In 1982, I opened the first survival school in Europe in Pieve Tesino (Trento – Italy), aiming to teach people how to avoid all kinds of traps while being far away from home and how to react when a person is in danger. In other words, I taught them how to survive in extreme conditions and in various geographic environments. Theoretical knowledge is not enough, it should be enriched with exercises on various terrain.
The participants learned that in such a situation, the most important thing is to keep a proper attitude, fortitude and knowledge. Various people came: students, clerks, doctors, secretaries, simple workers, and a lot of women. There were also special courses for management staff, security guards, rescuers, missionaries going on missions far-away and even politicians.
We live in Spartan conditions, there is no telephone, Internet, TV, newspapers, hot water. A day of training for twenty people lasts several hours. The program is a complete surprise. The point is that students are not able to prepare mentally for what awaits them; they have to face a completely new situation, and quite possibly stressful, from psychological exercises to commando training. It includes forced marches in mountain wilderness, rappelling from a rock wall, getting out of a car that has driven into water, or building a raft on a bulging river from random materials. They experience firsthand what fatigue, hunger, thirst and discomfort mean, facing many difficulties that can easily undermine the morale of even a very tough person.
The certificate of my survival school, under the High Patronage of the Italian Ministry of Civil Defense, has become a prestigious and ennobling document. As Corriere della Sera wrote, it cost a bucket of sweat and tears to get it.