Social Innovation Project and Tourism Lifestyle Entrepreneurship to Revitalize the Marginal Areas. The Case of the via Francigena Cultural Route

di Simone Splendiani, Fabio Forlani, Antonio Picciotti e Angelo Presenza

in Tourism Planning & Development

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Cultural Routes (CRs) are gaining increasing interest among both researchers and policymakers as an innovative form of sustainable tourism. However, the benefits that the territories crossed by a Route obtained are poorly studied. The aim of this paper is to fill this gap by evaluating the improvements that CRs as social innovation projects (SIP) cause to the local tourism ecosystem. The empirical analysis is based on the case of the Via Francigena (VF), one of the most important in Europe. It emerges the role of activator of community development processes covered by Via Francigena, capable of shaping the communities crossed with particular attention to marginal areas. At the same time, the route seems to stimulate lifestyle entrepreneurship with strong influence of social perspective rather than profit-driven one. The study contributes to increase knowledge about Cultural Routes as SIP, with important managerial implication on local tourism development.