Last year I decided to go to Italian Dolomites and join a one-year project 'YoungCulture' which focused on issues of eco-tourism, development of cultural heritage and sustainable tourism in the mountain area.
Almostly nine months ago my flight from Moscow taken me to the land of pizza, pasta and wine, fashion, antiquity and art - it is Italy indeed, a country which I have never been to but barely knew about. For nearly two years I had been thinking of spending a gap year abroad for exploring a country, simply to smell the breeze and the perfumes of the woods. The location of the project (even the project by itself) I got involved to had captured my attention. This is the best place I could have ever imagined: Belluno town (compared to Moscow and Russian cities it is likely a smart village indeed) surrounded by the Dolomites mountains, which are one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Dolomites are such an extraordinary area in Italy you never tire of seeking out those spots as soft dreamy pastures, rugged rock faces and the resplendence of its colours.
Every day I wake up early suprisingly to hear the bells of St.Martin’s ringing at first light, and sunbeams that let you understand the immensity and magic of the landscape. The view is fascinating: the old-stone church of St.Martin standing on high hill hidden into the fog. In the dull light of a foggy morning there was an air of mystery. By this moment it makes me realise in which amazing place the locals are lived, seeing day-by-day spectacular views and feeling a strong cooperation of human beings and nature, living closely together for more than a centuries.
So for more than 250 days already I’ve been working as a volunteer for tourist centre office in Feltre, the neighbouring ancient walled town with a 1000-long history. Being a tour guide I got acquainted with people from all over the world: Canada, New Zealand, China, South Korea, France, Germany, Poland, USA, the Netherlands, giving information to visitors on transport, attractions and local services and activities. As a tour guide I’ve shown them sightseeing places and helped them to visit unfamiliar areas for hiking, describing places on the town’s map. Of course the vast majority of them from European cities, neither from Russia nor CIS countries. Preparing the tour I’ve learnt enough historical sources about Feltre and Venetian Republic which led to Feltre’s destruction in 15 century. Such a town with a rich history remind the glory and power of that time. Isn’t it a happiness to have a chance to reach back a thousand-years into history and to sense the town’s princely spirit and greatness.
What I am really enjoyed for this time is the lack of fuss in these smallest towns, the streets are narrow and the atmosphere is so calm. So far I’ve already done hiking to several paths of Dolomites: Malga Erera Bredol (1708), Malga Pramper (1500), Nevegal (1618), Forcella di S.Mauro (1408) and Croce d’Aune (1993). The scenery is spectacular and I was impressed by the colourful beauty of this province.