👣 14,9km on foot – Sunday 1 August
This morning we started walking down from the Great Saint Bernard pass, very soon finding the signpost indicating that we were entering Italy. For the next 2 months and a half we will be walking across the country – unbelievable!
We started the day with a lot of goodbyes and new welcomes. After 2 weeks together, our video maker Andrea Ciotti and Ambassadors Arianna Izzi and Laura Zampetti left. EAVF’s Director Luca Bruschi also went back to his office for a while. We welcomed instead Giulia Bertolazzi, who will be our video maker for the next few weeks, Sergio Valzania, writer, journalist and former radio director, with all of his family, and Diego Passoni, dj from Italian ‘Radio Deejay’, who joined us with a group of friends. Regione Valle d’Aosta organized our entire trip across the region, giving us a feeling of comfort in knowing that everything was already nicely arranged for us for the next few days.
We began our 1st of August and Italian adventure with 2°C and a dense fog: we couldn’t see the lake at the pass and risked losing each other if we wouldn’t walk together. We descended the whole day, for a total of about 1200 m, and the valley cleared up quickly, showing us the (beautiful!) way towards Aosta. We had a quick stop in Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses, the first cute little village that you find when coming down the pass. Here we had a taste of the locally typical ham at the Prosciuttificio De Bosses. As we refilled our energies, we looked around the town and realized how evident and important the Via Francigena is here. All lampposts have a little VF pilgrim on them, and the main hotel has a sign outside indicating that this is where the credential can be stamped. This is the first time that I can feel the Via Francigena so present and alive along the way: it makes it much more tangible and shows that the route exists, that it has been here for long and that many people before us have followed its course. Not only: it also means the local community cares about it and cares about welcoming passengers, which is a very important asset for the development of the whole itinerary and attraction of new pilgrims. An inspiring observation and a warm welcome into Italy!
We had a quick tour and then our lunch in Château Verdun; we finally visited Étroubles too, at our arrival. Both villages have beautiful churches and a couple of small museums that get no more than 1000 visitors per year and are really worth a stop. This area is as picturesque as a postcard and is incredibly peaceful and authentic. I sincerely hope that the Road to Rome initiative will help these hidden treasures gain visibility and attract new visitors!
– Beautiful views over the Aosta Valley
– Via Francigena pilgrim figures on the lampposts in Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses
– Dedicated places for credential stamps along the way
Myra Stals, Social Media Manager (EAVF)
Luca Faravelli, Project Manager (EAVF)
Giulia Bertolazzi (videomaker)
Laurette Proment (Regione Valle d’Aosta)
Sergio Valzania, writer & journalist (+ family)
Diego Passoni, dj (Radio Deejay)
Several representatives of local governments