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#FMV2023 in the Susa Valley: the 5th edition will be on 25 June

Just as every year, ASD IRIDE of Rivoli is working on the organisation of #FMV2023, the Marathon along the Piedmontese section of the Via Francigena. The marathon will start from Avigliana and arrive in Susa, passing through the most characteristic points of the Susa Valley, passing by the Sacra di San Michele through the suggestive Sentiero dei Principi.

The non-competitive recreational-motor walk, now in its 5th edition, will take place on Sunday 25 June 2023 with departure from Avigliana, the medieval city of the 2 lakes, the passage at the Sacra di San Michele and arrival in the centre of the city of Susa, both villages included as Orange Flags by the Italian Touring Club.

Registrations are open until 5 June 2023 or when 3000 registrations are reached.

We remind you that in previous editions we reached 3000 registrations only 3 weeks after the launch, so it is advisable to register as soon as possible. The registration fee has remained unchanged since 2022: € 20.00 + optional shuttle at € 5.00.

New route to the Sacra di San Michele

Once again, there are two different routes, with or without the passage through the Sacra di San Michele. In the first case, you can choose 3 different finish points:

  • up to the Sacra di San Michele 12 km (Sacra San Michele Marathon);
  • up to Villarfocchiardo 23 km (Half Marathon);
  • full marathon up to Susa for 45 km.

As in previous years, you can choose the Easy route without passing through the Sacra di San Michele.

New: the route for this edition includes passing by the Sacra di San Michele, reaching it through the ‘Sentiero dei Principi’. This is a historical route of high scenic and naturalistic value, which starts near the Charterhouse 1515 to the Sacra di San Michele. Compared to the last edition in 2022, this will lead to an increase in kilometre length (approx. 1 km more) and altitude difference (+150 D+).
This year you must have even greater commitment and physical preparation to tackle the Marathon, but all efforts are repaid by the spectacular views of the Susa Valley and in particular of the Sacra di San Michele that participants will have as they walk along the “Sentiero dei Principi”.

The rest of the route is on paths, dirt and asphalt roads and will partially follow the official route of the Via Francigena Burdigalense between Avigliana and Susa. The variants inserted by the organisation aim to guarantee the greatest possible safety for the participants by avoiding as much as possible the crossing and/or running along roads with high traffic density.

All the details

The #FMV2023 is open to all. You are required to strictly cover it on foot, without running, to better enjoy the beauty that the route has to offer.

The Civil Defence and the various Associations will guard the entire route. Local Police, Police Forces and Pro Loco association will control the passing through towns and villages. Volunteers will be along the route to support participants and to manage the various refreshment points.

REGISTER HERE

On the same website you can find all the information, regulations and details concerning the collection of individual awards, transport, refreshments, assistance, hotel bookings, etc.

For further information:

ASD IRIDE di Rivoli – info@viafrancigenamarathonvaldisusa.it

Leo Zappalà: +39 3398822333

Social media:

ASD IRIDE Rivoli: Facebook e Instagram

Facebook group and community #FMV2023: viafrancigenamarathonvaldisusa

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The Via Francigena meets the CoE’s cultural routes at the French Ministry of Culture


From 21 to 23 February, meetings between representatives of the Council of Europe‘s cultural routes took place at the French Ministry of Culture in Paris.

On Tuesday and Wednesday 21 and 22 February, almost 20 representatives of cultural routes from all over Europe joined the meetings to prepare the next Cultural Routes Academy. The academy will be held from 30 May to 2 June in Périgueux (Nouvelle-Aquitaine). Participants discussed three topics: visibility, cooperation and sustainability.

On Thursday 23 February, the French Ministry of Culture invited the Via Francigena and all the Council of Europe’s cultural routes through France. There are 48 Council of Europe cultural routes and 31 of them cross France. Remarkably, more than thirty participants from 24 routes participated in the meeting. The Ministry of Culture confirmed its willingness to support the promotion of cultural routes in France. Moreover, several actions have already been implemented, including the production of a publication on the itineraries: more than 10,000 copies will be printed and distributed to all national, regional, departmental and local tourist institutions. The Ministry is also producing an e-heritage module dedicated to the cultural itineraries, aimed at university students.

