“I see the Alps as a unique, immense, continuous ecosystem. I do not see communal, regional or State borders.
I see similar living organisms at hundreds of miles of distance, in different countries. I don’t see any Italian, French, German, Austrian or Slovenian trees; they all speak the same language.
I see the protected areas of the Alpine range as an archipelago of islands where the beauty and wealth of biodiversity and geodiversity show themselves with a particular intensity, tiles of a mosaic which can only be completed with a global, borderless view.
I see the cultural value of the protected areas, the conscious choice by the human race to defend by itself places of an inestimable value.
I believe that the best way to discover the nature of the Alps goes through the slow and regular rhythm of walking, the mean used by the first humans to colonise the land, the most efficient way to overcome rock asperities, streams, glaciers, forests, high-altitude meadows causing the least disturbance possible.
During the summer 2012, I will walk several stretches of the Via Alpina Red Trail, those which cross or skim past some of the major protected areas in the central-oriental Alps. Between one area and the next I will travel by bus and train, in order to emphasize the value of sustainable mobility.
I will leave from Belluno to reach Slovenia by train, where I will cross from South to North the Triglav National Park. I will then move on to Austria, then Italy where I will first cross the Tre Cime – Dolomiti di Sesto Nature Park and then, after a transfer by train, the Stelvio National Park. I will finally reach Engadin through the Swiss National Park.
I see the Via Alpina as the Via Maestra of the dense and continuous network of trails built by man over thousands of years to cross valleys and mountain ranges, reach the summits and link the villages.
I see the Via Alpina as a very long ecological corridor, a major articulation in an often invisible network travelled by animals and plant seeds, even before humans.
As an inhabitant of the Alps, I have the desire to get to know other regions in the Alpine range, other cultures, other natures. My nomadic nature pushes me to understand what unites and what divides the populations inhabiting the Alpine valleys.
As a nature and hiking guide I intend to involve my colleagues, make the value of the Via Alpina as a communication artery, an opportunity for meeting, known to them. Thus I intend to communicate to others the potential of the Via Alpina with its 5000 kilometres of trails. Finally I intend to guide people along the Via Alpina, to enable them to savour the beauty of learning to get to know a territory via the slow rhythm of walking.
As an environment educator I intend, upon my return, to tell my experience especially to the youngest ones, to communicate them the value of uniqueness and complementarity of each individual place with respect to the whole of the Alpine region.”
Andrea Pasqualotto’s journey went as planned, from 22 August to 5 September 2012, except for a few diversions due to snowfall towards the end of the trip. Starting from his hometown of Belluno, he reached Slovenia by train and crossed the Triglav National Park on foot from south to north. He boarded again coach and train through Austria to arrive at the Italian border and the Tre Cime – Dolomiti di Sesto Nature Park. Then another transfer by train to Malles and the Stelvio National Park. From there, Andrea walked over to the Engadin valley and crossed the Swiss National Park before going back to Belluno by public transport.
His journey enabled him to discover new landscapes and observe different ways of tackling the relationships between man and nature. It was punctuated by three interviews recorded in Sillian, Bolzano and Scuol, which you can listen to on his blog (in Italian).
Admire the project’s video, a superb manifesto for a nature which scoffs at the administrative borders.