Thursday, August 23, 2012



With the support and assistance of our Friends and Friends Associations, AIVF is now actively promoting​​ the historic pilgrim routes to Rome by working with guided historic VF route projects!


In Italy 2012

March 24
Archaeological walk from Campagnano to Cesano (9 km) guided by Vittorio through the excavations of Baccano (the first Roman station excavated 30 years ago is now practicable). It will be suggested again for the Italian Enviroment Day (FAI) in 2013. The passage of pilgrims will keep it clean - please do your part.
April 24
National VF Day: Etrusco-Roman VF between Monterosi and Cesano (25 km), a guided walk with Aldo that only met 7-8 cars. And on May 5 done again with a dozen enthusiastic participants from a Roman Health Unit.
June 17
The ancient Etrusco-Roman VF from Veio to Isola Farnese-La Storta (the Via Veientana-which leads to Cesano), was organized by the 20th district of Rome on the occasion of "VF walks in the parks of Lazio" sponsored by the Lazio Region.
July 1
A variant of the Ivrea-Santhia Roman road from Cella di Borgo d'Ale to Azeglio, along the south shore of Lake Viverone (presence of prehistoric lake dwellings) with Mario and Valter, Friends of Santhià. The missing sections are on schedule for the coming months.
September 26
Exploring Cesano: presentation of the VF from Monterosi + walking + visit + aperitif at the Osteria del Borgo as part of the VF Evenings (Tuscany-Lazio).

In Switzerland:

October 12-14   
In Romainmotier (Autumn Fair and Cowbell Market) the ancient Sigeric route from Jougne (22km) will be organised by VF FRIENDS Francis and Jeannine.


"A big THANK YOU and BRAVO to EVERYONE (pilgrims, associations, public and private institutions) for their effective and generous work" says Pierre-Yves (CH), who has walked again, after 11 years, the Tuscany-Lazio VF route: signposting, the pleasure of meeting other pilgrims (almost daily), the satisfaction of no longer being considered crazy, but recognized and supported as a pilgrim, improvements to the track and work completed (sidewalks, paths).  The only remaining regret is the crowded meeting (for the Testimonium) in the hall of St. Peter’s Basilica, but this problem will be solved by the second reception centre in S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini.
Finally the AIVF dream. 

The Iceland-Basle-Vevey Nikulas route (1154), is being brought to fruition between June and October 2012 by Nino who is fully supported by the AIVF.   Eva, our coordinator in Germany, has improved the route. You can follow Nino on the blog, (rediscovered route) and support him by walking some of the way.

He will be very pleased! The TOPOFRANCIGENA CH and DORMIFRANCIGENA CH will be invaluable to them but some other pilgrims are already taking the route and Father Quéloz of Courrendlin is thrilled. 
From Stade there is another route to Rome, that of Abbot Albert von Stade (1252), which passes through East Germany and is already well structured thanks to a recently-formed association of German and Italian communes.

In Switzerland (warning!) watch your budget: the parish of Sainte-Croix no longer receives pilgrims, and accommodation between Auberson and Romainmotier (50 km) is expensive! The Jougne-Romainmotier variant (22 km) is cheaper.
DANGER on the official route (marked No. 70) Martigny―Bovernier: none of the planned improvements have been made. Hubert Moulin and Francis Geere suggest an easy and safe alternative from Martigny-Bourg (Ruelle de Mont Chemin), Chemin-Dessus (2h), Vens―Sembrancher (1.5h). See NEW VIA map on website.

In France: The VF 145 GR is under construction, the CDRP (
Comité Départemental Randonnée Pédestre) is trying some variants to make it closer to history and, especially, to pilgrims.

In Italy: June 2012. According to pilgrims passing through the Aosta Valley (Chatillon area), the VF situation is not very good.

Warning! Cristina Menghini, who marked the entire Italian official VF with red & white adhesive tape in 2011, compiled a list of all the difficulties on her website This moved the AIVF to look for solutions among the historic routes. Many of them are mentioned in the VF guide "La VF, le Chemin de Sigeric du Grand St. Bernard à Rome" 2012. They are shorter, pleasanter, smoother and mostly on quieter roads. This AIVF research is supported by Franco Alessandri of the "Il Pellegrino di Firenze" association who is making GPS verifications to produce a map of historical VF throughout Tuscany.

The Ivrea-Santhià Azeglio path (short, level, shaded) is already used by about 20% of pilgrims who say they love it.

The Sarzana to Luni path (short, level) with accommodation possible at Camping Marina 3b (5 km), is closest to the medieval route to the village of St. Maurice and its harbour (no more visible along the river Magra) where once pilgrims embarked for Spain, or Jerusalem. It is possible to reach the Santa Croce monastery (by boat because bridge has collapsed), after which the VF follows the coast to Marina di Massa and then winds back up into the Tuscan hills before Pietrasanta.

