In July the European Association of the Vie Francigene, in collaboration with local operators and experts, realised a very important task, to verify and monitor the route of the Via Francigena in the south in Puglia, on the tract from Monti Dauni to Brindisi.
The work, carried out by Puglia Promozione (The “Monti Dauni: valorizzazione integrata delle eccellenze di carattere culturale, religioso, paesaggistico ed enogastronomico”), the regional tourism agency, consists of tracing a walkable route for the benefit of pilgrims that undertake the Via Francigena from Rome to Jerusalem.
The objective of the task is to define a tract that takes walking access into consideration, with signs indicating the intermediate legs chosen based on the presence of the necessary services available as well as the medium length of the walk, which should be no more than 30km.
The route was prepared and verified by a group of 5 technicians that subdivided the work load across the span of over one month. The first task was the arrangement of a “little chart”, or in other words, through the use of regional maps and of a cartographic software, the creation of a linear route, avoiding tarmac tracts and paths that touched places of touristic interest as much as possible.
Later, the entire route was traversed with pedal-assisted mountain bikes, well-equipped for the structure of the tract, fitted with the GPS Garmin eTrex 35 touch, action cam Garmin VIRB, Sony and Canon G5X compact cameras, the iPhone 6 smartphone and Huawei P9, with voice recognition.
Lastly, the critical points that needed reoccurring in-depth analysis, such as trails of difficulty or high speed or congestive road crossings, were travelled along on foot with a car standing by, to verify the routes effective accessibility on foot.
At the end of this task the team used state-of-the-art cartographic software for the definitive draft of the tract and the waypoints that indicate the crossroad signs, points of interest and, in general, the main support services for pilgrims.
The project, strongly desired and supported by the region of Puglia, strategically slides into the greater activity of valorisation of the Via Francigena as the main long-distance walk in Italy and, above all, hopes to be able to certify the Via Francigena of the South as a cultural route of the Council of Europe.