The Via Francigena Towards the UNESCO Nomination: Opportunity for Lombardy Region

On 19 December 2019 in Milan took place a conference highlighting the results of the project "The Via Francigena in Lombardy. Towards the UNESCO nomination", organised by the European Association of the Via Francigena Ways (EAVF) and Lombardy region with the collaboration of the Province of Pavia and Lodi.The meeting, held in the headquarters of the Lombardy region - Palazzo Pirelli, was an opportunity to share the EAVF project, selected by the Lombardy region for the call for promotion of Lombardy's UNESCO sites and cultural routes. The European Association of the Via Francigena Ways – the Council of Europe Carrier Network of the Via Francigena launched a series of actions, concerted with the territory, for the enhancement and promotion of tourism along the route on the Lombard stretch.

The activities included drafting of the framework study for the Via Francigena application to the UNESCO World Heritage List, restyling of the website dedicated to the Francigena in Lombardy (https://www.lombardia.viefrancigene.org/it/), publication of the review dedicated to the Lombard territory and official maps of two provinces.

"The department that I have an honour to coordinate firmly supports this candidacy because we are convinced both of the importance and uniqueness of the Via Francigena, one of the most evocative and legendary European cultural routes, and of the specificity of the Lombard stretch, - said the Regional Councilor for Autonomy and Culture, Stefano Bruno Galli, - “Centuries of pilgrimages left precious historic, artistic and religious testimonies along the way, indelibly marking the charm of the countryside and villages of Pavia and Lodi . The Via Francigena UNESCO candidacy and, as we all hope, the future recognition, represent a formidable tool to promote and enhance all the treasures - material and intangible - that exist on this incredible journey. A unique opportunity at stake is to rediscover deep identities and ancient vocations, history and traditions of the communities crossed by these itineraries and, at the same time, unite people. It is also an opportunity to make this religious itinerary - travelled not only by pilgrims - a driving force for the growth and sustainable development of the territories. In fact, the slow walk is a form of meditative tourism, with zero environmental impact and a very strong added value from a cultural point of view ".

In the context of this project the Via Francigena is indeed seen as an opportunity for growth, putting forward the territory’s cultures, traditions and particularities - a path to be pursued with determination.

The example of the Via Francigena was also underlined by the Province of Pavia, represented by the Vice-President Daniela Bio and the Province of Lodi by the President Francesco Passerini, present at the event together with numerous mayors and local associations.

"The Lombardy Region was the first Region to join our association, - said Massimo Tedeschi, President of the European Association of the Via Francigena Ways, present at the event together with Sami Tawfik (EAVF project manager) and Luca Faravelli (EAVF project development and graphics), - The Via Francigena makes stronger each of its regional components and vice versa, it is an international and European initiative. If we add the UNESCO World Heritage Site certification to the recognition of the Council of Europe, the attractiveness and importance of the Via Francigena would increase enormously. "

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