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District 108L Lions Club International promotes the Via Francigena

District 108L Lions Club International is at the front line when it come to promoting peace, and the Via Francigena as Cultural Route of the Council of Europe represents the values of peace, respect, dialogue, democracy, and inclusion.

In District 108L (Umbria, Lazio, and Sardinia) the Via Francigena officially crosses through territories located within the region of Lazio and, in this regard, the district lions officer Sara Fresi has created a historical document entitled “Territories of Lazio crossed by the Via Francigena”. This document is a useful contribution for all those who wish to travel the Via Francigena and discover its picturesque landscapes and historical, cultural, monumental beauties. Following is the incipit of the document:

Territories of Lazio crossed by the Via Francigena, by Sara Fresi

In the 7th century the Longobards penetrated the Italian territory, occupying part of the peninsula at that time disputed with the Byzantines. They wanted to connect the Kingdom of Pavia with the southern duchies by means of a safe road across the Apennines, passing through the Cisa Pass: its name in ancient times was Mons Langobardorum, later called Via di Monte Bardone. It was basically a group of roads connected by consular and dirt roads. When the Franks took over in the Carolingian era, the Via di Monte Bardone changed its name to Via Francigena, or “road originating from France”.

Traffic along this route increased and, over the centuries, the road established itself as the main route linking northern and southern Europe, used by masses of pilgrims as well as merchants and armies. It also connected the three ‘Peregrinationes Maiores‘: Santiago de Compostela, the tomb of the Apostle Peter and the Holy Land. The European Network of the Vie Francigene is a legacy linking the present day to the cultural identities of the old continent.

A millenary route that crosses several European countries: England, France, Switzerland, and Italy. The Via Francigena in Italy crosses six regions: Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Lazio. The southern section of the Via Francigena, called the Via Francigena of the South, is a route of approximately 900 km that crosses five regions: Lazio, Campania, Basilicata, Molise, and Puglia. The stretch through the Lazio region is approximately 420 km long.

The whole document (in Italian) can be consulted by clicking here.

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The municipality of Saint Maurice (CH) becomes an EAVF member!

Saint Maurice, a small municipality in the Canton of Valais with great strategic importance, is located along the Swiss stretch of the Via Francigena, exactly halfway along the route followed by archbishop Sigeric on his journey to Rome. The European Association of Via Francigena Ways is incredibly happy to enrich its network with such an important institutional member, therefore we warmly welcome Saint Maurice and its representatives!

Saint Maurice is situated along the 51st stage of Sigeric’s itinerary and in Roman times was called Agaunum. It was located at a bottleneck formed by the Rhone river, thus taking on a role of great strategic importance. The famous Theban legion was stationed here, led by Maurice and exterminated at this location in the 3rd century for refusing to swear an oath to the gods before the battle because they had converted to Christianity. The martyrdom of St. Maurice and the legion turned ancient Agaunum into an important pilgrimage site along the Via Francigena.

The Abbey of Saint Maurice was founded on the tomb of the martyrs in 515 by Sigismund, son of the Burgundian king. From that moment the Abbey played an important role, becoming the centre of veneration of the martyrs and the main abbey in the Burgundian kingdom, as well as a pilgrimage destination. The Abbey of Saint Maurice thus became the oldest Christian monastery in the West and has been operative uninterruptedly since its foundation. Bearing witness to this past are the commemoration of Saint Maurice every 22 September and the Laus perennis, the perpetual prayer of the canons at the tomb of the martyrs, a custom that has continued for 1500 years.

Even today, Saint Maurice is the seat of ecclesiastical institutions and is known for its basilica and its church treasure, which contains rare masterpieces of sacred goldsmith’s art. Wars, fires, and falling rocks have repeatedly destroyed the funerary oratories, churches, and monastic buildings built in the 4th century at the foot of the cliff overlooking the site. The church was destroyed in 574 during a Lombard raid, but was rebuilt and enlarged based on the same floor plan under St. Gontrand (561-592). Numerous reconstruction phases and extensions followed.

The Trésor de l’Abbaye, one of the richest in Europe, consists mainly of reliquaries, including for example “St Martin’s Vase” and Theuderic’s casket both dating back to the 7th century A.D., as well as Charlemagne’s aquamanile from the 9th century and the so-called “bag of Saints Innocent and Candide” from the 12th century.

