Read reviews and enjoy exclusive savings on Exodus 8 Day 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...read more hospitality, make for a wonderful trip. Certain dates include more challenging trekking and incorporate one night in a mountain refuge.
Start at Braccicorti lodge, approximately 6kms from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and 2 hours from Pisa airport.
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.
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.
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 medieval 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.
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.
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.
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.
The trip ends at Braccicorti.
Five wonderful daywalks through Tuscany's idyllic mountains
Challenging walks on certain weeks
Stay in a beautifully situated Tuscan farmhouse with swimming pool
Not your typical Tuscany tour 0Andre & Sharon, QLD, Australia, Sep 2019
If you enjoy hiking into the mountains and are reasonably fit with a head for heights then you'll love this tour. The farm stay accommodation was excellent. The home-cooking was a gastronomic delight accompanied each night by locally produced red wine. Generous and varied buffet breakfasts were a great way to fuel up for the day's hiking. We made up our own lunches from the previous night's dinner leftovers. The Garfagnana Valley where our farm stay was located, is away from the tourist trail. The local towns are authentic and unspoiled by commercialism.
Being a centre-based tour required some driving to reach each days hike. The local mountain roads are narrow, winding and steep in places so you'll need to be OK with the swaying motion of the minibus. The trails are generally well formed, easy to follow and not too steep. We've hiked to much higher altitudes on other trips but the views on this trip were still stunning and unforgettable. Complimentary transfers from and to Pisa airport were a bonus for Australian travellers. The 12 travellers comprising our group were a mix of Australians, English and Scottish aged 34 to 72, average age about 60. They were a friendly bunch, just big enough to get to know a few over a week of hiking.
Our English guide resides at the farm for the hiking season and is part of the "family". Sara is the absolute best guide you could hope to have. She is caring, super organised, bilingual, very fit and has a deep knowledge of local trails, weather, flora, fauna and geology. We highly recommend the Exodus Walking in Tuscany trip. It's excellent value in a great location with a great guide, great accommodation and great food.
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