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Walking in Tuscany

from $1,749.00

Walk through Italy across Tuscany’s idyllic mountains

  • Reviews 65 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    4 - 14
All about the Walking in Tuscany.

The Garfagnana region, close to the gems of Lucca, Pisa and Florence, is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets and the perfect base for guided walking holidays in Tuscany. The area’s astonishing landscape is a far cry from the rolling hills of southern Tuscany as it lies between the striking peaks of the Alpi Apuane and Apennine mountain ranges, providing us with ample hiking opportunities which, along with picturesque mountaintop and lakeside villages and the warm local hospitality, make for a wonderful trip. Certain dates include more challenging trekking and incorporate one night in a mountain refuge.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches, 5 dinners
* All accommodation (see accommodation section)
* All transport and activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Airport transfers (at designated times)

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement – limited availability)

Highlights

  • Five wonderful day walks through Tuscany’s idyllic mountains
  • Challenging walks on certain weeks
  • Stay in a beautifully situated Tuscan farmhouse with swimming pool
  • Opportunity to visit Lucca on the free day
  • 7 nights farmhouse with swimming pool
  • 5 days centre-based walking; 1 free day
  • Altitude maximum 2054m, average 1000m
  • Challenging departures on selected weeks (inquire for dates)
  1. Day 1 Start Braccicorti

    Start at Braccicorti lodge, approximately 6kms from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and 2 hours from Pisa airport.

  2. Day 2 Transfer to the village of Pruno; walk through the Orecchiella N.P. to Pania di Corfino; descend via 16th century Campiana village. (Activity Level 3)

    After breakfast at Braccicorti we drive to the small village of Pruno where we begin our walk into the Orecchiella National Park, home to a variety of flora and fauna changing throughout the year. In spring it can be covered in snow when wolf, deer and mountain hare tracks are easily identifiable. Late spring and summer, the land is carpeted with an array of beautiful flowers and the beech trees begin to grow their iridescent lime green leaves which then change to deep oranges, browns and reds in the Autumn. If we are lucky we might spot a number of birds of prey; the common buzzard, the honey buzzard or one of the resident golden eagles. Set amongst the beautiful beech wood our walk steadily ascends to the flat summit of Pania di Corfino with its stunning 360 degrees views. After a leisurely picnic lunch we head to the 16th century village of Campaiana before following an ancient mule track which descends to the town of Corfino.13km, total ascent: 603m, total descent: 603m, altitude maximum: 1603m.

  3. Day 3 Apuane National Park to Monte Sumbra. (Activity Level 3)

    Today we drive 40 minutes to the small village of Vianova and begin our walk into the Alpi Apuane NP. Much of our initial ascent is on a wide forest track that continues through the beech wood to our first view point across to the face of Pania della Croce and the Omo Morto range. From here we take a footpath ascending to a limestone plateau where there is an optional ascent to the summit of Monte Sumbra (1765m). Weather permitting, we will enjoy an uninterrupted view of the Alpi Apuane range, the Ligurian coast and the enormous spine of the Apennines. After lunch on the summit we retrace our steps back to the limestone plateau, before heading down through the trees following one of the old charcoal trails back to the minibus. On the way back to Braccicorti, time permitting, we may stop in the lovely town of Careggine.16km, total ascent: 672m, total descent: 672m, altitude maximum: 1765m.

  4. Day 4 Circular walk from Braccicorti to mediaeval market town Castiglione di Garfagnana. (Activity Level 3)

    Having a change of guide for the day, you will walk directly from the farmhouse at 410m, firstly visiting the new town of Villa Collemandina before heading to the church and learning about the history of the area. After this the route will take you on tracks, quiet lanes and footpaths through the local farmland and houses giving you a chance to observe village life. Midway through the day you will arrive at Castiglione di Garfagnana at 545m, a small but beautiful mediaeval town, still inhabited and visited by tourists throughout the year. Castiglione is also the place where the region’s largest and most popular chestnut festival, celebrating the chestnut tree and the growth of truffles and mushrooms, is held in the autumn. After lunch we cross a 13th century bridge below the town leading into more farmland and back to Braccicorti on easy tracks. 19km, total ascent: 145m, total descent: 145m, altitude maximum: 545m.

  5. Day 5 Free day to visit Lucca, the Cinque Terre, Florence or Pisa.

    Free day to enjoy any of the following: 1 hr train journey to visit the stunning fortified city of Lucca; 20 minute taxi and 1.5 hr train journey to the coastal UNESCO World Heritage site of the Cinque Terre; 2.5 hr train journey to visit the capital city of Florence, home of Michelangelo’s David or the 1.5hr train journey to Pisa where you can ascend the leaning tower and walk along the beautiful river Arno. Other options would be to relax at the farmhouse and if warm enough make use of the sun loungers and outdoor pool or walk down to Lago di Pontecosi for lunch and a stroll through the local area or take 10 minutes train along to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana for lunch and a walk to the old castle.

