“The Way of the Gods” (La Via degli Dei) from Bologna to Florence: a journey that gives you exactly what you need, as long as you take the first step.

This post is also available in: Italiano

Since I can remember during my childhood, while I was traveling from one town to another in the Lucanian and Calabrian hinterland, together with my maternal grandfather Vittorio, I have always imagined myself in adventurous explorations and walks, crossing the hilly, mountainous, wooded, and meadow landscapes that I could appreciate from the window of a Turbo Daili 35C13.

Like all children’s fantasies, it took me some time to realize them.

Around the age of 25, I was invited by a close friend to a trekking tour and I fell madly in love with mountain hiking. This passion was already inside me, but following a trusted person with same desire for nature and outdoor activity, on a path through the Pini Loricati, in the largest National Park in Italy, the Pollino, finally gave way to the possibility of living the an anchestral dream.

From then on, thanks also to the opportunity to travel for study, and to flexibility at work, I manage to experience several adventures: the five peaks of the Pollino, the Basilicata coast-to-coast by bicycle, explorations on other peaks and night trips scattered throughout southern and northern Italy.

However, at the beginning of 2022, all this energy was not so present when, at the end of the first week of April, exactly one week before Easter weekend, I took the train from Milan to Bologna, with a backpack on my shoulder, with the intention, not quite at my best, of walking the Way of the Gods (la “Via degli Dei”).

It is a particular moment in my life, where, after a troublesome covid, with some lingering after-effects, I find myself physically weak for the first time. With a break of more than two months from more intense activities, such as cycling or hiking, I still decide to start this adventure. I was not convinced and a question continued to buzz in my head.

“Why am I doing this? Is it for me or for someone else? Just now that I feel weaker, what is the point and WHERE am I headed?”

These were the questions that, no matter how much I pretended to ignore them, focusing on preparations, backpack, equipment, clothing, stages, and so on, came back strongly often during the first days.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the journey gave me a beautiful answer, in many ways and signs, leading me physically, mentally, and spiritually to a fundamental basic assumption: wherever you are heading, you have no idea what answer reality will give you along the way; you can plan, doubt, hope, anything, but the truth is that you will never be able to imagine what awaits you. You don’t have the capacity. And that’s what makes it even more fascinating, astonishing, and surprising, once that something appears before you!

So, reality answers any doubt, as long as you are tuned in to listening to it, observing it, perceiving it in any it is communicating to you.

Departed from Bologna, during the first two days of walking, I was swinging my mood from states of enthusiasm and adrenaline, to states of indecision, doubt, and laziness. Arriving in Monzuno, on a panorama overlooking the valley that separates the town from the opposing hill, and I entered into total mystical crisis. I decide to give up and go back home. There was no urgent or serious reason, but the mental chaos convinces me that I have to go back when, at a certain point, under a fine rain and a gray sky, I catch sight of a book on the lookout of the valley, under an arch.

There is no one around, maybe someone forgot it there?

I’m not thinking anymore.

I approached it, picked it up, and opened it to a random page, and read the following.

<< Chapter 10. Children are born in the ice cream shop.

Since we don’t really know what we want in life, maybe the only way to find it is to lose ourselves. Lose ourselves so much, until we no longer understand where we are. And there, we risk tripping over ourselves>>.

A mixture of cold and shivers, confusion, and amazement runs through my mind and body.

I closeed it, took the late night train to Milan while slowly a mental calmness settles in and the awareness that a radical change is taking place in that journey which, at that moment, was in the middle of its course, even though I was on a completely different path.

The next day, I woke up, further lighten my backpack, took the train, and returned exactly where I found the book, which I obviously brought with me.

I get off the bus in front of the viewpoint, the sun is shining and I feel reborn, motivated and without doubts, but with only one certainty: to be in the right place at the right time, doing what I was meant to do it right over there.

I soon find several scattered groups of hikers and, after a few introductions, I set off with two beautiful people, Valentina and Anna Letizia, with whom we tacitly choose each other as travel companions, and to whom, always tacitly, Ciro, Matteo, Francesca, Damiano, Christian, Monica, and many other splendid wandering souls will be kept on joining. I had the pleasure of sharing part of that journey that still continues right now, keeping in touch and choosing each other again for other adventures and moments of life sharing and celebrating.

Aldilà delle informazioni tecniche del viaggio per la quale, potete trovate davvero un modo di consigli e dettagli sul profilo del simpatico ed esperto del Walking Nose, mi sento di condividere questo percorso interiore che ho realizzato lungo e grazie al cammino.

Beyond the technical information about the journey, for which you can truly find tips and details on the profile of the friendly and expert Walking Nose, I feel like sharing within this post the inner journey that I accomplished along and thanks to the cammino.

Every time I have a doubt about where I’m going to and why, I return to what happened along the way and immediately feel a relief, a sense of conscious trust in reality and in myself.

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