Via Francigena, 2019 Sigeric Award

Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, Enrico Rossi, president of the region of Tuscany and Giovanni D'Agliano, manager of the region of Tuscany: these are the personalities who have been awarded the 2019 Sigeric Award

established by the Municipality of Monteriggioni to pay tribute to those who have distinguished themselves in the protection, enhancement and promotion of the Via Francigena.

The names were announced during the "Comuni in Cammino" Forum dedicated to the ancient pilgrim route on Saturday 2nd February in the monumental complex of Abbadia Isola and promoted by the Municipality of Monteriggioni and the European Association of Via Francigena Ways.

The award. A two-sided medal presenting, on one side, the symbol of the pilgrim and the year of the award and, on the other, the Castle of Monteriggioni, seen from the Porta Romea. The awards were given by Giovanni d'Agliano and Stefano Ciuoffo, Tourism Councillor of the region of Tuscany on behalf of President Enrico Rossi. Antonio Tajani sent a letter of thanks to the Municipality of Monteriggioni and the European Association of Via Francigena Ways for the award and to reaffirm its commitment to the promotion and the enhancement of cultural routes, starting from the Via Francigena and their support towards the candidacy to become UNESCO heritage.

"The candidacy is solid – wrote Tajani – and represents a victory for all of us and especially for Europe. If, one day, the forces that prefer to divide us will put our European project at risk, it will not be the economy or diplomacy to keep us united, but this identity that we must all defend without hesitation. Cultural routes have an unexpressed potential that is released through the promotion of a slow and sustainable tourism that unites cities, regions and countries with their hidden history, spirituality, culture and landscapes. This result was achieved thanks to the efforts on European, national and local level".

The motivation. The 2019 Sigeric Award, in its second edition, was awarded to Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, "for institutional support given to the development of the Via Francigena and the cultural routes included in the specific Council of Europe Programme, with particular reference to the 2009-2014 period, when he held the position of European Commissioner of Tourism".

The President of the region of Tuscany, Enrico Rossi, has been awarded the prize "for having believed in the Francigena Project in all its aspects, favouring significant investments from the region itself". The recognition given to Giovanni D'Agliano, manager of the Tuscany Region, meanwhile was based on his "effective development of the Francigena Project in the region, with particular reference to the 2010 - 2014 period, when he was manager of the organisational structure of 'Policies and incentives for the qualification and development of tourist and commercial destinations’".

The Forum "Comuni in Cammino", organised by the Municipality of Monteriggioni and the European Association of Via Francigena Ways, involved participants arriving from all the countries crossed by the Via Francigena - Italy, Switzerland, France and England. It opened with the progress of the UNESCO heritage application project that in recent days has registered a significant step forward with the registration of the Via Francigena in Italy in the 'National Tentative List’ by the Board of Directors of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO.

The expansion of the network of the route traversed by Archbishop Sigeric in 990 AD and its increasingly European dimension were central themes of the speeches by Raffaella Senesi, mayor of Monteriggioni; Stefano Ciuoffo, Councillor of Tourism of the region of Tuscany; Massimo Tedeschi, president of the EAVF; Silvia Costa, MEP and Stefano Dominioni, Executive Secretary of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe. The Forum was then brought alive with the experiences of small towns and regions touched by the Via Francigena and was enriched by the presentation of the finalists of the second edition of the literary award "Intanto parto", dedicated to the Via Francigena and created by Betti Editore.

All the speeches from the "Comuni in Cammino" Forum are available in podcasts on the Radio Francigena website, www.radiofrancigena.com. Source: press release Municipality of Monteriggioni.

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