The project CON-TATTO, organised by Rotary 2031 and Asl Città di Torino, saw 12 pilgrims affected by autism overcome a great challenge: to walk to Rome and meet the Pope. The project tackles several themes: the sportive and healthy features of walking, the scientific research conducted by Dr Keller applying the social skill training that is usually done in clinics in an itinerant and ever-changing context, and the story of the Via Francigena, highlighting its history, the visited places and the beautiful landscapes.
The story is presented in the docufilm “Sul Sentiero Blu”, directed by Gabriele Vacis and produced by Michele Fornasero‘s Indyca, and it was shown in major Italian cinemas at the end of February. The filmmakers became part of the team to develop a film in which the public can at the same time raise awareness about autism and enjoy the enchanting landscapes of the Via Francigena.
‘Experiencing this walk by looking at the world through the eyes of our fellows – I think this was the greatest emotion of the journey. I wasn’t walking for myself, but for them. The other leaders and I dedicated our entire walk to them: seeing them grow and gain their own personal victories is a truly unparalleled success‘ commented Luca Rivoira,one of the volunteers who accompanied the group on foot.
Jean-Claude Paperin, Vice-President of the FFVF, Pascale Fleuriot, member of the Voie de Sigéric association (affiliated with FFVF) and Jacques Chevin, EAVF’s representative in charge of the development of the French and Swiss sections of the Via Francigena, presided a shared stand displaying information on the itinerary. They had a chance to meet the public as well as many of the 170 exhibited stands in the fair.
The FFVF is a federation of associations among pilgrims in France who work to support pilgrimages along the Via Francigena, mostly by continuously updating the list of available hospitality locations. The Via Francigena stand at the fair was situated beside the stand of the FFRandonnée from the Marne Department, an important partner for the EAVF and for the development of the Via Francigena GR®145 in France. The FFRandonnée, indeed, is responsible for the maintenance of signage and walkability of the Via Francigena GR®145 route in France.
On behalf of the EAVF, Jacques Chevin met more actors who develop the territory and are important for the development of the route, such as hoteliers, tourist offices, and even the Marne Tourist Development Agency.
“While some people worry about what can change for the worse, we think it’s time to ask what can change for the better: let’s unite and act for the planet”, we read on Zurich’s official website. The Company, a leader in the insurance market, sheds light on the great impacts its investment choices have on global sustainability. Operating in a cross-industry sector that moves large amounts of cash from one market to another, every investment decision has a major impact on the path towards sustainable development.
Hence, among the many sectors in which it invests, Zurich has also chosen to support responsible tourism, becoming an official partner of the European Association of Via Francigena ways (EAVF) due to the strong affinity of their respective values. The partnership aims to develop sustainable tourism, with a particular focus on the Southern-Centre Aggregation area of the Via Francigena in the Region of Tuscany. Embarking on the Via Francigena is first of all an experience of sharing, exchange and solidarity for those who have chosen to set out, and Zurich wants to ideally accompany them along this territory.
Zurich’s attention for this area of Tuscany, which follows the Via Francigena trail from Fucecchio and Santa Croce sull’Arno to Gambassi Terme, has led to the creation of useful tools for pilgrims and activities to promote the Via Francigena, encouraging environmental education, sustainable tourism and improving the route’s practicability through renovated signage.
Giovanni Giuliani, Managing Director of Zurich Italia, commented the initiative as follows: “We support responsible and conscious tourism because we believe it is the best way to accompany travellers along a slow journey to the discovery of the uniqueness and wonders of our country. We share important values with the EAVF, such as commitment, passion, determination in achieving goals, even when the journey doesn’t look easy”.
We are therefore excited to announce that during 2022, through our social media channels, we will inform you about new important activities and projects undertaken with the support of this great stakeholder!
The Agenzia del Demanio has put on the market a selection of buildings located along historical-religious itineraries, cycle paths and near the Italian coast, through a series of calls for tenders. The winners will receive the buildings in concession with the objective of enhancing and adding value to local slow tourism realms.
The initiative wants to enhance Italian heritage connected to culture, tourism and soft mobility along the entire peninsula, encouraging social and cultural animation activities in these territories and promoting the availability of services supporting slow tourism.
Among the offered assets is one building located along the Via Francigena in the South, in Terracina (region of Lazio). It is the Ex Dogana Torre di Badino, a historic building dating back to 1610, designed as part of the Papal State’s defence system, from Circeo to Terracina, and commissioned by Pope Pius V in 1567. The port of Badino, which the building overlooks, offers many services related to recreative boating. The Badino canal also provides easy access to the Pontine Islands, Ischia, Capri and Procida!
