Author of Wild Swimming Italy tells us about his passion


We interviewed Michele Tameni to ask him about his passion for swimming and how he came to write the new Wild Swimming Italy guidebook about Italy’s secret rivers and lakes.

How did you get into wild swimming?

I grew up in a valley between the mountains of the Alps and every spring to late autumn my favorite pastime was wandering along the paths in the woods, and wallow in the streams that run through these valleys. The proximity to Lake Garda did the rest, and slowly I discovered the pleasure to dive into nature, the pleasure of wild swimming.

wild swimming italy

What makes Italy a great place to swim?

The wide variety of landscapes that characterize Italy means that in each region there are rivers, canyons, caves and waterfalls unique, different and surprising, just to be discovered. The climate and also ‘often favorable and in many places already’ at the dawn of spring is warm enough to want to dive into the first pool that you can ‘find.


What are your favourite 5 swims in the book, and why?

It’s really hard for me to choose 5 place out of all the amazing ones I visited but I’ll try:


1) Torrente San Michele

A wonderful gorge, with emerald pools and some great waterfalls along the way. It was the first gorge I explored with my friends, and I have great memories there, I remember exactly the exciting feelings while

swimming in a narrow tunnel, or diving from a height cliff under the last waterfall. So much fun.



2) Bidente di Pietra Pazza

Fully immersed in a lush and wild valley in the middle of Emilia Romagna, this river is something special, the water is clean, the rocks smooth and beautifully carved from water and the sun really make everything shiny.

 wild swimming italy

3) Pozze Smeraldine

Secluded in the mountain is a place that seem enchanted. The emerald color of the pool, the silence all over and the mist in the evening is breathtaking

wild swimming italy

4) River Farma

The river Farma, in Tuscany, is one of my favourites. During its journey along the beautiful hill landscape it forms some spectacular place, like the Canaloni, where water flow inside an awesome small canyon of volcanic rock or near Solaia, where a quiet bend form two wonderful natural pools where swim and relax under the shadow of the  bush.

wild swimming italy

5) Cisterna del Fiume Orta

Walking beside turquoise and emerald sparkling waters, stop in beaches along the way or jump into the Cisterna of the River Orta, a natural pool carved into the rock, located about two metres above the level of

the river, is a real wild and fun adventure. I love it.


What do you get from wild swimming, that make you love it?

I love to walk in the woods in the early morning while the mist rise from the water, find a nice pool, sit down waiting the sunrise and jump in the fresh water as soon as the first ray of the sun reach me. It’s something that help me relax, to free my mind and it made me feel more in contact with nature, with myself. I also love the feeling of explore new place, and the never ending curiosity about what comes on top of a waterfall, or around the next bend of the river.

wild swimming italy

What advice would you give someone thinking of giving it a go?

Be informed about where are you going, check the water quality, choose a bend where the water is calm, and check how deep the water is. Don’t go alone, you are more safe and you will get more fun. After this just enjoy the wilderness, the peaceful of the place, and swim without other worries.


Is the water clean enough and am I allowed?

Some river are clean some not like in any country. Just choose a place upstream from big village and try to get some information from locals. Usually you can swim in lakes and rivers, be aware of dams and hydroelectric central, again, ask locals to know regional rules.


Do many other Italians go wild swimming away from the coast?

When I was younger many teens was used to spend their sunny afternoon on the rivers, but in the years it was a habit that is being lost. But after the crisis many people are rediscovering wild beaches as an alternative to the expensive ordinary destinations.

You can read a preview of Wild Swimming Italy here.



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