Walking on the Appian: instructions

There’s nothing more physiological for men than walking. We’re made to stand upright and advance through space, not to spend whole days sitting in front of the computer. Everything reminds us of this, starting with the curvature of the hip and the structure of our feet. But we forgot it.

Setting out on the way to discover the Appia, or part of it, requires will and curiosity, and an investment of time that will be repaid with interest for the intensity of experience, the knowledge acquired and the precious efforts made.

If we have let the body rust, it is good to exercise it before leaving, so as to fully enjoy the path that awaits us and toil a little  without exceeding. Instead, if we are physically in place and not stiffened by sedentary ness, training on the walk can be done on the go, simply by walking.

To restore our body step by step, we can predict longer and more demanding journeys. You can start from an hour without a backpack on a flat route to arrive, after a few months, to the whole day with some difference in height and backpack. Let’s not forget that we are not made to carry weights, so the backpack will always have to be contained, leaving at home the superfluous equipment, what could be usefull in some occasion: but the conditional should not be used when preparing the backpack. If we use  the accommodation facilities along the Appia, today’s “mansiones”, the total weight, including backpack, can be between six and nine kilos during a middle season. Spring and autumn are, in fact, the ideal times to walk Queen Viarum.

The shoes will also have to be well tested and light. Each extra hectolus carried on the foot corresponds half a kilo in the backpack, because the weight on the shoulders is distributed throughout the body, while that of the shoes weighs only on the tendon-muscle fatigue of the legs.

Socks too are also important: essential ones with differentiated padding, able to safeguard the points of friction between foot and shoe, preventing the formation of redness and blisters. The merinos wool ones are excellent.

The walk is such a balanced activity for the physique that it does not improve the muscles of the legs, unless you do it uphill and with weights on the shoulders. Nor is it able to make us lose weight, unless you want to travel all over the Appia in two weeks, and even containing the evening pleasures of the table. It would be an unforgivable sin because the landscape should not only be observed, but also tasted. Taste and other senses, all stimulated to go on, allow you to fix in the memory every moment of the experience. It happens every time we realign the two coordinates of life, space and time, here and now. This is the main therapy of the trip.

Riccardo Carnovalini