This small jewel of nature, art, and history has been a valuable part of the Via Francigena over the past centuries and now hand-in-hand with EAVF will continue to amaze pilgrims and visitors alike in the decades to come!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

The Castle of Saint Maurice

– Technical information about Via Francigena Switzerland stage 07 Aigle – Saint Maurice

– Technical information about Via Francigena Switzerland stage 08 Saint Maurice – Martigny

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Erasmus + international mobility for the Via Francigena youth

The European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF) presented its second consecutive Erasmus + transnational mobility project “FORREs.T. 2.0 – FOsteR an euRopEan identity through the Trainees mobility” on 5 October 2020 in the Palazzo Farnese in Piacenza.

F.O.R.R.Es.T 2.0” offers international work experience in the field of tourism, marketing and corporate information systems to 100 Italian graduates residing along the Via Francigena – in northern and southern Italy. The project foresees 62 days of mobility in France (40), the United Kingdom (20) and Spain (40).

Thanks to the grant of the European Commission, the EAVF will be able to support their travel, accommodation and subsequent and costs. The project has a duration of two years and is aimed at young people who graduated between 2020 and 2021. The internships will take place within one year from the acquisition of the title.

The EAVF is lead partner of a consortium of 15 schools in Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Lazio, Campania, Basilicata, Apulia together with the Tuscany Region, the Tourist Promotion Agency of the province of Turin, the Italian Youth Hotel Association and Radio Francigena. A technical partner of the project is Euro Glocal s.r.l.

The press conference on 5 October 2020 was attended by Jonathan Papamarenghi, councillor for Tourism, Culture, Registration and Europe of the municipality of Piacenza and the EAVF president Massimo Tedeschi. The project was presented by Luca Bruschi, EAVF director.

In upcoming weeks, specific info-days will be organised in schools, announcing a list of selected students who will participate in the project.

The mobility will carefully follow Covid-19 health protocols in line with national focal point and schools.

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Walk with us! Take part in “I love Francigena” event on Saturday 17 October

Walking event I love Francigena will take place on 17 October 2020, joining the celebration of the World Tourism Day 2020.

“I love Francigena” walk from Fornovo di Taro (Parma) to Corte di Giarola, Collecchio will allow visitors and locals to discover one of the Via Francigena variants.

Participants will have a chance to enjoy a splendid parish church of Santa Maria Assunta in Fornovo, which preserves a famous statue of a medieval pilgrim on its façade. During the walk the hikers will explore paths in the Taro Park and the Naviglio Taro canal, surrounded by greenery. There they visit splendid Corte di Giarola with its museums, to discover the history of the Taro Park and the river ecosystem.

Register: 20 places available for 17 October. Enrolment is open till 13 October. Sign up here

The event is organized by the EAVF with the contribution of the Cariparma Foundation and the support of Municipalities of Parma, Collecchio, Fornovo Di Taro, Sala Baganza.

The main objective is to promote travel along the Via Francigena via:

  • Environmental education,
  • Sustainable and slow tourism,
  • Involvement of local communities and stakeholders,
  • Route maintenance and signage,
  • Promotion and visibility.

“I love Francigena” is a series of annual walking events, celebrating the cultural route of the Via Francigena and offering a unique opportunity to enjoy sections of the path, its cultural and natural heritage and local gastronomy.

A typical “I love Francigena” day will be an easy 10-20 km walk (depending on a section of the Via Francigena) mediated by a local guide who explains interesting facts about natural surroundings and history of the Francigena with a few sightseeing stops and a reception in the end of the hike. The hike is free of charge and a shuttle bus is organised from the final point.

The EAVF conducts “I love Francigena” since 2017, co-organising the event together with Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions (I LOVE CAMMINI framework) in Italy and Bourgogne – Franche-Comté in France with kind support of local municipalities and associations.

World Tourism Day 2020:

Organised by the World Tourism Organisation UNWTO, the World Tourism Day 2020 is feted on Sunday 27 September 2020 under a focus on “Tourism and Rural Development”. This day celebrates the sector’s unique ability to drive economic development and provide opportunities outside of big cities, including in those communities that would otherwise be left behind. World Tourism Day 2020 also highlights the important role tourism plays in preserving and promoting culture and heritage all around the world. The Via Francigena crossing 3000 km of rural areas from Canterbury to the harbours of Italian Apulia via France, Switzerland and Italy, provides significant opportunities for economic development of rural areas and enhancement of their cultural and natural heritage.

