“If we take a good look at the realities and at history, today we discover that there is something even more important than soldiers and goods that pass through the roads and these are the cultures. Therefore, I think we can say that the Via Francigena is a road of cultures; |..| we need to connect northern and southern Europe while preserving their diversity and originality. The Via Francigena makes it possible.“
Jacques Le Goff – French medievalist and historian
“Via Francigena. Road to Rome 2021. Start again!” celebrates both the foundation of the EAVF, which took place on 7 April 2001 in Fidenza (Parma, Italy), and 27th anniversary of the recognition of the Via Francigena as a “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe”, which was granted in 1994.
The Road to Rome is a great moment of celebration, a long relay march on foot and by bicycle along 3,200 km of the Via Francigena. The walkers will carry a pilgrim stick as an Olympic torch passing it to the next group, step by step, along the entire journey.
The march, organised by the EAVF together with its network of partners and friends, is aimed at all those who love walking along the routes. Together we will depart on 16 June 2021 from Canterbury, km 0 of the Via Francigena, to arrive in Rome on 10 September 2021 and, in Santa Maria di Leuca on 18 October 2021.
The growing number of ramblers from all over the world highlights a new trend, which has sturdy historical roots, towards a new way of interpreting and practicing cultural and sustainable tourism, i.e. the development of intercultural and interreligious dialogue between the community of ramblers and the receiving community.
With this event, the EAVF aims to promote the restart, after the pandemic period, of sustainable cultural tourism along the Via Francigena and other European routes, as well as to support the Via Francigena candidacy to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
This initiative intends to raise awareness of ministries and local authorities of the four countries crossed (United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Italy), regions and religious institutions. The “Via Francigena. Road to Rome 2021. Start again!” will also make it possible to check the state of the route, fixing any shortcomings and proposing improvements, and to promote regional sections.
In short, this journey aims to aggregate and unite the European territories, making the beauties of the Via Francigena known to the whole world.
Read the interview with President Massimo Tedeschi on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF).