Seeking World Heritage Status for the Francigena Way in Italy

February 13, 2017

Italy is a diamond: everybody knows that. It’s basically a country where almost everything is precious – every culinary culture, every wine, every landscape, every work of art. So it’s absolutely not surprising that Italy is seeking the UNESCO’s World Heritage Status for its leg of the Francigena Way, the worldwide famous pilgrim route that once linked Canterbury, in England, to Rome – via Switzerland and France.

According to the news, there are at least seven Italian regions that are backing the application and are fighting to obtain the UNESCO protection for their part of the famous hiking route. The Italian leg of the Francigena Way starts in the Alps, then winds through Tuscan hills and olive groves, and finally reaches the Eternal City, Rome. The path was first made famous by Sigeric the Serious at the end of tenth century.

The Italian regions involved in the proposal explain the “exceptional importance in terms of both culture and nature” of the pilgrim route, adding that it is currently underfunded and largely neglected, and therefore needs “protection for present and future generations”.

Nicola Zingaretti, president of the Lazio Region, adds: “Italy does not have gold mines, but it has an enormous heritage of hamlets, traditions, and wine and food. It's an immense wealth which the whole world envies and wants a part of. The route is an opportunity for development”.

Today, as per tradition, some pilgrims still used to follow the Sigeric’s ancient footsteps by traveling on horseback, by bicycle or even on foot on the Francigena Way – which, in a certain way, represents an Italian version of the worldwide famous Way of St. James pilgrims' route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

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