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APUANS & APENNINES

from £1495
Away from the Tuscan tourist trail lies a beautiful secluded valley shielded from the outside world by a horse-shoe of mountains.
  • Product Code 17220
  • Holiday Type Holidays With Two Grades Of Walking, Hutting And High Level
  • Grade Grade 6, Grade 7
  • Holiday Duration 14 Nights

Away from the Tuscan tourist trail lies the Garfagnana Valley, a beautiful secluded valley, shielded from the outside world by a horseshoe of mountains. To the west is the range of the Apuan Alps, to the east and north the Apennines. We walk in both, ascending to mountain peaks and following ridges. There are magnificent views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and its islands below from the Apuan peaks; there are magnificent views of the Tuscan mountains from just about everywhere. Lower down in the valley, we visit the valley’s medieval hamlets and castles, and walk on pilgrims’ routes.

The walking here is outstanding. Monte Sumbra (1770m) is a good peak to start with, with great views while not too demanding. The Pania di Corfino (1607m) is a lovely mountain walk with a panoramic view of the Apuans across the valley. The Pania della Croce (1858m) is the most famous peak in the Apuan range. We have many peaks to choose from but the idea is not just to get to the top for its own sake but to take our time and enjoy the countryside on the way up and down. Early summer is good for flowers.

The curiously named ‘00’ footpath along the watershed between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna offers panoramic views of the Apennines, the Apuans and the valley, as do so many of our walks here at either grade.

A highlight of our programme is the world-famous coastline of the Cinque Terre, declared a World Heritage Site in 1997, with the choice of visiting it either on foot or by means of a sail along the coast. Another is the natural gorge of the Orrido di Botri, already known by Dante, who based the gates to Hell in his Inferno on it, and a nesting site for golden eagles.

The walled medieval city of Lucca is easily accessible on the free day by single-track railway. A visit to the Grotta del Vento, one of the finest limestone cave systems in Europe, is also possible.

Holiday Highlights

  • Ascend the Pania di Corfino for its spectacular panoramic view of the Apuan Range.
  • Visit ancient villages and monuments.
  • Water and wine included at dinner.
  • Cruise and walk along the Cinque Terre.
  • Ascend the Pania della Croce, known as the Queen of the Apuans, and a wonderful walk at both grades.
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Heathrow to Pisa (British Airways)
      Airport transfers
      Half board en suite accommodation
      Water & wine included with dinner
      All local transport costs.
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised program, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 6 & 7

  1. Day 1

    We fly into Pisa airport and transfer to Hotel La Lanterna, passing the walled city of Lucca and travelling up the Serchio Valley, with a brief stop at the Devil’s Bridge, where there will be the opportunity for a drink or quick snack.

  2. Day 2

    Castelnuovo and the Serchio Valley. Both walks are circular, on foot from and back to the hotel, exploring Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, its fortress and ancient hamlets along the Serchio River. Grade 6: 14 kms / 8½ miles,+500/-500m, 4 ½ hrs. The Grade 7 walk includes a longer, higher route into Castelnuovo. 17 kms / 10½ miles, +600/-600m, 5 hrs.

  3. Day 3

    La Vetricia to San Pellegrino Pass ridge walk. Starting at a mountain refuge, we climb to and then follow the high level long-distance 00 footpath along the mountainous former state border between Tuscany and its neighbour, Emilia Romagna, with 360° views. Grade 6: 13.5 kms / 8½ miles, +800/-600m, 5½ hrs. The Grade 7 walk follows a similar route but also ascends Monte Giovo (1997m).from Passo Porticciola. 18.5 kms /11½ miles, +1100/-900m, 6 hrs.

  4. Day 4

    Monte Sumbra. We ascend through beech woods to emerge in the heart of the Apuans with spectacular views including Lake Vagli (famous for its drowned village) to the north and the Panias Group to the south. There is a dramatic, varied descent through woods, meadows and rock formations, with views of the picturesque Isola Santa below, arriving at the village Capanne di Careggine. Grade 6 : 9 kms / 5½ miles, +600/-950m, 5 hrs. The Grade 7 walk continues down to the lake and ancient hamlet of Isola Santa. 13 kms / 8 miles, +800/-1350m, 6½ hrs.

  5. Day 5

    The Orrido di Botri. A visit to the fascinating, remote mountain village of Montefegatesi is followed by a short walk to the entrance to the gorge. Once inside (equipped with helmets, supplied locally, for fear of animals higher up dislodging stones), we follow the stream up the gorge,  sometimes walking beside, and sometimes in, the water, between steep gorge walls, to arrive at a shady glade, with rock pools and waterfall (where it has been known for a quick dip to be taken!). It is a natural reserve, home to golden eagles. Grade 6: before gorge: 4 kms / 2 miles, -200m, 1 hr, in gorge: maximum c.2 kms, 1½ miles +100/-100m, 3½ hrs. Grade 7: before gorge: 4 kms / 2 miles, -200m, 1 hr, in gorge: c.3 kms, 2 miles +100/-100m, 4 hrs.

  6. Day 6

    Free day. Suggestions include: A day in Lucca: walking or cycling around the city walls, visiting Puccini’s home, now a museum, and wandering through narrow streets and squares. A visit to Barga, famous for its architecture, its jazz festival and its Scottish connections. Experiencing market day in Castelnuovo (Thursday mornings). Taking a local train up the single-track railway to anywhere striking your interest. A leisurely day by the outdoor swimming pool.

