Marinella Bozzetti

Meet Your Leader: Marinella Bozzetti, Cycling Leader in Italy

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Despite having lived in Puglia her entire life, native Marinella Bozzetti still discovers new things about her homeland every time she leads an Exodus group. This is due, almost exclusively, to the amazed observations of those that she so passionately guides…

“Sharing experiences with people is what I enjoy most about my job,” Marinella says. “What really like is when something that’s very usual to me surprises people. It means I look at it with new eyes and that I don’t take any of it for granted.”

“A silly example is when guests are so excited to see lizards! When I was a child, I played with them, running and trying to catch them. The visitors’ wonder made me look at my home with a fresh perspective.”

Marinella’s travel career began in 2009, when she and a group of friends began to explore Puglia’s national parks, plotting out walking tracks and leading visitors around the routes.

Her love for the job and passion for her home is evident on every trip she leads. It’s this energy which won her the much-coveted title of Exodus’ 2016 Leader of the Year. The awards are voted for by Exodus customers and decided by a panel of judges – but it was the comments and praise of those who had joined her on adventures across the heel of Italy’s ‘boot’ that secured her the prize.

Leader Awards 2016 - Winner: Marinella Bozzetti

“Puglia isn’t just a place I’ve studied in books, it’s where I’ve lived for my entire life. I take people where I would go myself, so they never have the feeling that I’m just taking them somewhere because they’re tourists.”

“Some places here link with my story or my family traditions; I love to be able to tell people about my grandparents and show them where they secretly got married! I’m not here just to lead people when we’re cycling; I’m here to share an experience with them.”

Panoramic view of the ancient town of Matera (Sassi di Matera), European Capital of Culture 2019, at sunrise, Basilicata, southern Italy

“Our land’s history is fascinating. We’ve been dominated by Greeks, Romans, Normans… in our towns you can find footprints of these times. We have a lovely countryside, great food and the beautiful sea. But most of all, we’re a very welcoming people. I always try to give visitors a chance to have dinner in a private home when I can. Guests often say, ‘you didn’t need to go to such great lengths’ but it’s normal for us – we like to share everything we have. We’re just that way.”

Marinella Bozzetti

“There are so many things that I love about Puglia, but one of the things I miss most when I’m not here is the smell of the sea. When I’m away for long periods, it’s what I long for.”

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Please note that Marinella does not lead every departure of Cycling in Puglia & Matera.

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