Anti_Covid measures:

Each participant is required to present a filled in self-certification form, which can be downloaded here. Please consult the information brochure of the Italian Association of Environmental Hiking Guides (AIGAE). Participants are required to have personal health protection equipment with them.

Clothing:

Backpack with snacks and a good supply of water (1,5 l. per person recommended), trekking shoes (vibram sole recommended, visit the Garmont technical sponsor website). Recommended: waterproof cape.

Technical information: length of the stage 9.8 km, positive difference in height 70 meters, duration 3 hours (stops excluded).

Difficulty: tourist (easy)

Meeting point: 2.30 pm in Fornovo di Taro

Google coordinate of departure: https://goo.gl/maps/6yHMyjDgaQaa5WFJA

Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Via Cesare Battisti, 7, 43045 Fornovo di Taro (PR)

Expected arrival: 5.30-6.00 pm at the Corte di Giarola (Collecchio). Free shuttlis provided.

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Walk with us! Take part in “I love Francigena” event on Saturday 26 September

Walking event I love Francigena will take place on 26 September 2020, joining the celebration of the World Tourism Day 2020.

“I love Francigena” walk between San Pancrazio (Parma) to Collecchio will allow visitors and locals to discover one of the Via Francigena variants between Parma and Parco del Taro, Italy.

The walk will start from the Romanesque parish church of San Pancrazio and will shrtly immerse into fields south of the Via Emilia, shaped by the Roman centuriation more than 2,000 years ago: irrigation canals, rows of mulberry trees and ancient agricultural courts. After passing the church of San Martino di Madregolo, the group will skirt the green banks of the Taro river park until reaching Collecchio: here we visit the parish church of San Prospero, with its splendid Romanesque baptismal font.

Registration: 20 places available. Enrolment is open till 23 September. Sign up here

The event is organized by the EAVF with the contribution of the Cariparma Foundation and the support of Municipalities of Parma, Collecchio, Fornovo Di Taro, Sala Baganza.

“I love Francigena” is a series of annual walking events, celebrating the cultural route of the Via Francigena and offering a unique opportunity to enjoy sections of the path, its cultural and natural heritage and local gastronomy.

The main objective is to promote travel along the Via Francigena via:

  • Environmental education,
  • Sustainable and slow tourism,
  • Involvement of local communities and stakeholders,
  • Route maintenance and signage,
  • Promotion and visibility.

A typical “I love Francigena” day will be an easy 10-20 km walk (depending on a section of the Via Francigena) mediated by a local guide who explains interesting facts about natural surroundings and history of the Francigena with a few sightseeing stops and a reception in the end of the hike. The hike is free of charge and a shuttle bus is organised from the final point.

The EAVF conducts “I love Francigena” since 2017, co-organising the event together with Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions (I LOVE CAMMINI framework) in Italy and Bourgogne – Franche-Comté in France with kind support of local municipalities and associations.

World Tourism Day 2020:

Organised by the World Tourism Organisation UNWTO, the World Tourism Day 2020 is feted on Sunday 27 September 2020 under a focus on “Tourism and Rural Development”. This day celebrates the sector’s unique ability to drive economic development and provide opportunities outside of big cities, including in those communities that would otherwise be left behind. World Tourism Day 2020 also highlights the important role tourism plays in preserving and promoting culture and heritage all around the world. The Via Francigena crossing 3000 km of rural areas from Canterbury to the harbours of Italian Apulia via France, Switzerland and Italy, provides significant opportunities for economic development of rural areas and enhancement of their cultural and natural heritage.

Anti_Covid measures:

Each participant is required to present a filled in self-certification form, which can be downloaded here. Please consult the information brochure of the Italian Association of Environmental Hiking Guides (AIGAE). Participants are required to have personal health protection equipment with them.

Clothing:

Backpack with snacks and a good supply of water (1,5 l. per person recommended), trekking shoes (vibram sole recommended, visit the Garmont technical sponsor website). Recommended: waterproof cape.

Technical information: length of the stage 14.7 km, height difference 80 meters, duration 4 hours (stops excluded).

Difficulty: tourist (easy)

Meeting point: 9.00 am in San Pancrazio (Parma)

Google coordinates of departure: https://goo.gl/maps/uT9rwRuS9nVCLNP38

Parish church of San Pancrazio Martire, Via Don Tito Pioli, 43126 Parma PR

Expected arrival: 14.30 Collecchio

Return to the starting point by shuttle.

