Via Francigena. The Road to Rome

Compagnia dei Cammini along the Via Francigena

Spreading walking culture, moving to rediscover contact with ourselves and the world, in the sphere of responsible tourism. The Compagnia dei Cammini is one of the most important reference points for slow tourism experiences in Italy and the Mediterranean.

Whether it’s trips on foot, peaceful walks, sailing trips, walks with donkeys, meditative hikes (Deep Walking): the Compagnia dei Cammini programme is varied and also looks to the Via Francigena. The Cultrual Route of the Council of Europe is included in the travel catalogue of the company. A series of experiences, also avaialbe in the “Organised Trips and Excursions” section on the official portal of the European Association of Via Francigena Ways (EAVF).

The work along the Francigena interests us because we believe in all routes. As an association we also try to enhance several small routes (such as the Spallanzani trail, the Via Cretese) and we are trying to establish a network of smaller routes. It is a pleasure to collaborated with the EAVF as the Via Francigena will become ever-more important.” Confirms Luca Gianotti, coodinator of Compagnia dei Cammini.

How does Compagnia dei Cammini move along the Francigena?With it being a “greater” route, hikers often move independently and experiment alone. We traverse it regularly in sections, with our groups and in our own way, attempting to maintain the spirit of wayfarer, with readings and cultural insights. Experiencing the route internally.”

Excursions, trips and events. Spreading route culture is Luca Gianotti’s, one of the founders of Compagnia dei Cammini, mission through the association born in 2010, after the “La Boscaglia” experience. As an guide of environmental excursion, author of several texts dedicated to hiking (such as L’arte del Camminare – Ediciclo 2011) creator of new routes (such as the Cammino dei Briganti between Abruzzo and Lazio), Gianotti made slow tourism his life philosophy.

I feel rewarded by my work as a guide when, after a week of walking, I see people transformed. It’s nice to see the effects of walking on the faces of hikers – explains the coordinator of Compangia dei Cammini – it’s this that moves me and inspires me to share. Our mission is to share walking culture and we feel animated by this spirit. Together with Luigi Nacci (writer, journalist and excursion guide), I have been researching a new blast of culture and news for the future of the walking world. In our free time we organise events, initiatives and moments for meeting. I remember the first Festival of Berceto many years ago, which marked the beginning of walking culture in Italy.”

In 2018, the Compagnia dei Cammini organised 158 travel proposals.

What kind of experiences do participants have?Based on hospitality, there are different possibilities. We try to generally avoid typically touristic areas and favour the small reality of places, with real meetings with people. – explains Gianotti – We offer tent hikes, walks where you sleep in the open air near vines of Sardinian farmers. Experiences which enable you to maintain ancient cultures, such as pastoralism. Returning the Francigena, we alternate two types of hospitality: in convents and in B&Bs, partly for organisational purposes and because it’s also nice to have two different versions. – concludes Gianotti – Depending on the trip, we always organise hospitality while being attentive to the values of the place. Accommodation must also first and foremost be an experience.”

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