The ‘Tuscan Via Francigena‘ will be the first homogeneous touristic product launched since the regional law came into force.
To take stock of the progress of the routes, maintenance, touristic value, accommodation and coordination with other routes, the last cycle of the ‘Our Francigena‘ meetings took place, on Friday 23rd February, in the Auditorium del Consiglio regionale of Florence.
The initiative, organised by Regione Toscana, the managing director of the Via Francigena president, Toscana Promozione Turistica and Fondazione Sistema Toscana, in collaboration with the European Association of the Vie Francigene, was launched last November; five stops (Fucecchio, Pontremoli, Siena, Lucca and Florence) to include all those involved in the structuring of the touristic product.
State of the route. The walking route has now been established and will soon be approved as a definite track. The cycle route has been marked and the last critical points are currently being verified before the final route is approved; the region has recently made 315 thousand euros available to put towards the signage and security of the route, works should conclude by the summer. The bridleway is at a similar stage, where some problems in the Cisa-Lucca tract are being solved through taking advantage of the Cammino del Volto Santo; the work for the vertical and horizontal signage (in accordance with RET-Rete Escursionistica Toscana-standards) has been assigned to the University of Florence. This will mean a georeferenced update will be necessary by the end of 2018.
Homogeneous Touristic Product of Tuscany. 39 municipalities in 4 distinct areas with four leading municipalities: North (Pontremoli), Central North (Lucca), Central South (Fucecchio), South (Siena). All those involved have signed an agreement and the leaders are currently formalising operative protocols with Toscana Promozione Turistica (promotion) and Fondazione Sistema Toscana (web communication). The aim of the agreement is to enable: the practice of hospitality and touristic information on a supra-local level, periodical maintenance, the promotion and access of the touristic product, and the monitoring and analysis of touristic flow. An operative and coordinating group will be established for a complete, unitary promotion of the product, as well as a three-year plan which will foresee its inclusion in sector fairs and the realisation of events and campaigns.
Maintenance. The walking route has been categorised into four categories: roads, white ways, dirt tracks and trails. For each of these necessary maintenance activities have been identified as well as implementation methods. 360 thousand euros have been made available for usual maintenance over the three-year period.
Touristic Monitoring of the Product. This is the tool available for the touristic product, with tasks including the constant valuing of sustainability and competitiveness of hospitality and territorial organisation through the inclusion of all those who operate in the area. Irpet will periodically supply survey statistics and analysis regarding the product and its supply and demand with details of medium and short-term periods, of the increase of presence generated by the main national and international markets, medium tourist spending, data on added value and employment benchmark analysis.
Tourism Infrastructure. The main aim is to create a hostel network which allows bookings through an integrated system and digital reservations. An information activity will soon begin to make people aware of the typology introduced by the new regional law on tourism, that is excursionist shelter, a normative tool which enables the creation of hospitality along routes with simple and specific managerial rules. Currently 15 hostels are financed by Par-Fas 2007-2013, with a total of 487 beds. A reconnaissance of religious structures which offer free accommodation for pilgrims has almost been concluded. Lastly, minimum standards for private accommodation will soon be formalised.
Coordination and connections with other routes. The completion of the project as a whole also includes the connection with other routes, such as the Via del Volto Santo, Via Romea Strata and Via Romea Germanica. The preparation of a masterplan is also proceeding, with rules and methods for all those who, along the lines of the Francigena, want to organise a route on foot, by bike or on horseback. The document will identify the security and viability characteristics as well as organisational, maintenance and accommodation rules for the route. These potential routes include the Vie di Francesco, the Via degli Dei and the Cammini Etruschi.
Source: Toscana Notizie