An Italian Walking Holiday
Culture on the city streets or wilderness in the lakes and mountains, an Italian walking holiday lets your spirit soar whilst keeping your feet firmly on the ground. If you’ve set your heart on an Italian walking holiday for your next big trip then you will not be disappointed. Hiking and trekking this varied paese will transport you deep into the real Italy. Go ahead, pick a region and explore!
Think Italy and, of course, Tuscany springs to mind. It’s an utterly delightful region for walking and hiking so a great place to start your search for an Italian walking holiday. Tuscany has lots to offer and among the network of strade is a superb hike from Volterra to San Gimignano. This route incorporates an ancient Etruscan trail and a stretch along the Via Francigena pilgrimage route that led from Canterbury to Rome in medieval times. Just what an Italian walking holiday is all about!
This route, mostly along typical Tuscan strade bianche, follows dusty, unpaved roads past vineyards, sunflowers and honey coloured hamlets.
Along the way you might find you’ve wandered into a sleepy hilltop hamlet like Casole d’Elsa in time for lunch in an arty trattoria. Eat your fill of fresh crostini and panzanella salad washed down with a delightful Chianti. If you continue on, after fording a few streams and passing abandoned farmhouses that tug at your heartstrings you could stop for the night at a farm-stay for a delicious Fiorentina steak and soft bed before the next day’s travels.
Explore enchanting hill-top villages surrounded by classic Tuscan countryside with a Love Italy tour operator like HF Holidays. An Italian walking holiday can be challenging for an independent traveller and a company specializing in walks makes all the difference. No need to rely on poor maps, sporadic sign posting when you have seasoned hiking and trekking guides to keep you on the right track.
Contrary to popular belief, Tuscany is not ‘Chiantishire’. Far from being waylaid by linen-clad stereotypes, you may not meet a soul while walking in Italy in the Tuscan countryside (sounds wonderful!) apart from some languid-eyed Chianina cattle who unfortunately, cannot give directions or warn you that the only trattoria for miles around is closed on Monday.
From our experience, going it alone on a walking holiday in Italy is only for military types and antarctic explorers! There’s an exciting but challenging wilderness out there and without efficient planning and great support the trip you’re dreaming of can turn into plain hardwork and stress, and that’s not a holiday!
For the best kind of walking holiday in Italy our advice would be… let a specialist tour company take care of all the planning and details leaving you to relax, enjoy your surroundings and experience the best Italy has to offer. They’ll take care of all the hard work and bag carrying and you will reap the benefits.
Our walking specialists have routes that are road-tested to perfection. They know how to mix of light and shade, steep and level, and plan routes just right for your ability. The best part is they know what’s just around the corner so they’ll deliver you a dazzling view just when you’re flagging.
Of course, you’ll only get lost if you want to but someone will be available to pick you up if you go seriously off-route, having dawdled over lunch in a wine estate or spent too long in a Romanesque abbey. Your luggage will be waiting for you at the next rural hideaway. What bliss!
If you’re a sociable sort why choose an accompanied walk? Or otherwise, go at your own pace on an independent walking break.
We’ve mentioned the Tuscan walk to San Gimignano, the so-called ‘medieval Manhattan’ but there’s also the walk through timeless Val d’Orcia or Pienza. Pass through vineyards, silvery olive groves and minor monasteries that summon up images of such film epics like The English Patient.
Talk to our walking holiday companies to find your ideal itinerary.
If you’re after dramatic seascapes for a walking holiday in Italy it has to be Cinque Terre in the Liguria region of Italy. Hiking and trekking here is something else altogether. Here coastal footpaths reveal scene-stealing views of terraced vineyards, jagged cliffs, pastel-coloured cottages and twisted coves. Eat your heart out, Kristen Scott-Thomas, Ralph Fiennes would have recovered here! But our walking specialists don’t just lead you along Liguria’s touristy ‘path of love’. These walking routes are full of twists and turns, including the more challenging high trails or, for softies, a walk around the Portofino peninsula.
What’s it all about, Amalfi? Well, the only coastal trails that can compete with Liguria are here. It’s the scents that overwhelm you: the air really is lemon-scented on the Amalfi Coast. Our Italy walking specialists have wisely scouted out special hideaways in Ravello and Positano.
One very special route is a mule track along the Sorrento Peninsula winds through olive and citrus groves, leading to a naughty Limoncello moment at lunch. But before it all gets too One Cornetto, a high trail sweeps you up ‘the path of gods’ to commune with falcons rather than operatic Neapolitan ice-cream makers.
If your heart sings in the south, then Sardinia and Sicily are operas in the making. Sardinia reveals its rustic side along remote trails on Costa Verde. Here it’s about coastal dunes and cork oak woodlands, silvery mountains, shepherds’ huts and the odd dormant volcano. Sicily goes one better, offering trails with an all too active volcano! One captivating tour sweeps walkers from Taormina to semi-snoozing Mount Etna, filing past deep craters and old lava beds before moving onto Stromboli, an island with an equally fiery heart.
For those with an artistic streak there’s an itinerary focusing on Baroque Sicily. This one is interspersed walks around Siracusa and Ragusa with forays to explore gorges lined with Bronze Age tombs.
If the drama of volcanoes or the heat of the south are not for you then remain cool, calm and collected at the Italian lakes. Perhaps hiking on the shores of the sea-like Lake Garda, taking in secret Lake Iseo or mystical Lake Orta is for you?. One popular Lake Garda trail focuses on Gardone, Gargano and switchback mountain passes used in recent 007 offerings.
Not that the best walks need be daredevil. A favourite trail for foodies explores Piedmont’s Barolo wine country. You couldn’t find a more tranquil trail in Italy, walking past vineyards and wave-shaped hills to a dinner of truffle risotto, sorbet moscato, and lashings of Barolo.
With our Italian hiking & trekking specialists there’s no doubt you’ll find a walking holiday in Italy to your taste!