- Xacobeo 21 commissioner, Cecilia Pereira, participated in the unveiling of the milestone
- This is the sixth milestone installed by the Galician Government following the ones unveiled in Krakow, Rio de Janeiro, Lorient, Brussels and Glasgow in recent months.
- Italy has a strong tradition of undertaking the Way of Saint James and has always showed interest in this pilgrimage, being the country that brings the second highest number of travellers (nearly 28,000).
Pistoia (Italy), 23 November 2019.- Today the Xunta de Galicia signposted the Way of Saint James in the Piazza del Duomo in Pistoia (Italy) with the installation of a milestone 2505 kilometers from the Galician capital. The milestone joins the two cities and strengthens the town of Pistoia’s historic ties to the Way of Saint James. Xacobeo 21 commissioner, Cecilia Pereira presided over the ceremony, accompanied by the mayor of Pistoia, Alessandro Tomasi, the Bishop of Pistoia, Fausto Tardelli, prefect of the province of Pistoia, Emilia Zarrilli, and by the councillor of the Presidency, Institutional Relations and Tourism of Santiago de Compostela, Gumersindo Ginarte.
Cecilia Pereira highlighted that the placement of this symbolic milestone represents the union of these two Jacobean cities, showing the brotherhood between Galicia and Italy. She also indicated the importance of the values of the Way as a connecting link between cultures, inclusion and solidarity. The commissioner also commended the interest in the Way in Italy, with the country bringing the second highest number of pilgrims to Santiago. In this regard, close to 28,000 Italian travellers have already walked the various Jacobean routes this year, joining people of over 180 different nationalities.
After the unveiling of the milestone, the commissioner participated in a meeting on the Camino de Santiago and the Xacobeo 2021, which included speeches by professor and chairman of the International Committee of Experts on the Way, Paolo Caucci von Saucken, and doctor and professor, Lucia Gay, among other specialists in the Jacobean pilgrimages.
In addition to bringing both areas closer to each other, this institutional trip allowed various matters to be discussed, such as the preparations of various actions to promote the Way of Saint James in Pistoia, a city that, during the next Compostela Holy Year, will have the papal privilege of opening a Puerta Santa. Pistoia is the only city in the world, other than Santiago de Compostela, that has had a genuine relic of St. James the Apostle.
Internationalisation of the Way
The promotion of the Jacobean Route abroad and the strengthening of links with Europe are one of the action points contained in the Xacobeo 21 Strategic Plan, which, amongst other things, aims to emphasise the importance of pilgrimages to Santiago in the structuring of the Old Continent.
In this regard, the Xunta de Galicia is developing a series of joint cultural and touristic actions that will promote the image of the Xacobeo outside of Spain, strengthening the relations between the Camino de Santiago and cultural and religious tourism. All this also favours artistic exchange between both territories and spreads our culture in the world.
Thus, as part of the internationalisation strategy developed in Italy, Spain’s tourist office in Rome will host different promotional actions for the Way of Saint James and the Xacobeo 21, allowing for the wider dissemination of one of our biggest values in the Italian and international markets.
Milestones around the world
In addition to Pistoia, other cities around the world already have a milestone for the Way of Saint James. The points marked so far are located in front of the Papal Window in Krakow, in front of the headquarters of the European Parliament in Brussels, on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro and in places linked with Celtic culture such as Glasgow and Lorient.
This signposting is complemented with other international projects that the Xunta is carrying out in countries such as the United States. For example, this includes the agreement signed with the Institute of Fallezca Arts for the celebration, in 2020, for an international symposium on the Way of Saint James in the city of New York.