This paper focuses on cultural itineraries as a new category of heritage, a specific product for the promotion of cultural tourism in inland regions and a tool for defending small settlements from depopulation. The study describes the main characteristics of cultural itineraries, considering the factors that influence their creation and the strategies to adopt in order for them to realistically have a future and generate sustainable tourism in the regions through which the routes pass. In order for a cultural itinerary to be successful it is clearly indispensable to highlight the meaning of the ancient road but it is also necessary to identify the importance that it has today and can have in the future. Following the path taken by St Peter the Apostle towards Rome, this paper reconstructs stretches of that ancient itinerary, which has been historically and geographically documented. It proposes to highlight the value of a journey that undoubtedly appeals to those who are full of intellectual enthusiasm but appears to have little relevance for the faithful. Indeed, the latter have always been primarily interested in the journey’s final destination, i.e. the great devotional route inside the Eternal City. Conferring importance on the Way of St Peter from Jerusalem to Rome would certainly help promote the inland areas of southern Italy that conserve traces of the saint’s presence. However, it would also perhaps succeed in restoring pride and confidence in this important ancient cultural presence to the Mare Nostrum and in recognising the Way’s key role in initiating intercultural dialogue and cooperation between Europe and the Mediterranean countries.
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