rurAllure project: An opportunity for sustainable tourism


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Every year, thousands of pilgrims travel on the cultural routes of Europe seeking to live new spiritual and cultural experiences. The pilgrimage phenomenon contributes to sustainable tourism and generates substantial impact, with thousands of new acquaintances and millions of euros spent in pilgrim and tourism services   But that benefit is felt in specific places only; it is not noticeable all along the way and it does not penetrate into the rural areas nearby.   rurAllure aims to overcome this situation, thanks to the support of the European Horizon 2020 program.

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Thermal Heritage on the Ways to Rome

I love Francigena Thermal by rurAllure:
San Quirico d’Orcia - Bagno Vignoni - Castiglione d’Orcia

I love Francigena Thermal by rurAllure:
San Gimignano - Gambassi Terme

Thermal Heritage in Tuscany

On 28 May, the rurAllure project and the European Association of the Via Francigena Ways (AEVF), in collaboration with the municipalities of Castiglione d’Orcia and San Quirico d’Orcia, organised a free walk “I love Francigena thermal by rurAllure” along stage 36 of the Via Francigena, where the hikers discovered the magnificent thermal springs of Bagno Vignoni and Parco dei Mulini.

On 29 May, the rurAllure project and the European Association of the Via Francigena Ways (AEVF), in collaboration with the municipalities of San Gimignano, Gambassi Terme, Proloco Gambassi Terme and The Gambassi Experience, organised a free walk “I love Francigena thermal by rurAllure” along stage 31 of the Via Francigena, to discover thermal heritage of Gambassi Terme.

On 30 August 2021 a technical visit to this area was conducted by the team of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF), in charge of the rurAllure communication and a partner in the Thermal heritage pilot.

Natural heritage on the Way of Mary

Discovering the Way of Mary

Experience the Way of Mary

Natural heritage sites along pilgrimage routes offer ideal possibilities for inward-looking yet studying the earth of prehistoric times, its current flora and fauna and activities of preserving it. These characteristics fit well also into the concept of “slow tourism” getting away from the fast pace of everyday life. One of the rurAllure pilots focuses on the Mária Út, a spiritual way used since the Middle Ages with numerous sites of natural, religious and built cultural heritage.

The Way of Mary is one of the most important spiritual and cultural pilgrimage routes of Central Europe. Its two main routes form a cross over 9 countries: Austria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina meeting in its terminus – the Romanian town of Csíksomlyó. The route valorises Christian values of human encounters and spiritual experiences.

The Way of Mary in Central Europe attracts spiritual and religious pilgrims on their travel to the famous shrine in Csíksomlyó, Romania. A route, full of natural and cultural discoveries, allows to pause everyday life and take time for meditation, silence and calm. The goal of rurAllure is to build bridges between different pilgrimage routes and connect them together to allow a broader experience for pilgrims and walkers.

rurAllure General Meeting in Slovakia and Hungary, 5 - 8 September 2022

Study Tour and Stakeholder Meeting in Esztergom
on 7 September 2022

Study Tour and Stakeholder Meeting in Hungary,
8 September 2022

On 7 September, the participants had a chance to explore the Way of Mary during a technical visit to the pilgrimage city of Esztergom. Arriving there by bass boats from the Slovak side, the participants were greeted by representatives of local institutions. After the discussion on the recently released book Dishes from the Cardinal’s table, published by the Archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest, the team had a fantastic sightseeing walk.

On 8 September, the project partners from The Way of Mary, Via Francigena, Romea Strata, Via Romea Germanica, Camino Xacobeo and Saint Olav, met in Budapest to present their work and activities and exchange ideas with local representatives of public and religious authorities. After the discussion the participants had a tour in Budapest, visited its landmarks and learnt about the history of the city.

General Assembly of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF), Canterbury (UK), 27 April 2022

Interview with Ms Dawn Champion

Interview with Ms Dawn Champion, the Projects Lead at the British Pilgrimage Trust, rurAllure associate partner, on the occasion of the General Assembly of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways (EAVF), held in Canterbury, England, on 27 April 2022.

International Conference on Cultural Routes, Venice (Italy),18 February 2022

Interview with Mr Stefano Dominioni

Interview with Ms Luisella Pavan-Woolfe

Interview with Mr Massimo Tedeschi

Interview with Mr Stefano Dominioni, the Director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, on the occasion of the International Conference on Cultural Routes, held on 18 February 2022. The event was organized in the framework of the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe together with the Council of Europe Office in Venice.

