Walk through Italy across Tuscany’s idyllic mountains
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 areas 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
* Five wonderful daywalks 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
Day 1 Fly to Pisa; transfer to Braccicorti lodge.
Start at our base, a journey of 2 hours from Pisa airport (depending on
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.
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.
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 beautifulmediaevaltown, still inhabited and visited by tourists
throughout the year. Castiglione is also the place where the regions
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 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.
Campocatino and San Viviano’s Hermitage. (Activity Level3)
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.
Drive to Casone; head through beech forest into the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano
N.P. to the summit of Monte Prado. (Activity Level3)
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.
Transfer to Pisa; fly to London.
Transfer back to Pisa; fly to London.
Please note that at times, especially during summer months, the inbound
flight 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.