Have you ever wondered about trekking in Molise?
You are probably familiar with the famous motto “Molise does not exsist!”.
Believe it or not, it actually does, and its beautiful and unspoiled mountains bear witness to the undiscovered surprises hidden in even the smallest spots around you! In other words, Trekking and Molise is a winning pair!
The first interview in our series of Meet the locals is with our trekking guide Antonio.
An environmental guide and excursionist, Antonio’s passion for mountains and outdoor activities inspired him to discover the most hidden corners of the region.
We have no doubt that Antonio is the best hiking guide in Molise!
Whether it is the Man And Biosphere Reserve of Collemeluccio-Montedimezzo, or the fascinating routes along the tratturi, he is always enthusiastic to show off the most untrammeled natural spots.
Today, we ask him some questions about trekking life:
Why did you choose to start trekking and hiking in Molise?
“Trekking and hiking in Molise is immersion in an environment where nature is still dominant. Firstly, it has low population density. Secondly, man’s impact on the territory is low. Most importantly, trekking in Molise is a way to get to know the authentic Italy, because tourism has not changed people’s way of life. Here, you can easily connect with locals and live the true italianness.”
So, being a trekking guide in Molise sounds really exciting: what is your favorite itinerary?
“It’s hard to choose my favorite one because each of them is my own creation as if it is my son! (Smiling)
Well, if I had to pick, I would say the “On the shepherds’ tracks in Molise” tour, because it retraces the transhumance paths. Also, the “In the hearth of Molise trail” experience offers a breathtaking panorama from the Montagnola Molisana!”
From his answers we can feel the deep bond that exists between Antonio and the rural environment which is his source of everyday inspiration.
Where do people who join your travel experiences come from?
“The hikers I’ve been guiding in recent years are basically from northern Italy, especially from Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige. I also had the pleasure to meet a very nice group from Holland!”
The match Molise-Tourism is booming! What do you think about it?
“Although lately Molise has surged to stardom on the media, as for the mention in The New York Times, I don’t think that the tourism demand has increased … it is quite similar to last year’s requests.”
How do you see trekking and Molise in 10 years?
Antonio looks at us and repeats aloud the question, then again continues…
“I believe in a positive future! I hope that Molise will grow more and more, improve the supply chain, including accommodations and facilities. I truly hope the tourism will not destroy the environment, but instead it will be a responsible tourism focused on quality, not quantity.”
We totally agree with him!
Trekking vs Hiking: What are the differences?
“Trekking is a long journey because it originated in South Africa, when the descendants of the Dutch, the so-called Boers, had to escape upon the British arrival, pushing themselves into the interior of South Africa itself. Whereas hiking is a single-day excursion, involving activities such as climbing up to the top of the mountain or of the hill and so on…”
What would your life be like without hiking and the mountains?
“My life without trekking and the mountains would be quite boring and flat, because for me going around Molise’s nature is a rush of adrenaline! It fully expresses who I am. Spending days outdoors is a unique experience: walking, feeling the sense of fatigue… without it I would be a less happy person.”
What do you feel when you trek on the tratturi, the transhumance paths?
“Walking along the tracks is something magical; it is walking into the history of Molise! Something extraordinarily fascinating, wonderful! You walk learning the real roots of this land and the efforts our ancestors made to build our villages. Hence, you can fully experience the territory and feel the local connection with the spirit of places.”
What trail do you suggest to neophytes?
“Surely for newcomers there is very suitable trekking by the Molise lakes, on trails which wind by the Occhito and Guardialfiera lakes and the hills that interpose themselves between. For the more experienced I would recommend the route that I call “Up and down the mountains of the Matese,” where you can experience the Apennine Massif with all its naturalistic and historical-cultural wonders.”
Want to learn more about transhumance? Click here for the emotional reportage by the Molisan photographer Giuseppe Nucci.