International Conference on Cultural Routes
of the Council of Europe in Italy

The International Conference on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe in Italy was held on 18 February 2022. The event was organized in the framework of the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe together with the Council of Europe office in Venice, directed by Ms Luisella Pavan-Woolfe.

Interview with Ms Luisella Pavan-Woolfe, the Director of the Council of Europe Office in Venice, on the occasion of the International Conference on Cultural Routes, held on 18 February 2022 in Venice.

Interview with Mr Massimo Tedeschi, president of the European Association of the Via Francigena ways EAVF , on the occasion of the International Conference on Cultural Routes, held on 18 February 2022 in Venice.

rurAllure General Meeting, Padua (Italy), 27 - 29 January 2022

Interview with Mr Riccardo Mortandello

Interview with Ms Susana Reboreda Morillo

Interview with Ms Réka Vas

Interview with Mr Riccardo Mortandello, Mayor of Montegrotto Terme (Veneto).

Interview with Ms Susana Reboreda Morillo, Professor of Ancient History at the University of Vigo and General Coordinator of rurAllure project.

Interview with Ms Réka Vas, Cultural heritage specialist at KIFÜ.

Interview with Mr Jacopo Turchetto and Ms Aleksandra Grbić

Interview with Mr Ján Lang

Interview with Ms Simona Spinola

Interview with Mr Jacopo Turchetto, Researcher of Ancient Topography at the University of Padua, and Ms Aleksandra Grbić, Coordinator of the Romea Strata in Italy.

Interview with Mr Ján Lang, Associate Professor at the Institute of Informatics, Information Systems and Software Engineering FIIT STU.

Interview with Ms Simona Spinola, rurAllure Communication Specialist for EAVF (European Association of the  Via Francigena Ways).

Interview with Mr Miguel Gómez Heras

Interview with Ms Viera Borðoy

Interview with Mr Martín López Nores

Interview with Mr Miguel Gómez Heras, Lecturer at the Geology and Geochemistry Department, Autonomous University of Madrid.

Interview with Ms Viera Borðoy, Project manager at FIIT STU.

Interview with Mr Martín López Nores, Deputy Director of the Center for Research in Telecommunication Technologies atlanTTic at the University of Vigo.

Interview with Mr Uxío Novo

Interview with Mr Ole Edward Wattne

Interview with Ms Chiara Destro and Ms Tiziana Privitera

Interview with Mr Uxío Novo, Coordinator for participation of the A Coruña University in the rurAllure project.

Interview with Mr Ole E. Wattne, Assistant Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Interview with Ms Chiara Destro and Ms Tiziana Privitera, Archaeologists and Founders of Associazione Lapis.

Interview with Ms Maddalena Bassani and Ms Maria Bergamo

Interview with Ms Maddalena Bassani, Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology at the Iuav University of Venice, and Ms Maria Bergamo, Research Fellow at the Iuav University of Venice.

Miguel Anxo López

FUN Technical Assistant for Heritage Management and Disseminations. Filmmaker and Writer he has studies on Cinema Direction and Laws. Guide to Novoneyra’s House Museum.

María González Borrajo

Responsible for Administrative task & management. Diploma in Social Work, specialized in Public administration and inclusion. More than 10 years of experience in management of various social care programs with different groups, developing and implementing projects of sociocultural social intervention.

Lía Pérez Domínguez

FUN Technician for Tourism Strategies and Internationalization. Phd in Journalism & Media and Postgraduate in Tourism Destination Marketing. More than 10 years of work experience in local tourism policies and strategies. Comms Officer for the European Cultural Route of Historic Thermal Towns (EHTTA) between 2016 and 2018 and certified SICTED Agent.

Cibrao Cabo

FUN Technician on Cultural Management. Phd in History and Postgraduate in Digitization of Cultural Heritage. Trained on Heritage Management, Museums and Archaeology he is responsible for the management of the FUN Archives and guide at Novoneyra’s House Museum.

Bruno Arias

FUN Junior Technical Assistant on Communications. Degree in Audiovisual Communications. Graphic design, audiovisual contents and DigitalMarketing tools.

Branca Novo Rey

FUN Arts Director and Member of FUN Board. Technician on Cultural Management. Phd on Art Education and Political Sciences and Master in Digital Publishing. Between 2015 and 2019 she was the Deputy Mayor of the City Council of Santiago de Compostela and Cultural Policies Councillor and since 2019 opposition councillor.

