Andrea, the guide for the walks in the south of peninsular Italy
This second interview, again with a guide from the Compagnia dei Cammini, takes us to the extreme south of our country.
Andrea Laurenzano is a guide of Compagnia dei Cammini – actually something more, but he will tell us this himself shortly.
The previous interview took us to central Italy, with Daniele Moschini.
Today the second Compagnia dei Cammini guide that we interview takes us further south.
His territories are those of Calabria, but in his guide life he also takes many people for a walk in other regions of peninsular southern Italy, and also on the islands.
Calabria is rarely mentioned in the stories of the paths that people have travelled, perhaps because it is not on the Rome-Brindisi route, which took pilgrims from the north to the Holy Land, around which the most popular paths developed, perhaps because Calabria In the eyes of most, it is still a relatively unexplored and wild territory, with many kilometers of coastline but also with impervious mountains. A mysterious place, about which little is known.
Those who want to inform themselves will discover that it is a fascinating area, waiting to be discovered, and – as always – discovering it with a professional guide is always one of the best ways.
Question: Andrea, introduce yourself to our readers!
Andrea: I am a guide and founding member of the Compagnia dei Cammini as well as of Naturaliter Agenzia Viaggi a Piedi.
I was born and raised in Bova, a pretty village in Aspromonte in the heart of Greek Calabria, a land that preserves age-old customs and traditions and where the ancient language of Homer is still spoken, albeit unfortunately by few.
Like many young people in my area, once they finished their studies, the first thing they thought of was emigrating. I was lucky enough, around the years 1992/93, to meet really important people in my life who had already begun to take their first steps along the paths of Aspromonte and above all who were thinking about how they could transform a passion for the mountain and for the journey into a possible activity. I immediately became closer to them and the path.
Many years have passed since then and I am still here, among the paths.
Question: How long have you been guiding people?
Andrea: I have been a guide since 1994, associated with the AIGAE (Italian Association of Environmental Hiking Guides) since 1999 and Official Guide of the Aspromonte National Park.
Specialized in walks mainly in Aspromonte but also in the rest of Calabria, in the parks of Campania and Sicily.
Question: among the many paths for which you have been and are a guide, which one holds a special place in your heart?
Andrea: The Path of the English Man in Aspromonte.
Question: regarding the Path of the English Man, what is the “pearl” of the path? What can’t those who want to tackle it independently miss out on, among all that there is to see and that an official and professional guide always shows?
Andrea: Without a doubt, meeting the local community, having the opportunity to talk to the people of the small villages you pass through, hearing the stories, the emotions is truly an added value.
As I always tell our walkers it is not a journey of the guide but of all the people we will meet. And then in this corner of Calabria let’s not forget the bergamot and the spectacular fiumare.
Question: what to taste in the villages crossed by this path?
Andrea: the many vegetables cooked in a thousand ways, the cheeses, the cured meats, and of course for the drinks the excellent locally produced red wine as well as the various bergamot drinks.
Question: recommended period to tackle the Path of the English Man?
Andrea: from March to mid-June, when flowering offers extraordinary colors, but also the colors of the autumn period are surprising.
Question: CAMCO is a partner Compagnia dei Cammini for clothing, what CAMCO product do you have, how do you like it?
Andrea: I have a Bisbìn t-shirt, in grey-lavender. I must say that I found myself very well, I used it in Aspromonte with mild temperatures but also in the Egadi Islands with very hot temperatures. Very light, breathable and used for several days it doesn’t…. stink!
Question: a curiosity that we promised to all our readers, as a gem of the interview: what do you always put in your backpack that no one – or almost no one – thinks about?
Andrea: I think that today we are all very careful about what to put in our backpacks, in mine for example I always put a pair of light rubber sandals to help walkers during fords to cross rivers.
Question: To conclude, what will be the next paths on which you will be a guide?
Andrea: from the 7th to the 13th of April, the Walk Among the Welcoming Villages, from Gerace to Riace, is a real experience, with exceptional encounters, including Mimmo Lucano.
Of course, soon after, from April 27th to May 4th I will be walking along the Path of the English Man.
We thank Andrea and remember that on the Compagnia dei Cammini website it is possible to consult the programming of all the paths that will see him as a guide in 2024.
As for this interview with one of the guides of the associations of which CAMCO is a partner, that’s all.
We warmly invite you to consult the invitiamo caldamente a consultare la page dedicated to Andrea within the Compagnia dei Cammini portal: still 9 paths to travel with him in these next months of 2024.