For many visitors to Italy, Tuscany is the region that surpasses all others. The cultural and historical significance of Florence and other Tuscan towns rival the most popular locations anywhere in Europe. In addition, the famed rolling hills of vineyards and olive groves provide a plethora of excellent walking routes that balance beautifully with the man-made splendour of the cities. These scenic walks will not only reveal the natural beauty of the landscape, but enables travelers to feast on the fine rustic cuisine of the area and sample the superb wines produced in this exquisite part of the world.
In the past decade Tuscany has become one of, if not, the most popular tourist destination in Italy. The provincial capital, Florence, was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and, in turn, the modern Italian language. Surrounding the urban scene, the hills have become the iconic image of Italy in the eyes of international tourism. The hills make Tuscany the perfect destination for a walking holiday. Visit Headwater for detailed info on walking tours in Tuscany, with guided and self-guided options that cover the best bits of the region.
The hilly terrain of Tuscany means walkers can expect moderate slopes, getting tougher in the most northerly parts that neighbour the Apennines. Outside the medieval towns and rustic hamlets, expect to walk along old mule trails and track amongst woodland, interspersed with soothing mountain streams. Opportunities to explore coastal paths and off-shore islands lie to the West.
To make the most of everything the Provence has to offer it’s worth taking over a week (ten days) to really get into it. This would allow a few days at each area to settle in a hotel or agritourismo and sample some of the more gastronomically important aspects of Tuscany. Locational highlights include Grotta del Vento, one of Europe’s most extensive cave networks, the old Pilgrim paths of the Etruscan hills and the Alto Mugello.
If you’re in the area and only have time to walk for one day, the ridge-top walk through Lozzole, ‘the village in the sky’ is a fantastic excursion with views up to 70km across North-East Tuscany.
Nature isn’t the only bounty with which Tuscany has been blessed: one of the most breathtaking walks is to spend an afternoon strolling through the halls of the famous Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
If inclement weather interrupts your journey, wandering through the nearly 50 halls of masterpieces from some of the greatest artists who have ever lived, will delight and inspire. You could feasibly spend a good couple of days taking in the wondrous exhibits. But if you want to make a slightly less extended visit, some of the must-see halls include the one dedicated to the early works of Leonardo da Vinci, another housing Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, and those featuring work of Caravaggio, Raphael and Michelangelo.
With Siena, Pisa and the historical centres of San Gimignano and Pienza all offering anthropogenic beauty aplenty, Tuscany really does provide the best of civilization and nature. Whether you seek open countryside that rolls into the most peaceful and beautiful landscapes, or towns and cities that ooze with historical charm and cultural magnificence, a walking holiday in Tuscany will take your breath away time after time.
About The Author: David Ryan is an avid traveler and enjoys writing about different places and different cultures. David is a particular fan of the Italian way of life and will be visitng Rome in the summer of 2014.
Photo Credits: Google Creative Commons – #1 Cinemastyle.blogspot.com, #2, #3, 5 Roberto Carli, #4 Fotopedia