The Phoenicians’ Route refers to the connection of the major nautical routes which, since the twelfth century BC, were used by the Phoenicians as essential routes for trade and cultural communication in the Mediterranean. Through these routes, the Phoenicians – genial sailors and merchants – gave origin to a great civilization, for some verses still little known, that asserted itself through an expansion towards the West, producing an intense exchange of manufactured articles, people and ideas and
contributing in ancient times to the creation of a koine, a Mediterranean cultural community and to the circulation of this culture.
But also, other great Mediterranean civilizations used these routes for the same purpose: Greeks, Romans, Etruscans, Iberians and many others. So, these routes have become an integral and essential part of Mediterranean culture.
In 1994, the Italian Ministry of Tourism proposed the Phoenicians’ Route as case for a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe (but during the same year the Ministry was abrogated).
In 2003, the Cultural Route “The Phoenicians’ Route” was accepted by the European Institute of Cultural Routes – IEIC – of the Council of Europe as pilot project of European cultural tourism and was admitted by the Council of Europe among the Cultural Routes of the namesake Program.
In 2004 the International Association Phoenicians’ Route was born as management entity of the route.
In 2011 this association created the “International Confederation the Phoenicians’ Route” that today is “réseau porteur” of the Route, which takes this name because it consists of networks of different countries composed of institutional, territorial and thematic organizations, and private operators from different sectors.
Since 2016, the Route has been object of interest of the World Tourism Organization through the establishment of a dedicated Core Working Group.
“The Phoenicians’ Route” represents the Route of Intercultural Dialogue and crosses many countries of the Mediterranean, of Europe, of North Africa and Middle East, thus reinforcing the historical links created thanks to ancient civilizations.
Today, the Phoenicians represent a cross cultural model that aims to promote the Mediterranean culture, to strengthen the bonds among the Mediterranean countries that share the same history.
The Route in fact is based on the historical, social, and cultural relationships that the Phoenicians established along these sea routes, on their landing places and emporiums founded in the Mediterranean basin.
The Route intends to enhance the cultural, natural and landscape heritage of these places through the collaboration of cities, enterprises, volunteers and also institutions that want to bring their contribution to the search of a new relationship between man and the surrounding cultural heritage, as well as new pedagogical and tourism models for the needs of today’s cultural exchange. Such places of ancient origin become the stages of a trip along the whole Mediterranean, through which exchange objects, knowledge and experiences.
Following the methodology of Heritage Pedagogy, the Phoenicians’ Route also promotes an identity integrated and responsible cultural tourism in collaboration with public and private organizations at local, national, and international levels, to discover the real Mediterranean. For this purpose, networks of tour operators are developing innovative offers of discovery tourism based on a quality program of services.
“The Phoenicians’ Route” refers to the European Landscape Convention (Florence, 2000) and the European Convention on the Role of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro, 2005).