Such concepts as working in an integrated way, creating a better communication, building a control room between the local and national communities, were the main points of the meeting held in Rome to introduce the “Month of Slow Mobility”, created by the Co.Mo.Do. association. Key event will be the Forgotten Railways, at its 11th edition on the first Sunday of March.
An abandoned railway can be turned into many useful things: a new railway, if it is possible; a green way, be used for the recovery of a particular area; be turned into a natural park, or in an ecological hallway. Or even, it can be kept frozen, waiting for different projects, but always protected from neglect.
The Co.Mo.Do.’s task, through the Month of Slow Mobility, is to bring a more eco-friendly economy to touristic and panoramic areas thanks to slow mobility, identifying networks of path suitable for cyclists, families, horsemen and people on foot, and engaging associations and local authorities to communicate with the Institutions to convince them to invest money on eco-friendly infrastructures, as it is done in Europe.
A SUMMARY OF THE MAIN SPEECHES
Enzo Cori, vice president of CAI (Club Alpino Italiano) introduced the project “Cammina Italia”: a hiking route that crosses Italy - islands included - which is 6,150 kilometres long and divided into 368 stages. “It has been very difficult - says Cori - coordinating national and regional laws regarding walkers. Now that we’ve got it, we hope it will be active no later than 2019.”
FCI vice president, Daniela Isetti, underlined the evident increasing importance of cycle-tourism inside the Italian Cycling Federation: “Italy is the first producer of bikes in the world, there are 26 million of bicycle and 12 million people using them. Regarding the sports tourism, bikes come second. Cycle-tourism is becoming a way for many places to seasonally adjust the presence of tourists, as it is happening in Salsomaggiore, near Parma, Emilia Romagna. Events like Nove Colli of Cesenatico, in Romagna, are able to create a profit of 13 million of Euros.
We are putting much effort into the training of cycle-touristic guides through courses at various levels, often taught by international former athletes, even though in this respect we lack national legislations which are now necessary”.
Federico Ceschin, secretary-general of Associazione Cammini d’Europa (European Paths Association), has underlined the need of “changing the way we see our ability to attract people. Our art heritage cities are on the brink of collapse and our ability to attract tourism is downward. We are seeing a hit-and-run type of tourism, concentrating only on small areas, with the Southern regions as tail lights. We must understand that we do not “have” a patrimony but we “are” that patrimony.
A first step, in this respect, could be the ratification of the Faro Convention”.
The journalist and traveller Salvatore Giannella gave the example of the Spanish “green ways” and how important it is to create a dialogue between Italy’s different components, giving the persuasive definition of “cooperative competition” in a Country that keeps being divided by ancient rivalries.
The Italian State Railways as well is becoming aware of this new trend. Luigi Cantamessa, executive of the State Railways Foundation, confirms it together with Angela Dondoli, general management of Tuscany mobility policy, Alessandro Di Graziano, executive of Circumetnea Railways and Daniela Corti, executive of Società Subalpina Imprese Ferroviarie (the company managing the railways between Italy and Switzerland).
From their interventions it has come out that local railways and historic trains represent a great opportunity - like ancient wood branches - to make trains become vehicle of a better knowledge of the country in all its options. Now, the aim is to communicate efficiently the different use of some of these railways.
And on the necessity to communicate better and create a network to enhance the great Italian heritage and make it suitable for sustainable tourism, insisted the former Agricultural and Forestry Policy Minister, Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, as the director of UniVerde Foundation.
Among the other opportunities linked to eco-friendly tourism, there is also the trail riding, as underlined by Alessandro Silvestri president of the Italian Federation of Trail Riding and of Trec-Ante, who highlighted how important horse riding is to know deeply the culture and history of the areas people are visiting, but that in Countries like France this sector is taken in great account thanks to funds and proper laws.
Massimo Gottifredi, president of LegaCoop Turismo, talked about their experience: “During the recent years, we’ve been witnessing a change from a more generalised tourism to a segmented tourism, where nature is having a more important role. We must understand, though, that even this slow tourism needs very fast services. This new eco-friendly tourism must go through some revival with small but focused projects, enhancing the “genius loci” of the single areas”.
Davide Ceccaroni, national coordinator of Ciclismo Uisp (a national cycling association) has finally figured out that, in the last years, the number of people practicing sports has increased fivefold: “At this point, we need laws that allow the creation of recognised professional figures, to make the eco-friendly tourism develop in a safe way and with zero environmental impact. We need a control room for slow mobility, where the members of this sector and the political representatives can confront”.