Interview with Daniele Matterazzo

Why do we like to walk? Why do we leave the comfort of our home to go somewhere, to move? What is the point of leaving what we know to walk into the unknown?
There is perhaps, beneath this impulse, an inherent optimism that makes us think that the unknown can be better than what we already know. There is in walking, in moving, an attunement with Nature, with all that is original around us: reality is in constant motion and we, while we are walking, move with her. By feeling and not resisting a nomadic, hidden and sometimes forgotten impulse, we are simply indulging our nature, knowing it so knowing ourselves. The constant changing of the landscape as we put one foot in front of the other reveal us the evidence that what always remains is us. It could happen that, at the end of a journey, we discover ourselves more familiar, more sure of who we are precisely because we have taken the time to listen a little, in silence, to ourselves.

Let’s start from the end, from your last long-distance walk, the King’s Path in Lapland.
For me it was a new trail which I undertook, as I am used to, solo. However, there were differences: the weight of the rucksack was more than 20 kg (44 lb)… not simple for someone like me, who barely weighs more than 60 kg (130 lb)[read here for more information on how to prepare a rucksack ed]. The kilometers were reduced compared to past trails but the technical difficulties certainly increased. That’s what I was looking for!

Walking 20 km (13 mi) or more every day, carrying a backpack, is not easy: how do you prepare for a trail? Is there any specific training?
I spend my free time walking: in my backyard there are the Euganean Hills [Veneto region in Italy ed], my wonderful natural gym.
When I’m about to leave, I try to walk about 10 km (6 mi) or more per day, but it is not easy to combine training with working day. In the trails you have plenty of time, in everyday life we have to deal with obligations and commitments so walking long distances is not always possible.

I try to have a few days off, usually the weekend, where I stay out and give myself both days to prepare and walk, to feel like a wayfarer again, or something like that.
I must admit that I am lucky to have always been an athletic guy so it is not difficult for me to get fit. I organized the first trail, the Camino de Santiago, in a hurry, one month after deciding I was already in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

When and why did you make the decision to walk, to be a modern pilgrim?
Three years ago I was at home watching the film The Way to Santiago. I distinctly remember that I couldn’t sleep at night, I was thinking about the journey, the walk, the incredible experience it would be. My mother had already understood everything, perhaps before me. I didn’t hesitate and for the first time I listened to myself, even though everything seemed against me. It was summer 2020, the first of the pandemic: after one month I was in Saint-Jean, the starting point of the French Trail to Santiago de Compostela.
I did the first trail for myself. It was a leap of faith, I had not even dreamed of walking so many kilometers. I wanted something that could give me the possibility of having an authentic experience, where I was forced to leave all the certainties I had and which were also the things that oppressed me the most. In the trails, I like leaving everything behind, abandoning what is not essential. I love the fact of being in that metaphysical reality that is being outside ‘home’, outside what is known, but also simply being outdoors. I feel that being outdoors is my dimension: it makes me feel good.

“It was a leap of faith, I had not even dreamed of walking so many kilometers. I wanted something that could give me the possibility of having an authentic experience”

The Camino de Santiago was the first, but others followed.
In 2021 I walked the Via Francigena from the Great St Bernard Pass to Rome. Because of my job I have always walked in August, when I am on holiday. In 2021 I managed to have 40 days and so I was able to ‘calmly’ walk the 1000 km (620 mi) of the last part of the trail from Canterbury to Rome, enjoying the places and encounters. I must say that it was more challenging than Santiago but I wanted to raise the bar and so it was this year.

What about your latest trail? Tell us about Kungsleden, the King’s Path.
This legendary trail is located in Swedish Lapland, beyond the Arctic Circle. The latitudes change, the climate is cold and windy, it always rains so the ground is drenched but this weather helps you to let your superfluous thoughts leave. After a few days one learns to read the weather also thanks to the teachings of the reindeer herds that live in this harsh nature, even the pilgrim on the King’s Path must learn to live there. The greatest difficulty is the almost total absence of reception facilities and services. It is necessary to carry everything you need: from food for several days, to tent and clothes for the cold temperatures, in my case without the possibility of sharing equipment with a companion.
Although, to be honest, this is the second trail that I have not walked completely alone. After the first Camino, having experienced the strength it had given me, I wanted to walk for others as well, to make known how much self-confidence and courage these adventures can give to those who live them. I started crowdfunding campaigns for charities, to do something for others as well as for myself, to raise awareness and also to help concretely through fundraising.
This year I walked with NoisyVision [a non-profit association that supports the empowerment of people with visual and/or hearing disabilities ed].
During the Via Francigena I wanted to help children first, raising funds for the Padua Hospital where I was hospitalized for over seven months after my accident. I wanted to give back some of the help I had received at the time.

Tell us more about your experience and why you think the trails are a cure.
I was looking for a rebirth, something that was a new beginning. After the accident I was always looking for my place, for my dimension. At the same time, however, I was hesitating and waiting; so at the age of 30 I had to come to terms with the past. I was only 15 when I had the accident that restricted my actions and my emotional sphere for several years. I suffered a sub-amputation of my left arm, the functionality is irreparably compromised along with the hand that I do not move. Since the accident I have not been able to regain the confidence that has grown and continues to grow during the trails. Completing these journeys makes me more aware, giving me new strength to be able to achieve what I want. As I walked, I gained self-confidence, in small steps, realising that I had a great deal of courage inside me.
The trails are bridges that bring people together, sometimes even with themselves. I strongly believe in the therapeutic power of the trails where people overcome the barriers that may divide them, where people meet each other beyond differences, sharing what they really are.
I thank AKU for supporting me with its footwear on these last two walks where I was able to donate what I collected to charity.

What about the future?
Walking has been my cure, my beginning, the way that has given me strength and determination to face my limits, both mentally and above all physically. I am working on new scenarios for living new ascents and new adventures: mountaineering has always fascinated me, it is my dream. I am certain that, with the right tenacity and determination, I will be able to reach heights I thought impossible due to my disability.
Thanks to the trails I have changed, I am tring progress with effort and will towards what I believe. I do not intend to stop but make my passion a future profession working for nature. Since June 2022, I have been an Environmental Hiking Guide. In my spare time, I accompany groups of people in nature through guided outings. This new path has allowed me to lay the foundations for my next adventure.

Any advances?
I heard about a trail across an island in northern Europe, a land of ice and fire. Why not? With a little necessary madness and a little courage.

“The trails are bridges that bring people together, sometimes even with themselves.”


Different trails require different footwear depending on the terrain, climate and the weight of the backpack.


Welcome back!


Thanks for Visiting AKU, Please Navigate to Our Canadian Site for the Best Experience.


Thanks for Visiting AKU, Please Navigate to Our US Site for the Best Experience.

vedi i dettagli

protetto da reCAPTCHA: privacy - termini