The Southern Route

The idea of a great Cultural Itinerary of the Council of Europe, which, through the Mezzogiorno, gazes to the Orient and in the direction of Jerusalem, means to work on a project of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue between the Mediterranean shores.

The pilgrimage from Rome to Jerusalem has been performed since the 1st century A.D., becoming a strengthened practice from the 4th century, when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. The ancient via Appia and then the via Appia Traiana were the main roads used to reach the harbours in Puglia. However, with the fall of the Roman Empire, interior paths started to be used, which will be then called “Vie Francigene”.

Boosted by EAVF, réseau porteur of the Via Francigena as entitled by its mandate by the Council of Europe, the Coordination of the Regions of the South was founded and – along with the local administrations involved – it has been called to launch a plan with coordinated actions.
With the technical aid of Società Geografica Italiana (Italian Geographical Society) a “candidacy Dossier” has been written.

The Dossier received the approval of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on the Cultural Itineraries of the Council of Europe, on the occasion of the notice extension of “Cultural Itinerary of the Council of Europe” to the Via Francigena of the South.

STATUS: The Governing Board, gathered in Luxembourg on the 28th/29th April 2015, acknowledged the “candidacy Dossier”. The evaluation is underway and is based on the determined rules for the assignment certification, which are contained in the Resolution of the Committee of the Ministers of the Council of Europe (2010)52.

VISION: the certification extension to the Vie Francigene in the South will contribute to strengthen the democratic aspect of cultural exchange and tourism. Together with the structuring of the itinerary – layout definition, safeguarding, signage – it is necessary to have the active participation of local and regional Institutions, Universities and professional organisations, networks and associations, dioceses, parishes and ecclesiastic entities. This will allow the promotion of the majestic heritage of history, art, culture, and faith of the Mezzogiorno.