Stephen Sutton

My name is Stephen Sutton. I was born in Oregon, USA, a paradise for walking as well as many other outdoor activities. It was also in Oregon where I acquired a profound knowledge in the ways of path maintenance and taming of wild beasts, vital skills which every walking guide must posses. I left the U.S. when I was 17 years old and travelled and worked around Australia and New Zealand for well over a year, doing a great deal of walking along the way. From there I travelled extensively throughout Southeast and South Asia before arriving in Europe towards the end of 1999. In the year 2000 I ended up settling in Italy for a while, before deciding to enrol in an undergraduate course in Humanities (what one chooses when one is interested in everything and unable to choose) at the University of Salamanca in Spain. I completed my degree in Madrid, where I went on to do a master’s degree in Cultural Management. 

Throughout my years at university in Spain I often returned to Italy to work in the summer, so when the economic crisis hit in 2008, while I was working for a cultural institution in Madrid, I felt a change was in order and my thoughts naturally started to turn to Italy. In January 2010 I arrived back in Italy and began a master’s degree at Turin University in Cultural Tourism and Mediterranean Travel.

After having completed this course I discovered the profession of tour leading at the University of Gastronomic Sciences near Alba, Piedmont. I very much enjoyed organising and leading the trips, but soon found the focus to be somewhat limited, as much as I like all types of food and wine. I then discovered a UK based tour operator specialised in walking holidays. I had the privilege and good fortune of leading trips through this company for many years, not just in Italy, but also in Spain, Portugal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, India and Chile. I have now added more destinations to the list, such as Peru and Argentina, and continue to develop and offer new trips, remarkably, putting my degree in Humanities, travel experience and languages all to good use. 

Valeria Fazzi

I’m Valeria Fazzi and I was born in Siena, a medieval town in the rolling hills of Tuscany.

My passion for hiking dates back to when I couldn’t walk yet. The family legend says that I took my first steps at the age of one in the Italian Alps, which may very well be true, since we used to hike as a family when I was child. This tradition and my interest in walking ended as I came of age, only to be rediscovered in my early twenties, during my time at university.

I studied Environmental Sciences, because I wanted to save the world from pollution. For the same reason I completed a master’s degree in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Sustainability, which gave me the opportunity to live in Portugal and Spain for a while. Soon after, however, I realised that spending my days in a lab was not my cup of tea. It also had occurred to me that I might not be able to save the world, and so for some years I did many different things such as: a course in Environmental Education and Design of Interpretative Itineraries, a state exam to become a licensed nature guide, training as horseback riding instructor, as well as many trips abroad.

Since 2016 I have worked as a free-lance guide for different companies specialised in walking holidays and slow travel. This job combines many of my greatest interests, and even allows me to express myself “gastronomically”: guiding travellers on the journey through tastes and flavours that each trip can reveal.
When I’m not doing trips, I study to conduct Forest Bathing sessions and train as a Nature Theatre performer.

You have good chances to meet me on most of WALKAWAY’s European trips, together with Stephen. I hope our paths will meet (or meet again!) very soon!