Aspromonte National Park

The Widespread Hospitality is a unique experience in Italy and is the result of three years of local animation activity (1990/1993) in Aspromonte carried out by the WWF-Italy in the framework of the CADISPA (Conservation and Development in Sparsely Populated Areas) pilot-program of the WWF and of the European Union. In the framework of this project, a research-intervention activity was carried out by the company Eco & Eco of Bologna, on behalf of the WWF-Italy which allowed the definition of the project. Later on, in the framework of CADISPA, an old itinerary was re-discovered and enhanced; the name of the itinerary is "the English man trail", for the English traveller/landscapist Edward Lear covered the trail in Summer 1847; it was described and "drawn" on the text "Journals of a Travel on Foot in Calabria and the Kingdom of Naples". The experience of Edward Lear was an experience of excursion and hospitality by the families of that time. The monuments and plates that some of the municipalities of the National Park have built are the evidence of his passage and stay in the area. After 150 years, this trail can be covered by a trekking that can be modulated, the duration of which is from a minimum of 2 days to a maximum of 7 days. Everybody can do this trekking, for it has no difficulty; the local organization takes care of carrying the tourist luggage from one village to the other, even on donkey-back.



The idea of Widespread Hospitality comes from the need to give a contribution to a cultural and civil growth of the local communities and help their aggregation, dialogue and cooperation. It encourages the contact between the villages, increasing the opportunities for the initiatives to raise the interest and mobilization in a bottom-up way. It enhances as much as possible the social energies in some way already available, such as cultural groups, local activity groups, associations and cooperatives. It mobilizes social knowledge and widespread competencies, among which the knowledge of shepards and of women in producing goods and services. The consequences it creates are so large that they increase its social impact and prepare the next stages of the initiative. In this way, the whole process grows little by little, according to the growth of conviction and participation it is able to gather around it. This idea is an answer to the need to have a direct and real relationship with the market and creates an experience able to exist without a continuous help. This initiative is realistic, it can be implemented and its organization is not too complex; it represents an example of the way to start a "poor" experience, based on the mobilization of resources most of which already existing. It is also an opportunity to avoid that the initiative must be dependent on public founds to survive.


The Widespread Hospitality project in the Aspromonte region is implemented in the area of the National Park and in the neighboring areas of Stilo and Bivongi. This activity involves about one hundred families in some villages of the area who rent some sleeping accommodations for the excursionists. The accommodation includes dinner with typical local food; moreover, local associations and groups organize animation activities on some evenings, involving the guests in the local traditions. Some young people living in the area, with a special training, guide the excursionist groups. The cooperative NATURALITER deals with the direct promotion of the offer of the itineraries in the Aspromonte region at a national and international level. The project enhances the traditional resources of the area: the houses, the competencies of the families and especially of women in the offer of hospitality, food and other reception services, the competencies of the local guide group and the organizational and promotional competencies of the cooperative "NATURALITER".


Tourist in the greek area

The English Man Trail has
already been covered by:

  • several organized groups from German tour operators, such as "Natur und Cultur" and "Wikinger Reisen";
  • the CAI (Italian Alpine Clubs) clubs of: Ivrea, Ponte San Pietro (Bergamo), Siena, Teramo, Caserta, Potenza, Campobasso, Salerno, Catania;
  • the WWF-Italy sections of Genoa and Pisa;
  • the trekking groups of Grassina and Bagno a Ripoli (Florence) and Alpina Excelsior of Bergamo;
  • Several school groups coming from northern Italy, Switzerland and Greece.
Aspromonte :
women making bread

The widespread hospitality programme:

The English man trail
Bizantino's trekking
Program organizer : "NATURALITER"


Widespread Hospitality : Aspromonte National Park