Peace march Perugia – Assisi
The Perugia – Assisi Peace march is an event of the Italian pacifist movement founded in 1961, which runs along the Perugia – Assisi route for a total of twenty-four kilometres with the aim of bearing witness to peace and solidarity.
In fact, it was right during the first edition of the march that the flag of peace, a symbol of non-violent opposition to all wars, was flown for the first time.
Since then it is celebrated every two or three years between the end of September and October and attracts thousands and thousands of people on every occasion.
I took part in the 2018 edition in which there were 100,000 of us, although the biggest one was in 2001 with around 350,000 people!
Short reflection – why participate in the march?
Breaking the silence, relaunching peace: this is the message that the perlapace.it association is sending to the world population.
Grew up among deep values of kindness, respect, courtesy and solidarity, it is difficult for me to conceive how it is possible to find so much conflict, hatred and discrimination in today's times and yet, as much as I do not conceive it, it is an ever-present harsh reality.
At a difficult time like the one we are facing, marked by power grabs, corruption, exploitation and so on it is more important than ever to come together, join forces and start doing something concrete: send a message of solidarity and make our voice heard to the world population, tell them that we are here to fight for our planet to become a better place and to break down all the hatred that surrounds us.
Poster: “I emigrate, they emigrate, we emigrate”
Poster: “wars between the poor are won by the rich” and “there is only one race, the human race”
This is why you should manifest peace.
It is never too late to try to change the world and, if thousands and thousands of people gather at every march with the aim of sending out a loud and clear message, then it means there is still a hint of hope and you too can help pass on a sign of hope.
Always remember: unity is strenght.
Poster: “my grandparents were migrants”
The most convenient way to reach Perugia and start the march is by bus.
At each edition the organisation provides several buses in various cities in Italy so that anyone can reach their destination in the most practical way possible (all completely free of charge!), just register on the website and you will be automatically sent all the useful information
They will usually drop you off in Viale Roma. There you will find a river of people walking: this is where your march will begin.
You don't have to worry about downloading maps or studying the route.
The mass of people you will meet when you arrive will guide you to the destination; so turn off your smartphone and celebrate peace and serenity in the most natural way possible. Make friends with the people around you, listen to other people's stories and share your own and don't forget to exchange views and reflect on why you are there to demonstrate peace (after all, you are there for the same reason).
To give you an idea, here is a map of the route:
What I particularly like about this march is the organisation which remains perfectly themed.
As you leave a few kilometres behind you and enter small avenues where nature prevails, in fact, stands offering food and hot drinks appear (you will meet several of them along the way). The best thing is that all of this is free of charge, or rather, on a free offer.
The whole path is based, in fact, on the natural principles of generosity and gratitude, which is why nothing is asked of you in return except what you feel.
This is obviously not an invitation to feast on food non-stop for free, quite the contrary! I can assure you, however, that a smile is often more rewarding than a few coins and, if you will decide to do both, you've hit the jackpot.
Further on you will also frequently find several explanatory posters reporting on current problems in the world, I strongly recommend that you stop by and reflect in front of them.
They are another great way to realise why action is needed now more than ever, as well as an opportunity to discover something new!
You will meet the first main stop in Dante square, where there is a large cathedral and several stages hosting local bands, ready to celebrate peace by dancing to the rhythm of music, si tengono inoltre discorsi volti a diffondere la non violenza nel mondo.
Enjoy the atmosphere and stop for a break, at which point you will be about halfway along the route and soon you will begin to see Assisi, the city of peace.
A few more kilometres and you will begin to climb the hairpin bends leading to Assisi.
Here the view is really impressive: on one side the beautiful surrounding valleys, on the other thousands and thousands of people waving peace flags and giving voice to the peace movement.
Here, in my opinion, is where you get confirmation that there is still hope.
Seeing all those people who just like you are there with the same intent to send a positive message to the world is really emotional and encouraging.
Now you can decide whether to attend the mass (if this is your intention you will need to arrive well in advance as it is always packed), or follow the path of peace and lose yourself in the wonderful streets of the citadel of Assisi.
I chose to follow the path, as soon as I had a peek inside the impressive cathedral of Assisi.
The views from the alleys of the City of Peace are truly sensational and it is easy to lose track of time. That is why it was high time for me to return.
If you ever decide to take part in the march, always remember to get the contact details of the bus drivers.
I didn't do that and, in fact, I caused an hour's delay and risked getting stuck in Perugia.
In the end, however, we are talking about solidarity and no one took it out on me. On the contrary, it was an opportunity to have a general laugh and thus end a wonderful day of peace and reflection.
The next edition of the march will be held (covid permitting) on 10 October 2021, in my opinion in the same way as 2020, i.e. by creating a real human chain.
Below is a video showing how the march was held in 2020:
Know that at the end of the march, to return from Assisi to Perugia, you can decide to take advantage of free shuttles available for anyone who wishes to do so.
I wasn't aware of this but it is definitely an option to consider if you feel tired or don't have enough time.
The walk takes about five hours but it is not a marathon, so make sure you take your time and stop whenever you want.
Departure is usually at 9am and arrival at the Rocca Maggiore in Assisi is around 3pm to 5pm.
You can find more information on the official website on this page.
In the hope that I have made you discover something new, I also hope to meet you at the next march in 2021 so that together we can send a strong and clear message of peace to humanity.
And always remember:
"You can only have peace if you provide it."
- Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach