Walking through Italy, a chance to get closer

Cartine sentieri italiani

In this moment, so strange and particular, one of the things I miss the most is the possibility of walking: in nature, in a wood, on grassy ridges, along the road that leads from one village to the next.
It is not just a hobby, but the need to escape from the daily routine, to find comfort in the quiet and beauty of certain places.
And at the moment, obviously, this need is even stronger.
The need to escape (no longer only in a metaphorical sense) has certainly been accentuated by this long period of quarantine. And if at the beginning none of us disdained the possibility of staying at home a little enjoying the things we love, now only a few still manage to resist the “chains” of this forced isolation.

Soon (hopefully) it will be possible to travel and walk again, perhaps in different ways and with new gestures at the beginning, but certainly with a renewed enthusiasm and much more curiosity to know, explore, admire and touch what surrounds us.
From my point of view, according to what will be imposed on us, I think this is the right opportunity to discover places close to us, still unknown. Places often generally forgotten or snubbed, yet extraordinarily rich in charm, history and opportunities: for relax, recreation and comfort, both for our body and mind.
We are lucky to live in such a wonderful country that is able to offer us multiple opportunities in this sense. The sweet task of rediscovering our land remains up to us.

Going slowly, grasping the thousand facets, savoring every single peculiarity.

Making us, at the same time, bearers of much more important aspects and themes which unfortunately have become current due to the crisis that we are experiencing.
I feel a strong sense of responsibility in this, perhaps also highlighted by the desire (I hope very soon fulfilled) to become a hiking guide. Due to the current situation, there are many local realities that are hopelessly losing the chance to stay alive, doing what they love the most and, at the same time, ensuring a form of livelihood for themselves and their families. Beyond any declaration, promise or gesture of help from the highest circles, I believe that the real task of helping those who in this moment are suffering most of all from the consequences of the pandemic, lies with us.

Walkers, hikers, customers, guides: we are all ambassadors of a form of slow, respectful and supportive tourism capable of truly bringing us closer to each other.

In my own small way, when it will be allowed, I will start walking again with a new and different spirit. Alone or together with others. Setting already known destinations, but above all exploring different places, near or far, with the desire to know and appreciate them as much as possible. Equipping myself with every means to be able to fully experience each itinerary, but with the primary purpose of leaving a concrete (and polite) trace of my passage: a stop in a hut, a night in a local facility (where it will be possible), a meal made of local products. Anything that can bring me closer to every place and inhabitant, trying to be a precious resource for them and not just another hiker passing by.

I have spent the last few days drawing itineraries, shorter and longer, tracking information, checking maps, consulting guides.
I would like to undertake this journey by giving it a very personal imprint, weaving new discoveries with more dated paths, closely linked to various aspects of my life: a memory, a particular moment, a place, a choice made in the past, an aspect of my character.

It is a journey to discover new things, outside and, at the same time, inside me.

In doing so, I studied different itineraries in different places and contexts.
I would like to know better the region where I live, Emilia Romagna, where I was born and that welcomed me warmly a few years ago. Traveling along the crests of its peaks, immersing myself in the beauty of the Apennine panoramas.
On the other hand, I would like to take other itineraries that have a strong symbolic meaning for me.
The first of these runs along the trails of the “Alta Via dei Monti Liguri”. In my intentions it leads me from home to home, from Reggio Emilia to Dolcedo (in the province of Imperia), in the village where I grew up and where my parents still live. Going backwards, from door to door, the road made for the first time 12 years ago to move to Emilia Romagna. A journey undertaken in time with so much ambition and the typical dreams of a 19-years-old boy. A journey to enjoy slowly, having time to cross the memories, to be able to close one chapter of my life and open another one, even more exciting.
And then the Dolomites, where my passion for the mountains, nature and love for hiking was born and exploded. There are several itineraries that I have in mind, some already travelled, some still unknown. I hope to have the time and opportunity to undertake them.
Finally, travel to the south of the country, in places where I sink part of my origins (Sicily) and in other lands still unexplored today. Walking along the “Cammino dei Briganti” (lit. trail of the robbers), for example, to keep alive that rebel flame that still burns in me and which I feel I cannot do without.

Walk, walk and walk again.
I don’t know how long does it take to that moment.
But thanks to my fantasy and imagination I have already started my trip.