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Walking in Tuscany

from $1,549.00

Walk through Italy across Tuscany’s idyllic mountains

  • Reviews 10 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 11/11/2019
5/5

Magical mountains in Italy

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing to the top of Monte Prado in clear warm weather in late October. The autumn colours of the beech trees, which extend to the tree line, were just beautiful - and catching a glimpse of a golden eagle on the way down. Walking up through the dappled light of the beech woods, knowing there were wild boar, deer and even wolves (higher up) unseen, but there nonetheless.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara is probably the best guide I have had the pleasure of walking with. Her love and knowledge of the area shines through as well as her vast skill and experience at getting the very best - plus a bit more - out of us motley crew. If I knew she was leading another trip (assuming the endurance levels were within my reach!) I would not hesitate to choose it. She went above and beyond to make two birthday celebrations on the final day most memorable - especially her home made cakes!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take good boots, definitely walking poles - and learn how to use them properly. Layers and rain protection. Late October was lovely and warm on most of the days, but a hat and fleece at the summit was welcome, even in bright sunshine. Leave your busy life behind and be ready to immerse yourself in the amazing peace of the mountains.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared to be amazed and delighted.

Reviewed On 11/11/2019
5/5

Well Delivered Challenging Walking in a Beautiful Area

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This was a great area for some serious walking, summits, views and scenery. Even the vehicle transfers to and from the start of the walks were interesting. The demanding two day walk with an overnight stay at the comfortable refuge was a great experience along with the strenuous summit of Monte Cusana.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara was a very good and knowledgeable guide who had a great passion for the area.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The weather was very kind to us in early September and we walked mainly in t-shirts, but we did have one wet afternoon when it absolutely poured, so take decent waterproofs and proper boots. There are problems with ticks in this area so it is important to check yourself at the end of each walk. We found a few! For the challenging departure you need to be fit otherwise you will hold the group back. Take good boots, poles and ideally a hydration system (Camelbak) as you get through plenty of water, and refills are not always available on the route. Although the overnight refuge was more 'posher' than some, you still need to take earplugs, eye shades, towel and a red bulb head torch. The food is excellent and plentiful and there is hot water, showers and proper toilets! All in all, a good experience and the thought of a refuge should not put you off booking this trip.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip has to be the best challenging walking week we have been on with Exodus. Do it, you won't regret it!

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

Excellent

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching a viewing point where I saw the summit of the next mountain, and then achieving that summit without realising that was our destination. I had actually said I didn't think I could get there to some of others whilst standing looking at it, and I'd just presumed that wasn't where we were going.... I found I was capable of more than I realised with the support I got from our leader Sara.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic. Very caring and supportive to all the group members. Aware of their individual needs and concerns. Answering all the questions with her extensive local knowledge plus promoting the Exodus company wholeheartedly during conversations.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go with an open mind, relax and enjoy. Do not hesitate to share your concerns and worries with your leader.

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

Fantastic walking and first class accommodation

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking for 2 hours up a mountain in torrential rain , thunder and lightning, drenched to the skin despite all my rain gear, then coming out at the summit to blue skies, hot sunshine and jaw-dropping views across the peaks in every direction. Magical!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was excellent - highly experienced, a great leader and a wonderful mixture of Yorkshire grit and Italian charm.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Prepare for varied weather - this part of Tuscany can get very wet even in July.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some issues pre-trip with incorrect information about travel arrangements but this was sorted out by Exodus to my satisfaction.

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
5/5

A brilliant holiday

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hardly a moment but the two day walk with an overnight in the refugio will be a lasting memory of a great trip. This was a first venture into an overnight stop in a refuge. We didn't know what to expect but "really warm", "good food", "comfortable with plenty of space", "hot showers", "set in the heart of the mountains" all contributed to a wonderful experience. Walking the ridge with some wonderful views into Tuscany and Emiliano with the sun on our backs and good company - wonderful!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara was simply great! Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for her in explaining what we were going to be doing, checking we were OK, making sure all arrangements were in place...this we have come to expect from Exodus leaders. Sara added much more - sharing her own experiences as a world wide traveler and leader, telling us about the region in which we were walking, listening to our experiences, introducing us to local people, the family who run Braccacorti, restaurants and watering holes ( the local taxi drivers and guides). Her enthusiasm and passion just shone through!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are ready for wet weather because when it rains that is something special! We had one downpour and then blue skies and sunshine for the week. For those on the challenging week and the stop in the refuge we would suggest taking a light weight towel so you can make the most of the showers. You don't need additional footwear as that is there for you in the refuge. For the light sleepers some earplugs might be helpful.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Now looking forward to planning where we go next....starting with the Exodus brochure

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