Ana Lombardero

FUN Technician on Sustainability and Environmental Awareness. PhD in Biology and MSC on Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. Experienced in Environmental Education (formal and non-formal, she has volunteered with organizations including the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology and the Doñana Biological Station (CSIC).

Silvia Cavinato

Silvia has a Master’s degree in History of Arts and Conservation of Artistic Heritage, obtained at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. From 2009 to 2012 she worked at the Diocesan Pilgrimages Office with the task of organizing pilgrimages to the Middle East, managing the collection of books “Bible and the Holy Land”, organizing the international cultural event “Lymph of the Olive” and to coordinate volunteers. Since 2012 she has worked at the Girolomoni Cultural Foundation in the Marche Region, with administrative tasks, organization of events and editing of the magazine Mediterraneo Dossier dedicated to biology, religion and current affairs. Since 2019, she has worked for the Homo Viator – San Teobaldo Foundation where she has the task of managing pilgrimages, the communication of the Foundation and supporting the Romea Strata project.

Raimondo Sinibaldi

Raimondo Sinibaldi has been the Director and the legal representative of the Pilgrimage Office of the Diocese of Vicenza for ten years and the President and the legal representative of the Homo Viator Foundation, wanted by the Diocese of Vicenza. For thirty years he has accompanied groups of pilgrims in Biblical Lands and in significant places of pilgrimage, such as Rome, Santiago de Compostela, Częstochowa, Lourdes, etc. In particular, as far as the Holy Land (Israel-Palestine) is concerned, he has the official guide certification issued by the competent ecclesiastical authorities, having completed studies in the Theological Faculty of Vicenza and at the Jesuit Community in Jerusalem. He contributed to the ideation and promotion of the Romea Strata project.

Luisa dal Prà

Romea Strata coordinator. has a Bachelor’s Degree in “Forest and Environmental Sciences and Technologies”. She worked at the “Regional Forest Service” in Veneto Region managing the administration of projects, as Director of extinguishing forest fire department and teaching courses in the
environmental sector. Since 2015 she works at the Pilgrimage office (now Homo Viator Foundation) managing the Romea Strata project. She traced the route, georeferenced it and collaborated in the realization of European projects for the Office.

Aleksandra Grbic

Aleksandra has a Master’s Degree in Sociology and social research. After graduation, she also attended two advanced training courses in “Innovation in social enterprises”(2015) and in “Project Management”(2019). In her last experience she worked for 4 years in a social cooperative as Accessible travel and tourism manager where her main tasks were: implementation of new accessible tourism services; organisation of holidays option for users with disabilities; management of fundraising activity; participation in EU-funded projects; care and management of the PR and communication activities; start up and management of a new accomodation facility. Since October 2019 she has worked for Homo Viator San Teobaldo Foundation as a referent for EU projects related to Romea Strata and its implementation.

Myra Stals

rurAllure project officer for EAVF. Myra has a background in Italian Language and Culture, and has previously worked in the field of International Higher Education. She will be managing the rurAllure communication channels and contribute to the Thermal Heritage pilot. Myra has a great love for bike touring and the environment, and is the founder and president of environmental initiative Cycle 2 Recycle.

Luca Bruschi

EAVF director. Leading the EAVF since 2013, Luca has extended work experience in international organisations and public bodies. With a background in art history and tourism, he is a freelance journalist, consultant, and a hiking enthusiast. Among his publications there are numerous articles in Italian internet media and a book “Via Francigena – una Strada Europea”.

Elena Dubinina

European projects and International relations advisor. With her extended work experience in international organisations and academic background in cultural management, Elena oversees international relations and manages European projects of the EAVF. A travel enthusiast, she spends her free time backpacking all over the world.

Maria Laura Gasparini

Maria Laura Gasparini is a tourism professional with over 10 years of work experience in the travel and hospitality sector. She has a degree in Tourism Economics and Management from the University of Bologna and has specialised in the role of sustainability indicators as policy making tools. Her main research interests are sustainability monitoring, community-based tourism and regenerative tourism. She is currently Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in Tourism, Bologna University, where she is contributing to the management of several EU funded projects, such as rurAllure and Fab Routes, focused on cultural routes and rural development.

