’, characterised by having the roots of the vines grow in the morainic soil supported by small walls and pillars made of river stone on steep terraces. The Canavese wine trail is in fact dominated by the moraine hill of the Serra d’Ivrea (25 km long, making it the largest in Europe), overlooked by the Alps and bordered by Lake Viverone.  

Very useful for orientation and advice from those who have had first-hand experience of the area is also the AllTrails app, where maps can be consulted and information and comments exchanged. The route lends itself well to a bicycle trip, but a suggestive suggestion would be to walk along the paths between the rows of vines to discover the path. Autumn and winter are the ideal seasons for discovering the oenological flavour of the Canavese, since in addition to the spectacle of colourful landscapes, it is possible to watch the grape harvest and the processing of the grapes for raisin wine. 

vigne lago viverone

An important stop on the journey, in this land littered with vines, is the town of Caluso where one can taste Erbaluce di Caluso or Caluso DOCG, the most characteristic white wine of the Canavese area, which in 2023 was nominated by the Piedmont Region as vine of the year. This wine comes from hillside vineyards and is produced in three different types: still, sparkling and passito, characterised by a minimum alcohol content of around 11-11.5%, and to be served chilled to accompany aperitifs and hors d’oeuvres, first courses and cheeses, dry desserts and amaretti biscuits respectively. 

Vineyards at ‘high altitude’ in the Susa Valley section of the route

The wineries in Val Susa are located on the two sides of the Upper Valley, Exilles and Giaglione/Chiomonte. The presence of a microclimate characterised by adequate exposure to the sun, sheltered from the effects of the cold north winds, has made it possible to cultivate vines at altitudes above 850 m, thus allowing ‘heroic viticulture‘, i.e. at unusual heights, with slopes between the rows of vines of up to 30%, where the vines grow between rocks and stone walls that store heat during the day and release it at night. 

Although this area has been characterised since pre-Roman times by the culture of producing and selling wine, the importance of which is testified to in the ‘Testament of Abbone‘ of 739, founder of the Abbey of Novalesa, it was thanks to the Via Francigena, which connects this side of the Alps to France, that the development of vine cultivation was stimulated, favouring the presence of the numerous inns and taverns scattered along the route that welcomed pilgrims by offering them exclusively local wine.

pellegrini e segnaletica

The wines from Val Susa are Baratuciat (an indigenous white grape variety and ampelographically mysterious, miraculously saved from disappearance and only entered into DOC Valsusa in 2019) and the reds Avanà and Becuet, DOC Val Susa since 1997. The ‘Vino del Ghiaccio’, eiswein or icewine, a passito also known as San Sebastiano, also originates in this area. It is produced at the highest altitudes using a procedure whereby the Avanà grapes are left to dry in the vineyard until the arrival of winter; then the bunches are harvested, strictly by hand, at night or at the crack of dawn, at a temperature of minus -8°. The crushed berries, still frozen, then generate a sugary must that exudes an aroma of wild berries; the wine is therefore excellent with cheeses and dry desserts. 

Visit Piedmont, ambassador of Piedmontese wine along the way 

The regional agency Visit Piemonte, set up to enhance the tourist offer and agri-food production in the Piedmont region, has created, with the collaboration of the Region, a pathway for the knowledge and dissemination, on a local scale, of wine production, using as testimonials the faces of 15 presidents of the Consorzi di Tutela dei vini di qualità certificati (D.O.C. and D.O.C.).  

This activity has thus stimulated in the public a greater knowledge and curiosity towards the excellence of Piedmontese wines and thus to learn the connection of these with the culture and history of the territory of reference, as well as their connection with the Francigena itinerary, whose imagery cannot but lead walkers and tourists in a circular sense to explore the route along natural paths of colours, but also of flavours. 


Agreement between the Via Francigena and the Via Romea Germanica to promote the paths to Rome

Cooperation agreement signed between Via Francigena and Via Romea Germanica.

On 26 July 2023 the two Roman routes – Via Francigena, represented by the European Association of Via Francigena ways (EAVF) and Via Romea Germanica, represented by the Associazione Europea della Via Romea Germanica (AEVRG) signed a cooperation agreement.

