Walking holiday in Tuscany

“A really well priced day, guided small group walking holiday in the lesser known Garfagnana region of Tuscany. Staying in traditional farmhouse with pool.”

Highlights

Orechiella NP| Lago di Vagli | Pania di Corfino | Monte Sumbra | Alpi Apuane NP | Crinali ridge | Monte Vecchio | Monte Prado | Five full days of walking

Description of Walking holiday in Tuscany

This is a walking holiday in Tuscany with a difference. Focusing on the northern region of Garfagnana, this is a world away from the classic rolling hills of the Tuscan south, as it borders the mountain ranges of Alpi Apuane and the Apennines, creating a dramatic landscape of emerald mountains, lakeside villages and wide valleys. The Tuscan hospitality and fine cuisine is still very much present though!

Over five days’ walking you’ll explore the beech woodland of Orechiella National Park, wander through the 16th century shepherds’ village of Campocatino, and visit the San Viano hermitage, built into a cliff face. On some days during this walking holiday in Tuscany you’ll be joined by a local guide, who can share stories of Garfagnana – and advise on the best places to stop for caffe or aperitivi. Some departures offer more challenging treks up to limestone plateaus and mountain peaks for sweeping views of the surrounding landscape – as well as one night in a comfortable mountain hut.

Each evening you’ll return to your cosy, lodge-style farmhouse at Braccicorti, which has a swimming pool. A free day gives you the chance to explore further afield on excursions to Cinque Terre, Florence or Pisa, relax by the pool, or stroll through the nearby town.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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01 Oct 2016
£ 929
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Our top tip:
Get in training and bring walking poles.
Trip type:
Small group holiday, max. 16 people. Min. age 16.
Activity level:
Moderate with options for more challenging. Average 15 kms per day.
Accomm:
Traditional family run farmhouse with pool.
Included:
Flights, accommodation, most meals, transport, tour leader.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Surcharge for own room.
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Walking holiday in Tuscany

Environment

Activity:
As a walking holiday, this trip has very limited detrimental impact upon the environment, residents and communities in the regions we visit. Adverse effects like pollution and threatening wildlife do not come into play and although erosion on popular paths can be an issue, guides can advise pre-planned routes to avoid this. Trekking also allows for flexibility and allows for easy access to the local population, shops and restaurants, which facilitates cultural exploration. By operating consciously with a ‘leave no trace’ policy, we are able to raise local awareness for a kind of tourism which refuses to sacrifice the environment and real connections with people.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Community

Accommodation and Meals:
We will spend 7 nights at Braccicorti, a lodge-style farmhouse or ‘Agriturismo’ as they are known in Italy. For challenging grade departures, one of these nights is replaced with mountain hut accommodation. Using a locally run Agriturismo is a great way to support the agricultural community by giving farmers an alternative source of income. In order to be part of the Agriturismo Association, it is a requirement to hire local staff and to use local produce. So where meals are supplied, fresh and seasonal ingredients like the Farro grain and abundant sweet chestnut are used to make regional specialties. Where meals are not supplied, it is part of the trip to stop at local cafes and restaurants. Here we can support these businesses, engage with locals and try some authentic cuisine.

Local Craft and Culture:
There are plenty of unique villages and historical sites along our route, including the 16th century shepherds village of Campocatino, San Viano's rock-hewn hermitage and Villa Collemandina with its church and quaint cafes. A local guide joins the group in Castiglione di Garfagnana, a small but beautiful walled town where Italy's largest and most popular chestnut festival is held in Autumn. Should you arrive on this date, you will be able to experience the long held tradition celebrating local chestnuts, truffles and mushrooms. Clients will also have the chance to see locals go about day to day life at various markets. This is a great chance to learn something about local produce and to support small suppliers.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

Reviews of Walking holiday in Tuscany

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 11 Sep 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Walking over limestone pavement at the top of one of the mountains in strong sunshine but a high wind!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for walking up a lot each day, it's often steep. We generally walked up around 600metres and then back down the same every day, and the walks were around 8miles on most days. Also be aware that you'll experience soft
earthy woodland paths, through deciduous woodland but also very rough rocky terrain.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes definitely. It was lovely to be looked after by the family at Braccicorti who housed and fed us wonderfully. Sara our guide took us to shops in the local area who sold local produce as well and we could buy some things like home grown
sun dried tomatoes and red wine from the farm we were staying on.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very good!

Reviewed on 22 Oct 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Lying on my back on the side of a Tuscan hillside in glorious sunshine, with shimmering red and gold autumn colours of the shrubs and plants a delight to look upon while listening to the tinkling bells of the goats being shepherded along by their mountain dog with deer rutting in the distance. And eating my rather nice packed lunch at the same time as enjoying the warmth, sights and sounds of that one day on my own in Tuscany.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you don't want to climb another summit - then don't.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not particularly.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The only holiday I've even gone on that I would do again.

Read the operator's response here:

I'm pleased that you had such a fantastic time with us in Italy.

We have used Braccicorti for many years and this farmhouse is owned by the Giovannetti family, they produce a considerable quantity of local produce including wine and honey and also buy from local farmers and thus this money goes directly to the local community which we have been involved with for many years. So we can assure you that your holiday did benefit the local community.

Reviewed on 23 Jul 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching the top of Monte Prado, the highest point in Tuscany and no other group in sight. The best kept secret, long may it continue. I plan to go back!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Try to get a few walks in before the trip.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Great experience walking in Garfagnana. Highly recommended. Our guide was well informed and knew the walks well. Good advice given.

Reviewed on 17 May 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Standin ont he top of Monte Prado and enjoying the views!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Great for anyone who enjoys walking.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?




4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent trip

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