This set of pedestrian and cycling routes celebrates its 20th anniversary. At the origin of its development, local initiatives in Italy, but also in France and Switzerland, which revived this route taken by pilgrims of the Middle Ages.
It’s up to an English archbishop of the Xe century, Sigéric de Canterbury, that we owe the best-known portion of the Via Francigena, recalls the Italian economic daily The sun 24 hours : back from a trip to Rome – more than 2,000 kilometers across Europe, of which about half “On Italian territory” –, the dignitary recorded in a diary the names of all “thes abbeys, houses and rest stops where he spent the night ”.
Thus was born the itinerary of Sigéric, which would follow during the following centuries the majority of the pilgrims of the Via Francigena (literally the “way which comes from France”, on which The sun underlines that traces are found from the year 876, that is to say before Sigéric’s trip). Less known than the roads of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, the Via Francigena has experienced a revival for twenty years.
As this newspaper relates, it is to Massimo Tedeschi, then mayor of the commune of Fidenza (in Emilia-Romagna), that we owe the creation, in April 2001, of the European Association of Vie Francigene (AEVF). Originally grouping together around thirty Italian municipalities, its perimeter “Expanded in 2005 to Great Britain, France and Switzerland”. The association now has 190 member municipalities, still according to The sun.
Its development offers a good example for everyday life “Cultural dialogues and microeconomic development to which this kind of route can give birth”.
Possibility of continuing to Puglia
Recognizable by their white and red colors, the road signs on Via Francigena now dot several regions of Italy. A route that is not limited to the north of Rome, since the southern portion of the Via Francigena has extended to the city of Santa Maria di Leuca, in the extreme south of Puglia.
To mark the twentieth anniversary of its creation, theAEVF is organizing a group march from Canterbury on June 15th. Objective: to rally Rome on September 10 and Santa Maria di Leuca on October 18 for the most motivated – subject, underlines The sun 24 hours, measures related to the Covid pandemic.
Up-to-date information on the “Road to Rome” event will be found throughout the year on the Via Francigena website.
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