Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian
Berto is the leader of the goats. He knows the road and poses while he calmly ruminates in front of the camera. Pino wants to match him. He climbs up a wall to attract attention and shakes his cashmere tufts.
Stellina makes her self heard once in a while along the path, because she doesn’t want anyone to remain behind. Masha takes the spotlight during the last descent towards the Lecchi wells, jumping up and down with her hooves together to express her happiness, making the group laugh.
These are the 4 “trekking goats”, protagonists of a type of excursion which is popular in the US and Switzerlad and which has arrived in Chianti a few months ago, thanks to Fabio Pugnaghi, environmental guide, and his wife Elisa.
The “little Easter” walk leaves from San Sano, a charming Chianti village in the township of Gaiole in Chianti, with houses in stone situated among neat vineyards.
The group, which participated in the three day tour organized by the ITExists agency, stayed at the San Sano Hotel. They have breakfast, grabbed a lunch box and left for their walk along one of the paths in the woods.
Continuing along unpaved roads and through olive groves, they stopped at the most scenic points to enjoy the Chianti countryside and observe their unusual traveling partners who were busy chewing on the tender grass.
The sunlight shone among the branches, the odors and spring colors of the countryside mixed, while step by step we followed the sound of the bell that Pino wears around his neck.
Stellina and Masha like to zig-zag throught the excursionists’ legs. They are relaxed, having grown up among people and children. The four goats are put on a leash when we approach a vineyard in case they decide to chew on the buds of the vines.
They are also leashed near the town of Lecchi: “We wouldn’t want them to eat the ﬂowers in vases”.
But Berto and friends aren’t convinced it’s a good idea to get close to the houses or cross the street with its autos (not many, actually).
“Come on Berto. Don’t be an ass,” says someone in the group, and ﬁnally the unusual traveling companions are convinced.
We continue along the ancient paths. In the meantime we share a chocolate Easter egg and discourage the goats from looking for sandwiches in the backpacks. Finally, we arrive at the creek under Lecchi, the Mulinaccio River, where the water plays among the puddles and waterfalls designed in the travertine rock.
“The initiative was born because I was looking for a different way to go walking,” says Fabio. “I met Nora Kravis from Chianti Cashmere in Radda in Chianti and she told me that they use goats for walks and trekking in the US. With goats you walk slowly. You have to keep their stride. So there is time to enjoy the walk and what the area has to offer. Goats are friendly. They keep you company and tend to stay together with the group, because they feel protected”.
Children feel more motivated to walk next to goats. Fabio proposes speciﬁc itineraries for children. They usually meet Milo and Matilde from Chiantisnature (www.facebook.com/chiantisnature/).
They are two 6 month old kid goats who are also learning to get in a car and be accompanied to other destinations than San Sano for future trips.
Elisa tells us to not call it a fad or to consider it a publicity stunt. Trekking with goats, she explains, can be considered a rediscovery of the antique story of man.
The goat was one of the ﬁrst animals to become a “friend” of man and is the ideal traveling companion. Berto and his group has been demonstrating this since last October with many excursions.
They can adapt to every route. They ﬁnd food anywhere and can also help carry a backpack.