Always in the water, on a canoe or with a wetsuit, Andrea explores the meanders of the Natisone river in all their beauty. Between a paddling and a bath we were able to meet him for an interview!
Let’s start from the place where you do your activities: the Natisone river. Why did you choose it as the setting for your adventures?
The Natisone river is about to become a park and is an exceptionally beautiful place. Many times we pass by the water course without realizing its beauty and all that it contains. It is a very wild place and at the same time very easy to reach and there are still unexplored stretches of the river that are unknown even to people living in the area. On the Natisone I swam, climbed, sailed and made river trekking and last year I covered it in all its extension, 62 kilometers, from the springs to the Tower, so we can say that I know every meter.
Here you practice both canoeing and river trekking … let’s start from the canoe, how long have you been practicing it?
I started canoeing for a year after attending a river rescuer course. It is a qualification that few people have and the nearest course is on the Brenta river because in Friuli Venezia Giulia there are none. It is a very special and intense course where you learn to intervene, to work in the river and rescue techniques. It is aimed exclusively at intervening in the river because, with its dynamism, it is a completely different environment from the sea, the lake or the pool and if action is needed it is always necessary to think “forward” or to what can happen 50 or 100 meters more go ahead and act in full speed and lucidity.
How did this passion for canoeing come about?
It was born from the fact that there are very quiet sections of the Natisone river, which allow you to visit it in the most natural way possible aboard a canoe. This idea came to me already when I was 15, a period in which I started to canoe the Natisone and Malina rivers, and I decided to propose it again now because it has always been an activity that fascinates me and I noticed that in any case the people who they come with me they are captured by this incredible landscape.
Why would you recommend making a first canoe trip in this river?
A canoe trip on the Natisone river is a simple and quiet activity and allows you to visit the canyon in a completely safe way. It is a dynamic excursion because you can paddle or get carried away by the river and, in some stretches where there is little water, you go out and carry the canoe. So it is a simple and varied exit and does not require particular training.
And now let’s continue with the river trekking … how long have you been practicing it?
I have been practicing it since I got the fluvial rescuer license for 6 years, but I started accompanying people for a year.
How did this passion of yours come about?
The passion for river trekking was born from the desire to explore, initially climbing mountain rivers. On the Natisone river many times I used to go climbing, looking for the strangest cliffs in the most absurd places and discovering that this waterway has some wonderful stretches easy enough to go swimming or walking and not accessible except by crossing it from the inside.
Many confuse river trekking with canyoning … what’s the difference?
In canyoning it is necessary to use ropes and harnesses, there are jumps and waterfalls with stretches that are also a bit difficult to tackle always from the vertical point of view, while in river trekking the dimension is horizontal, you go down with water along the river and not ropes or harnesses are used. The equipment consists only of a wetsuit, a helmet, a life jacket and shoes.
River trekking is not a widespread activity, where did the idea to propose it come from?
River trekking is an activity born recently and in Italy there are only 3 or 4 places where you can practice. It probably developed from the idea of wanting to define a discipline that previously consisted of a simple descent of the river, seeking a more rational and safe way.
I decided to propose it because I wanted to combine my passion for the rivers with a new and little-known discipline. Furthermore, the Natisone river has the ideal conditions for this type of activity: there are no jumps or dips, the water flows slowly and has a wonderful canyon to see. Furthermore, this waterway contains places that can only be admired from inside the gorge and that completely isolate the “explorer” from the surrounding area.
Finally, what are you trying to convey to those who do one of these two activities for the first time with you?
I try to convey the passion for adventure and nature and the desire to get involved and have fun in the most natural way possible. No engine is needed, but only the strength of one’s arms to fully enjoy the experience and unique territory of its kind.
Thanks to Andrea for his time!
Waiting to see you in a canoe at Cividale del Friuli!