The Via Francigena then presented the actions and projects undertaken in 2022 and informed the other itineraries of the activities taking place along the route. Jacques Chevin, head of the Via Francigena France/Switzerland and Sami Tawfik, project manager of the Via Francigena, represented the European Assocation of the Via Francigena ways.

The Ministry presented the ICCE’s interactive map project in France, which allows us to identify the crossroads where different routes intersect.
Hence, these three days prepared us to strengthen the links between the routes and to be inspired by the good experiences of others!

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Explore the route year round thanks to FlixBus, partner of the Via Francigena

The well-established collaboration between the European Association of the Via Francigena ways and FlixBus was created to offer pilgrims of the Via Francigena the possibility of travelling in a simple and green manner, facilitating their trip before and after the walk or cycle. Thanks to our partner, you can ask for a 10% discount on all journeys operated by FlixBus, and thus reach the beginning of the trail at the most strategic point for you to undertake the pilgrimage on foot or by bicycle.

How to take advantage of this discount? You only need to be in possession of the official credential of the Via Francigena, the ‘pilgrim’s passport’, an essential document with which you may access all facilities along the route.

The discount is also valid during the winter season: together with partner FlixBus, we promote a ‘4-season slow tourism‘ that has no limitations due to timing and so-called tourist seasons.

Click here to discover all the advantages (and our tips) for exploring the Via Francigena even in winter.

An increasingly sustainable journey for new travelers

The results from year 2022, collected by EAVF through the purchased credentials during the year, highlight some important growth trends for the Via Francigena. It is very interesting to note that the average age of pilgrims setting out on the route is getting younger and younger, with a sharp increase in ramblers aged between 25 and 34 (22%). There is also an increasing number of people coming from all over the world, reaching the Via Francigena from 40 different nationalities.

See all 2022 data

FlixBus, in cooperation with EAVF, therefore plays a key role in the creation of a comprehensive service that satisfies travelers and tourists from all continents. The company has a special focus on those travelling on foot or by bicycle, and is increasingly highlighting slow, responsible and sustainable tourism. Offering an integrated solution for moving along the trail in all seasons, the popular green buses support tourism in all the territories crossed by the itinerary, making them easily accessible. This is a great solution to reach the first stage of your route or to return home at the end of your trip, even when carrying your bike!

Find out more about the partnership by clicking here

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Discover the Via Francigena with AllTrails

The European Association of the Via Francigena ways engaged in a partnership with AllTrails, the application launched in 2010 entirely dedicated to outdoor enthusiasts.

Thanks to the App, hikers and cyclists of all kinds can safely consult the Via Francigena route on Android or iOS: all trails are verified by experts and reviewed by the global community!

Click here to download AllTrails on Android or iOS

AllTrails and Via Francigena united by their passion for outdoor activity and sustainability

In AllTrails there are more than 300,000 trails located in over 100 countries, accompanied by hand-curated maps in which every detail is fine-tuned to provide you with all the information you need to undertake your route. Maps are generated via GPS thanks to user input and then verified by the company’s team. From the ‘Explore’ section, you can take a look at places and trails in the area where you live, as well as destinations to visit. All this is accompanied by photos, information on altitude difference and road surface, weather, and many comments from users who have travelled on the same route. In addition, selected options make it possible to take your choices and understand whether the routes are suitable in terms of time, length, presence of natural or cultural points of interest such as lakes or waterfalls, as well as their accessibility, as this short video shows.

AllTrails and AEVF share the desire to make the Via Francigena an inclusive and truly sustainable route: the App, besides being an inclusive tool, has an environmentalist vocation. As stated on the homepage, AllTrails is a member of One Percent for the Planet with which it donates 1% of its annual revenue to benefit organisations working for sustainability.

AllTrails personalises and shares your trip along the Via Francigena!

Within the AllTrails App, you can record and download the Via Francigena route even in offline mode, entering details on modes and timing, publishing photos, and mapping routes and their variants. In addition, you can insert customised alerts which are useful, for example, for birdwatchers or cyclists.

