Cilentana, 72 years spent walking around the world, prepares for the next trip. Direction Beijing, to meet peoples and promote our cultural heritage
by NICOLA NICOLETTI
From the monthly – Camino for more than 40 years. In high school I did regional races, lots of walks and sports, thinking that movement is good for the body. With the long walks I started more than 25 years ago, when I decided to become an environmental guide and make my territory known ». On Mount Cervati, the highest peak in Campania, at 1,848 meters, Vienna Cammarota reviews its history made of nature and walks, among the beech trees that move in the wind. Many kilometers traveled in his 72 years, lived with unshakable love for life. «I have a visceral passion for the environment, I like to breathe fresh air without pollution, I respect nature and I am grateful for being able to follow her path. I embrace the trees thinking of their strength, I greet the flowers and everything that surrounds me ».
A great walker, small and tireless, she is now preparing for a unique undertaking: retracing Marco Polo’s route, on foot. To those who ask her why such a long journey, she shrugs her shoulders with a disarming “We are used to it”.
The last trip was Goethe’s tour, from Bohemia to Sicily. First she went to Madagascar, Nepal, Amazonia and on many Italian routes. Vienna, born in the Salerno area, in Felitto, a hilly village famous for the long fusillo, in 2016 traveled the Cammino della Misericordia, from the coast of its Cilento to the Gulf of Manfredonia, up to the Gargano National Park. On the way she was welcomed in Irpinia, then among the ancient sheep tracks in Puglia, walking from convent to convent, up to San Giovanni Rotodo.
Why China? “I like to bond with a historical figure – he replies dryly – I had planned it in 2019, after Goethe’s trip to Italy”. The fearless walker wants to see the places described by Marco Polo, remember and make people remember that his journey was not only that of the “thousand and one nights”, but the narration of places, customs and stories. The beauty of her stories, the discovery of silk, precious stones, spices and many foods now part of our diet. “He was a brave man, with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. We have forgotten it ».
At the Rosalia di Piaggine refuge, on the Cervati, he is preparing for the journey. He will travel many regions on foot, except areas such as Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, for which he will use a ship. It will cross the Caspian Sea and will have to take into account the evolutions of the pandemic. It will travel along slopes, plains, densely populated and desert areas; he will experience arid and cold climates, monsoons and humid temperatures, solitude and companionship. “The goal is to meet people, bring the smile of Italy around the world and contribute to the promotion of the cultural heritage of our country,” she reveals. All told on social media.
The date set for the departure is April 25, obviously from the Lazzaretto, the Venetian island from which the great traveler departs. For about three years he will walk in the direction of Beijing. Many things have changed in recent centuries, from the climate to the political system, but who knows how many have remained unchanged. He will be 73 next September. «I am a woman from the South, my gesture is to break stereotypes – he says – We women do incredible things. Fear? Only to fail, not to make it physically, even though I often think that courage exists only if there is fear ».