Breathtaking scenery, delicious food, well-planned hiking trails: Tuscany is a walker's dream. Try these routes for an Italian walking holiday
With its spectacular landscapes, endless stretches of olive groves and vineyards, beautiful weather and picturesque towns and villages, Tuscany is a hiker’s dream. There are countless trails in the region, many climbing into the lush Tuscan hills, offering panoramic views of this delightful Italian region.
From woodlands and rivers to mountain tops and charming towns and villages, walking through Tuscany is the perfect active way to enjoy the scenery and history of the area.
Try one of these four classic circular trails, all offering a unique Tuscan experience for walkers of all levels.
This 14km-long trail is known as the Remembrance Trail. Its name honours the memory of the young resistance fighters that took arms against the dictatorship regime in Italy during the Second World War, many of whom were killed on these mountains in their struggle for freedom. The trail runs round the foot of the Pratomagno mountain, starting in the pretty town of Pian di Sco’ before entering the nearby woodlands. The path leads first to Campiano Basso with its pretty frescoed chapel, before following on to the village of Casa Biondo. The route continues past a commemorative stone honouring the death place of a young resistance fighter.
The walk then passes though the hamlet of Campiano Alto and up to Villa Belvedere. It then follows to Pulicciano where another commemorative stone was erected in memory of Catholic priest Don Bianco Cotoneschi and his chaplain, both detained and then killed by the military. The trail circles, to end at the starting point in Pian di Sco’.
Through the walk, the path is marked in the Italian flag colours of red, white and green.
This trail starts at the church of Pulicciano, a city situated between Florence and Arezzo, and at 22km long, with some strenuous climbs, is suitable for more experienced hikers.
The initial stretch follows the Remembrance Trail, passing through woodlands and following the old mountain road to the abandoned monastery of Gastra.
After a slight climb and a dip, the track rises again to Poggio della Regina, a mountain peak rising 990 metres above sea level, which is home to the archaeological site of a fortress, dating back to the Middle Ages. Poggio della Regina offers stunning panoramic views of the Valdarno valley and the Monti del Chianti, so is a great spot to enjoy a break and drink in the beautiful Tuscan landscapes.
From here the trail continues downhill via the charming village of Menzano, re-joining the Memory Trail to circle its way back to the starting point at Pulicciano.
This 16km trail passes through various charming, rustic hamlets scattered across the slopes of the Pratomagno, a mountain range surrounded by the river Arno on the side of the Valdarno valley.
From Gorgiti and Modine, 660 metres above sea level, the trail passes through beautiful Tuscan fields and chestnut woods before beginning a steep climb - reaching as high as Poggio Mondrago at an altitude of 1,255m.
Hike across the plateau at the top, then descend via the trail to Rocca Ricciarda, an ancient Medieval village near the head of the river Ciuffenna. With its charming stone houses, it’s a pretty place to spend some time and grab a bite to eat - try the Osteria Bar La Rocca.
Back on the trail, the final stretch follows the bank of the Ciuffenna river before ending back in Gorgiti.
This 15km route starts at the Oratorio di Ponticelli, a 16th century church positioned 770m above sea level, rising over the town of Reggello on the lower slopes of the Pratomagno.
The trail climbs first through woodlands and then rockier areas to reach the summit of Monte Acuto. At around 1,130 metres above sea level this point offers one of the best viewpoints for taking in the whole Pratomagno mountain range.
The trail continues to Poggio Castelluccio and the view opens to the East towards the Valdarno valley. The descent leads through the abandoned monastery in Gastra before leading back to your starting point at the Oratorio di Ponticelli.
To make the most of Tuscany's walking routes, look for accommodation within easy reach of the starting points.
Check out www.tuscanynow.com for villas in the area, such as Casamora, a restored hamlet with swimming pools and a restaurant, as well as places to stay. It's close to Pratomagno, and the surrounding estate extends all the way to the archaeological ruins in Gastra and Poggio alla Regina.
In nearby Montevarchi there is a local branch of the CAI association (Club Alpino Italiano), the Italian association for mountaineering sports and activities, which offers both activities and advice, maps and information.
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