Marco Mietti, ViewRanger’s community manager in Italy, recently met up with adventurer Lorenzo Franco Santin in Lanciano, Abruzzo in central Italy. Here, among a packed theater, Lorenzo played his recent docu-film and shared stories about his solo hiking adventure along the Sentiero Italia. Interview and blog translated from Italian.
Adventurer Lorenzo Franco Santin calls it the “longest path in the world.” The Sentiero Italia or Grand Italian Trail stretches across all of Italy, connecting Sardinia, Sicily, the Apennines and Alps ranges, and Trieste on the Italy-Slovenia border.
On paper, the Sentiero Italia numbers are impressive. The trail runs 6,166 kilometers (3,831 mi), dwarfing other long trails like the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA (4,279 km; 2,654 mi) and the Camino de Santiago through France and Spain (2,530 km; 1,570 mi).
And, from Lorenzo’s photos and video footage, the Sentiero Italia looks inspiring, sensational, and truly extreme.
It's no easy walk either. It took him two tries to finish the long path. His first attempt to thru-hike the Sentiero Italia in 2016 ended after 4,500 kilometers in the Lombardy Alps where an October snowfall made a via ferrata he had to climb too icy and dangerous. He had to quit and abandon his adventure. Afterwards, and over the following months, Lorenzo remained haunted by his goal to complete the trail.
Five months later, in March 2017, Lorenzo began his second attempt, starting at Santa Teresa di Gallura in northern Sardinia. This time he decided to go lighter and faster. He carried just a sleeping bag and mat. No tent or stove. He packed trekking poles, extra batteries, one-liter bottle, hiking shoes, minimal clothes, headlamp, and a few miscellaneous items. His smartphone doubled as his camera and navigation device. His base pack weighed about 9 kilograms (19.8 pounds).
He also decided he would never pay for sleeping arrangements or water during his journey. He often slept in the open-air in the mountains since many huts or refuges were either closed or in bad condition. Drinking water was collected from springs, and he bought food from local stores along the way.
Through the spring and summer, Lorenzo walked from the sea to hills into tiny villages and up the mountains. He battled the extreme Italian summer heat. He passed some of the best panoramas in Italy, and had to navigate faint trails that were difficult to follow and hard to hike. He crossed Etna volcano in Sicily, and hiked through Aspromonte, Gran Sasso, Sibillini, Apuan Alps, Monviso, and Dolomites.
The daily grind took its toll. But he persisted and found strength. He formed a daily motto, which also doubled as his social media hashtag: #wakeupandexplore. The goal of competing the trail also became a spiritual quest; too feel alive in this world, at this moment, in any weather, in Italy.
On August 25, 2017, Lorenzo reached Lazzaretto just south of Trieste on the Italy-Slovenia border (ViewRanger map below). He had hiked 6,166 kilometers in 114 days, and averaged more than 54 kilometers a day. At the age of 28, Lorenzo became the first person to thru-hike the entire Sentiero Italia.
Lorenzo used ViewRanger on his grand adventure, using the GPS features and detailed maps. He tracked his journey, and followers could also log in and see his real-time location with ViewRanger’s BuddyBeacon technology. Check out his tracks and follow his next adventures at: http://my.viewranger.com/user/details/2159034
To learn more and see more photos, go to http://lorenzofrancosantin.com/. Find future film showing dates at: http://lorenzofrancosantin.com/sentiero-italia-i-primi-6000km/.
BY THE NUMBERS
400,000+ meters of altitude gain/loss
6,166 kilometers of hiking
54 kilometers averaged per day
6 pairs of hiking shoes