Tips & Tales: Hiking with Giulia

According to German philosopher Nietzsche, the well-being we experience while we are immersed in nature derives from the fact that nature has no opinion on us, it doesn’t judge us.

Perhaps, this is the reason why we often feel the necessity to move away from the more tourist itineraries to see natural areas of great and impervious beauty.
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We begin with one of our Luxury Experience Designers from our Italian office... Giulia, an enthusiast hiker! She will tell us more about this sport, not only from a technical point of view, but also and above all from an emotional one. Let’s begin!

Hi Giulia, welcome to our ‘Tips & Tales’ column! When and why did you start hiking?

'Hiking' is a very simple word, but it involves a multitude of aspects. From a purely technical point of view, hiking is a sporting activity practiced in natural contexts, such as mountains, meadows or woods. Going for an excursion certainly requires good physical preparation, as the main element is walking.

I live near the Italian Prealps and since I was a small kid my parents always took me to the mountain to spend some time surrounded by pure nature and landscapes.
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Growing up I started feeling that nature is my ‘happy place’, it is where I feel myself, complete and happy. This feeling increased a lot after moving back from London, a city that I loved, but where I really missed my mountains and lakes.

In the last years I have been trying to spend at least one day per week hiking. It has become a sort of therapy that helps me to feel peaceful, and it reminds me that we are so small compared to the magnificence of nature. 
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What are your best 10 hiking tips for beginners?

1. Wear comfortable shoes.

2. ‘Dress like an onion’, that means to wear several layers of clothes as the temperature may vary a lot while hiking.

3. Bring water and some healthy snacks.

4. Never forget your camera.

5. Don’t hike alone if you are a beginner or if you don’t know the path and the area. 

6. Bring with you sun protection, first aid supplies, and at least a waterproof jacket. 

7. Leave no trace on trails.

8. Watch your feet. 

9. Bring a GPS or a map. 

10. Don’t rush, enjoy every step.
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And what about the 5 steps you think are essential to ‘plan out’ a great adventure?

If you are planning a hiking trip in a place you don’t know, here my tips:

1. Check the best period of the year for hiking in that region.

2. Contact a local expert who will arrange the trails according to your level of fitness.

3. Prepare in advance the essentials to bring with you.  

4. Have a local guide accompanying you during the walk, to have the opportunity to learn about the area, its history and natural aspects.

5. Start your adventure with the right spirit, don’t be afraid to fail.

In your opinion, what is the best place for hiking in Italy?

In general, I love places that combine mountains and lakes or sea, where you can enjoy two opposite views. For example, the Cinque Terre, in the Ligurian Coast, is an unmissable place to go for hiking.
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If we go North, definitely the Ferret or Veny Valleys, in the Aosta Valley, with its Monte Bianco or ‘Mont Blanc’. And the Dolomites with their well-known peaks. Of course, I have to mention the place where I live, Varese, a province that boasts wonderful mountains and seven lakes located among Milan, Lake Como, Switzerland and Lake Maggiore. In my opinion, they are truly magic places.
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Here some of the experiences recommended by Giulia and available on our website: Hiking & Trekking and Hiking at Altitude.