History - Rota do Românico

1998 - Beginning of the collaboration between VALSOUSA - Associação de Municípios do Vale do Sousa [Association of Municipalities of Vale do Sousa], in the scope of PROSOUSA - Programa de Desenvolvimento Integrado do Vale do Sousa [PROSOUSA - Programme for the Integrated Development of Vale do Sousa], with the former IPPAR - Instituto Português do Património Arquitetónico [Portuguese Institute of Architectural Heritage] and the now extinct DGEMN - Direção Geral dos Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais [General Directorate of National Buildings and Monuments], producing preliminary reports with the selection of the Romanesque heritage that should integrate the Route. After the preparation of an inventory of the monuments, we proceeded to the identification and budgeting of the interventions to be developed in these monuments, due to the poor condition of many of them.

2000 - The financial constraints, however, hindered the development of the project at that time, so, in order to continue with the initial work, it was necessary to wait for the formation of the Ação Integrada de Base Territorial (AIBT) do Vale do Sousa [Integrated Action of Territorial Basis (AIBT) of Vale do Sousa] in 2000, as a model of intervention in the geographical area of Vale do Sousa, in the scope of the Community Support Framework III. Thus, and always identified as an anchor project of the AIBT, the North Regional Coordination and Development Commission, in collaboration with VALSOUSA, the extinct DGEMN, the Turismo de Portugal [Tourism of Portugal], the former IPPAR, the extinct Associação para o Desenvolvimento do Turismo na Região do Norte [Association for Touristic Development in the Northern Region], the former Gabinete de Apoio Técnico do Vale do Sousa [Office of Technical Support of Vale do Sousa] and the Diocese of Porto, it begins the long process of dialogue, negotiation and preparation of a number of documents that set forth the contractual rights and obligations of all stakeholders involved in the project.

2003 - A study called “Programme for the Implementation and Touristic and Cultural Promotion of the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa”.

2003 - Signing of the protocols with the ecclesiastical representatives of the parishes where the churches included in the Route of the Romanesque are located and of the private property owners. Beginning of the works in the monuments belonging to the Route of the Romanesque, which would extend until 2008.

2004 (November) - Public presentation of the Study “Programme for the Implementation and Touristic and Cultural Promotion of the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa” (Vol. I, Vol. II).

2005 - 2006 - Preparation of the "Training Plan for the Promotion and Enhancement of the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa" This Plan, with 16 training courses and 200 trainees, aimed at contributing to an integrated and effective management of the Route of the Romanesque by the various stakeholders and agents, public and private, potentially involved in its future exploitation. This initiative aimed at attenuating the shortage of qualified and specialized human resources encountered in the region in different areas which were considered of greater strategic interest. The training courses involved post-graduate and specialization courses and awareness rising in areas such as marketing, cultural tourism, heritage management and enhancement, the cuisine, entertainment, the enhancement of local products, new technologies, as well as the local development policies associated with the Route of the Romanesque.

2005 - 2007 - Preparation of Studies for the Enhancement and Protection of the Surroundings in the 21 Monuments of the Route of the Romanesque.

2005 - Presentation of the Application "Communication, Information and Interpretation of the Route of the Romanesque" to the ON - North Operation (Operational Programme of the Community Support Framework III), in the amount of approximately 606,000 euros, for the production of the identity system of Route of the Romanesque and further elements of communication and information.

2006 - Formal constitution of the management team of the Route of the Romanesque and beginning of the preparation of the application "Communication, Information and Interpretation of the Route of the Romanesque":
- Scientific publication;
- Tourism Guide Book;
- Brochure;
- Pocket Map;
- Promotional Film;
- Promotional Materials;
- Route of the Romanesque website;
- Information Boards;
- Road signalling for tourist and cultural information.

2006 (June) - Registration of the "Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa" brand at the INPI - Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial [National Institute of Industrial Property].

2008 (March) - Beginning of the "Study for the Definition of the Model for Management and Economic and Financial Viability of the Route of the Romanesque."

2008 (April 18th) - Seminar for the presentation of the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa to the local agents and completion of the materials for information and communication.

2008 (September) - Beginning of the "Plan for Promoting the Accessibility to the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa," resulting from the approval of the application submitted by VALSOUSA to Human Potential Operational Programme, integrated in the National Strategic Reference Framework.

