Crossing the Via Francigena in the province of Parma is a journey in the kingdom of Parmigiano Reggiano. From June, three information signs will be found in Fidenza, Medesano and Berceto.
"You're in the Land of Parmigiano Reggiano": this is the message launched to tourists and pilgrims travelling along the cultural route of the Council of Europe. The initiative, created by Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano, the European Association of Via Francigena Ways (EAVF), Studio Guidotti and Fidenza, Medesano and Berceto, is part of the "Sosta & Gusta" project, thought of to allow pilgrims to get to know the unique wholesomeness and characteristics of Italian excellences known around the world.
"Integrating the Via Francigena with the areas it crosses and the enogastronomic products which characterise them is a crucial strategic choice for the strengthening and growth of this important route which crosses the heart of Europe. In Fidenza, we are deeply convinced that this is the right road to take and the touristic flow data of 2018 (+43,1% compared to 2017) prove this." Underlines Andrea Massari, mayor of Fidenza.
"We gladly joined this initiative which enhances the greatness of Parmigiano Reggiano and the Via Francigena, important promotional vehicle for our lands, products and tourism in general - says Michele Giovanelli, mayor of Medesano - The sign has been erected in piazza Marconi, where the town hall can also be found, a central area where pilgrims pass - attentive observers and first-hand ambassadors of taste."
"They say that publicity is the spirit of commerce and so a sign advertising the supreme Parmigiano Reggiano, known all over the world, just shows the success of the Via Francigena and the potential of an increase in the number of pilgrims we attract each year. I love and approve of this initiative also because pilgrims are consumers of this nutritious and natural product." Highlights Luigi Lucchi, mayor of Berceto.
"This ambitious project, born in 2017 from the historic collaboration with the Consorzio, is an excellent example of twinning two protagonists of healthy living: the Via Francigena, UNESCO heritage candidate, and Parmigiano Reggiano, universally known as a product of incomparable quality and a very helpful ally for pilgrims in their constant need for energy." Says Massimo Tedeschi, EAVF president.
"For over 900 years, Parmigiano Reggiano has accompanied pilgrims along the Via Francigena - confirms Nicola Bertinelli, president of Consorzio Parmigiano Reggiano - Little has changed along the route since then: Parmigiano Reggiano is born from the same three ingredients - milk, salt and rennet - without any preservatives or additives. Thanks to the 'Sosta & Gusta' project, pilgrims can now rest at our cheese factories, tasting a product which, as well as being delicious, is also very digestible, full of minerals and naturally lactose-free."
The first part of the project involved the cheese factories which would welcome visitors and explain the phases of work. Now we want to broaden the initiative, identifying rest and sales points of Parmigiano Reggiano close to the Francigena in the section from Fidenza to the Passo della Cisa. Pilgrims will be able to taste the cheese, savouring the different aging and biodiversity of the cheese (Vacca Rossa, Vacca Bruna, Bianca Modenese, Montagna, Halal and Kosher) without diverting from the route.
To help pilgrims find these points, a map of the Fidenza - Passo della Cisa section has been created, with recommendations of the various addresses. Another useful tool is the European Association of Via Francigena Ways (EAVF) website and app, as well as in the pages dedicated to the Sosta & Gusta project.