The Board of Directors of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO has expressed a positive opinion on the inclusion of the candidacy of the "Via Francigena in Italy" in the National Tentative List. Confirmation arrived on Tuesday 24th January at the meeting of the Board of Directors.
An important step for the Cultural Route of the Council of Europe in the application process to World Heritage list. The first phase of the application provides the request for registration on the National Tentative List, with which the country highlights the reasons why it should be included in the World Heritage List at the World Heritage Centre.
The path of the Via Francigena UNESCO application started in 2010, but was then suspended the following year. Since 2017 a new operational phase has been involved, linking MIBAC (Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities), the Italian regions and the European Association of Via Francigena Ways. The preliminary analysis phase of the Italian section, presented in the spring of 2018, thanks to the joint work of the seven Regions (Valle d'Aosta, Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Liguria, Lazio, with Tuscany as the leader) with MIBAC and the European Association of Via Francigena Ways, thus concludes positively with its insertion in the tentative list.
In the meantime, the second phase begins with the development of the European feasibility study involving England, France, Switzerland and Italy. Within this study, an application strategy of the Via Francigena will be developed including a general proposal of the entire route, underlining how its distinct sections can be individually and separately submitted for the World Heritage List, thus nevertheless leaving the universal value of the route unquestionable.
"The European route deserves to see its exceptionality and importance recognised, both from a cultural and natural point of view. - comments the European Association of Via Francigena Ways, tasked by the Tuscany region to play a technical and institutional support role to the UNESCO application project - The Via Francigena represents a great opportunity for growth and development for the territories, but also for all the communities involved in this project. This is a complex asset, a heritage of humanity, to be protected and enhanced within the UNESCO network, to join the Council of Europe which has supported the Via Francigena since 1994."