A community of over 45 million users interacts in real time through the App, exchanging tips and updates on the route, weather conditions and, why not, arranging to walk parts of the route together!

The path tracks are available directly in the AllTrails application. Alternatively, in the ‘Route’ section of our website, you can download GPX tracks which can then be imported into the AllTrails platform for viewing.

Click here to download AllTrails on Android or iOS

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Via Francigena International Awards 2023

The EAVF relaunches the “International Via Francigena Award“, which collects and provides value to the best practices for the development of this Cultural Route of the Council of Europe along the territories it crosses.

Members and Friends of EAVF are invited to submit their candidature by 10 March 2023 concerning various themes enhancing the development of the Via Francigena: from slow tourism and sustainable development, to accessibility, the enhancement of cultural and natural heritage, art and entertainment, youth and culture.

The 3 winning best practices will be awarded and publicly presented at the next AEVF General Assembly scheduled in Calais, Hauts-de-France (France), next Friday 26 May.

To participate, simply fill the form by clicking here.

A maximum of one application can be sent for each of the 5 proposed themes, relating to activities carried out on participant’s competent territory in the period from 1.01.2021 to 31.12.2022. A maximum of 5 forms can therefore be sent.

The collection of best practices will constitute an important international database available to all Members and Friends of the Via Francigena, as well as available on this website in a special section under construction.

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The Via Francigena in 2022: pilgrim numbers and estimates

The European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF) sums up the numbers and results of year 2022 by analysing data from 3,985 respondents who filled in the survey at the time of purchasing their credentials.

In 2022, pilgrims returned in large numbers to the Via Francigena, showing strong signs of a recovery in the international attendance of the route. Despite Covid-19 restrictions, slow outdoor tourism showed a remarkable growth.

The 3,200 km of the Via Francigena, passing through more than 700 municipalities, and for 80% through rural areas, were covered by wayfarers from all over the world, with overall figures close to 2019’s trends.

As every year, the EAVF analysed the numbers obtained from the credentials distributed by the association. The emerging data builds for indicative estimates, not as absolute numbers. The following considerations should also be made: today, there is no official observatory that detects the flow of walkers on the Via Francigena; statistically, 30% of pilgrims use the same credential over several years; 20% of ramblers do not use the credential at all; other credentials besides EAVF’s are also in circulation.

CREDENTIALS IN 2022: LET’S HAVE A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS

In line with global trends, there were more walkers on the route last year than in 2021, a year marked by the success of the ‘Road to Rome’ relay march on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the EAVF. Around 50,000 pilgrims walked the Via Francigena in 2022 (compared to an estimated 40,000 in 2021) with an average stay along the route of seven days. This is what emerges from the overview of key indicators. In the following analysis, data from 3,985 respondents who filled in the survey at the time of receiving credentials were considered.

The amount of EAVF credentials’ distribution points throughout Europe increased from 95 in 2021 to 115 in 2022. According to data from the distribution points, around 17,500 credentials were distributed to pilgrims in 2022.

TRAVELLERS’ PROFILE
Mode of travel

Data shows that most pilgrims choose to walk the route (87%), while others prefer to travel by bicycle (13%).

Age groups

Most pilgrims are between the ages of 25-34 and 55-64, making up for 22% and 21% of the total sample respectively. The consolidation and increase of a young audience on the Via Francigena is a significant and relevant indicator.

Following are the 45-54 (19%) and 35-44 (15%) age groups. Together, these four age groups remain the most active pilgrims compared to 2021 levels. The number of walkers under 24 years is 10%, while those over 65 make up for 11%.

Gender

The percentage of female and male hikers remains stable compared to 2021 and is 44% and 56% respectively.

Nationality

In 2022, the Via Francigena again attracted pilgrims from all over the world, with well over 40 countries represented. Travellers from Italy remain the largest group, even if their share drops to 70%, while the international presence on the route increases, partly due to the easing of travel restrictions caused by the outbreak of the pandemic. The top five nationalities found among credential holders are Italy, France, United States, Spain and United Kingdom, followed by Netherlands, Germany, Canada and Australia. It is important to reveal interest in the Via Francigena outside Europe as well: during the last year, pilgrims from Philippines, India, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Japan and New Zealand were also welcomed along the Via Francigena.

