FuoriVia Egnatia

2015-2019: Walking from Durrës to Istanbul

 

Via Egnatia, also known as Egnatian Way, is an old road built during roman expansion across ancient Illyria, Macedonia and Thracia. Via Egnatia is the first Roman “highway” outside the Italian peninsula. The name came from Gnaeus Egnatius Proconsul of Macedonia that began the construction of the road in 146 BC. As a part of a greater road network, Via Egnatia is the continuation of ancient Via Appia Traiana, the consular road connecting Rome and Capua to Brundisium on the Adriatic coast. The way was built to provide Rome with an access through the Balkan Peninsula from the Adriatic shores to Byzantium. Today Via Egnatia is a bridge connecting Europe and the Mediterranean. From the Adriatic shore to the Bosphorus strait, the way crosses national borders and geographic limits, introducing a term of continuity. The regeneration of this transnational itinerary is a key action for the promotion of cultural dialogue and preservation of landscape and historical heritage.

FuoriVia and Università Iuav di Venezia have started the exploration of Via Egnatia, walking in five years, from 2015 to 2019, the 1100 kilometers distance from Durrës to Istanbul across Albania, FYR of Macedonia, Greece and Turkey. Since 2015 we are walking on Via Egnatia form Durrës to Bitola in 2015 and from Bitola to Thessaloniki in 2016. In summer 2017 we will explore the road from Thessaloniki to Kavala, before continuing in 2018 from Kavala to Ipsala and covering in 2019 the last part of the road to Istanbul.

FuoriVia Egnatia 2015-2019 is an educational project moved by academic interest. Walking is intended as an educational tool and an opportunity to improve knowledge about landscape ecology, environmental analysis, geography, anthropolog
y and history of the areas crossed by Via Egnatia. FuoriVia approach is inspired by the itinerant laboratory on landscape ecology started by Professor Virginio Bettini in 2000 and supported by Università Iuav di Venezia (Italy). The exploration aims to build a dialogue and an effective cooperation with universities, cultural institutions, local and national administrations, associations and local communities along the way.

The FuoriVia Egnatia project main goal is to promote strategic planning and to support the preservation, the valorization and the regeneration of Via Egnatia as an historical cultural route, adopting a participative approach. The field research focuses on the definition of the ancient route in its entirety, tracking a walkable trail from Albania to Turkey. Having a long experience in cultural routes planning, the role of FuoriVia is to facilitate and to support government and local communities in the regeneration of this itinerary. For this purpose, FuoriVia Egnatia project aims to build a network of community and institutions along the way. As other historical cultural itineraries (such as Camino de Santiago and Via Francigena), the “continuity” is the main feature for the regeneration of Via Egnatia as a cultural route and the starting point for sustainable and slow tourism promotion. The regeneration of Via Egnatia can deeply contribute to the development of rural, the valorization of archeological and cultural heritage and the environmental and landscape preservation, enhancing the quality of life of local communities.