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Garmont technical sponsorship of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways

Garmont and the EAVF join forces, united by their passion for walking and a philosophy to go beyond boundaries of the ordinary.
Hence the agreement providing benefits to the Via Francigena pilgrims:  20% discount for the Garmont footwear.

A pilgrimage has always been a rediscovery of the essential. When going on a trip, the first thought preparing a backpack is not “what do I wear?”, but “what can I leave at home?”.
That is why we focus on indispensable and expect maximum from each item.

Lightness, comfort and performance are essential characteristics for pilgrim’s items, expected to last hundreds of kilometers.

The EAVF is always keen on providing walkers with all useful information about the journey, including the most essential – footwear. Shoes, boots, sneakers. Each walk is different, each pilgrim has his or her own needs, but they all share one condition: an absolute quality. That is the philosophy which brought together Garmont and the EAVF.

The company from Vedelago (Italy) is famous for its high performance footwear for mountaineering, hiking and outdoor activities. For every person who loves living an active life, Garmont develops innovative and quality products characterized by its high technology. Garmont is ever committed to production of footwear capable of resisting the most demanding adventures, such as facing long walks along the Via Francigena. This ancient road has led pilgrims to Rome for thousands of years along the historic route traced by the Archbishop Sigeric, who left Canterbury and arrived on foot in the Eternal City of Rome. Today the official route measures over 3,200 km via England, France, Switzerland and Italy.

Garmont’s motto “Stay Wild” embodies EAVF principles of willing to cross limits of one’s ordinary and aspiring to overcome physical, mental and psychological boundaries.
The company is also particularly attentive to issues of social responsibility and conscious exploitation of resources as well as it supports important international missions to protect wildlife. These are the concepts shared by the EAVF, which were important for choicing a technical partner.

How to benefit from 20% discount:

Make a purchase on the official Garmont website.

Enter PILGRIMSHOES discount code before completing the order.

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EAVF wins a cutting-edge Horizon 2020 grant

The consortium led by the University of Vigo, including the European Association of the Via Francigena ways EAVF in partnership with 15 cutting-edge innovation hubs is granted a prestigious HORIZON 2020 call. The grant of the European Commission is given to implement the project “rurALLURE – Promotion of rural museums and heritage sites in the vicinity of European pilgrimage routes.

This project aims to foster cultural cooperation and tourism along the historic routes. The EAVF is involved in the pilot testing of thermal heritage along the route to Rome together with the Via Romea Strata and Via Romea Germanica under the academic leadership of the University of Bologna. The pilot is focused on identification of the thermal and cultural heritage along the routes, creation of a network of heritage sites and museums and their promotion.

The association is also in charge of development communication strategies for the entire consortium and will lead the dissemination of the outcomes.

The project will start on 1 January 2021 with a duration of 3 years and a budget of 3 million euros.

Watch the video explaining the Horizon 2020 programme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpzR6mh8Tv8

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Latest travel updates from the Via Francigena

The time has come to re-start travel along the Via Francigena with the utmost precaution and a strong sense of responsibility.

Along the way follow the necessary safety measures to contain the spread of the virus: 1-meter social distance, carry a mask to enter a closed space or to meet other people, use sanitizing gel, etc.

Page updated on 23 July 2020.

Please consult the pilgrim’s regulations and the list of open accommodation facilities along the route. This mapping, containing information about hospitality facilities and pilgrim’s services, is being regularly updated by the EAVF in collaboration with members and stakeholders.  In any case, please always contact hospitality receptions in advance.

Below is information about the route in Italy, Switzerland, France, and England.

Italy

Since 3 June 2020 Italy has opened the possibility of walking and moving from region to region and also re-opens to non-Italian tourists. For more information, see the attached guidelines for the reopening of Economic, Productive and Recreational Activities (Conference of the Regions and Autonomous Provinces).

Attached is a summary made by the group “Io Cammino In Italia”.

Switzerland

No directives concerning the paths and outdoor activities, as they are open for walking for groups of less than 5 persons.

Hotels and restaurants have regulations to follow, which are available on www.hotelleriesuisse.ch (the site is also available in Italian and English).

In general the majority of services are already open.

France

We can hike again, continuing to apply physical distance and precautious measures (clean your hands regularly, cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, use and dispose of a disposable tissue, greet without shaking hands, avoid kissing).

