Via Francigena

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Italy welcomes Europe. The European Initiative “Via Francigena. Road to Rome 2021. Start Again” is about to begin.

The Italian National Tourist Board-ENIT promotes slow tourism and supports the march from Europe leading to Rome. The march will leave Canterbury on the 16th of June, passing through 5 nations and 637 municipalities, along the 3,200 km route.

The event celebrates the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the European Association of Via Francigena ways.

The great event is about to start – “Via Francigena – Road to Rome. Start Again” organised by the European Association of Via Francigena Ways in collaboration with The Italian National Tourist Board-ENIT. ENIT wishes to contribute to the rebirth of slow tourism in Italy and Europe, supporting the long march leading to Rome, which is both the Italian capital as well as a cultural and religious centre of both Europe and the World. It will be a long and leisurely walk, symbolic of starting again and getting back to walking, as well as looking hopefully to the future after a difficult year during the pandemic.

It is an event that gives value to the Via Francigena, putting the 3,200 km route on the map, as well as the five countries it passes through (The United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Italy and Vatican city). Road to Rome 2021 aims to be a moment of celebration: a route to be travelled on foot or by bicycle to re-launch the European spirit. The Pilgrim’s Staff will take the place of the Olympic Torch, and will be carried, step by step, country by country, along the way.

The march is aimed at everyone, and the walk will have a symbolic introduction on the 15th of June in Strasbourg, at the Palais de l’Europe, the headquarters of the Council of Europe. The event will see a delegation from EAVF met by the Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić. The meeting will underline the European humanistic values and intends to promote the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, among these the Via Francigena. On the 16th of June a group of walkers will depart Canterbury, after a short ceremony by the symbolic Mile 0 stone situated in the garden of the majestic cathedral. The walk will then arrive in Rome on the 10th of September, and from there go onwards to Santa Maria di Leuca, the so-called “finis terrae”, arriving on the 18th of October. Today, the Via Francigena, with its 148 stages in five countries – forms one of the most attractive European Cultural Routes. The growing number of walkers originating from all over the world highlights the shifting tendency towards cultural and sustainable tourism, and develops the intercultural and interreligious dialogue between the communities of walkers and the communities that welcome them.

The event is sponsored by the Visit Canterbury, the French Cultural Ministry, the Italian Cultural Ministry and Canterbury City Council and the Interreg Green Pilgrimage. It is supported by ENIT – Italian National Tourist Board, and the international main partners Intesa Sanpaolo and Snam. A further institutional partner is Valore Paese Italia, an Italian national programme to promote tourism and culture linked to adding value to public patrimony.

International bloggers, video makers and associations will join the route to tell the story of the journey. “ The EAVF’s initiative shares the desire to start again after the pandemic, adding value to the more minor and rural areas of Europe. Adding value to both material and immaterial patrimony is an objective that helps to strengthen the Via Francigena’s candidacy as UNESCO World Heritage. Furthermore, the walk will help to increase awareness and dialogue between cultures and people living by the North Sea, with those living by the Mediterranean Sea, keeping in mind common European values, and allowing the world to understand the beauty of the Via Francigena” claims EAVF President Massimo Tedeschi.

We join this symbolic march because we are aware of its imaginative power and its importance of keeping the dream of Italy alive. Italy presents itself to Europe and the World with a story and a route that also redefines the geography of hospitality. The event symbolises a way forward for the sector and binds up coordinated integration. Through giving value to the natural heritage, it will be possible to attract further tourism and to ease access to lesser-known destinations” declare Italian National Tourist Board President Giorgio Palmucci and director Giovanni Bastianelli.

This manifestation is very close to our mission and our values. The Snam energy network, which in Italy passes many points along the Via Francigena, connects towns and communities, communicates with different territories and guarantees a secure energy supply, ever more sustainable and in harmony with nature and the countryside. We work with the EAVF Ways and everyone who will accompany us in the next four months from Canterbury to Santa Maria di Leuca on a walk symbolising starting again, communication with people, common European routes, culture and environmental sustainability” comments Patrizia Ritigliano, EVP Institutional Affairs, ESG, Communications and Marketing at Snam.

This project sheds an optimist message: returning soon to enjoy the artistic and cultural heritage of Italy. For Intesa Sanpaolo the participation of the public in the arts and culture represents an essential value, inspiring continuous commitment in this context” comments Renzo Simionato, Head of Management of Agribusiness in Intesa Sanpaolo.

The Road to Rome is supported by the following Gold Partners: Lazio Region and Apulia Region; Silver Partners: Doubs Department, Valle d’Aosta Region, Piedmont Region, Emilia-Romagna Region, Liguria Region, Campania Region, Montefiascone Municipality, Viterbo Municipality, Civita association, Montana; Bronze Partners: Haute-Saone Department, Grand Besançon Metropole, Pays de Lumbres Municipalities Community, Champlittle Municipality, Pays du Grand St. Bernard, Siena Municipality, Banca Generali Private, Crédit Agricole branch in Dampierrre-sur-Salon, Zurich, Sport Power Patch. The technical partners for the initiative are North Downs Way, Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome, French Hiking Federation (FFRandonnée), Fédération Française de la Via Francigena, Federturismo di Confindustria, Trenitalia, Trenord, Artio Design, Sloways, Itineraria. Ferrino, Garmont and Alpek Bike are technical partners and suppliers of products for walkers and cyclists. The publishers Cicerone, Favre, Terre di Mezzo, Le Pélerin and Via Francigena magazines, Radio Francigena and Movimento Lento are media partners.

Finally, the project is supported by numerous local administrations and tourist offices in the towns the route passes through, who will host the group of walkers and who, together with local associations, will organise various activities.

Francesca Cicatelli

Direzione Esecutiva

Comunicazione e Ufficio Stampa

Via Marghera 2 – ROMA

Cell: (+39) 392.9225216



Luca Bruschi
Associazione Europea Vie Francigene
Cell: +39 329 6629306




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