  6. Day 6 Campocatino and San Viviano's Hermitage. (Activity Level 3)

    A drive of 25 minutes to Lago di Vagli with its submerged village and impressive backdrop of Monte Sumbra will bring us to the start point for the day; Vagli Sotto. From here we walk on a small footpath to the town of Vagli Sopra where we continue to ascend on a section of the pilgrimage walk through the chestnut wood to arrive at the 16th century shepherds village of Campocatino. Wandering through the village and seeing the beautiful terraced meadows, protected by the impressive wall of Roccandagia, it is easy to understand why the shepherds chose this location. From here we continue to our highest point for the day at 1190m before descending through the trees to San Viviano’s hermitage. Built into the rock face, the tiny hermitage is said to be where San Viviano lived before his bones were finally discovered in 1993. It is now used as a chapel and pilgrimage site. Our descent takes a rarely used mountain path with views across the valley before arriving back at the bus.12.5km, total ascent: 630m, total descent: 630m, altitude maximum: 1190m.

  7. Day 7 Drive to Casone; head through beech forest into the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano N.P. to the summit of Monte Prado. (Activity Level 3)

    We start the day with a 40 minute drive to the small ski area of Casone. Walking through beech wood brings us to the beginning of the Crinali ridge, a section of the 1600km Apennine ridge in the Tosco/Emiliano/Apennino NP, offering some of the most impressive views of the week. Below is a basin of fiery colours from the forest between the ridge line of Tuscany and the opposite ridge of Emilia Romagna. Our route takes us along the undulating ridge on an easy path leading us up onto the peak of Monte Prado, the highest in Tuscany at 2054m. After lunch we retrace our steps along the ridge before descending on another route leading us through woodland back to Casone where there is a bar to enjoy a well earned drink.16km, total ascent: 740m, total descent: 740m, altitude maximum: 2054m.

  8. Day 8 End Braccicorti.

    The trip ends at Braccicorti.**

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Where you stay

Braccicorti

Our lodge-style base is the welcoming Braccicorti, a traditional stone building tucked away on a hillside on the lower slopes of the Apennines. Situated on a typical Tuscan farm, it has been authentically renovated and is surrounded by meadows, orchards, woodland and vines.
The accommodation comprises 4 twin/double rooms (with en suite facilities) and 2 apartments, each with 1 twin/double and 1 single room sharing a bathroom. Double or twin should be stated upon booking and the en suite rooms are on a first come served basis if requested. There is also a dining room, comfortable living room, a quiet room, terrace, golf course with driving range, swimming pool (seasonal – mid May to end of September) and a garden with stunning views to the mountains.
This is not a hotel and the local family, who live next door, clean the rooms once during the week. Please note there are dogs and cats at the farmhouse.
CHALLENGING DEPARTURES: We spend one night in dormitory-style accommodation in a comfortable mountain hut.

There is no charge for the standard single rooms, as bathroom facilities are shared. These are provided on a first come first served basis and should be requested upon booking.
Further double rooms for sole use can be requested 2 weeks prior to departure; a supplement applies for these. We cannot guarantee these will be en suite.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners are included.

Continental style breakfast with a choice of cereal, bread, yoghurt, eggs and fruit with milk, fruit juice and an array of teas/coffee.
Packed lunches are provided for the daywalks  with a buffet style selection of meat, cheese, fish, salad, bread and salad mix such as panzanella with a cake and fruit.

Starters include the Garfagnana soup, Pesto pasta, Bresaola or risotto with locally made bread, water and Braccicorti red wine.

Main course can be stuffed peppers and courgettes with local cheese and pancetta, roasted meats, locally caught trout or a vegetarian dish such as aubergine and mozzarella bake with home grown vegetables and salad.

Each meal is finished with a small dessert of homemade tiramisu, panna cotta, gelato or fruit salad and on occasions followed with the offer of homemade grappa or amaretto.

Vegetarians are usually well catered for in this area. For those who require gluten free diets, we recommend taking items with you, as it is not easy to purchase gluten free products locally.

The Garfagnana area provides enormous scope for some of the most spectacular and interesting trekking in Italy, with the added bonus of knowing we will rarely see other walkers. The majority of the paths are well-maintained, however a few sections are less frequently used and rough underfoot, with some steep ascents and descents, it will suit people who exercise regularly. Previous trekking experience is needed. Some trails can be overgrown and long trousers are recommended. Early in the season there may be patches of snow and snowshoes may have to be used.

The area is mountainous and the majority of drives, although short, follow twisty mountain roads through wooded areas. Braccicorti lodge has been renovated keeping the character of the area in mind and should therefore not be considered a luxury villa. There are basic furnishings and rooms are not serviced as you would expect in a hotel.