On leaving S. Quirico, Franco was thrilled to be walking on the paved path used by Sigeric to Gallina (4 km shorter than the official VF). Back in the valley, after Abbadia S. Salvatore, a high path parallel to the Via Cassia leads from Voltole to Ponte a Rigo,  From Centeno to Acquapendente 8 km, of which 3.4 are dangerous, to get beyond the Gregoriano bridge, still along the Via Cassia. Unfortunately, the province of Viterbo is not interested in VF or in its safety. Not many are the pilgrims willing to make the 10 km safe detour via Proceno.   Upon request, AIVF will provide its members with updates on the TOPO and the official MiBAC route as long as we are informed or able to get the information.

Joint initiative: AIVF and University of Siena (Department of Archaeology Territory) have promoted the "Places of the Heart" petition from the FAI (Italian Environment Foundation) to vote for the ancient via Francigena route from S. Quirico to Centeno: add your vote (it appears immediately) and add your photos and comments on the internet (commune of Abbadia S.Salvatore, name: Via Francigena). We need hundreds and thousands of signatures so add yours now! The many postal votes will be added to October 30.

The AIVF has launched three SOS's for the historic VF. 500m of the route at Monteroni d'Arbia (south of Siena) is paved (even if it is white); a bio-mass factory 400m away threatens to the rest of Sigeric's site of Voltole; Cesano risks losing its authenticity through a useless development project (sidewalks, bike paths, etc.), thank you to FRIENDS who have written to the mayors. Lets join forces to prevent these massacres - difficult but not impossible.

Now a DOUBLE welcome for pilgrims in Rome. AIVF and ALP (Ad Limina Petri-CEI Italian Episcopal Commission) were invited by Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi (ORP the largest religious tour operator) to coordinate their actions. The church and oratory of S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini (opposite St Angelo Castle) offers a spiritual welcome 7 days a week with masses and a stop at the Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene (the recently-identified precious 16th C. relic containing her foot). It also provides information about the Testimonium (rules for obtaining them from the ORP and St. Peter's Basilica will be better coordinated and defined in the coming months) as well as information about very economical accommodation in religious communities, etc.

Since 2001, 2913 (on 10/07/2012), VF pilgrims have been received and are recorded in the Pilgrims' Register at St. Peter's, which also hosts millions of other pilgrims and tourists.  S. Giovanni dei Fiorentini is a boon for VF pilgrims.


Contacts with AEVF (European VF Association), chaired by Mr Tedeschi, were strengthened through AIVF participation at the general meetings in Abbadia S. Salvatore on 29/10/11 and Martigny, which was attended by the new director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes (IEIC), Penelope Denu (14/04/12).
These occasions have highlighted the AIVF's commitment to promoting the historic routes and introducing the new 2012 VF guide (Ed Lepère). The reviews of the guide and of St Pilgrim, between Myth and History will be reported in the AEVF magazine "Via Francigena". The latest AEVF idea is a VF campervan itinerary.

Associations-Friends of the AIVF - there was a fruitful meeting 2-3 April organized by the Santhià Friends of the VF which clarified the characteristics of the official VF route north of Lake Viverone and the one suggested by the AIVF to the south.  AIVF President, Adelaide, met the Ivrea Company of Sigeric, which will hopefully lead to a real collaboration on the Roman-medieval VF routes. Santhià and VF Friends of Abbadia SS are strongly committed to seeking Roman-medieval pilgrim routes and are engaging with local residents to find paths and for local maintenance and signposting. The AIVF thanks them for their energy and enthusiasm for promoting the historical landscape along the VF.
The associations are gradually coming together. Thus, Alberto Alberti of Rete dei Cammini associated the AIVF with the awarding of a medal of recognition for VF activities by the City of Rome, and the AIVF has been promoting the VF route in Insugherata Park, the gateway to Rome. For guided tours, the AIVF can count on the professionalism of Aldo Romani-CAI (Italian Alpine Club) and Vittorio Paielli Altair-Rome.


Cesano Borgo fortificato sulla VF  - How to discover, thanks to the VF, a hidden medieval village,  the second AIVF VF scientific book, Cesano Borgo fortificato sulla VF by A. Trezzini and Luisa Chiumenti has been published.
DORMIFRANCIGENA B Italy - Another big AIVF job in time and financial terms has been the publication of the 4th ed. of the only reliable, accommodation guide, the DORMIFRANCIGENA B Italy. Some more communes in France have asked to use the European VF logo, owned by the AIVF.


Our FRIENDS-pilgrims, 1490 of them since 1998, come from 26 different countries and are mostly French, Dutch and Swiss. For those who wish to be helpful, tell others about the riches of this historical route in the footsteps of Sigeric. Without the pilgrims, the VF would not exist.  Along with the pilgrims, the AIVF would like to express its sincere appreciation to the staff of volunteers, our coordinators, Virginia, Hubert and Eva, and our translators Carol  and Margot.

AIVF's President, Adelaide Trezzini is always pleased to meet our FRIENDS-pilgrims when she is in Rome.  If you have a PROBLEM, call us. We will do our best to help you. 06 85302675 / 06 916507710