2009 (April) - Opening of three Tourist Information Centres of the Route of the Romanesque destined to welcome and support visitors and tourists, located in the Monastery of Pombeiro, in Felgueiras, in the Tower of Vilar, in Lousada, and in the Monastery of Ferreira, in Paços de Ferreira.

2009 (June) - Presentation of the "Plan for Promoting the Accessibility to the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa," which aimed to present proposals that contribute to improving the accessibility and mobility of all citizens to the monuments belonging to the Route of the Romanesque.

2009 (July) - Approval of Strategy for Collective Efficiency PROVERE of the Route of the Romanesque. This Strategy takes on as its goal the enhancement of the Romanesque architectural heritage, complemented by the natural environment (rivers, forest and agricultural areas) of the towns in the region.

2009 (September) - Inauguration of the itinerant exhibition "Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa. An experience founded on History", promoted by the Route of the Romanesque and the Foundation A LORD. The show builds a framework of the Route of the Romanesque and presents a brief historical and architectural description of the 21 elements that comprise it.

2009 (December) - The Route of the Romanesque becomes a member of TRANSROMANICA, the largest European network of Romanesque destinations, based in Germany.

2010 (January) - Tourism of Portugal Prize 2009 - Public Rehabilitation Project, awarded by the Tourism of Portugal.

2010 (January) - XXXV International Tourism, Catering and Gastronomy Award, in the International Tourism Fair - FITUR 2010, in Madrid, Spain.

2010 (March 12 th) - Extension of the Route of the Romanesque to all municipalities of the NUT III - Tâmega, from six to 12 members. The municipalities belonging to VALSOUSA (Castelo de Paiva, Felgueiras, Lousada, Paços de Ferreira, Paredes and Penafiel) are joined by the municipalities of Amarante, Baião, Celorico de Basto, Cinfães, Marco de Canaveses and Resende.

2010 (May) - Novo Norte Award - Norte Civitas, assigned by the North Regional Coordination and Development Commission and Jornal de Notícias.

2010 (May) - Seminar "Route of the Romanesque: Heritage for All", in which the results of the work developed are presented, in the scope of the "Plan for Promoting Accessibility to the Route of the Romanesque of Vale do Sousa".

2010 (July) - Opening of the Tourist Information Centre of the Route of the Romanesque of the Monastery of Paço de Sousa, in Penafiel.

2010 (July) - Beginning of the preparation of the application "Programme for the Enhancement and Tourist Qualification of Route of the Romanesque", which aims to strengthen the regional identity around the Romanesque territorial mark, maximise the offer of touristic, cultural and territorial products connected to the Route of the Romanesque, and promote the engaging of families and the local community in the development of the Route and the region.

2010 (September) - Medal of Touristic Merit, handed by the Portuguese Government.

2010 (September) - Beginning of the preparation of the application "Promotion, Coordination, Follow Up, Monitoring and Management of the Strategic Partnership for Collective Efficiency PROVERE - Route of the Romanesque", which provides for three general initiatives, namely the promotion of the Partnership, promotion and dissemination, and the follow up, monitoring and self-assessment of the management of public policies financed through the Strategy for Collective Efficiency PROVERE.

2010 (October) - Beginning of the preparation of the application "The Mural Painting on the Route of the Romanesque - Pedagogic Activities," to raise the awareness of the school community in the 1st cycle of basic education towards the importance of the historic and artistic heritage, in general terms, and towards the one of the region, particularly, through the development of artistic and manuals skills.

2011 (February) - VALSOUSA - Associação de Municípios do Vale do Sousa [Association of Municipalities of Vale do Sousa], managing body of the Route of the Romanesque and the AMBT – Associação de Municípios do Baixo Tâmega [Association of Municipalities of the Baixo Tâmega] celebrates four financing agreements with the managing body of the ON. 2 - Novo Norte (Regional Operational Programme for the North 2007-2013), for the consolidation of the Route of the Romanesque and the extension of the project to the other six municipalities of the NUT III - Tâmega (Amarante, Baião, Celorico de Basto, Cinfães, Marco de Canaveses and Resende).

2011 (September 28th, 29th and 30th) - 1st International Congress of the Route of the Romanesque.