This stunning seaside town, as well as offering several opportunities for water sports (sailing, kitesurfing, diving and fishing), has a Beach Arena where several national and international competitions take place, while the seafront is entirely crossed by a cycling path. Note that Terracina is not only crossed by the Via Francigena, but also by the Via Appia and the Ciclopista del Sole, making it an important crossroads for pilgrims, walkers and cyclists.
The call for tenders is currently open and there is time until 19 May 2022 to participate!
Interaction, connection, sharing, experience, discovery, and opportunity: these are the key ideas that emerged on 24 February during the Virtual World Cafè organised by MOHU – Centre for Advanced Studies in Mobility & Humanities at the University of Padova.
A brainstorming session with students of the Master program in Mobility Studies, divided in 5 groups, who shared their ideas with 5 experts coming from the most various work fields.
Among them was Simona Spinola, EAVF’s communication officer, who led her audience on a discovery of cultural itineraries in their various forms and structures, to reflect with the group on how walking mobility generates opportunities. From the discovery of cultural heritage to the promotion of small villages far from the main tourist circuits, slow tourism is an inexhaustible source of discovery for those who choose mobility on foot or on two wheels. The Via Francigena is tangible proof of this, as it has been connecting municipalities, institutions and local associations for years to create a shared European identity.
The virtual classrooms, moderated by lecturers from the Department of History, Geography and Antiquity, offered an interactive afternoon of enriching exchange for all parties involved. In addition to slow tourism and cultural itineraries, participants spoke with Christophe Gay from the Mobile Lives Forum about mobility and the sustainable transition as a new implementable lifestyle. They spoke with Elena Muscarella, from Fondazione Acra, about the experience of Migrantour, an intercultural urban walk that compares tourism with migration trends. With Laura Ronzon, from the Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology, students reflected on the role of scientific and technological heritage, and with Kirsten Rüther, Senior Lecturer in the Mobile Cultural Studies doctoral programme at the University of Vienna, they analysed the implications of mobility in today’s society.
We wish to thank all participants and, in particular, Chiara Rabbiosi, researcher and expert on the geography of consumption and tourism, for involving the EAVF. Mobility is a value to carry forward, step by step – above all along the Via Francigena.
Thursday 20 January 2022, the Region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté invited the EAVF to discuss about the Via Francigena, indicated by the Region as an itinerary of excellence in its tourist itineraries Scheme.
Representatives of the Region and the departments of Doubs and Haute-Saône participated, as well as the Regional Tourism Committee and the Departmental Tourism Committees of these territories.
The EAVF, represented by President Massimo Tedeschi, councillor Emile Ney, Director Luca Bruschi and Jacques Chevin, technical contact person for the VF in France and Switzerland, presented the structure of the Association and its partners in France, with particular reference to the FFRandonnée and the Féderation Française Via Francigena (a network bringing together pilgrims and volunteers), with whom the EAVF has signed cooperation agreements.
The EAVF described the activities and studies carried out in Italy by the Region of Tuscany, which is very active on the Via Francigena route. The Region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté wants to work with the two concerned departments to create a regional action plan developing the route from the point of view of infrastructure, tourism and socio-economic development.
On 18 February, the European Association of Via Francigena ways (EAVF) took part in an international conference in Venice regarding Italian cultural routes of the Council of Europe.
The meeting was organized by the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and by the Italian representation of the Council based in Venice, headed by Luisella Pavan-Woolfe, former ambassador of the European Union in Strasbourg.
Institutions, authorities and representatives of cultural routes attended the event with the common objective of analysing challenges and opportunities of cultural routes that cross Europe, defined as “tangible solutions for the tourism sector, compromised by the pandemic” by Filippo Maria Carnici, Vice-President of the Ateneo Veneto that hosted the conference.
Sustainable development and the recovery of tourism in the post-covid phase are the issues highlighted by Stefano Dominioni, Director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes. He recalled how “the Council of Europe can reaffirm the values of public participation and democratic citizenship within a shared Europe that belongs to everyone: an illustrious example is the Via Francigena, which, through the joint work of authorities, municipalities and territories, contributes to the shaping of a common European identity“.
This was confirmed by Massimo Tedeschi, EAVF’s President, who recalled, during the session dedicated to European heritage and history, how the historic journey undertaken by Sigeric to reach Rome is a continuous opportunity to break down stereotypes and create a sense of common belonging: “relaunch, Europe and tangible and intangible heritage, as in people and their ideas. These were the cornerstones of the event Via Francigena. Road to Rome 2021 – the European relay race with which we celebrated the Association’s 20th anniversary“.
The Cultural Routes programme, launched by the Council of Europe in 1987 with the Declaration of Santiago, is a warranty of excellence that offers a model for transnational cultural and tourism management, fostering synergies between authorities and stakeholders at the European level and contributing to the creation of a community spirit. Out of the 45 certified itineraries, 29 pass through Italy, as the director of Venice’s Office Luisella Pavan-Woolfe reminded; she also highlighted the importance of Venice, an academic center and important cultural hub recognized on the European level. The city is actively involved in the Council of Europe’s activities related to the promotion of cultural heritage and freedom of expression. “Cultural routes can create and spread continuous exchanges of ideas and best practices also thanks to European funds, as witnessed by the European project “rurAllure” financed by Horizon 2020, born with the aim of enhancing the rural heritage of European routes“.
European identity, memory and heritage were the three key words of the day, which featured the Via Francigena and the Way of St James alongside the Phoenicians’ Route, the Via Romea Germanica, Atrium – dedicated to the architecture of Totalitarian Regimes – the European Mozart Routes, the Jewish Heritage Route and the Route of Historic Thermal Towns, as well as the Route of the Liberation of Europe and the Route of Historic Gardens. Roberta Alberotanza, member of the Task Force for the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, concluded the conference by saying that “it would take a lifetime to travel across all the itineraries presented today“. She then led the participants on a tour of the movable exhibition dedicated to the 29 Council of Europe itineraries with Italian network members.
Despite the difficulties given by the pandemic, once again this year ASD IRIDE in Rivoli is organising a Marathon along the Via Francigena which touches upon the most characteristic points of interest in the Susa Valley.
This non-competitive walk, for its 4th edition, will take place on Sunday 19 June 2022 with departure from Avigliana, medieval city known as ‘city of the two lakes’, followed by the passage at the Sacra di San Michele and arrival in the city center of Susa, both ‘Orange Flag’ locations classified by the Italian Touring Club.
Subscriptions, which opened at the end of January, already count 1500 participants. The closing of subscriptions, on the other hand, is expected for 1 June 2022 – or once the available 3000 subscriptions are sold out. During the last editions, 3000 subscriptions were reached as soon as 3 weeks after the launch of the event, therefore we highly recommend subscribing as soon as possible!
This year there are two available routes: with and without the passage at the Sacra di San Michele. There are also 3 available itineraries: 1) from the point of departure to the Sacra di San Michele 10 km (Family Marathon); 2) up to the Villarfocchiardo 21 km (Half Marathon); 3) the full marathon up to Susa, walking for 44 km. Similarly to last years, it is possible to select the Easy option without reaching the Sacra di San Michele, and reserve a shuttle service for your return.
The marathon #FMV2022 is open to everyone and must rigorously be walked, without running, to taste the beauty of this itinerary at its best.
The trail will be controlled by the Civil Protection public service and by the many Associations involved in the organisation. Local Police, law enforcement officers and the local Pro Loco will check the passage through towns. Volunteers will surveil the route, support participants and arrange resting and restoration spots located along the entire itinerary.
In the above website you can also find the rules and details regarding the individual awards, transports, restorations, assistance, options for hotel bookings, etc.
Asd Iride also has other activities planned for this spring! First of all, the 4th gathering of ‘walkers of the two lakes’, which will take place in Avigliana on 24 April 2022, and following, on 8 May 2022, they will participate in the 16th stage of the ‘Giro d’Italia Plogging 2022’, in the municipalities of Avigliana, Grugliasco, Rivoli and Settimo.
For more information:
ASD IRIDE from Rivoli: mail firstname.lastname@example.org
On 18 February 2022, the new edition of Italian magazine ‘Viaggi e Cammini’, published by Sprea Editori, will be available in national news-stands. The magazine focuses entirely on walking trips and pilgrimages, with a broad selection of trails described in each edition.
This number contains an article dedicated to thermal heritage along the Via Francigena, object of studies of the European project ‘rurAllure’. The EAVF is one of the principal collaborating partners of this project. Indeed, the EAVF’s team which is working on the project has prepared the article together with partners from the universities of Madrid and Venice. Such international project aims precisely to shed light and enhance historical heritage bordering the main European routes, including, with particular focus, thermal heritage along the 3 key itineraries that lead to Rome (i.e., Via Romea Strata, Via Romea Germanica and Via Francigena).
Not everybody knows how many thermal sites exist along the Via Francigena route in Italy – some of which are freely accessible, others upon payment. These sites are not only great stops along your journey, but they also have an immense historical and cultural value and attraction, as the Etruscans and ancient Romans themselves used to love visiting them.
Discover them all in the magazine, which can be purchased in all Italian news-stands. Otherwise, it is possible to order a copy by clicking here.
Through the decree n. 2016 of 8 February 2022 by the Italian Minister of Tourism Massimo Garavaglia, two new expert members were nominated for the Italian National Tourism Promotion Committee. The new members are Luca Bruschi (1978), graduate in Conservation of Cultural Heritage and today Director of the European Association of Via Francigena ways (EAVF), and Angelofabio Attolico (1983), with a PhD in Archaeology, now technical manager of the Via Francigena in the South.