Via Francigena

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The Via Francigena and the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe met in Brindisi
The Via Francigena splendidly celebrated the anniversary of its European certification (1994-2024) in the international context of the Training Academy 2024, marked by dialogue and cooperation.

The city of Brindisi and the Apulia region became the capital of European cultural routes: from June 4 to 7, at the “Accademia degli Erranti – Statio Peregrinorum” headquarters, a training event was held involving 100 representatives from 37 routes, coming from 22 countries. The forum was part of the celebrations of the Via Francigena, which celebrates its 30th anniversary of European certification in 2024.

The European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF) had the honor of organizing this event, together with the European Institute of Cultural Routes, which supported the realisation of this international showcase in a symbolic place of the Via Francigena in Southern Italy, namely the city of Brindisi.

At the inauguration ceremony, moderated by Rosy Barretta of the “Brindisi e le Antiche Strade” Association, speakers included Mayor Giuseppe Marchionna, the director of the tourism department and EAVF vice president Aldo Patruno, the president of the Italian National Tourism Agency Alessandra Priante, Maria Giusi Luprano from the Italian Ministry of Culture, and finally Stefano Dominioni, director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes in Luxembourg and executive secretary of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.

The Academy featured six working sessions focused on themes of governance, tourism, mobility, cooperation, and international project planning. These sessions saw great participation and interaction among the contributors.

For the Via Francigena, speakers included Luca Bruschi, EAVF director; Elena Dubinina, EAVF European projects manager; Angelofabio Attolico from the Apulia region and EAVF technical manager for the development of the Via Francigena in Southern Italy; Anna Introna and Basel Sai, also from the Apulia region. A specific session was dedicated to slow tourism projects along the Via Francigena with EAVF partners. Tullia Caballero from SloWays brilliantly moderated the panel, where important best practices were shared by showcasing Flixbus for mobility (Marco Zucchetti), Ferrino for technical equipment (Giorgio Rabaiolo), and CAMCO for technical clothing (Matteo Corrado). Valerio Barchi also spoke, sharing his experience as a traveler on the Italian section of the Via Francigena and the creation of “Bona Via!”, the first comic book dedicated to the journey.

During the Academy, there was a strategic meeting between EAVF and the European Federation of Saint James Way, represented by the Spanish President Ildefonso de la Campa, to lay the groundwork for strategic projects in view of the 2025 Jubilee.

During the four days, the cultural programme that was organised to accompany the event also played an important role. The international delegation was able to get to know the city’s museum, cultural, and archaeological heritage, as well as walk a short stretch of the Via Francigena. Local gastronomy was also at the centre of the event, with tastings, street food, and the discovery of local companies and producers, as well as musical shows and artistic performances.

In addition to EAVF’s organisation, the event was supported by the Apulia Region and the Municipality of Brindisi, with the cooperation of the “Brindisi e le Antiche Strade” Association, coordinated by Antonio Melcore. On-site coordination was handled by Catherine Hannequart.

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