It’s amazing how, when you are fully immersed in any kind of environment for a length of time, you end up taking it all for granted – you don’t even see what’s around you any more. It is especially true of mountainous areas like ours, where the assets are often not so obvious. Unfortunately, the Taro and Ceno Valleys had been greatly underestimated for a long time – not so much by visitors, but by locals who were simply not understanding what a beautiful heritage we have all around us, so accustomed were they to seeing it all every day. Nobody was shouting out – “hey, come here, you will not regret it”!
But the wind is changing, folk who made the move to the city are now hankering after their roots, feeling the need for fresh air and mountain tracks, for rivers and woods and mushrooms and green space and…….well, you know what we mean – they are coming back. And it’s not only people who have their origins here who are returning in swarms to the valleys, but also outsiders who are drawn towards the promise of a better life, or simply a better holiday. So, awareness is rapidly developing in our inhabitants – we’ve got a good thing going here, we need to let the world know about it!
One person who has always been very aware of all this is Gianmarco Bozzia, native of Borgotaro, a real estate agent who operates in both the Milan area and ours. Gianmarco, 51, inherited the love of nature from his father, who, back in the day, would take his toddler fishing with him – fishing rod in one hand, baby in the other! Since his childhood, he has always appreciated his surroundings, and now, as an adult and father of three young daughters, he feels it’s time to do something tangible for his homeland. His idea began to germinate when he started to contribute posts and wonderful photos to a local Facebook page, discovering hidden corners of our little paradise. This page – Valtaro e Dintorni (Taro Valley and surroundings)- was set up basically in order to give residents a place to obtain information on whatever is going on at any given moment, to give credit where due or to whine where it is not. Many share photos and advertise places they have visited in the area…..there are nearly 4000 members in this group, but Gianmarco wanted to reach out even further, to those who still don’t KNOW…
And reach out he did; a new Facebook page, on which he himself publishes beautiful images of rivers, meanders, streams – and above all – waterfalls. In his journeys back and forth to Milan or anywhere else, he stops the car while driving over the passes, and goes on discovery treks, in the hope of finding an uncontaminated gem to share with us all, a little piece of heaven to immortalize…..and of course he finds one practically around every corner, behind every rock or tree. But his quest is to bring together all the valleys of the region and beyond, giving indications as to how to reach places, the degree of difficulty involved, whether suitable for children or elderly people. Indications will also include nearby restaurants, trattorie, or shelters where one can have a typical meal, hotels and b&b’s to stop over in, and any other attractions which may be of interest to those who do not care to climb waterfalls or go trekking…the whole service! Everyone and anyone will be invited to become a member of this group, to share photos and information regarding events of any kind, all over the region.
Gianmarco wants the fishing enthusiast from Bergamo, who has a family house at Bardi, to know that a fishing tournament is going to take place at Valmozzola (towards Parma); he wants the couple with kids in Milan, who love swimming, to know that we have a magnificent natural swimming pool at Bedonia; he wants keen mushroom searchers in Switzerland to know that the best porcini mushrooms ever are to be found in Borgotaro, Bedonia and Albareto…..
And, taking it all a step further, a canoeing expert will provide precise information regarding the level of danger of the rivers, so that no adventurous souls need ever find themselves in perilous waters. Gianmarco was literally bubbling over with enthusiasm while talking to us, and just recently, he participated in a popular TV quiz as a contestant, and took the opportunity of airing his ambitions and photos with the right people in the right places (!), in the hope that a documentary may be shot in our area. Apparently, they were interested!
His page, entitled “Le Alti Valli Magiche”…the magical valleys, is in the works as we speak, and will be an enormous showcase for a huge territory which deserves to be highlighted in every way. In union there is strength.