The idea came to three young local men, all in their late twenties, who were pondering what seemed like a silly problem; our area lends itself to many different activities – be it fishing, mushroom searching or other adventures, but often it is necessary to purchase tickets, or permits, in order to participate. Not a big deal, one might say, the prices are very reasonable. They are indeed, but the real problem wasn’t just a question of prices. Many an outsider, let’s say for example a mushroom seeking tourist from Trento, may have come all the way here on a weekend, only to find him/herself queueing for hours at one of the few sales points at the beginning of the trails, wasting precious holiday time. Or again, a fishing enthusiast from Milan may have driven here on a Saturday, to grimly discover that the office designated to issue the appropriate(and obligatory) permits is open only during week days……the point being, that there was no other way to get hold of the tickets. Not exactly convenient to say the least, and certainly not encouraging to tourists.
How was it possible, thought the boys, that in a technological era such as this, one couldn’t purchase a ticket on-line? You can buy a ticket for anything from a rock concert in Ireland to a flight to Timbuctu, but not a simple permit to come fish in our rivers? That was simply ridiculous, they thought, and decided to do something about it.
So Francesco Biacchi, Andrea Costella and Daniele Delnevo, three lads with plenty of initiative and will-power, got down to the business of sorting out a way to make it all accessible with a touch of a finger on a cell phone…. and finally came up with the solution – GEOTICKET. They started off by contacting authorities and competent bodies around the area, illustrating their theories and intentions, and after some initial obstacles, the project began to take shape. After barely a year, the app created by these young men has involved 400 districts (and counting!) around the whole of Italy, generating great interest everywhere. It is currently the only site from which it is possible to purchase tickets of this kind in the country.
Let’s take a closer look at what this new app offers; it is divided into three main sections – “Eventi e Esperienze” (events and experiences), “Pesca” (fishing activities) and “Funghi” (mushroom searching). This makes it easy to access immediately whatever you are interested in. An example of what will shortly be available in the first category is “An adventure with mushrooms in Finland“, a packet which will take the tourist on a mushroom searching tour in all the right places in Finland, with accomodation included in the prices. Furthermore, transactions are in course for similar adventures for the joy of fishing enthusiasts in Spain and Sweden.
But to come back to Italy, there are some very interesting events taking place around the country, such as the world championship of mushrooms – “Campionato Mondiale del Fungo“, which will take place in October of this year at Cerreto Laghi (RE); the idea is to create an event which totally revolves around every aspect of mushrooms – not only searching for them, but studying, photographing, and cooking them too…
And of course, we musn’t forget our local towns, which are renowned for mushrooms. Albareto (our next-door neighbours) will be hosting a brand new competition this year – “Il Palio del Fungo – Fungo Flash“, which will involve a search for the best mushrooms and a contest for the most artistic photographs of the precious finds, in a naturalistic context. Contestants will be given a permit for the day, and a welcome backpack containing a perforated collecting bag, drinking water, a participation vest, a map and various gadgets. A mycology lesson is also included in the packet.
In the fishing section, it is possible to keep up with all the news regarding this activity in and around the area. A population chart keeps aspiring fishermen up to date on the presence of fish stock in any given period, and permits can be purchased in a click. Same goes for the mushroom section, in which a chart, drawn up in collaboration with local competent bodies, keeps searchers informed, on a daily basis, on the rate of growth in the various areas.
No aspect has been neglected, the project is constantly upgraded in order to provide the best service possible. We can only admire these young people who are working hard to promote our beautiful region, putting emphasis on all the best we have to offer, but – the big dream is to cross the pond and see their app circulating in the States……maybe we can help them out?
We wish them all the best.