For the past 3 years the EAVF, in collaboration with partners from 6 European countries, has been actively involved in the project “rurAllure: Promotion of rural museums and heritage sites in the vicinity of European pilgrimage routes” under the Horizon 2020 programme.
This project, concluding on 31 December, has significantly valorised cultural heritage sites along the routes, including Camino de Santiago, Via Francigena, Romea Strata, Via Romea Germanica, Way of Mary, and St Olav Way. The EAVF has spearheaded communication and research efforts specifically along the Via Francigena as part of this project.
Among the most important achievements of the project is mapping over 3,000 sites, including over 1200 from the entire European Via Francigena. Based on this research, an atlas of Via Francigena heritage, podcasts and informative tourist text were produced and published on the project platform.
Among the main events, an accessibility workshop for the visually impaired, which took place in July 2022 in Bagno Vignoni (Tuscany) with a special focus on the creation of 3D models of surrounding landscapes and improved information access.
The project organised several free hikes in the format “I love Via Francigena Thermal”, which allowed the participants to discover the benefits of hot springs and cultural sites along the route.
In the framework of rurAllure, the EAVF participated in several tourism fairs, such as “Fa’ la Cosa Giusta” in 2022 and 2023 and at the TTG Travel Experience in Rimini in October 2023.
Additionally, the photo competition “Share your route” launched and managed within the project, served to strengthen the pilgrims’ community, generating over 3600 photos and videos from the Via Francigena.
Thanks to the project’s contribution to slow tourism and Sustainable Development Goals, it received international recognition such as the Skål Europe Sustainable Tourism Awards and Destination of Sustainable Cultural Tourism 2023, while the EAVF research along the Via Francigena and educational walks were featured by the EU platform Europeana, UNWTO Tourism4SDGs and UN World Tourism Day.
In 2024 the project spin-off – the first in its kind European Cooperation Network along pilgrimage routes, officially launched in June 2023 in Norway – will play the central role. This network, of which the EAVF is a member, is focused on cooperation among the routes, exchange of best practices and common projects.