2011 (September 28th) - Presentation of the new monuments of the Route of the Romanesque Route, following the extension to the municipalities of Amarante, Baião, Celorico de Basto, Cinfães, Marco de Canaveses and Resende. The itinerary of the visit, then composed of 21 monuments, is extended to 34 more heritage elements, located in the Baixo Tâmega/Douro Sul, as well as three more in the Vale do Sousa.

2012 (January) - Beginning of the preparation of the application "e-CREATE Project – Cultural Routes Entrepreneurship and Technologies Enhancement", which aims at increasing the competitiveness of service-oriented tourism enterprises in rural areas along cultural routes by promoting the use of new technologies. Based on the identification of good practices, the project elaborates policy recommendations addressing decision-makers on local and regional levels in order to provide a basis for the enhancement of supply-side oriented policies.
e-CREATE is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme. Involving 13 partners from nine EU Member States and Norway, the project runs from January 2012 to December 2014.

2012 (May) - Product/Service Innovation Prize, awarded by the Tourism Innovation Forum, an initiative included in the INVTUR 2012 Conference.

2012 (July) - Gold Medal of Municipal Merit, handed by the City Hall of Lousada.

2013 (December) - The merchandising line of the Route of the Romanesque is awarded by the Portuguese Association of Museology.

2014 (October) - The promotional film of the Route of the Romanesque is distinguished with an honorable mention in the Cultural Tourism category within the ART & TUR - International Tourism Film Festival.

2014 (11 and 12 December) - Second International Congress of the Route of the Romanesque.

2015 (February 25th) - Public presentation of the new tourist guide of the Route of the Romanesque, at the BTL - International Tourism Fair, in Lisbon.

2015 (March 14th) - Public presentation of the new two-volume monography of the Route of the Romanesque, at the Monastery of the Saviour of Travanca, Amarante.

2016 (May) - Approval of the operation "Route of the Romanesque: Heritage, Culture and Tourism", submitted to the Northern Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020 (North 2020).

2016 (July) - The Route of the Romanesque receives the Medal of Cultural and Scientific Merit - Gold Category, awarded by the Marco de Canaveses City Council.

2016 (November) - The new monography of the Route of the Romanesque is distinguished with an honorable mention in the A. de Almeida Fernandes 2016 Prize.
2017 (April) - The director of the Route of the Romanesque, representing the project, is nominated as one of the Faces of a New North, within the scope of the closure of the 2007/2013 North Portugal Regional Operational Programme (ON. 2 – The New North).

2017 (May 25 and 26) - The Route of the Romanesque and the University of Aveiro organize the fourth edition of the International Forum of Architectural Heritage Portugal/Brazil, at the Monastery of Saint Mary of Pombeiro, Felgueiras.

2017 (October 13, 14 and 15) - The Route of the Romanesque promotes AR&PA - Iberian Biennal of Cultural Heritage, held for the first time in Portugal. This historical centre of Amarante is the main backdrop for this event.

2017 (November 30) - The Route of the Romanesque is recognized as a "Regional Emblem", within the scope of the "We Are the North" Awards, promoted by CCDR-N and Jornal de Notícias.

2017 (December 13) - The Assembly and Parish Council of Airães, Felgueiras, distinguished the Route of the Romanesque with the Saint Vincent Medal of Merit ("Civic Participation").

2018 (May 4) - Handout of certificates to the first 15 "Route of the Romanesque Heritage Interpreters", who attended the training course (120 hours) promoted by the School of Hospitality and Tourism of Porto and the Route of the Romanesque.

2018 (September 27) - Inauguration of the Interpretation Centre of the Romanesque, in Lousada.

2018 (October 25) - The Route of the Romanesque is ranked third in the "Sustainable Cultural Tourism Destination" awards, "Cultural Landscapes" category, by the European Cultural Tourism Network (ECTN), based in Brussels, Belgium.

2019 (January) - The regional online newspaper "Verdadeiro Olhar" distinguished the Route of the Romanesque as Cultural Entity of the Year 2018.

2019 (May 24) - Awards Portuguese Association of Museology 2019: the Interpretation Centre of the Romanesque won in the "Museographic Work", "Management and Multimedia App" and "Film" categories. It also received an honourable mention in the "Best Museum of the Year" category.