On 25 March 2023, a meeting was held in Milan on ‘Slow tourism, towards the Jubilee 2025: the role of the Via Francigena ways and the routes connecting Rome‘ as part of the ‘Fa’ la cosa giusta!‘ fair, at which EAVF‘s President Massimo Tedeschi and Director Luca Bruschi spoke with the Italian Minister of Tourism Daniela Santanchè.
It was a nice discussion to talk about the development of the Via Francigena as the backbone for the future of the walking system in Italy. It was a meeting organised by Terre di Mezzo Editore and the EAVF on the occasion of the great annual fair dedicated to walking itineraries.
Miriam Giovanzana, director of Terre di Mezzo Editore, led the talk dialoguing with her guests. She also introduced a reflection on the development of the Via Francigena and walking routes in view of the Jubilee in 2025.
This very event will be a great opportunity for the entire network of slow routes and for the city of Rome to welcome travelers from all over the world. In fact, 25 million pilgrims are expected in Rome, but the hope is that at least 100,000 will get there on foot or by bicycle, choosing the slow way of travelling following the ancient bundle of roads of the Vie Romee.
Santanchè’s speech focused on the government’s intention to pursue the slow travel project with determination. It is in fact a motor for tourism and economic development in Italy. A catalogue with the first 35 Italian religious routes has been published on the Ministry of Tourism website: a slow and sustainable form of tourism that becomes even more topical in view of the Jubilee. Santanchè recalled that ‘the Via Francigena can become our Way to Santiago de Compostela, attracting an increasingly international audience. The ENIT offices in the world can become an important promotional tool and a flywheel to make the Way known‘.
The dialogue between the speakers also focused on highly topical issues related to the walking network. Route maintenance, signposting and reception, as well as monitoring the flow of walkers, are increasingly central.
Today, the Via Francigena is preparing for 2025 with significant restyling and safety work on the entire Italian section. This is happening thanks to a 13 million euro investment made available by the Ministry of Culture with the Culture strand of the 2014-2020 Cohesion and Development Plan funds. This is the largest route regeneration initiative to date.
This fund also includes two million euros for communication and digital development of the route, as well as one million euros to advance the candidacy dossier of the Via Francigena as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.