Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A local walk or a leisurely day by the outdoor swimming pool.
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.
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.
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.
Departure from the hotel for the drive to Pisa Airport for return to the UK.