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WALKING IN TUSCANY

 10 – 19 May 2024

WOMEN ONLY

R10 000 non-refundable deposit to book your place

TOUR DESCRIPTION

GARFAGNANA, NATURAL PARADISE IN TUSCANY
Ready to discover a hidden gem with our walking in Tuscany tour?

Hike ancient mule tracks to alpine villages, walk along panoramic ridges and lush forests during five glorious days of walking. Stop in the villages for a gelato or a coffee.

Back at the farmhouse relax in a hammock, admire the views, or, book a massage to ease those tired muscles. Enjoy superlative Tuscan food and local wine.

Based on an organic farm in the Apuan Alps, this Tuscany Walking holiday will nourish your soul. The day hikes are routes over a considerable variety of terrain and landscapes with local guides who have intricate knowledge of the area.

By keeping the groups small, we can give exceptional care and attention to every individual.

Come join The Adventurous Ewe and let’s explore this beautiful part of Tuscany.

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Our Tour

ITINERARY

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DAY 1

Florence

Arrive at Florence airport, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Spend the afternoon and evening enjoying this Renaissance city. Gather for a welcome dinner, where you get to know your companions for the next few days.

Overnight in a hotel with your own single room for a good night’s rest.

Meals – Dinner

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DAY 2

Morning in Florence, afternoon transfer to Garfagnana

After a morning exploring Florence, we head to a beautiful Tuscan farmhouse in the Apuan Alps, our home for the next few days. We begin with a complimentary aperitif on the terrace and discuss the days ahead. A candlelit dinner is served in the cosy dining room among antiques and oil paintings, or on warm evenings, on the vine-covered terrace with views of the Serchio Valley and mountains beyond.

Meals – Dinner

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DAY 3

Trails of War

In 1943, the farm housed a huge piece of German artillery as part of the German’s last line of defence along the summits of the Apennine Mountains. We wind our way up through the woods to the charming terracotta-roofed hamlet of Brucciano.

A trail takes us further up to Forcone and onto the Grottorotondo Ridge. The 360° views of the valley, help us get our bearings and spot some of our locations for the rest of the week. The local museum has reconstructed fox holes and ammunition bunkers here and a military shelter. We meet some of the volunteers to hear old stories and local tales.

Distance 8km – 4.30 hrs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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DAY 4

Pania di Corfino and the walled town of Castiglione Garfagnana (Apennines)

Today’s itinerary is total immersion into the lush natural environment of Garfagnana. We head to the National Park of Tuscan Emilian Apennines and the Orecchiella Natural Reserve. It’s a natural paradise with several iconic species, including red deer, golden eagles and wolves, who live among the peaks and in the dense beech forests.

The path follows mule tracks and trails into the forest and through pastures to a spectacular green meadow at the top of a high cliff. This is Pania di Corfino, the terrace of the Garfagnana. On our return, we stop at the fascinating old walled town of Castiglione Garfagnana. After a stroll through its narrow streets, medieval churches and panoramic towers, it’s time for a cool refreshment, or a gelato.

Distance: 10km – 5hrs

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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DAY 5

Legends on the ridge, San Pellegrino in Alpe (Apennines)

We explore San Pellegrino in Alpe (1525m), the highest village in the Apennines, where life is slow and scenery is spectacular. The grand vista reveals the Apuan Alps and the Garfagnana on one side, and the green Emilia on the other. It’s a place of history, legend and local tales merging

Christianity and paganism, and has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. The path leads us across blueberry meadows and through forests back to the village. Before driving back to the farmhouse, we’ll stop at an organic farm where some typical crops like spelt, corn and chestnuts are grown.

Distance 8km 4.5hrs

Dinner will be accompanied by wine-tasting from the Lucca hills.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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DAY 6

Lucca

Today we explore a different historic part of Tuscany, with a 45min rail journey to the well-preserved Renaissance-walled city of Lucca. We explore the tiny cobbled streets and either stroll or rent a bike to cycle along the 16th and 17th century ramparts, overlooking the city. We get the feel of Italian life in this city full of shops, restaurants and fresh food stores, and purchase some delicious Tuscan specialities to take back to the farmhouse.

Meals: Breakfast

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DAY 7

Il Puntato (Apuan Alps)

A short transfer takes us to the fairy-tale emerald lake and hidden village of Isola Santa. It looks as if the residents recently left with little notice, but is a sign that emigration from Garfagnana was a defining feature of the 20th century. Indications of much older occupants are found in an extraordinary rocky enclave at Puntato, where Bronze Age carvings are found on boulders.

Early agricultural and domestic life are written into the pastoral landscape in this little oasis in the forested hills. We discover another gem of the valley, the beautiful medieval town of Barga, known as a “Citta Slow“; slow in pace of life and food.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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DAY 8

The Eye of Lucca (Apuan Alps)

It’s the last day of walking in the Tuscan hills, so we journey into the past of Lucca and Garfagnana. We cross abandoned picturesque settlements and reach viewpoints overlooking Lucca and beyond to the sea. The position on top of Monte Bargiglio gave the fortress the name “Eye of Lucca”.

The path continues until we arrive at a medieval church surrounded by enormous oak trees hundreds of years old. On our way back, we stop at the main monument of the valley, the medieval Devil’s Bridge. This is the perfect spot to have a group photo after a fabulous week of Tuscan walks.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (will be a typical Italian pizza dinner)

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DAY 9

Departure from Garfagnana, road to Florence

Your week exploring Garfagnana is over, and after breakfast we drive back to Florence. You’ve got the rest of the day to wander through Florence, soaking in its classic Renaissance sculptures, art and architecture. We gather together as new-found friends for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Overnight in a 3* hotel, with your own single room for a good rest before our flight the next day.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

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DAY 10

Departure

Time to say “Farewell”. Transfer to the airport to check-in for your flight home.

Meals: Breakfast

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE TOUR
  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Some meals – see itinerary
  • All personal drinks including any alcoholic beverages
  • Optional activities not part of the itinerary
  • Meal tips
  • Travel insurance
HIKING ITALY ESSENTIALS

• A small 30 Litre rucksack
• Walking boots with good ankle support
• Comfortable padded walking socks
• Waterproofs, hat, gloves, fleece or warm jumper
• Water bottles (2 litres)
• Sunscreen and sunglasses
• Towel and swimming costume

USEFUL EQUIPMENT

A reasonable level of general fitness!
• Small pair of binoculars
• Lightweight camera
• Notebook and pen
• Blister packs

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