The new walking season in Puglia is the fruit of teamwork. From Gargano to Salento, ancient trails and tracts are in the process of being enhanced thanks to the integrated works of Regione Puglia, associations and territories.
“Trails are to be walked” wrote Antonio Marchado, the Spanish poet. Thus, slow tourism has reignited activity along the routes of Puglia over the past few years, giving life to new proposals of recovery and development.
Angelofabio Attolico, president of In Itinere, worked on the front lines of “South Cultural Routes”, the enhancement project of the Salento tract of the Vie Francigene in the south, implemented by Regione Puglia, Puglia Promozione and Associazione Europea delle Vie Francigene (EAVF), in collaboration with Itineraria and Itinere, the Association “La casa delle comunità ospitanti degli Itinerari Francigeni della Puglia meridionale“, experts and scholars of the territory.
“In close collaboration with the EAVF and Regione Puglia I supported the coordination of various pieces which worked on the project. At the end of February, in Lecce, we presented the results – says Angelo – We mapped and georeferenced all the Francigena route in the south, from Gargano to Santa Maria di Leuca, beginning in the summer of 2017.“
An intense job preceded by a research and study phase: “The VF in Puglia coincides with two historical routes, the Via Micaelica in Gargano and the Via Traiana in the rest of Puglia, two more routes have been added to these: the Via Leucadense and the Via Salentina – explains Attolico – horizontal and vertical signage is in the process of being placed in Gargano and Salento.“
After reconnaissance and direct checks in the field, followed by interaction with associations and residents of the rest-stop towns, the project was realised with vertical and “light” (stickers and paint) signage in accordance with the signage abacus of the European Association of the Vie Francigena. The region of Puglia is structuring the routes following the European standards of the Council of Europe.
“It is very satisfying because such an ordered action has never been found south of Rome. – says Attolico – Together with Luigi Del Prete and Michele De Giudice, we have been working on these tracts for years and preparation of the territory was necessary. Of course, there is still much to do, especially regarding hospitality, but we had to begin at some point and at last a project exists, a foundation to begin from“. A job that must obviously be networked with the regions and municipalities along the Via Francigena in the South for its certification as European.
A great result for pilgrims and archaeologists. After years as a researcher abroad, Attolico returned to Italy, transforming his passion for pilgrimage into work. A life choice which lead him to invest in the territory, in Puglia. “Two years ago I founded a cooperative society named “In Itinere”, returning has allowed me to see my role in the area” he explained.
Doctor of research in post-classic archaeology at the University of Bari, Angleo is an accredited archaeologist for MiBACT and also among the authors, in the field of cultural and environmental heritage, of the 2017-20 strategic plan of culture for the region of Puglia. Today he handles the design and development of slow and green cultural touristic products for public and private entities. With his cooperative he designed, planned and structured the Cammino Materano and the Via Traiana. He is the cofounder of the regional web of routes in Puglia as well as national routes in the south.
Attolico is an expert in on foot journeys. He has traversed many Spanish and Italian routes to then dedicate himself to routes in the latter. “Experiencing your own territory at 3.5km per half hour means rediscovering it – he says – Puglia is a land of routes. There is work in place, we invite hikers to come her with the spirit of pilgrimage. It’s important that everyone contributes with their own experience.“
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