Freedom, destiny in one’s name.


A Latin phrase read "Nomen omen", or "destiny in the name". In the case of Freedom this is certainly the case.

Freedom Pentimalli is a guide of the Compagnia dei Cammini, and is a free spirit that you can meet in the center of the Mediterranean, taken along one of its paths.

As he himself will tell us shortly, the center of gravity of his excursions is Calabria, where he was born, where he lived and where he is well rooted, but for his work – which coincides with his passion, which goes perfectly with its nature – from its native land he moves along the central Mediterranean, from east to west.

But let’s get straight to us!

Question: Freedom, introduce yourself to our readers!

Freedom: my name is Freedom Pentimalli. Calabrian, raised in Aspromonte and with a sea view, in the middle of the Mediterranean which I consider home.

Question: How long have you been a hiking guide?

Freedom: I became an environmental hiking guide in 2018. The choice to undertake this route was not dictated so much by wanting to guide people along paths, but rather by my curiosity for maps and cartography, for the toponyms behind which I can find stories to tell and thus link the steps to the path that welcomes them.

A series of coincidences brought me to the Naturaliter team and, during the pandemic, other coincidences opened the doors of the Compagnia dei Cammini to me. Today I drive for both between Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Question: specialized in the routes of which area?

Freedom: I feel connected to the Aegean Sea in particular, where the blue of the sea that comes to terms with the rocks is a theater with a ready set, all you need is the shell of a boat and Greece is born inside you. A small piece of sea that has seen great civilizations in the past, later crossed by merchants, crusaders, priests, poets and pirates. What is left? Where does what I encounter in the Aegean islands have roots? For me it’s like an excavation, but I’m not an archaeologist. However, I am lucky enough to know modern Greek and my “finds” are the common people to whom I give voice.

Question: What path holds a special place in your heart?

Freedom: for the fact that I made my first journey there, but also because it is a remote island, never passing through, I say Kàrpathos. Getting there by plane doesn’t give you the idea, so for those who can, I also recommend the ancient approach, the journey by ship. I believe it is the path where one best reflects on the essentials.

Question: hidden pearls along this path?

Freedom: those who know Mediterraneo movie will enjoy a little surprise. The others can settle for Saria, a desert island to cross.

Freedom ad Amorgòs
Freedom in Amorgòs
Minorca con Naturaliter
Minorca, with Naturaliter

Question: one of the great joys of walkers is treating yourself to a good meal after many hours and many kilometers under your feet, what do you recommend trying local cuisine along this path?

Freedom: Makarounes with caramelized onion and a sprinkling of salted ricotta. It is a fresh, homemade short pasta that holds up very well when cooked (local wheat). It is often accompanied by white wine served chilled. It’s not often that Italians lick their chops abroad by eating… pasta!

Question: best time of year for this walk?

Freedom: Spring or Autumn. I usually walk there in October, wait until most of the tourists have left and enjoy the island catching its breath. In fact, every structure that the group leaves behind collects chairs, tables, beds and sheets, closes the season and people prepare to work in the olive groves. Those who take care of us, those who cook for us, always have time to sit at the table and join in the dinner: we are no longer customers, we eat what they cook for themselves. Little big difference.

Question: moving on to our classic curiosity, what do you recommend putting in the backpack – maybe a single thing that no one usually thinks about?

Freedom: Nothing technical, we are far too equipped: I have “not” used the same steel tinderbox for 15 years and I plan to leave it to my heirs. Instead, I have taken up another habit, that of putting a typical product from my area in my backpack, often biscuits, something that only in Aspromonte has that flavour. And I have two advantages: the first is that I can tell myself without having to use only my voice, while the second is that I free up space before returning, to fill with memories or, perhaps, salted ricotta. Jokes aside, I avoid arriving somewhere without something unique and mine to share.
It may sound Calabrian, I know…

Question: CAMCO is a partner of Compagnia dei Cammini for clothing, what CAMCO product do you have, how do you like it?

Freedom: I have a black BULÈTT T-Shirt. I feel very comfortable with it, I often use it even when I’m not walking. I find the contact very comfortable and, above all, the feeling of dry, warm and clean it gives me. I almost always walk in weather conditions between 10 and 25 degrees and this T-Shirt, combined with the windproof/rainproof shell if necessary, allows me to cover 90% of the approximately one thousand kilometers that I cover every year. Maybe it’s me who got used to my smell, but I used it for four days in a row to test it without washing it: if with a poor quality fabric you already send flora and fauna away with the first sweat, with the BULÈTT people still turned to me the word. Good sign?

Question: To conclude, what will be the next path for which you will be the guide?

Freedom: I will go to another Greece, the Balkan one that borders Albania, among the villages of Zagori:
Zagorochoria and the stone bridges.
In mid-July, when the rest of Greece is in the grip of the heat, I go to travel the Pindus mountains along shady paths and stone bridges that cross rivers with crystal clear water (they even bottle it!).
You pass through villages with a few hundred inhabitants and reach 2000 meters above sea level before domestic tourism takes off in August. A corner of Europe as close as it is unknown and therefore far away, but only 200 km east of Otranto.

Dettaglio della Bulètt, a Minorca
Detail of the Bulètt, in Menorca

We thank Freedom for this quick interview, which made us dream and reflect on how Italy is a reality in the center of the Mediterranean Sea, and at times made us smile – if not actually laugh out loud.
For those who want to “keep an eye” on Freedom and the paths that will see him as a professional guide, we invite you to follow his page on the Compagnia dei Cammini website.

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