The 2019 edition of the European Festival “Vie Francigene, Cammini, Ways, Chemins 2019” is dedicated to the theme “The feminine way. Sensitivity in human and natural landscapes “. The journey with this year’s testimonials continues with Ilaria Canali, promoter of the National Women’s Network on the Way.
“In the city, the suburbs are a labyrinth of wonders that can only be discovered through walking. When people ask me “where are you from?” I often respond “from the Via Francigena” and although it may seem an ironic and perhaps poetic way to emphasise my passion for walking, it’s really the truth: I live in Formello, the last stop of the pilgrimage before Rome. The genius loci of this territory has nourished my love for nature and influenced my professional choices to the point that I’ve invented a precious and original idea that centres around the promotion of paths.
My constant and inexhaustible curiosity for everything discoverable at a slow pace is owed to walking, my readiness to seize opportunities that offer wonder and amazement.
For me, walking is an exercise in unparalleled attention, reflection and acceptance of reality. It’s a journey that led me to look for beauty, not only in nature, sunsets, the trunk of a tree or corn swaying in the wind, but also in less obvious places, such as in the outskirts of a city. The “Periferia delle Meraviglie” project was born from this idea; a formation of urban paths with nature, art and humanity as its protagonists. A joint journey where, in addition to the external landscapes, participants walk through their interior landscapes, sharing stories, hobbies and knowledge.
Walking along routes, as in life, is to pursue the possibility of giving light, or more light, to what shines and flourishes. That’s why I tried to build bridges, connections and synergies among many women who love to walk in Italy and slowly a real network began to spread, which today connects thousands of people brought together by their passion for walking: the National Network for Women on the Way. This just shows what a route can do: the miracle of creating small, slow, gradual and peaceful changes that, step by step, create beauty in the world.”