A travel certificate is no longer required. Wearing a mask remains compulsory in public transport and in many shops. Meetings are still prohibited. The restaurants, cafes, bars have been open since Monday, 15 June 2020.

Consult the guidelines of the French Hiking Federation: https://www.ffrandonnee.fr/actualites/18967/la-ffrandonnee-precise-les-conditions-de-reprise-de-la-randonnee-pedestre.aspx

More information at the following link: https://cms.ffrandonnee.fr/data/SIEGE/files/rando-indiv-deconfinement-5-juin.pdf

 

England

At the moment there are no precise indications regarding the practicability of the paths. Please consult the regulations defined by the National Trails: https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/en_GB/trails/north-downs-way/

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Pilgrims’ welcome restarts!

Travel along the Via Francigena restarts and many reception facilities reopen.

After a predictable slow start of the season, many hostels, religious structures, hotels and B&Bs have reopened their doors in the last few weeks. The European Association of the Via Francigena ways EAVF regularly updates the hospitality files divided into “pilgrims” and “tourists” sections. This work is done weekly by the staff with valuable help of volunteers and local associations.

It is understandable that many facilities struggle to coop with daily management, in particular reference to sanitation and cleaning due to the health emergency. Furthermore, management costs have significantly increased as the current situation requires great attention, responsibility, and precaution.

That is why it is essential to carefully follow the health guidelines while travelling along the route. Furthermore, it is equally important to leave a donation to your host, which is usually “forgotten” by 20% of pilgrims, damaging the entire Via Francigena hospitality system.

What is the current hospitality situation along the way right now? The route is indeed well equipped with pilgrim and tourist accommodations even if in most cases available places are currently reduced. It should not be forgotten that given the situation, this year it is mandatory to book your bed / room in advance.

The French section of the route does not report any particular criticalities with most of facilities being open.

Verification of the Swiss section confirms available beds along 200 km of the route; efforts are also being made to publish new parochial and offer-based structures online.

Along the Italian section, starting from the north you can find pilgrim hospitality in five stages with the sole exception in Aosta which offers a range of other accommodations. Numerous facilities have reopened in Piedmont, welcoming tourists with reduced prices. Lombardy has an accommodation gap on the border with Piedmont up to Mortara, however in Palestro in Torre Merlata you can sleep in a tent.

The situation in Emilia-Romagna is a little more critical, as hostels in this region have not yet reopened between Piacenza and Berceto. However, tourist facilities there offer preferential rates for pilgrims.

In Tuscany and Lazio many facilities actively welcome pilgrims. In cities of Lucca and Siena historic hostels are closed, although there are alternatives of campings, guest houses and traditional tourist facilities.

The accommodation situation along the Via Francigena in the South is being updated and monitored, as well as route conditions, safety and signs in accordance with the European Via Francigena manual.

You can download accommodation lists from the Visit Via Francigena hospitality platform. Other facilities are expected to reopen in late July and will be inserted in the accommodation files accordingly.

Find more information about the route following the link https://www.viefrancigene.org/en/covid/

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#CycleToRecycle: Myra Stals arrives in Fidenza

Yesterday Myra Stals arrived to Fidenza, bringing her energy and enthusiasm of the #CycletoRecycle project.

Myra, originally from the Netherlands, has been living in Italy for 7 years. On 4 July she left Turin on her cargo bike for a long trip across Italy: 6500km and three months on the road. During the first part of the journey she will follow the Via Francigena, up to Santa Maria di Leuca.

CycletoRecycle is a project focused on environmental sensibilisation: during the journey Myra collects plastic waste, raising awareness about one of the biggest problems of our planet. Myra also conducts public  meetings with local communities, associations, citizens and presents her achievements in videos, LIVES and photos that can be followed on her webplatfom and Facebook page.

Myra was welcomed in Fidenza at the symbolical place – the Cathedral square next to the EAVF headquarters by the Mayor Andrea Massari and councilor Maria Pia Bariggi. Myra also met EAVF staff Luca Bruschi, Micol Sozzi, Luca Faravelli, Elena Dubinina and visited the office.

CycletoRecycle also includes a fundraiser for the #BancoAlimentare (Food Bank) for families in difficulty.

Today Myra left Fidenza for a demanding stage, passing Cisa pass on her way to Pontremoli.

A great story to follow and a splendid project to support. If you meet her on the street, welcome her with a smile: she will be happy to stop and chat with you!

To find out more and to follow his journey: https://cycle2recycle.org