Via Francigena

Italy on the road, the Terre di Mezzo overview

Redazione AEVF
Redazione AEVF

 For the first time, the number of people who travel Italian routes is greater than that of Italians that have received the Compostela in Santiago.

In fact, in 2018 32,338 people asked for a Pilgrim Passport for one of our Italian routes, compared to the 27,009 Italians who arrived at the Cathedral of Santiago (Italians are the highest number of visitors, after Spaniards).

To highlight this is the result of a survey carried out by Terre di Mezzo publishing company and presented today in Milan, on the occasion of the opening of the 16th “Fa’ la cosa giusta!“, the critical consumption and sustainable lifestyle fair, scheduled from 8th to 10th March at Fieramilanocity.

The survey was conducted based on both the data provided by associations or entities that welcome pilgrims and on a questionnaire launched on Facebook, to which 2,930 walkers responded. “It’s never happened before. A sign that there is a potential for Italian roads“, said Miriam Giovanzana, editorial director of Terre di Mezzo, during today’s presentation.

According to the findings, the most popular in Italy is the Via Francigena, with 17,092 Pilgrim Passports requested, followed by the Franciscan routes (Via di Francesco and Di qui passò Francesco, 7,352), Via degli Dei (3.800), Way of St. Benedict ( 2.106), Franciscan Way of Sicily (1.426) and Via Romea Germanica (652). There were 9,372 testimonium issued in Rome (point of arrival for several routes), 3.950 in Assisi and 700 in Montecassino.

The results of the questionnaire show a features of the typical hiker in Italy. A minority (25%) sets out for religious reasons, the others include, among the reasons, “to go trekking” (52%), “to be surrounded by nature” (50%) or “to discover the area”(46%).

Three out of four have already done other routes and especially those over 40: 28.9% are between 51 and 60 years old, 24.1% between 61 and 70 years old, 19.7% between 41 and 50 years old. 43% are women and only 12% have a middle school qualification, while those with diplomas and degrees are equal (44%). Few people travel the pilgrimage by bike: 11% and 51% complete the whole journey at once.

But if you go into detail for the individual routes you will find many differences. On the Via Francigena only 16% depart and arrive in one season, others prefer to break up the journey over different years. The shortest routes are completed in one go, such as the Via degli Dei (90%), the Magna via Francigena in Sicily (82%), Italy coast to coast (64%) and the Cammino di San Benedetto (51%). 43% of people tend to tackle the Franciscan paths in one go.

Walking is also good for the economy of the territories crossed. 45% spend, on average, between 30 and 50 euros. 65.4% stay in B&Bs, 57.1% in religious structures, 28.4% in agritourisms and 23.8% in hotels. 73% have a packed lunch, 52% then have dinner at a restaurant and 27% go to restaurants where a pilgrim menu is offered. Before leaving, 42% bought footwear, 39% technical clothing and 31% equipment, like backpacks, water bottles or hiking sticks.

Source: Terre di Mezzo (link to the article)