  7. Day 7

    The Pania della Croce, the ‘Queen of the Apuans’. The Pania delle Croce (1858m) is known as the ‘Queen of the Apuans’ and is one of the highest, and most famous and beautiful Apuan peaks. Starting from Monte Piglionicco, the walk includes a stop at a mountain refuge, Rifugio Rossi, a rocky ascent, then a spectacular ridge, looking down at the Tyrrhenian Sea and islands below. After lunch on the top, we return by the same route. Grade 6 : 9.5kms / 6 miles, +900/-900m, 4½-5 hrs. The Grade 7 walk, continues over the top to descend the western side of the mountain and circle round, clockwise, to return to the coach. 14kms / 8½ miles, +1100/-1100m, 6½ hrs.

  8. Day 8

    Transfer to second centre taking in the Pania di Corfino (1607m) on the way. After packing up and leaving La Lanterna, we have a full day’s walk in the Tosco-Emiliano National Park, the southern extremity of which lies between the two centres. Both walks ascend, by different routes, to the top of the Pania di Corfino, with glorious views of the whole Apuan range across the valley. Returning to the coach, we continue our journey to Hotel Belvedere, our second centre. Grade 6 : 12½ kms / 8 miles, +600m / -1000m, 5 hrs. The Grade 7 walk, in addition to completing a full circle, may ascend the rocky front of the mountain. 15½ kms / 10 miles, +900m / -900m, 5½hrs.

  9. Day 9

    Lake Gramolazzo. A walk through the woods from the hotel to and from Lake Gramolazzo, via the picturesque hamlet of Castagnola, with some free time at the lake. Swimming is possible. Grade 6 : 16 kms / 10 miles, +450/-450 m, 5 hrs. The Grade 7 walk does a longer, circular route, joining the Grade 6 route at Castagnola. 18 kms / 11 miles, ascent/descent +600/-600m, 6 hrs.

  10. Day 10

    Pradarena Pass to Le Porraie circular. A high level circular walk starting from the mountain pass of Passo di Praderena, traversing the slopes of the ridge before ascending to it, with views over Emilia Romagna in the morning and Tuscany in the afternoon. Grade 6 : 15½  kms / 9 ½ miles, +600/-600m, 6 hrs. The Grade 7 follows the ridge further, reaching Passo di Romecchio, and spends more time on top, following the actual watershed. 15 ½ kms / 9 ½ miles, +800/-800m, 6 hrs.

  11. Day 11

    Free day A local walk or a leisurely day by the outdoor swimming pool.

  12. Day 12

    Monte Prado / Monte Vecchio. From the Visitor’s Centre in the Tosco-Emiliano National Park, we ascend to the broad grassy ridge between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna with its 360° views. The Grade 6 walk ascends to the peak of Monte Vecchio,1983m. 12 kms / 7½ miles, +650/-950m, 5½  hrs. The Grade 7 takes in 3 peaks, Monte Vecchio, Monte Cella and Monte Prado, the highest mountain in Tuscany, at 2054m. 16 ½ kms / 10 miles, +800/-1100m, 6 hrs.

  13. Day 13

    Le Cinque Terre. In view of the now world-famous beauty of the Cinque Terre both for walking and sightseeing, after travelling by our own coach to La Spezia in the ‘Bay of Poets’, there will be two options: a leisurely sail along the coast, stopping off to visit 2 or 3 of the five villages; or a half-day walk starting from the village of Biassa, above La Spezia, with views of the Cinque Terre from above, descending to Riomaggiore, the most southerly of the villages, followed by a sail to the second village, Manarola. Cruise and visiting village: sailing and sightseeing. The walking option is from Biassa, above La Spezia via the Santuario di Montenero down to Riomaggiore, the first of the Cinque Terre. 7½ kms / 4 ½ miles, +200/-550m, 3½ hrs.

  14. Day 14

    Monte Tondo / Cima Belfiore. We start walking from Passo di Pradarena, at over 5,000 feet, and follow the watershed between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna west. Both walks include an ascent of Monte Tondo (1782m), followed by a steady descent through the woods via the ruins of the Ospitale di Tea and the Sanctuary of Monte Argegna on the ancient pilgrims route of the Volto Santo, back to the hotel. Grade 6 : 18 kms / 11 miles, +600/-1400m, 6 hrs. The Grade 7 walk includes an ascent to the top of Cima Belfiore(1810m). 20 kms / 12½ miles, +700/-1450m, 7 hrs.

  15. Day 15

    Departure from the hotel for the drive to Pisa Airport for return to the UK.

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Pisa (British Airways)
  • Airport transfers by road c. 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights this may be Premium Economy, Business or First Class. Most low-cost carriers also have extra legroom seats.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.

Trip Map

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Hotel Belvedere

The Hotel Belvedere at Passo dei Carpinelli sits at an altitude of 850m. The hotel has an excellent reputation for food; again expect good wholesome mountain dishes, polenta, pasta and local produce. It also has swimming pool. Rooms are equipped with wi-fi, satellite TV and hairdryer. The hotel provides picnic lunches on request. Otherwise, there is a small grocer's at a kilometre from the hotel for supplies.


Hotel La Lanterna

The Hotel La Lanterna is located on a balcony above the main town in the Garfagnana Valley, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, and about a kilometre from the village of Pieve Fosciana. The hotel was started as a restaurant and hotel by the Turri family 40 years ago and food has remained an important part of the business. Particularly look out for local produce, cheese, chestnuts, honey and porcini mushrooms. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and wi-fi in public areas. All rooms are equipped with hairdryers and TV.
There are two supermarkets at 10 minutes’ walk from the hotel, as well as baker’s, greengrocer’s and other shops in Pieve Fosciana at a similar distance. There is a small local market in Pieve Fosciana on Saturdays and a larger market in Castelnuovo on Thursdays. The hotel also provides picnic lunches on request. Pieve Fosciana and Castelnuovo both have post offices and banks with ATM machines.


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