HIKE at the Training Academy of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe

The project was proudly presented at the annual Training Academy of Cultural Routes conducted in Brindisi. This event, held on 4 – 7 June 2024, brought together 100 representatives from 37 cultural routes across 22 European countries.  

The Training Academy aims to equip Cultural Routes operators with specialized training on contemporary issues in cultural heritage management and tourism promotion. By offering practical approaches and facilitating interactions with academic and professional experts, the Training Academy ensures that participants gain valuable insights and knowledge. 

Launched by the Council of Europe in 1987, the Cultural Routes program certifies international cultural NGOs that promote Europe’s diverse cultural heritage, intercultural dialogue, and sustainable development. Among these certified routes is the Via Francigena, one of the oldest, managed by the European Association of the Via Francigena Ways, and certified in 1994. 

HIKE was presented in the first panel of the event focused on the walking routes as innovative practice for community engagement and enhancing the healthier lifestyles by Elena Dubinina, HIKE team leader from the EAVF. This ERASMUS+ initiative aims to organize a series of free walks, open to all, along the walking routes. Starting in September, HIKE will lead participants on a journey from Bari to Brindisi in Italy, exploring the beautiful landscapes of the Puglia region. 

This event in Brindisi, a key location for one of the Italian activities along the Via Francigena, provided an opportunity to connect with HIKE supporters on the ground. Representatives from the Apulia region, the Municipality of Brindisi, and the association “Brindisi e Antiche Strade” gathered to strengthen synergies and advance preparations for the upcoming hikes. During the event, the team also had the chance to test a stretch of the route in the vicinity of Brindisi, where the hikes in September 2024 will take place. 

The HIKE project embodies the spirit of the Via Francigena, enhancing physical and mental well-being, and fostering cultural appreciation through sports activities. By collaborating with the Turkish Culture Routes Society and Paths of Greece, the project strives to make a positive impact on local communities. 

With the support of the ERASMUS+ Sport program, HIKE stands as a model of successful collaboration and innovation in promoting a healthier, more connected Europe.  

Images by @Rita Melcore