Departure period

In 2022, pilgrims still choose to set off mainly in the summer period, even though the attendance of the route is now to be spread over all twelve months of the year: August has become the most popular departure period (17%), followed by July (15%) and June (14%). High numbers are also recorded for May (14%), April (13%) and September (12%).

Starting points

Lucca, Gambassi Terme, Ivrea, San Miniato and Siena are the most popular departure points. Tuscany confirms itself as the most frequented land by ramblers considering the entire European route. For those who set out on the road for many days, the most popular starting points were Canterbury (England), Calais, Besançon (France), Lausanne, the Great St. Bernard Pass (Switzerland) or Aosta (Italy).

Motivation to travel

Sharing experience (42%) and spiritual reasons (41%) are cited most frequently as motivations for the pilgrimage, followed by the cultural and tourist appeal of the visited locations, chosen by 36% and 35% of the sample respectively. The least frequent motivations are environmental (26%), sports/physical (24%), religious (13%) and wine and food tourism (12%).

Alone or in company?

In 2022, most pilgrims still choose to travel in a group of 3 or more (54%), 31% prefer to walk with a partner and 15% alone.

VIA FRANCIGENA: WEBSITE AND APP ACTIVITY

The website statistics highlight the growing interest in the itinerary: in 2022, the website attracted around 700,000 users and recorded almost 4 million page views, with an average visitor presence on the site of 3′ 54″.

As for the App, this tool proved to be very popular with pilgrims, who downloaded it 15,113 times (main months: April 1,886, August 1,825, May 1,802). Top 5 origin of users: Italy (7,779), United States (1,185), United Kingdom (881), France (872), Switzerland (670). The App is produced by the EAVF and is free of charge for all pilgrims.

THE NEW VIA FRANCIGENA COMMUNITY

One of the initiatives that was launched by the EAVF after Road to Rome 2021 was the development of a new Facebook community dedicated to the Via Francigena. The page registered 8,046 followers last year, reporting remarkable numbers: 2,235 contents published, 9,011 comments, 39,757 reactions. The languages used by the public are three: English, French, Italian.

Click here to compare the statistics of the last years of the Via Francigena

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‘Help Pellegrini’: a network for pilgrims between Rome and Teano

The Gruppo dei Dodici Association, together with other local associations in Lazio, has set up the Help Pellegrini Network to follow and help walkers and pilgrims passing between Rome and Teano along the Via Francigena in Southern Italy.

The help group consists of 18 people coordinated by Giuseppe Pucci of the Gruppo dei Dodici, who keep updated through a new group on WhatsApp. The aim is to offer support to travellers with regard to accommodation (overnight stays, food, etc.), emergency situations and accidents, loss of the route, or critical situations that prevent or make it dangerous to pass along the route.
It is also important to record the number of walkers and pilgrims travelling along the Via Francigena in southern Lazio in order to collect data and promote the infrastructure along this stretch, so the group will be distributing a survey sheet.

If you are in transit along the Via Francigena in southern Lazio, or if you are planning your journey, you can ask for support from the Gruppo dei Dodici at any time via the contacts listed here:

Telephone Giuseppe Pucci: +39 349 808 7237

Mail: info@gruppodeidodici.eu

To follow and explore the paths of the Via Francigena, try for free AllTrails App

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Hiking in all seasons: useful tips to walk year-round

2023 will be rich with days off from work, so you can already start thinking about your hiking calendar and plan your next walk or bike ride along the route. Especially in Italy, this year will be full of long weekends due to national holidays. By organising yourself properly and optimising your holidays, you can plan several long weekends for walking in all seasons, at any time of year!

The ‘low season’ has many advantages: you have the chance to experience nature without the hustle and bustle of the high season, without the excessive heat, and you can take a real break from tasks and accumulated stress during daily routine at any time.

What better way to start the year than by recharging your batteries and taking in the beauty of the winter landscapes of the Via Francigena? Despite the cold and sometimes snow on the roads, winter is a perfect season to pull out your backpack, rain jacket and walking shoes, and head out to enjoy the charms of the Via’s route, step after step.

