South Francigena Marathon,the first slow-paced marathon beyond Rome

2019 completes the series of Francigena marathons. The 28th April brings the South Francigena Marathon, the first non competitive walk which takes participants to the discovery of the Francigena of the South along the sections of Velletri and Rome.

This hike enriches the Francigena marathons by including new territories and municipalities. The success of the European Francigena Marathon, the mother of all marathons, launched the many proposals able to unite sport, fun and appreciation of the territory. Just like the European Francigena Marathon and the Francigena World Ultramarathon, the main partner in this event is the European Association of Via Francigena Ways (EAVF).

2019 is fast approaching, how will the South Francigena Marathon be developed?: "The South Francigena Marathon project was created with Isabella De Santis. After the 2018 Eurpoean Francigena Marathon we thought to organise a similar event in our territory, which attracted many to the Via Francigena of the South", explains Paolo Falsini, president of the Italian Walking Tour, the amateur sporting association charged with the orgainsation of the route.

Which sections will the event cross?: "The participants will be able to choose three routes with varying difficulty of 12, 22 and 42km. The Via Francigena of the South route, which we defined, crosses 8 municipalities and two parks: the Regionale dei Castelli Romani and the Parco Archeologico dell’Appia Antica which has authorised the passage of pilgrims in the archeological site of Villa dei Quintili", confirms Falsini.

The historic walk will begin in Velletri and crosses the municipality of Nemi where the walkers can admire the two vulcanic lakes. The route proceeds towards Rocca di Papa Albano Laziale with the option to visit the Roman amphitheatre, Casel Gandolfo, Marino, Campino and Rome. "We will orgainse two seperate starts, with the municipalities of Velletri (for those hiking the 22km and 42km walks) and the municipality of Nemi for those who chose the 12km route - says the orgainser - the hikers of the 12km and 22km routes will end their hike in the stunning piazza di Castel Gandolfo. The participlants of the 42km route will instead end their hike at the Mausoleo di Cecilia Metella, symbolic place of the ancient Via Appia."

What can we expect from this first edition?: "We are currently reviewing every detail to offer a memorable experience to our walkers. We'd like to stamp the number 3000 on the bib of the last hiker, which seems ambitious, but we are convinced that with our stimulating and unique setting, we can achieve this feat."

This is a team project involving many people. What was the territory's response?: We received a surprisingly enthusiastic reaction from the institutions and entities involved in the project since we first presented it - adds Falsini - the territory which the walkers will cross offers extrodinary beauty from both a natural and historic perspective; the most suggestive towns of the Roman Castles alternate with woods, lakes, historical roads and monuments. One could say that the territory promotes itself and definitely offers a touristic experience, as well as sporting."

When can people sign-up?: "They can sign-up already, and can find all the relevant information on our association website www.italianwalkingtour.com. The official event website will shortly be activated (www.southfrancigenamarathon.it) and we will use social media to promote the event, like to Facebook page "South Francigena Marathon" - says the organiser - I have complete faith in the event because we know we can count on the support of the institutional and social entitites involved. Love and respect for the areas in which we live must become a necessary prerogative, to create a new awareness in all of us. Nothing is more rewarding for a hiker than traversing a historical route like the Via Francigena, and discovering that the main supporters and lovers of said route are the inhabitants of the area."

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