The Italy Path
The Sentiero Italia has been included among the "10 longest and most spectacular trails in the world": a ranking that, from the United States to the Himalayas up to New Zealand, has reserved a splendid surprise: the Sentiero Italia (Grand Italian Trail) is the longest and most spectacular of all!
The CAI had already started to enhance the Path with Camminaitalia in 1995, over twenty years ago, to implement a profitable promotion of hiking, with the participation of over 5 thousand people on the way, following the philosophy anticipated a century earlier by the good walker Giustino Fortunato: “To know you have to walk". Camminaitalia was also an ecological event, which confirmed the priority of walking proposed by the founding fathers of the CAI, anticipating all fashions and trends.
The then president Roberto De Martin, but also the current one, Umberto Martini, also participated in the trek twenty years ago, who documented the walk with the collaboration of all the CAI sections along the itinerary, then repeated in 1999.
Many segments of the Apennine crossing then suffered from abandonment and the ravages of time: this is reported by numerous foreign enthusiasts who come to the Bel Paese attracted by the extraordinary charm of the Sentiero Italia, especially in the South, in Sicily and Sardinia.
A broken dream?
Many years have passed since the last edition of Camminaitalia, the precious ANA-CAI relay that could have constituted the consecration of the Sentiero Italia as the backbone of Italian hiking, launched at the time as the “Green Highway of Italy".
Born with undeniable hopes, created thanks to the volunteering and passion of many sections and also promoted abroad by the Club Camminaitalia, the Path has in fact been completely abandoned, in favor of local initiatives and path networks, albeit with some clear exceptions. Such as in Trentino, for example, where the route from the San Pellegrino Pass to the Fedaia Pass via the Fuciade refuge and the Contrin refuge has been punctually marked.
Certainly continuing over time to keep the entire path in operation and make it usable, even if at times, is not a trivial commitment: the driving force of the CAI is volunteering, which however suffers from a lack of continuity, if not encouraged and supported by the institutions.
Today, with new materials, with new safety and with a rediscovered spirit of adventure that smacks of other times, we are witnessing a fruitful return to the mountains, through the practice of trekking, to be tackled with prudence, with intelligence, with great respect for the places and with love for nature, as the friends of the FIE – Italian Hiking Federation also teach us, born in 1927 as the heir of the extraordinary eldest daughter Italian Prealpine Federation founded in 1898 and currently associated with the European Ramblers Association, the body in charge of defining the European trail network, including the Grande Randonnée (GR).
There are therefore all the skills, as well as the passions, to prevent the dream of a great national Path from being lost: this is also why Cammini d'Europa intends to work in every location and in the territories so that attention does not wane and we can return to dream, putting one foot in front of the other, accompanying the youngest - and the Italians of tomorrow - in the footsteps of their fathers.
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