Their respective presidents Massimo Tedeschi and Thomas Dahms met in Venice at the historic Caffè Florian, a member of the Council of Europe’s cultural itinerary of historic cafés, with the aim of implementing a series of actions and measures to implement and promote the paths leading to Rome.

An important step towards the thirtieth anniversary of the European certification of the Via Francigena, which was officially recognised as a Cultural Route in 1994, also considering the upcoming Jubilee 2025.

On this occasion, which was also attended by the vice-president of AEVRG, Liviana Zanetti, and her collaborator Isabella Mavellia, the involvement of the third Via Romea, i.e. the Associazione Europea Romea Strata (AERS), was considered so that it could take part in the agreement in the soon future. At the end of this meeting EAVF and AEVRG agreed that the technical coordination committee would meet as soon as possible to plan the next joint activities and thus begin work.

The three Roman associations have been working together since 2021 on mapping the cultural heritage of the routes to Rome as part of the three-year European project rurAllure for the pilot project Thermal Heritage.


Berceto: important improvements to the walking path

On August 3rd, the presentation of the regeneration works of the historical route in Berceto, a higly symbolic place of the Via Francigena at the European level and with which AEVF is collaborating, took place. Works will involve securing the itinerary, signposting, integrated communication systems and the cleaning of the route.

The event was held at the town hall of the municipality, in the presence of the regional councillor for tourism and transport, Andrea Corsini. On this occasion, Mayor Luigi Lucchi presented the works and projects implemented thanks to Development and Cohesion Funds from the Ministry of Culture, under the coordination of the Emilia Romagna region. It’s a 100% non-repayable contribution of 262,093.92 euro. 

The Project 

Emanuele Mazzadi, the project manager for the works, illustrated the improvements on the itinerary. These include cleaning weed vegetation and drainage. There are also plans to restore dry stone walls and ancient stone pavements made of sandstone from the nearby Cassio quarry. Finally, fountains and furnishings were set up to support the pilgrims.   

All materials (stone, wood) were sourced in the immediate vicinity also to minimise the environmental impact of the project. The use of “dry” technology (without the use of mortar or cement) for the recovery of low walls and pavements meets two requirements. Respecting tradition and counteracting climate change. Indeed, dry walls, which are permeable, allow water to penetrate underground. They also recharge the groundwater and slow down the flow of surface water during very concentrated rainfall. 

The indoor presentation was preceded by a walk to discover the beauty of Berceto. There was a visit to the cathedral and, above all, to the Ripasanta viewpoint, the pride of the area. Here the traditional ribbon-cutting’s ceremony took place, amidst the arches of hazel trees that accompany pilgrims arriving in the village.

The signage 

Particularly original is the signage, made of accoya. This wood comes from sustainably managed forests and is processed in a non-toxic way to make it more stable and durable. In addition, along with the CAI (Club Alpino Italiano) standard arrows indicating the distance from Rome to Canterbury, wooden hearts containing a QR-code have been made. 

By scanning the code you get a ‘virtual guide’ on your phone that shows the walker the beauty of the various places they are visiting. The ‘virtual guides’, conceived by the project manager, were realised with the IT consultancy of Davide Galli for Net Wight and with the support of Berceto video-maker Giacomo Agnetti. Twenty of these ‘virtual guides’ can be found along the Via Francigena in Berceto and can be viewed at this link:

It is a way of enhancing the territory, thanks also to the involvement of the ‘historical memories’ of the place. The ‘virtual guides’ include anthropologist Maria Molinari, geologist Giovanni Michiara and local history experts Giacomo Galli, Bruno Molinari and Aldo Torricelli. In September, work will begin on the recovery of the stretch of the Via Francigena in the municipality of Terenzo, where the ‘virtual guides’ will also be positioned: a way to tell the story of the area and to entice pilgrims to return to discover other beauties of our Apennines. 


