The high-level consultation meeting on the topic of the UNESCO World Heritage candidacy of the Via Francigena route took place on 28 May 2020 by teleconference.
This first major international meeting between ministerial officials from four countries of the Via Francigena (Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Holy See) was organized by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism MIBACT and coordinated by Adele Cesi (Italy, MIBACT). It bought together Enid Williams (United Kingdom, Ministry of Culture) and Mike Collins (United Kingdom, Historic England), Oliver Martin (Switzerland, Federal Office of Culture), Alessandra Uncini and Maria Serlupi (Holy See, Vatican Museum).
The European Association of the Via Francigena ways EAVF was represented by the members of the EAVF technical group: Paola Falini, professor of urban planning at the University of Rome, Luca Bruschi, EAVF director, and Luca Faravelli, EAVF project manager. Since 2017 the EAVF technical group has been working on the UNESCO World Heritage candidacy of the Via Francigena, representing the Italian regions on behalf of the Tuscany Region and in collaboration with the Lombardy Region.
The meeting focused on the presentation of the Via Francigena European Framework Study from Canterbury to Rome, prepared by the EAVF. Within this study the individual national sections were illustrated, which can be separately submitted to the World Heritage List, nevertheless keeping the universal value of the route unquestionable.
Adele Cesi presented historic research and scientific methodology of the Framework Study and illustrated the work conducted from 2015 to the present day, starting from the communication between the MiBACT, the Tuscany Region and the EAVF, subsequent training of the scientific working group and sharing the application process with ICOMOS and UNESCO representatives in Paris in March 2018.
The successful cooperation resulted into the publication of the "Preliminary analysis for the candidacy of the Via Francigena to the UNESCO Word Heritage" of the Italian section, carried out in May 2018, and inclusion of the route in the Italian tentative list as a serial nomination in January 2019.
The work continued by the publication of the European Framework Study in preparation for the candidacy of the entire route from Canterbury to Rome. The latter dossier, presented to the MIBACT in the end of September 2019, suggests a division of the European section into ten thematic geographical areas.
The main topics discussed during the meeting were the definition of the Via Francigena, its universal value and identification criteria for over 500 properties indicated in the "Classification Study".
The EAVF group presented a selection of cartographic maps from the English, French, Swiss and Italian sections, specifying the methodology adopted from a geographical, historical and cultural points of view.
The next meeting will take place on 24 June 2020.
More information on https://www.viefrancigene.org/en/UNESCO/