Activity level: grade 3 (Moderate) departures
Most departure dates are graded moderate and ascents and descents of 400 to 700 metres should be expected. We usually walk 4 to 6 hours each day and a good level of fitness is required.

For challenging grade weeks, we usually walk between 5 and 8 hours per day and a high level of fitness is required. We spend one night in a comfortable mountain refuge, so we will have to pack our belongings for our two-day ridge excursion into our daypacks (e.g. sleeping bag liner, wash kit, change of clothes). It should not be necessary to carry more than 6-8kg. Items not required on the walk can be left in your room at Braccicorti.

We use the same mountain ranges for both grades and vary the routes according to the weather conditions or other factors beyond our control. While aiming to always follow the routes described in the itinerary, it will be the leader’s decision to amend the itinerary if and when necessary.

Tuscany can be very hot during summer months, especially from June to August but heatwaves can happen also in April and May. During summer months temperatures can possibly reach high 30s (degC). We will try and start our walks earlier to avoid the hottest hours of the day but please be aware that temperatures and humidity will be high. You should feel comfortable and be used to walk in the heat. Agriturismo type of accommodations, as based in the countryside, are not normally equipped with air conditioning therefore rooms can be quite warm at times. Presence of mosquitos in summer may increase (significantly), we recommend to take mosquito repellent with you.

Summer months

Tuscany can be very hot during summer months, especially from June to August but heatwaves can happen also in April and May. During summer months temperatures can possibly reach high 30s (degC). We will try and start our walks earlier to avoid the hottest hours of the day but please be aware that temperatures and humidity will be high. You should feel comfortable and be used to walk in the heat. Agriturismo type of accommodations, as based in the countryside, are not normally equipped with air conditioning therefore rooms can be quite warm at times. Presence of mosquitos in summer may increase (significantly), we recommend taking mosquito repellent with you.

Please note that at times, especially during summer months, the group pick up time at the airport can be late in the evening. In this instance you will have additional time to spend in Pisa. Leader will take care of all arrangements in terms of transport from/to the airport and the city centre and luggage storage. It may also happen that, for logistical reasons, on return we will have to be at the airport earlier than normally scheduled. This will mean a longer waiting time before checking in.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Fantastic Trip

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the summits and doing a little bit of scrambling which I had never experienced before. The amazing views The beautiful forest walks Having your lunch "on top of the world" from your summit stops looking out and down for miles
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara is most definitely the best Exodus guide I have had - and I have done 17 trips with them! She is caring, encouraging, patient, knowledgeable and really inspires confidence. Nothing was too much trouble for her and she constantly suggested and provided extra things for us way above the call of duty. In addition she has a great sense of humour and fun to be around but maybe more importantly you feel 100% safe in her hands
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are considering this trip do it, it's great. Do take walking poles- they really are useful. If you are wondering what to do on the free day the popular option of Lucca is a great easy day off -it's a lovely little city and easy to get to and from
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Another Exodus classic

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Excellent walking in Tuscany

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit of Monte Sumbra which I had determined to do beforehand.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara was absolutely wonderful. I cannot fault her. She looked after everybody and there were times when I was particularly grateful for her attitude and attention. I really cannot praise her highly enough.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a pair of poles with you-some of the descents are particularly steep and rough.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and was really disappointed when I had to opt out of the last days walk due to my arthritis playing me up.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Fabulous

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The scenery was beautiful and enjoyed the peace and quiet. I felt a great sense of achievement at the end of each day.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara was amazing, I can't fault her.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I borrowed a walking pole and found it really useful on the descents.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go!

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Walking in Tuscany - TDT

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing up to the highest peak of Monte Prado with two dogs!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant. Sara is an exceptional leader, well qualified in mountain craft, had researched all the walks very well (some of them were down tiny footpaths which could hardly be seen) a great hostess and a good driver!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Please join the trip - they would not be disappointed but just a word of caution - we don't think that anybody was aware of the dramatic scenery in this part of Tuscany and therefore to allow for long climbs and descents in magnificent scenery in other words potential travellers should be aware that it can be challenging, especially in wet weather. I would class it as the upper grade of "Moderate".

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Walking in Tuscanny

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The ascent of Montesombre & stunning views all the way to the sea-? 50Km away
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    She was quite wonderful and really took the trouble to get the best experience for us - checking the weather by getting up early and driving to vantage points to see what the weather was really like before setting off & adapting walks as necessary.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do this one, don't be nervous - we had stunning views & did some scrambling - all done safely through good planning & excellent leader
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    When we did have an injury it was dealt with quickly & effectively - I am a doctor and rushes back when I heard someone was hurt but our leader had dealt with it by the time I got back - about 5 minutes. Our leader then took the walker who had fallen to hospital and stayed with her through her time there; then she came back and took us out for another walk. An incredible day for her to have done so much so well The injury was not because of a difficult walk - it was a trip in the car park!

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