“Sport and culture form a winning combination that, thanks to orienteering, offers extraordinary new possibilities, and not only to the practitioners of a fast-growing discipline, practised by many associations affiliated to the Italian Orienteering Federation of the Italian National Olympic Committee and a Paralympic discipline. On closer inspection, Pietro Querini’s return to Venice from the Lofoten Islands in 1432 was itself an exceptional exercise in orientation and the search for the safest possible route: on that journey, Querini experienced the value of hospitality, welcome and solidarity that he was offered on several occasions along itineraries across Europe. Today, organising races and events in the topical places of Querini’s feat can, I believe, revive the idea of brotherhood, which must be the true glue of Europe. A sport as demanding but also as exciting as orienteering has taken on this opportunity. This astonishes and impresses: my hope is that these athletes and their associations will have the right success and recognition. Orienteering means finding and finding one’s way, one’s path, never forgetting that, as Chatwin said, ‘Man’s true home is not a house, it is the road. Life itself is a journey to be made on foot’. The proposal of these orienteering races revives this extraordinary idea: to those who believe in this sporting discipline and its values go my congratulations”.
This was stated by the President of the Regional Council of Veneto and of the International and Cultural Association Via Querinissima, Roberto Ciambetti, meeting at Palazzo Ferro-Fini in Venice Gabriele Viale, General Manager of the European Orienteering Sprint Championships 2023 and Mauro Gazzerro, President of FISO Veneto (Italian Federation of Orienteering Sports). The meeting framed the Orienteering European Championships Relay, which from 1 to 18 August saw the Organising Committee of the event retrace the itinerary of Pietro Querini, sealing a link between history, sport and gastronomic culture. Leaving from Røst in the Lofoten Islands, north of the Arctic Circle, the relay of the Organising Committee of the 2023 European Orienteering Sprint Championships intends to celebrate the link between Norway and Veneto, which will be the venue for the first time – from 1 to 8 October – of the event valid as World Cup final, thanks to the partnership with the Pro Loco of Sandrigo, the Confraternity of Bacalà alla Vicentina and the Via Querinissima. The European Championships will also be officially presented during the 36th Festival of Bacalà alla Vicentina, to be held in Sandrigo from 14 to 25 September.
“It has been a long tour that now sees us even more motivated and inspired by the extraordinary opportunities generated during the various meetings on the Via Querinissima in the run-up to the European Sprint Championships in October, which are valid as World Cup finals. From Røst and Bodø, European Capital of Culture 2024, to Trondheim and Lillehammer, an Olympic city in 1994 as Verona will be with the final ceremony of Milan-Cortina 2026, to end up in Gothenburg and Venice, in the footsteps of the Venetian merchant Querini and his feat of orientation. A route to which we wanted to combine history, sport, food and wine, and which will see its climax on 8 October in Vicenza, a date preceded by the main events in Verona and Soave. In addition to the elite athletes, there will also be space for amateurs with events planned in Malcesine, Torri del Benaco, Lazise, Verona, Prada – Monte Baldo, Soave, Alonte and Vicenza,” said Gabriele Viale, General Manager of the European Orienteering Sprint Championships 2023.
“The connection between Norway and Veneto is and will always be stronger: events like this demonstrate the value of interdisciplinarity and the role of sport as a flywheel for the development of territories,” concluded Ciambetti.