As recounted in this news, the Organizing Committee is engaged in a special relay from the Lofoten Islands to retrace merchant Pietro Querini’s incredible journey to Venice, a true test of orienteering. The first leg included a meeting at the Town Hall with the first citizen of Røst, where the famous shipwreck occurred in 1431. Just recently, the Veneto Regional Council submitted the application to the Council of Europe in Luxembourg for recognition of the Via Querinissima as a European Cultural Route.
Mayor, what is Røst’s connection to Veneto and Italy still today?
“We have very strong ties to Italy, the Veneto, but also especially to Sandrigo. Over many years, we have developed an extra strong, important and cherished bond of friendship with our friends in Veneto and Sandrigo, so Sandrigo has also become our official twin town in Italy. This is of course mainly related to our stockfish trade over many years and which perhaps started with Querini when he returned to Venice from Røst. But it is also about culture-bond”.
In fact, the EOC 2023 Organizing Committee had the opportunity to visit Sandøya, where Querini was shipwrecked and there is a stele in his honor, and meet with the Røst Opera Choir. Tell us about this beautiful project.
“In 2012 we made an performed the Querini Opera at Røst. The opera tells the true story of the sailors from Venice who were stranded on the island in Røst in 1432 and who brought stockfish back to Venice.
As a spin-off of this cultural project, an ensemble of 60 volunteers from Røst and 30 professional performers will travel to Venice to play performances for Italian audiences from 27 to 29 October. This is done in collaboration with the Arctic Philharmonic, Bodø 2024, Nordland County Council, the Norwegian Raw Fish Association and others.
We are proud of our close ties and of our first Stockfish from Lofoten PGI, and it is a great pleasure every time we are in Italy to meet our good friends and to be served Bacalà alla vicentina made out of our stockfish. We are also delighted to have become a member of Via Querinissima, where Røst is naturally the end or start, if you will, on the cultural journey”.
What is Røst’s relationship with orienteering?
“Well, we are a fishing community and finding our way out to the good fishing grounds, in all kinds of weather, is a type of orientation that has always been important to us, but I also think the journey Querini made from Røst and back to Venice, was a piece of orientation that has left its mark and given positive ripple effects in many ways. After all, it is the journey that is the starting point for Via Querinissima”.
Next stop: Bodø!