The philosopher Spinoza wrote: “The road that leads to knowledge is a road that passes by good meetings” and undoubtedly good and profitable were those that concluded the weekend at the Abbey of Spineto, in Sarteano at the conference “Tuscany on its way … towards other regions“.
Two days of dialogue, collective “brain storming”, surveys, alternating with plenary meetings and thematic groups. Six regions (Tuscany, Liguria, Emilia Romagna, Umbria, Marche and Lazio) are working to consolidate an interregional network of roads and to promote it through the construction of a complex touristic product.
“An initiative started by the Region of Tuscany – says Stefano Ciuoffo, Councilor for Tourism and Commerce – which immediately became common ground shared by all the regions. A pilot project that began as a dialogue on the theme of the paths and that represents a virtuous circle for all those involved. A strategy that links a ‘slow’, sustainable, experiential tourism with an opportunity for growth and economic development“.
The conference has already achieved success: the Marche region proposed to host the event next year with the intention, shared by all the Regions, to make it an ongoing meeting. The document summarising the work: the “Carta di Spineto“, with guidelines and concrete programmes shared between the Regions is in the final drafting phase, with many features that will characterise it.
The need to share good practices, to collaborate to enhance territories, to exchange opinions and experiences is strong and transversal. Like the idea of a editing booth, to consistently act between the various regions, with shared standards and a willingness to collaborate on an administrative level. From an administrative perspective we agree that having common partners to find funds for European projects is very useful. The willingness to equip themselves with common tools to measure data along the paths; the idea of permanent observations, in collaboration with the Ministry, universities and regions, helps monitor aspects of socio-economic data, numbers to understand which indicators to use to measure local development and the perception of well-being. The use of a “cooperative governance” encourages a single “editing booth” for all the regions involved, with periodic meetings and shared regulations on receptivity, catering and maintenance criteria.
The strong demand to promote the awareness of local inhabitants is strongly felt in terms of hospitality, a sensitisation of the territory in the broadest sense (population, companies, associations) to promote the culture of hospitality. An interesting starting point could be a census of potential providers of services provided by individuals (cultural, economic, transport …) in order to integrate public and private offers. The need to introduce figures to support walkers as the “Guardian Angels of Pilgrims” and new “light” infrastructures such as the “tende del Pellegrino” emerge.
Regarding the aspects related to communication and promotion, the need to give a precise identity to each path has been identified through a coordinated image, to be promoted as one. A way to preserve the unity of the route, while respecting the different territorial features. An important work of internal communication aimed at the inhabitants, the first ambassadors of their territory and the economic operators to make them a key aspect of the process of promotion and communication. Common resources for coordinated promotion on a national and international level, which will reduce costs.
For maintenance, the idea emerged to include the paths in municipal urban plans to ensure their viability over time, as well as a specification for their maintenance through a shared management between public and private entities. In addition to the definition of uniform signage, the idea of georeferencing the route is made consistent with the historical layout. Numerous and innovative proposals emerged with regard to associations: from the idea of identifying volunteers as “custodians” of the journey in a constant dialogue with local authorities, to that of setting up, on an experimental basis, an “adoption” of sections by individuals and associations which can contribute to the correct maintenance of the route.
At the end of the work a census was proposed for all associations that deal with paths, as well as a proposed meeting of all the associations next year in Tuscany. The next step in the final drafting of the Spineto Charter will be the formal proposal for a memorandum of understanding between the regions of central Italy with which to organise collaboration along the paths.
The numbers: 6 regions, 200 municipalities, 22 associations, 180 participants, 5 routes, 1100 km, 50 surveys and 2500 responses.
The works: 5 inter-regional “pilot” routes have been identified (Via Lauretana, Via degli Dei, I Cammini of Francesco, Via Matildica del Volto Santo and Via del Volto Santo, Via Clodia) and four operational and strategic areas: maintenance, reception, promotion and administration, on which all the entities for each single journey (regions, municipalities, associations) can compare to develop a common strategy.
The method: In order to conduct the dialogue in an organic and constructive way, we have made use of ad hoc technological tools that have facilitated co-planning. Participants interacted and voted during phases and brainstorming sessions, displaying results in real time. The methodology has received wide approval as it allowed us to produce concrete proposals and works, thanks to the technology and the model of decision-making efficiency applied. Tuscany onits way … towards the other regions was organised by the Region of Tuscany in collaboration with the European Association of Via Francigena Ways.
Source: press release
Download the map of the paths below