Of course, one must always choose carefully which stages to walk, because it can be a demanding experience: you will have to take the necessary precautions to undertake a winter hike in total safety. Here are some tips:

  • Choose an itinerary appropriate for your experience and physical preparation (between levels T, E, EE, but also the number of kilometres to cover and the altitude difference). To consult the maps and find out the details of the stages, you can use the AllTrails App (try it clicking here).
  • Equip yourself with appropriate clothing and accessories to stay dry at all times. You can find lots of advice on this topic by clicking here.
  • Pay attention to signposting and try not to walk in the dark: remember to always check sunrise and sunset times as well as the weather before setting off.

All that is left is to set the next departure date and take the opportunity to enjoy landscapes that are often crowded in summer, immersing yourself in nature, food and traditions of the Via Francigena territories. In spring, the events organised along the itinerary will also return, such as our ever-lasting ‘I Love Francigena‘ group hikes.

Follow us on our channels so you don’t miss the upcoming events!

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Christmas 2022

Here is the message of greetings from the Bishop of Langres for this Christmas 2022:

A little snow has covered the countryside, and I am enjoying staying warm at home. This is not the time to set out on the Via Francigena to face the rigours of winter. But, a few thousand kilometres away, people at war have no way to keep warm and must fight the cold and the anxiety with all means at hand. I think of the child of Bethlehem, fragile and destitute, whose birth is a sign of hope and light. “Peace on earth to the people God loves” sang the angels.

What if I took advantage of this time of pause to work for peace, in my family, my village or my neighbourhood, my professional activity? Great causes begin with small gestures…

Joseph de Metz-Noblat, Bishop of Langres
President of Spiritualitas in Francigenam

Read the beautiful Christmas greetings for 2021 as well

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Via Francigena in Southern Lazio: a stretch of the path to discover

It’s hard to say which section of the Via Francigena is our favorite. Certainly each stage contains experiences worth setting out several times, knowing that each time something new will surprise us. We’re pleased to inform you of a new collaboration with DMO, aimed at promoting the Via Francigena in Southern Lazio, from Rome to Teano. This is a section that can be traveled in both directions, either on foot or by bicycle. Let’s get to know this new partner better!

DMO – Destination Management Organization – Francigena sud nel Lazio is an association created on 28 January 2021. It has the aim of managing in a coordinated manner everything that makes up for the Francigena in southern Lazio. From trail maintenance to marketing activities, to reception facilities and attractions, everything is interpreted to develop the route together with the territories involved. Castelli Romani, Monti Lepini, Monti Ausoni and Piana Pontina are all territories to explore. In fact, they are rich in points of interest in terms of landscape, art, architecture and gastronomy. The collaboration stems from the shared desire to give voice to small villages and at the same time enrich the experience of every traveler, helping them to immerse in the typicality of this territory.

Among the initiatives promoted by DMO are group walks, travel ideas and lots of advice aimed at pilgrims. Information is provided through a regularly updated website, Instagram profile and Facebook page. We encourage you to follow them so you don’t miss upcoming events!

On the website you can also download route maps and find logistical information to organize your own walk. In addition, each member municipality can stamp pilgrims’ credentials to attest to their passage at the stage. You can receive the “testimonium” at the Vatican covering at least 100 km on foot or 200 km by bicycle. Along the Lazio stretch there are also 3 sales points authorized to issue the official credential, while on the website it is possible to consult and book the first travel packages for spring 2023.

Public and private entities belong to the DMO network. Participating are the municipalities of Albano Laziale, Castel Gandolfo, Cori, Fondi, Formia, Marino, Monte San Biagio, Nemi, Norma, Priverno, Sermoneta, Sonnino, Velletri, the Appia Antica Regional Park, the Monti Ausoni and Lago di Fondi Regional Park, as well as the Gruppo dei Dodici Association, the ENOLAN Consortium, the Onorato Caetani Association, the Associazione l’Asino e le Nuvole, and the tour operators Promotours Snc and Spirit Of Travel By Travel Store.