The Via Francigena
The route follows the path taken by Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, who travelled to Rome in 990 to meet Pope John XV and receive the investiture pallium. The 79 stages recorded in the Archbishop’s succinct diary of his journey have made it possible to retrace the key stops on this, the shortest route between Canterbury and Rome, which first became known as the "Via Francigena" in 876.
The Via Francigena honours the shared European cultural heritage both as an expression of cultural diversity and identity, by linking together into a single itinerary of outstanding interest a network of routes along which European identity and unity has been created through the centuries.
To rediscover this 1800 km journey through England, France, Switzerland and Italy along the paths followed by pilgrims en route to Rome, onward to Jerusalem or to Santiago de Compostella, the European Association of Vie Francigene (EAVF) was founded on 22nd April 2001. EAVF, as a carrier network, can rely on a partnership between European institutions and local authorities committed to the valorisation of the millenary pilgrimage route in order to promote measures for the development of the Via Francigena as a genuine tourist and cultural product, not only in view of its cultural importance, but also in relation to its potential role as a catalyst for local development, with an emphasis on sustainability.