Origin of the project
Via Querinissima, from myth to history” is an international non-profit cultural association that was formally established in June 2022, after a long process that began some ten years ago with a bilateral friendship agreement between the Municipality of Røst (Norway) and the Municipality of Sandrigo (Vicenza, Italy), which was followed by a bilateral agreement for cultural and economic cooperation between the Region of Nordland (Norway) and the Veneto Region (Italy).
The starting point for this dialogue, which was gradually extended over time to other European countries, was the voyage of Venetian nobleman and merchant Pietro Querini, who was shipwrecked and returned home unhoped for, in a rather fortunate manner, between the Mediterranean and the North Seas between 1431 and 1432.
Pietro Querini, a Venetian patrician and merchant, left the moorings of Candia on 25 April 1431 with his Cocca ‘Querina‘ and 68 men on board, a cargo of 800 barrels of Malvasia, and then more spices, wax, rock alum, timber and other merchandise, setting off on what would be one of the most impressive sea voyages that would lead him, after a fortunate and dramatic shipwreck. Together with only 16 crew members, to land on the island Sandøya in the Lofoten archipelago, well beyond the polar circle: Querini was rescued by the fishermen on the island of Røst, who welcomed him into their village where he stayed for three months and 11 days before taking the path back to Venice.
On the island of Røst, the castaways discovered the customs and traditions of that community that had welcomed them with a spirit of solidarity and saw, among other things, for the first time an air-dried fish, as hard as wood, that the Norwegians called ‘stokkfisk’, or ‘stick fish’, what is still called ‘baccalà’ in the Veneto region today.
There are two separate reports of that extraordinary adventure, one by Pietro Querini, kept in two manuscript copies in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice, the other by the two surviving ship’s officers Cristoforo Fioravanti and Nicolò di Michiel, kept in the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice, collected and written by the Florentine humanist Antonio di Corrado de Cardini.
Interesting echoes of Querini’s epic are also evident in the nautical charts of the time, such as in Andrea Bianco’s Atlas, 1436, which indicates ‘stocfis‘ in the Lofoten area, and in the famous world map by Fra’ Mauro (1457-1459), who writes: ‘Questa provincia di Norvegia scorse misier Piero Querino come e noto‘, en: “This province of Norway there was Piero Querino as and known’
Via Querinissima from myth to history
Via Querinissima aims to trace the route travelled by Pietro Querini by sea and land to promote a slow, conscious, sustainable, food and wine cultural tourism and aims to obtain Council of Europe certification as an international cultural route in 2023.
Potential of the route
Via Querinissima crosses many itineraries already recognised by the Council of Europe as well as being the first itinerary with a sea route.
Obtaining the ‘Council of Europe Cultural Route’ certification is a guarantee of excellence.
The networks carry out innovative activities and projects within the framework of five priority fields of action: cooperation in research and development; enhancement of memory, history and European heritage; cultural and educational exchanges for young Europeans; contemporary artistic and cultural practices; cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development.
Through this Programme, the Council of Europe offers a model for transnational cultural and tourist management and fosters synergies between national, regional and local authorities and a wide range of associations and socio-economic actors.
In order to implement and develop the Programme, the European Institute of Cultural Routes (IEIC) was established in 1998 within the framework of a Political Agreement between the Council of Europe and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which regulates the action of this institution in the 49 countries that are signatories to the Convention and, according to the geographical and historical necessity of the themes, in the countries that have had and still have direct relations with the European continent.