General Assembly on 20 October 2023 in Pavia 

EAVF is meeting in Pavia (Lombardy Region, Italy) next 20 October for the General Assembly that brings together members and associations working along the European route. There are now 235 member municipalities and 80 Friend Associations present in the EAVF along the four countries of the Via Francigena: England, France, Switzerland and Italy. 

Pavia, already recognized as a Crossroads of Europe in 2012, is a symbolic place of the Via Francigena. The characteristic stretch of the Via in Pavia’s territory is 126.7 km long and involves many other municipalities: Palestro, Robbio, Nicorvo, Mortara, Tromello, Garlasco, Gropello Cairoli, Carbonara al Ticino, San Martino Siccomario, Valle Salimbene, Linarolo, Belgioioso, Corteolona, Santa Cristina e Bissone, Chignolo Po. 

In recent years, the number of travellers on the Via Francigena has been growing, as has the number of local authorities joining the EAVF. This demonstrates the importance and authority of this international network, which was founded in 2001 and has been recognised as a ‘réseau porteur’ by the Council of Europe since 2007.  

The general meeting at the Aula Magna of the Ghislieri College is scheduled for Friday 20 October from 2 to 6 p.m

On this occasion, some significant points for EAVF and the future of the Via Francigena will be discussed. We will discuss the periodic evaluation (cycle 2023-24) of the Council of Europe for the confirmation of the certification of the Via Francigena as “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” and of EAVF as réseau porteur of the Via Francigena. The members will have the opportunity to discuss the planning of activities on the occasion of the celebration of the 30th anniversary (1994-2024) of the certification of the Via Francigena as a European Cultural Route. It will be an important occasion to reflect on the past, present and future of the Via Francigena. Strategic points for EAVF will also be discussed on the agenda, such as the renewal of the management and iplementation of the web portal and app, the stipulation of new cooperation agreements with public and private partners, and finally the increase of EAVF membership fees as of 2025. 

As an addition to the Assembly, a rich program of cultural entertainment events is planned over three days from 19 to 21 October:  

  • on 19.10 (10.00 a.m.-5.30 p.m.), the event Conference on walking and sustainable tourism at the Aula Magna of the Ghislieri College in Pavia.  
  • On 20.10 morning, guided tour of the city of Pavia.  
  • On 21.10, a walking event I Love Francigena, the walk along Pavia’s Via Francigena.

Click here to view the full program of the event.

To register for the General Assembly, please fill out the following form (link).

The event is organised with the contribution of the Pavia Chamber of Commerce and the Fondazione Cariplo.


Conference on walking and sustainable tourism 

On Thursday, 19 October 2023, the Municipality of Pavia, the Chamber of Commerce of Pavia, and the European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF) are organizing the “Conference on Walking and Sustainable Tourism” at the Aula Magna of the Ghislieri College in Pavia, with the contribution of Fondazione Cariplo.
The event is sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Lombardy Region and the University of Pavia.

A particular focus is planned on the Via Francigena, a Council of Europe Cultural Route since 1994, that represents the main Italian artery of slow tourism. Tens of thousands of pilgrims and cultural tourists visit it every year, coming from over 40 countries. 

This gave rise to the idea of organizing the Conference in the city of Pavia, which is crossed by the Via Francigena and numerus paths and has been recognized as the ‘crossroads of Europe’ since 2012. The event proposes to deepen, with the intervention of the institutional, private and associative world, the state of the art of planning and strategies for the future, also given the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the European certification of the Via Francigena (2024) and the Jubilee 2025.   

The event will be divided into sessions. In the morning, from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m., the theme will be the value of the paths as a boost to territorial development, starting from the activities promoted by the Italian Ministries of Tourism and Culture. The Minister of Tourism Daniela Santanchè is scheduled to speak. 

In the afternoon, from 3.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m., the focus will be on the themes of hospitality, accessibility and routes, and mobility.  

On 20.10.2023, again at the Aula Magna of the Ghislieri College (Piazza Ghislieri 4), the autumn session of the EAVF General Assembly is scheduled, intended for Members and Friend Associations, but also open to those who wish to follow the work.  

The event will be held in Italian.

Discover the Programme of the Conference (link pdf). 

To register for the Conference, please fill in the following form (link).