Antonello Scorcu

Antonello Scorcu is a UNIBO Economic policy and Cultural Economist. His research interests in cultural economics are focussed on pricing and quality evaluation of fine art items. He served as a Director of the Bachelor Degree in Economics and Management of Tourist Services (2001-06) and of the Bachelor Degree in Economics, Markets and Tourist Systems (2006-09). Co-founder of the European Workshop on Applied Cultural Economics he has been a member of its Scientific Committee in 2001-17. Former Director of the UNIBO School for Higher studies in tourism, he is currently member of CAST, the UNIBO Center for tourism study. Among the publications in the field, “Cultural tourism and temporary art exhibitions in Italy: a panel data analysis”, in Statistical Method and Applications, 2011, with F. Di Lascio, S. Giannerini and G. Candela; “Seaside tourism and eco-labels: The economic impact of Blue Flags”, in Tourism Management, 2015, with C. Capacci and L. Vici and “On the relationship between reserve prices and low estimates in art auctions”, in Journal of Cultural Economics, 2018, with M. Castellani and P. Pattitoni.

Patrizia Battilani

Patrizia Battilani is a UNIBO Economic Historian. Her research focuses on cultural heritage valorisation, public history and economic history. She has been visiting scholar at the University of Sidney (2013) and Glasgow (2018 and 2019). She served as director of the Bachelor degree in Tourism Economics (2012-2016). She has experience on participating and managing national and international projects as Head of CAST, the UNIBO Center for tourism study. She is responsible for the UNIBO Unit of the Interreg Italy-Croatia project Recolor (Reviving and EnhanCing artwOrks and Landscapes Of the adRiatic). Between 2018 and 2019 she coordinated a transnational research on dissonant heritage focusing on the European cultural route ATRIUM. Her last publications include How to cope with dissonant heritage: a way towards sustainable tourism development in Journal of Sustainable tourism (2018) with A. Mariotti and C. Bernini.

Fiorella Dallari

Fiorella Dallari has been a Professor of Alma Mater (PAM) since 1 November 2018, former associate professor of Political and Economic Geography since 2004 at the Rimini Campus of the Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna in the Department for Life Quality Studies. In 1972 she began his research activity in the Faculty of Economics and from 1980 on didactic activity in the geographic field (disciplinary sector M-GGR / 02), with a 1st level national qualification (2012). In the field of research, she deals with tourism geography, economic-political geography and regional geography. Currently his research topics are: Local and sustainable development; Heritage and sustainable tourism; Pilgrimages, cultural itineraries and tourist routes; cooperation and sustainable tourism; Heritage, social participation and citizenship; UNESCO Heritage and Religious Heritage.

Fiorella is also founding-editor of “AlmaTourism, Journal of Tourism, Culture and Territorial Development”, a scientific journal of the University of Bologna. Engaged in national and international research projects, she collaborates with UNESCO (UNITWIN Network “Culture, Tourism, Development”; UNESCO Italian Chairs “Territory, Sustainability, Tourism” – TEST, of which she is responsible for tourism; Mediterranean Unesco Chairs – MUNCH), ICOMOS (International Scientific Committee on Places of Religion and Ritual – PRERICO member and coordinator of the Prerico National Committee). For nearly twenty years she has collaborated and collaborates with some itineraries recognized by the Council of Europe (in particular, she is president of European Association of the Vie Francigene, the Via Romea Germanica and the Romea Strata Scientific Committees).
Author of over 150 publications, she received the Vallega prize for research on cultural-historical itineraries (2008).

Alessia Mariotti

Alessia Mariotti was the head of the Center for Advanced Studies in Tourism (Rimini Campus) between 2014 and 2018 and is Associate professor in Economic Geography. Her main research interest are: cultural heritage, culture and local identity in a regional development perspective, participatory processes in local tourism development,
territorial partnership strategies and territorial promotion policies for sustainable tourism development, management plans and monitoring indicators for World Heritage sites, cultural routes and cultural itineraries. She teaches Tourism Systems and Cultural Routes, Geography
of Sustainable Tourism, Cultural Geography of Tourism, Local Development and Cultural Routes, Cultural Geography of Local Development, Tourism and Sport Geography. She is a member of the PhD doctoral committee in “ARCHITECTURE, DESIGN, PLANNING” – University of CAMERINO and Responsible for the University of Bologna of UNESCO/UNITWIN Network
“Culture, Tourism, Development”.

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