Via Francigena. The Road to Rome

Genius Loci, Via Francigena and sustainable tourism

Genius Loci Travel is a tour operator active worldwide for over 20 years, specializing in travel on foot, by bicycle and in kayak, who has chosen to deal with tourism with a specific focus on sustainability.
"From the beginning our aim was to promote tourism in rural areas, little visited by traditional tourism. Often these areas have great cultural and natural heritage, mostly unknown. With our business we encourage the development of the local economy by stimulating local communities to welcome and host visitors through creation of B&Bs, in places where hotel accommodation is non-existent, and by promoting the creation of a network of connected services, such as cooperatives for luggage transport and tourist and reception service companies."

Therefore, both environmental sustainability - for the type of travel promoted - and territorial, enhancing lesser-known areas of exceptional historical and landscape values contribute to an economic development of the territories concerned.

This modus operandi is in particularly similar to the values ​​of the European Association of the Via Francigene (EAVF). We are therefore particularly happy to announce the beginning of the collaboration with Genius Loci Travel, our new partner who offers various independent trips, for example along the spectacular route from Siena a Bolsena.

What inspired you not to deal only with well-known and “guaranteed” destinations and to search for less-known niche itineraries of great value but with a certain dose of risk?

The background of our company is different than that of most companies. Before starting to organize tours, our staff members worked in nature conservation, land use planning, rural development and environmental protection and this still shows in many of our tours… We have founded our company with the aim of promoting sustainable forms of tourism in Italy.

For example through the planning of networks of footpaths & trails, and the actual cleaning and waymarking of many of these - in collaboration with the local authorities and local population. Nowadays, almost every tour operator claims to be 'sustainable' and 'responsible', but at Genius Loci Travel this are not just words - we really try to make a difference in the areas where we work!

So far, how are travellers responding to more original and lesser known proposals?

Our aim is to discover for our clients those places where you can still feel and taste the 'real spirit' of Italy. Off the beaten track, in unknown parts of Italy, but even close to known tourist areas we try to propose those authentic places most tourist don't get to. And our clients love that! Our tours are made for real travelers, who seek out both the highlights of a destination and true experiences of local culture - in ways that benefit local communities. Tours from Genius Loci Travel not only deliver authentic local experiences to our clients, but we also take active steps to care for the destination they travel to.

Currently you promote a trip along the Via Francigena from Siena to Bolsena. Do you think to increase your offer by offering itineraries on other stretches of the Via Francigena?

Yes, we offer the sections of the Via Francigena between Lucca, Siena, Orvieto and Rome. And in several of our other walking tours in Tuscany and Lazio we offer some of the 'best parts' of the Via Francigena: to let our clients enjoy the pleasure of walking a pilgrim's route, but also to relive the experience of the medieval pilgrims, walking through forests and pleasant agricultural landscapes, from abbey to abbey, from village to village, without the noise of modern traffic!

Also do we now offer the southern section of the Via Francigena from Rome to Brindisi, as well as the old Roman Road, the Via Appia, a road which has been used by pilgrims to the Holy Land for centuries. As an Italian tour operator we do specialize in Italy, therefore for the moment we only offer the Italian sections - finding the best possible route for everybody.

To discover all the trips and activities of Genius Loci visit the website: www.genius-loci.it

To find out more about traveling along the Via Francigena visit www.genius-loci.it/tour/pilgrim-routes-francigena-francis-camino-rome

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