On Thursday 14th March Andrea will begin his new adventure along the Via Francigena starting in Aosta. A journey of 44 days, from March to December, 4/5 days at a time that will take him to Rome.
"I am a proud supporter of our countries beauty, so this year I'm staying on a national path that passes close to my house - the athlete and mental coach tells us, who today lives in Martignana di Po, a small town in the province of Cremona - I will follow the route to highlight one of the aspects for which I took on the journey: the sharing of stories. My story is impressive but it's one of many. "
Accept the unexpected, learn to distinguish between superfluous and necessary, do not run: the values of the journey are the same as those the athlete has come to know. At the age of 17, due to a motorbike accident, Andrea lost his left leg. A dramatic event that he overcame thanks to the sport with which he achieved important goals both in sporting and working sectors.
"In 2007 I started the competitive activity of Paralympic cycling; accepting new challenges, each time more and more important - Andrea recounts - It took a lot of resilience to conquer the 5,602 metres of the KardlungLa in India, but I understood that the flame inside me had been lit and in these years I wanted to feed it through passion, perseverance, love for myself and those close to me".
Since then, Andrea has been enriched by record-breaking experiences: in 2011 he participated in the Paris/Brest/Paris event, the first amputee in history to conclude the 1,230km event in 72 hours and 42 minutes. In 2016 he faces a 26-day trip to Peru completely alone for the first time; 1,150 kilometres by bike on the Pan-American road and 4 days of Inca Trail trekking to reach the Machu Picchu archaeological site. In 2017, along with his friend Massimo Spagnoli, he undertook a journey of over 11,000 kilometers, crossing 17 states of Europe to reach the North Cape in Norway after 11 days.
"In 2018 I set myself one of the most complex goals of my whole career, the Way of Francis, 500 kilometers in maximum 24 days that I will be able to finish in September after 22 days". For now, he's on the Francigena.
What do you expect from this journey? "I have a very high expectation. Last year in 500km the landscapes changed, but this year we're going from the Aosta Valley to Tuscany to Lazio. Travelling from March to December, this path will give people the opportunity to be by my side; there will be many moments of sharing and listening. Simone Pinzolo, who accompanied me most of the way last year, will also come with me, as well as Linda La Rosa. The section I can't wait to cover? Certainly the Passo della Cisa, I've done it by motorbike, by car, with my friends and by bike. Getting there on foot is something I wouldn't have imagined”.
The route in solidarity, Andrea's adventure will also be accompanied by fundraising for 'il sorriso di Mietta Onlus'. Not only that, there will be another important scientific project that will be revealed later.
"With my leg, one step at a time, the goal will be to slow down, to breathe and admire what I'll have around me, in every moment of the journey. Share, listen and learn from the people I meet during these 1,000 kilometres of the Via Francigena”.
Andrea's video message published on the Via Francigena Facebook page
The journey is about to begin. Andrea will tell his story through social media on pages, such as his Facebook page “Viaggi in gamba” and online with Radio Francigena. The European Association of Via Francigena Ways (EAVF), who supported the initiative, will follow the athlete's adventure with updates and posts online.
To follow Andrea, download the attached pdf with his route.