Walking along the Via Francigena with a kid

24 January 2023

The family @roybellaepapa, one of the winners of the photo contest for the Via Francigena, travelled the route from the Grand Saint Bernard Pass to Rome. We contacted them to find out their story and how to prepare a hiking adventure with kids!

  • Who is behind the @roybellaepapa project?

    Its soul and curator is my wife Danna, – says Flavio, – She keeps it constantly updated with new photos of the adventures of our family, composed by Danna, Roy Bella, our 5-year-old daughter and me, Flavio, always enthusiastic about various sports, with a real passion for endurance sports involving running and swimming.

    • From the Grand Saint Bernard Pass to Rome: how did you organize your trip?

      It all started when we spent post lockdown spring and summer 2020, climbing various peaks in the Lombard pre-Alps and in the Rhaetian Alps and so, when we realised that our daughter wasn’t scared (once she even walked for over 15 hours straight), we decided to take her on a more “horizontal” trek. 

      We planned a trip of 44 stages, one less than in the classic itinerary in the guide, to arrive in Rome on August 3, the day of my 60th birthday. Few nights were booked in advance, two or three at most, because given the post-pandemic period, the flow of tourists was not excessive. The only thing left to do was a backpack – for such a long trip, we took only the essentials.

      • What are the most beautiful stages in your opinion?

        Each stage holds its own little magic, even the smallest ones, where you might make interesting encounters, or meet people or natural wonders that amaze you in a special way. In our view, those most worthy are the Pass of Grand Saint Bernard and Aosta (the only stages we have merged); the crossing of the river Po by boat; the Cisa Pass, with an overnight stay at the Zen monastery of Berceto; the Val d’Elsa; the stages from Abbadia Isola to Siena and, finally, the hardest one, the 37 km stage from San Quirico to Radicofani. These stages struck and fascinated us the most and something very subjective remains, also linked to the moments, nature and personal experiences.  Only by experiencing the journey first-hand one can realize why this activity is so rich and fascinating.

        • You walked along 44 stages with a little kid: how was the experience?

          I would never have believed it could be so easy to cover 1200 km (our total route, including extra visits) with a 5-year-old girl. After all, her enthusiasm, her willpower and desire to explore something new every day were contagious for us, mum and dad, as well as for some friends who alternately accompanied us. From the very first steps we had no doubt that we would succeed, we realised immediately that the desire to find out what was in the valley, beyond the forest, over the hill, at the end of the Roman road and so on, would be stronger than any sacrifice, including getting up in the middle of the night, eating little and battling the heat and mosquitoes. Once in Rome, she would continue to Jerusalem. 

          Click here to read the original interview in Italian

          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.

          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.

          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”.

          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).

          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.
          https://www.unibo.it/sitoweb/patrizia.battilani/en

          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.

          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.

          https://www.unibo.it/sitoweb/marialaura.gasparin3/en

          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.

          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”.

          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.

          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.

          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.

          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.

          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.

          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).

          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.

          Bruno Arias

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

          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.

          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.

          Person Name

          Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vivamus vulputate velit sed vestibulum vestibulum. Pellentesque varius accumsan mi, sit amet euismod dolor egestas nec. Aenean scelerisque magna et tortor porta mattis. In molestie id neque id posuere. Sed quis lacinia nunc. In metus felis, maximus vitae urna ut, scelerisque mattis eros. Vestibulum quis turpis at enim volutpat commodo. Donec aliquet tellus eget ligula viverra aliquam luctus non mi. Nunc a quam ac nisi tristique imperdiet. Nullam in auctor elit, eu congue mi. Sed quis nisi pharetra, convallis turpis vitae, fringilla neque. Etiam non lectus lorem.

          Aenean et vulputate quam, et sodales tortor. Suspendisse fringilla euismod ultricies. Quisque pulvinar leo mauris, eget dignissim turpis bibendum ac. Integer semper consequat magna. Donec ornare risus at justo eleifend pellentesque sed sit amet turpis. Aliquam id nibh id nibh dictum rutrum non et enim. Cras at varius massa. Duis tempus sed lectus et lacinia. Morbi imperdiet lorem vel mollis lacinia. Cras vel tincidunt ex, eget congue enim. Sed et gravida orci. Maecenas lobortis vulputate mattis.