Walking – either on our own or in a group, in the city or nature, snatching an hour from our hectic daily lives or on a week’s walking holiday, with all the equipment you can think of or merely barefoot in the meadows – has always been closely linked to our relationship with the landscape, nature and places.
This movement of the body helps establish our relationship with the space around us and is key to building the notion which the European Landscape Convention, going beyond the idea of merely observing, bases its very definition of landscape on and the policies for its management, protection and planning.
In this sense, walking – whether it be the meanderings of a wanderer or flâneur, the ramblings of a tramp, botanical or urban exploration, adventurous hiking, protest marches or even perception walking (the list goes on and on…) – is not just a leisure activity offering important ecological, health and therapeutic benefits, nor is it a purely cultural and aesthetic experience, but a democratic tool that makes us active citizens and participants and which is within everyone’s reach.
Moving through the landscape, like exploring cities, allows us to reconnect with nature and others, to understand the many spheres of life and formulate an idea of how we would like them; at this moment in time, experiencing places in this active and dynamic manner also brings us into direct contact with the repercussions of today’s climate crisis and, as a result, gives us the chance, if we want to take it, to give the way we live and act a new direction.
If it is true we develop a more responsible relationship towards places when we understand their history and feel actively involved – actors and spectators one and the same – in the unstoppable process which, day after day, makes them what they are, walking really is at the heart of everything and has endless potential, even as regards landscape projects and care. (SZ)
Naturale inclinazione is an initiative of Fondazione Benetton, by Simonetta Zanon.
All events are admission free.