Gianluca's incredible adventure
by Giorgio Plazzotta

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On November 22nd 2000, I was travelling along the road in Northern Sardinia (in an area called "La Nurra", near Sassari), going to visit the lake of Baratz, when I ran into Gianluca Ratta. I noticed this young man on the edge of the road, pushing a little trolley with a little Italian flag on top, like the ones that are usually mounted on boats. I remembered seeing a program on TV that spoke about a lonely walker who had arrived in Sardinia after having walked all along the coast of Italy. We stopped to have a long chat and he told me all about his adventure.

Gianluca left Genoa in January and walked downwards along the Tyrrhenian Sea to Calabria, rounded the boot and came up the other side towards the North. This time he walked the Adriatic coastline, passing through Puglia, Abruzzo, Marche and up to Trieste. He could've stopped there, it had already been a great performance, but Gianluca had no intention of stopping, he left the sea and proceeded towards the Carnia mountains, through the Alps up to the Valle D'Aosta, to finally come back to Genoa. Was the tour finished? No way! He had yet to see two more important Italian regions: Sicily and Sardinia, he couldn't leave them out! So he took the ferry to Palermo and footed the whole coastline of Sicily. He then took an other ship to Cagliari where he spent 5 days at the port to put his papers and records in order and finally left on tour of our wonderful island. When I met him he was heading for Alghero to then proceed to Bosa, Arborea and down towards Cagliari again, where his trip around Italy will end in mid-December 2000.

Gianluca talks a lot, it was very difficult to say goodbye to him! The stories of the people he's met, the places he's seen and all his experiences pour out frenetically. It's easy to understand, in this year he's done a lot of wandering about. Gianluca, at the end of his trip shall have walked for 4600 miles, walking for at least 20 to 30 miles daily. Whenever he gets to a new place his first worry is to find shelter for the night. Most times a shed or a roof has been enough for him, but many people have offered him a bed or a room where to sleep. His constant companion is a dog he met on the road during the last part of his trip. Shira (in the photo) is a half-breed kind of Husky. Also his little trolley has a name: Ditri !

Gianluca showed me the maps he prepares to organize his trip. I was amazed by the fact he never chooses the straightest or direct way but he always follows the coast line, hard as it may be. He didn't tell me way but I believe he does it because he really wishes this trip will never end. In fact he has already planned to do the whole of Europe, and I'm sure he will, because I could see it in his eyes. He keeps in contact with his family and friends (he's got many more since he first started this journey, including me), via his mobile phone (he carries 8 extra batteries). He has allowed me to publish his number so that if anybody would like to call him or wish him a safe journey, they can: 0349-2855643.

Gianluca is a plain person, he's 28 years old but he still has a childish spirit: open, clear and most of all free. Speaking with him you can feel the freedom while your there in the middle of a desert road on a Wednesday of November in Northen Sardinia, beautiful and fascinating in all seasons. I was thinking about the world we grow into that usually has pre-fixed routs to be followed. Gianluca's adventure, as many others, some times can appeal to us but doesn't usually find us prepared to follow it, because we don't find the courage to leave the road we've undertaken. This doesn't mean we all need to do what Gianluca does. Our society has its rules and progress needs to improve as well as mankind (possibly all of it and not only part of it), but people like Gianluca remind me that Man, despite the economic globalisation still can have a strong spirit for adventure and freedom. Bon Voyage Gianluca!

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Isola Sarda 1997-2005 - Associazione Culturale Ciberterra - Responsabile: Giorgio Plazzotta
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