If you’re looking for a route to follow across the Mediterranean that’s rich in culture and history for your next trip, then you might consider tracing the steps of the Roman mythical hero Aeneas from the ruins of the city of Troy to the shores of Italy where he essentially laid the foundations for the Roman civilisation.

A picture of the ruins of the city of Troy in Turkey
Starting in Troy, the route is a testimony "of the mixing and meeting of different cultures" of the Mediterranean area and in that lies its value © Ozbalci / Getty Images

Aeneas’ seven-year-long journey was famously told by the Latin poet Virgil in his epic poem The Aeneid, and the actual route the hero and his companions follow to get to their new home has been traced all over the Mediterranean by many classical scholars.

A sunset in the town of Ierapetra on the Greek island of Crete
Aeneas' journey brought him all the way across the Mediterranean, like on the island of Crete, for example, like the journeys of many ancient Greek and Latin heroes ©

Today, that journey might become an official Cultural Route of the Council of Europe.  In order to qualify as a cultural route, it must “show through space and time how the heritage of the different countries and cultures of Europe come together to create a cultural richness that’s shared and alive,” according to the council’s official website.

Read more: A new museum in Turkey lets you experience the ancient city of Troy

The route’s candidature is being promoted by the Aeneas’ Route Association, who considers Aeneas “a central figure in the common roots of Europe and of the Euro-Mediterranean community.” The process started in 2017 and the next step is the presentation of the official dossier to the council in Brussels, which will happen sometime around next August.

A picture of the ruins of Apollo's Temple in Cuma, Italy
Cuma, in the south of Italy, is the place where Aeneas meets the Sybil, Apollo's oracle, and also makes his journey into the Underworld © Greg Elms / Lonely Planet

The whole route consists of 21 stops, many of which include UNESCO World Heritage sites, in five different countries  – starting from Turkey, where the mythical city of Troy was discovered in 1872 by Schliemann, and finishing in Italy, where Aeneas landed and ultimately went on to found the city of Lavinium, one of the birthplaces of Roman civilisation. The route also touches the shores of Greece, Albania and Tunisia, the location of the ancient city of Carthage – the set for the tragic love story between Aeneas and Queen Dido.

A picture of the ruins of the ancient city of Carthage, in Tunisia
Carthage, a legendary foe of Rome, was the setting for Aeneas' tragic love story with Queen Dido © Nataliya Hora / Shutterstock

If you’d like to know more about the route, you can check out the official website of the Aeneas’ Route Association here.

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