The European Association of the Via Francigena Ways (EAVF) unanimously approved the new route from Rome to Brindisi and Santa Maria di Leuca as the Via Francigena of the South.
Approximately 900 km of history, tradition and culture, became a part of the Via Francigena route and are now moving towards the extension of the certification of a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe.
A historic moment for the Via Francigena, especially for the South, as Regional Councilor Loredana Capone pointed out at the EAVF General Assembly on 18 October 2019 together with Aldo Patruno, Director of Tourism, Economy of Culture and Protection of the Territory for the Apulia Region.
"This is truly an important moment that allows southern Italy to feel connected with the rest of the country and Europe. This project has allowed us to work together, while becoming aware of the route. The Via Francigena is a new starting point for southern Italy, which wants to continue to connect with the rest of Europe. This event will allow us to present ourselves to the Council of the Europe united, with common intentions and spirit, all oriented towards the same direction. "
The approval of the route is a result of work, which began in March 2015 and continued over the years with the decisive actions of the Southern Interregional Technical Roundtable consisting of the regions of Lazio, Campania, Basilicata, Molise and Apulia, coordinated by the EAVF, which made it possible to identify the route and geolocate the path. The itinerary, approved on 18 October 2019 by the EAVF members, leads to Santa Maria di Leuca and includes a historical variant in the region of Basilicata (via Bradanica) that ends in Matera.
"In the beginning, we faced an infinite number of routes - said Angelofabio Attolico, technical director of the Via Francigena of the South on behalf of the EAVF and a delegate of the Region of Apulia - then we took the Itinerarium Burdigalense (333 AD) as a reference. In collaboration with the regions and associations involved in the safety and signage development, this route was realized. It is fundamental - reminded Angelofabio in conclusion - that the citizens are empowered and are involved in the maintenance of the itinerary. I thank all those who have worked and continue to do so on a daily basis. "
Today, this route continues with some recommendations: "This is an almost historic moment, the Via Francigena has changed "skin"- said Massimo Tedeschi, president of the EAVF in his speech in Bari - what was the route of Sigeric from Canterbury to Rome today is the Way to Rome, Santiago and Jerusalem. We look in different directions where Apulia takes a role of a center of gravity. We want to make the Via Francigena more important and attractive for people who will walk this way because we are in this broader European context ".
" In Ivrea, the Assembly had expressed a very specific political orientation, namely, to focus on a single route direction. We have seen great awareness, determination and enthusiasm of the southern regions. Today this path is presented with some recommendations - reminded the EAVF director, Luca Bruschi - We give ourselves six months to perfect the safety and signage. We request that the theme of the Via Francigena be inserted in the budget and strategic planning of the regions and for the next year we are also setting ourselves the goal of a guide dedicated to the Via Francigena of the South".
The approval of the route was greeted by long applause in Hall 1 of Pavilion 153 of the Levant Fair in Bari. Closing of the afternoon session was accompanied by braces and handshakes, testimonies and project-sharing along 3 thousand and 200 km of the Via Francigena. Many elected officials from Apulia and Campania attended the event and received welcome certificates as new members of the EAVF.
Satisfaction but also responsibility. The work on the Via Francigena route will still take long time and matters such as signage, safety and hospitality are fundamental for the future of this path that aims to rediscover its spiritual dimension to Jerusalem. In the meantime, today's vote has written a new Italian and European page that has already yielded an important result on the political front.
Before the vote, the various interventions held by the partners indeed highlighted the fact that Via Francigena is a means of dialogue between the Regions. A common project capable of bringing together elected representatives, associations and the territory around the same goal. We are now in 2020, an important year for Via Francigena in the South and beyond. As announced by Canterbury Leader Robert Thomas, the next EAVF meeting will be held in the medieval town of Kent, at km zero of Via Francigena on 14-15 May 2020.
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