The first meeting of the “Routes4U” project on the Cultural Routes of the Macro Adriatic-Ionian Region took place on June 6th in Venice.
In the presence of the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, and Stefano Dominioni, Director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes, as well as representatives of the 8 countries involved.
The project aims to reinforce the presence of European cultural routes within regional development policies in terms of social cohesion, sustainable tourism and territorial development. An important meeting, during which some good practices of the European network of the Via Francigena were presented.
The Vie Francigene network is indeed a reference on a European level in terms of management, vision and governance. This was reiterated by Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni in her opening speech, citing the example of the Via Francigena for the pilot “sosta e gusta” project and for the management of the network with municipalities and regions, in order to give strength to the network.
“The “Sosta e Gusta” project invites pilgrims to experience the journey from an experiential point of view to discover Parmigiano Reggiano, and other foods and drinks along the way – explained Battaini-Dragoni – emphasising the combination of agriculture, culture and gastronomy for the development of routes. The Via Francigena is also an important example from another point of view: it has created a sustainable financial network of over 200 municipalities in France, Italy, Switzerland and England, which contribute to the cultural route through association fees. A form of participation, combined with a source of significant and stable funding, could be an example to follow”.
The “Routes4U” project for the promotion of regional development through the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe is a joint program of the Enlarged Partial Agreement of the Council of Europe on Cultural Routes and the European Union (European Commission / DG REGIO). The 30 month project aims to strengthen regional development, cultural cooperation and social cohesion in the Union’s macro-regions (www.coe.int/routes4u).