Via Francigena

Via Francigena, the Confesercenti Parma 2020 Project

Redazione AEVF
Redazione AEVF

On July 14th, at the headquarters of Confesercenti Parma, the project of historical research and tourist development “La Via Francigena, spiritual way and way of trade and hospitality” was presented, which is part of the projects connected to the initiatives in course for “Parma 2020, Capital of Italian Culture“.

The research will cover the ancient route, in the section between the provinces of Parma and Piacenza and has to date received the official patronage of the Municipality of Parma, the Municipality of Piacenza, the Municipality of Berceto and the European Association of Via Francigena Ways, based in Fidenza. Contact is also underway with all the municipalities between the Sigerico di Calendasco Ford on the Po river, to reach the Cisa pass in the Apennines. In fact, historical research along the Via Francigena has now become an integrated cultural marketing project from the Piacenza area to Lunigiana.

To describe the project in detail were: Dr. Graziano Tonelli, director of the State Archive of Parma; Dr. Elena Pastorino, researcher, graduate in cultural heritage and archives, in charge of the research project; Stefano Cantoni, coordinator of the research project for Confesercenti. Also present were: Nicolò Maserati, President of Confesercenti Piacenza; Francesca Chittolini, President of Confesercenti Parma; Claudio Antolini, president of Confesercenti Fidenza; Massimo Tedeschi, President of the European Association of Via Francigena Ways; Alfredo Alessandrini, of the membership committee Emil Banca; Caterina Siliprandi, of the Borri Foundation; Natalia Maramotti, of Emilia Tourist Destination and Andrea Zanlari, Parma Chamber of Commerce President.

The challenge, launched by the coordinator of the Confesercenti project, Stefano Cantoni, is ambitious: 3/5 years to be able to bring the entire route from Piacenza to Fidenza and then to Berceto, on a route entirely reserved for pilgrims, walkers and cyclists, eliminating all routes on the roads. Once this is done, we will really be able to make the most of our touristic product and the service and support activities will be able to emerge and grow with the flows of travellers,  already growing today.

The research on archival and bibliographic sources will be aimed at the enhancement of the Parma and Piacenza areas crossed by the Via Francigena and by the alternative routes connected to it, through the construction of a travelling exhibition (for example, panels), a conference and the drafting of a publication with identification cards of the most significant places and their history, as well as through the production of important and relevant historical documentation.

Thematic sections of the project:

  • The Journey

The theme of the journey will be addressed by following the re-reading of the journals and travel diaries of foreign and Italian visitors as a guideline, who have had the opportunity to cross the Parma and Piacenza areas, particularly during the Farnese and Bourbon periods.

  • Not just the Francigena

In the Middle Ages, pilgrims were often forced to move from one street to another in the Middle Ages. This section also aims to identify and analyse the alternative routes linking the Parma and Piacenza plains and the sea, as well as to study historical cartography.

  • Places of prayer, rest and hospitality

In the various historical periods, the fortunes and adversities of countries and villages placed along the way were determined and conditioned by a bundle of roads that, over decades and centuries, have experienced very variable and different destinies. The research intends to identify the places where markets were held, where the main frontiers and customs barriers were located, but also the sites and buildings (not only religious) which gave hospitality to travellers, traders and pilgrims.


To witness the importance of this type of initiative, municipal officials were present at the meeting: the Mayor of Berceto (Luigi Lucchi), of Collecchio (Maristella Galli), of Terenzo (Bonardi Ornella), of Fidenza (Pia Bariggi), of Castel San Giovanni (Wendalina Cesario), and the Councilor for Culture of the Municipality of Piacenza (Jonathan Papamarenghi) and for the Diocese of Fidenza-Beni Cultural: Don Alessandro Frati and Belforti Luca. The representatives of the associations which produce extra virgin olive oil of Spezia and Lunigiana, of the Cantina Sociale di Gualtieri, and of the Pasticceria Quagliotti di Fornovo who offered the Torta del Pellegrino also attended.

For the realisation of the cultural and strictly scientific part of the project it will be drawn from the information that we received in the journals and in the chronicles of travellers, in the correspondence and in the correspondence, in commercial and merchant correspondence and from oral and written testimonies of wayfarers, pilgrims and religious, traders and businessmen, but also from the diplomats’ certificates, who will share the use of writing with the merchants.

In the historical documents, in the diaries and in the chronicles, as well as important testimonies on the unfolding of life in antiquity, also the more properly agri-food and gastronomic aspects (eg: mapping and cartographic elements of the crop organization), those of the court or of the palace (provisions of princes and nobles regarding the cultivations), those of the welfare institutions (shelters, colleges, schools, hospitals), those of associations of arts and crafts (statutes) and, above all, those of religious corporations, which have us left an unparalleled tradition of menus and recipes.

Source: Confesercenti Parma press release



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