Monday, October 27, 2008

A new VF Route through Italy

Visit: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/via-francigena/ for up-to-date news on the Via Francigena.

Alberto Conti joined the VF Yahoo group this week. This is his introduction:

I joined the group because Via Francigena is my passion, and my main job application: I work on walking and cycling routes, analyzing the country, walking on routes recording GPS tracks, processing them to obtain guides, maps and information useful for my customers. In 2005-2006 I worked for the European Association of Via Francigena (AEVF) collecting material, verifying on the ground the complete route (walking and biking) and preparing the maps published on website www.viafrancigena.eu.

From 2006 to 2008 I worked for Italian Culture Ministry on route upgrade, cooperating with local agencies and municipalities to improve safety and to go as far as possible from traffic roads. The result is a new guide, published free of charge on internet with GPS and Google Earth tracks, on the following link: http://www.librari.beniculturali.it/generaNews.jsp?id=98 . The route shall be definitively approved by the evaluation board (Consulta), within the end of 2008, and then it will become the official route for the government, on which they will install signposts etc.

The headquarter of my company, called itinerAria, is in a country house in Roppolo, in Piemonte, on Via Francigena. We have space and rooms, so I am pleased to host pilgrims free of charge, if they contact me in advance and I am not traveling. I know all Italian route very well, so please do not hesitate to contact me to have up to date information on the Via Francigena. Buon Cammino, Alberto Conte
itinerAria www.itineraria.eu


In response to a query re maps and routes, Alberto had this to say:

The AEVF maps have been replaced by the maps and road-book you can download by the following link: http://www.itineraria.eu/wp-content/gpx-viewer.php?gpxfile=http://www.itineraria\ .eu/wp-content/uploads/francigena/gpx/Francige_index0.xml By clicking on the pilgrims you can open more detailed maps of 5 different areas of Via Francigena: clicking again on the pilgrim you can choose to download the road book in pdf, the GPX track or the KMZ. The maps are about 1:25.000, but they are not very detailed because are obtained by Garmin vector maps. I hope that next year new paper topo maps will be prepared.

I went onto his website and although it has an English link, there is no English on the site as yet.

I also opened the link he gave and clicked on the pilgrims and downloaded one of the 'road-books' - a pdf. file with 10 pages of instructions and directions for using gps and other info.

I wonder how this new route affects the existing guide books by Monica D'Atti and Franco Cinti as well as the Engloish guide books by Lightfoot?



I also found this link for a Via Leona Romea trail which is a 300kms route that starts at Venice and connects with the VF at Altopascio
http://www.amicidisantiago.it/romea/leona.htm

In June 2008 a group of pilgrims walked the path specifically to check the feasibility. The consensus was that that the route identified is feasible and interesting, indeed it could hardly have been imagined that in this part of Italy so urbanized, industrialized inhabited, that there could be paths so quiet.

During the journey they added yellow arrows (where possible) to assist those who will come later. Moreover, the path was also created with GPS for those who want to use this modern guidance system.
They talk about a lack of signs, infrastructure and accommodation but hope that the popularity of the trail will grow so that the relative authorities will consider supporting the route.

1 comment:

pedals and paws said...

With reference to the Lightfoot guides we are presently preparing the 2009 edition, and have been in touch with Alberto for the last several months with a view to rationalising our route (an amalgam of: AIVF, AEVF, Pisoni, Cinti and other sources)with the work of the ministry.
There are obvious advantages in having a single signed route that is safe, well marked, free of obstructions and with the opportunity to develop community accommodation that has been so often lacking or too expensive.
We will be meeting with Alberto in Roppolo on November 17/18 to undertake a detailed comparison of routes and determine where possible a common solution. I understand from Alberto that the GPS files are still subject to change particularly south of Pavia.
I have made a comparison of the current GSB to Pavia data with "our" route. The "official" route does an excellent job of keeping off road and I think finding some great scenery. However, nothing is for free, there is about a 10% increase in distance and significantly more climbing on mountain tracks, while the route bypasses some key points of interest and Sigeric locations.
We, and I am sure Alberto, would welcome input from past and future users on how to rate the relative importance of these issues.
For completeness: I understand that Mrs Adelaide Trezzini of the AIVF has approached the Secretary General of the AEVF on the same subject.
We and I am sure Alberto will post feed-back after our meeting and maintain the spirit of collaboration.

Babette Gallard and Paul Chinn