Via Francigena


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).


Transiting cultural landscapes: A project between Berceto and Calendasco for the regeneration of villages along the Via Francigena in Emilia Romagna 

Transiting Cultural Landscapes (2022-2026) – From the Guado del PO to the CISA Pass, regeneration of the villages of Calendasco and Berceto along the Via Francigena in Emilia Romagna” is a three-year project/process for the cultural reactivation of the territories between the first Calendasco (PC), and the last, Berceto (PR), Emilian municipalities located along the Via Francigena, and financed by the European Union through the Next Generation EU funds, within the framework of the Bando Borghi PNRR of the Ministry of Culture.  

The primary objective is to develop, through the regeneration of these territories, a new tourism and social economy. In the areas of interest of the project there are two of the most extraordinary places of landscape transition in Italy and to be rediscovered by local communities with a view to slow tourism: the Guado di Sigerico on the Po river (Calendasco) and the Passo della Cisa in the Apennines (Berceto).  

In addition to the two municipalities, the project envisages the participation of various organisations: Educarte, Cooperativa sociale per il turismo Berceto Nova, Associazione Appennino Ritrovato, Associazione Culturale Sentieri dell’Arte, Cooltour Soc.Cooperativa ARL, Associazione Arte e pensieri, Archivio di Stato di Piacenza, Frati e Livi Srl, and the Associazione Europea delle Vie Francigene. 

As many as 11 interventions are planned within the project activities: 3 tangible (consisting of the renovation of public buildings) and 8 intangible (such as guided tours and an ERASMUS for young pilgrims, aimed at triggering social innovation), and co-designed with the associations and stakeholders involved. 

Each intervention explores a different dimension of the TRANSITION (ecological, cultural, economic, etc.) that characterises contemporaneity.  

The start of work took place over the weekend of 8/9 July 2023, together with the first intangible (and cultural) intervention planned, namely the realisation of one of the three festivals in the two territories, the 6th edition of the Coscienza Festival, which is a partner in this project for the two-year period 2023 /2024. 

For more information, please contact: 

Vito Redaelli  

Project Management and member of SRSARCH Studio or visit the project channels: 

official project website 

Instagram page  

Facebook page  


Via Francigena: four-year evaluation underway to confirm European certification of the route

As announced at the General Assembly in Calais on 26 May, EAVF is undergoing the ordinary four-year evaluation (2020-2023) by the European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR) in Luxembourg to confirm the certification of the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Santa Maria di Leuca as a “Council of Europe Cultural Route” and the qualification of EAVF as a carrier network of the Via Francigena.  

On 27.7.2023, the EAVF staff prepared and forwarded the evaluation dossier (in French) to Luxembourg: “I would like to emphasise the great ideal and strategic value of belonging to the large family of the Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes for the promotion of peace, dialogue between cultures and human rights,” said Association President Massimo Tedeschi

The evaluation process now includes:  

  • Appointment of an international evaluator who will prepare the evaluation report on the entire European route by December 2023, covering governance, management, network, activities, route management, signposting, reception, correct use of the logo; the appointed evaluator will be able to make direct contact with EAVF members, carry out on-site inspections or request questionnaires to be completed; 
  • EICR and Bureau of the Governing Board (of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes), having examined the evaluator’s report, give their opinion;  
  • the Governing Board meets in Luxembourg (April 2024) for its final decision; a representative of the Route is scheduled to be heard there.  

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. 


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. 


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 


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!  


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!  


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 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 

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.   
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.  

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.   
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. 

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.   

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.

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, 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)  

Author: Luca Bruschi, EAVF Director


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. 





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: 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. 


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.