The beautiful land of Tuscany is rich in culture and heritage and a man made garden of vineyards and olive groves. Etruscans, Romans and Medieval peoples have left indelible marks on the architecture of towns like San Gimignano, Volterra and Lucca. The Cinque Terre is like a balcony with an endless view of the Mediterranean Sea, running along a narrow curved stretch of coastline of northwest Italy, known as Liguria. Faced by the sea and protected by the Maritime Alps, this region includes gems like Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso and Portovenere and is fondly known as the Golfo dei Poeti.
This adventure will expose you to the diversity of the two regions and also introduce you to a wonderful variety of gourmet delights. Having started our journey with traditional country cooking and fine red wines of Tuscany, we turn to the coastal cuisine of Liguria for fish, pesto and crisp white wine. Join us for a wonderful variety of hiking, sightseeing and dining in central Italy.
Florence – San Gimignano
We meet at 12.00 at Florence airport and travel to the hills of Chianti for a picnic lunch. Afterwards we take a panoramic walk through Vernaccia wine country to arrive in San Gimignano, perhaps the most picturesque medieval hill town in Tuscany with 14 medieval towers silhouetted on the skyline. (2hrs/4miles)
S.Gimignano – Castelvecchio - Volterra
We follow gravel roads across open country with olive groves and vineyards leaving San Gimignano behind us on the skyline. After lunch a shady wooded trail follows an ancient path to the ruins of an abandoned fortified medieval village hidden in the forest. We continue through a national park towards Volterra arriving in time to enjoy a well earned gelato! (5hrs/10miles)
Volterra – Pisa - Lucca
Walking tour (1hr) of the historical heart of Volterra with free time to then visit Volterra’s archaeology museum, art gallery, alabaster workshops and charming medieval streets independently. We then drive up the Tirrenian coast for lunch and then on to Pisa to the Piazza dei Miracoli and Leaning Tower. We arrive late afternoon at our hotel in the charming walled city of Lucca.
Free day in Lucca
A graceful Tuscan city of intriguing and discrete charm – one of our favorites. Lucca is a city of music and the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924). Encircled by a 4 kilometre ring of renaissance walls which act as an elevated garden boulevard for locals and tourists, you can stroll or bicycle among trees and grassy banks with a bird’s eye view all around. The streets and squares are pedestrian and there are many Romanesque churches, hand-made products and locally produced specialties and classy boutiques to enjoy. Free Day
Walk to Portovenere
We walk a beautiful section of a high trail above the Cinque Terre with pine, oak and chestnut woods, remote villages and churches overlooking the sea. The trail descends to the Roman-Byzantine town of Portovenere, a delightful place to stroll in. This is a magic strip of land and seascape, where man and nature have blended together for thousands of years. (4hrs, miles; Elev.-1450ft)
Le Cinque Terre
An exhilarating walk along a famous path ascending and descending ancient stone stair cases and crossing high terraced vineyards.We begin in Riomaggiore a beautiful village of quaint brightly painted houses nestled into the hillsides; Manarola has a long narrow street with fishing boats on the pavements; Corniglia is a village of Roman origin set on a high promontory overlooking the sea; Vernazza is a picturesque, bustling town where you can wander narrow alleys and sit in the cafes around the harbour looking out to sea. We end in Monterosso the largest of the 5 towns, time to take off your boots cool your feet in the sea, sit and a enjoy a gelato or a glass local Sciachetra wine.(6hrs; 10miles; Elev. +/- 830ft)
Free day in Monterosso al Mare
This is a day for you to completely relax or take a boat trip to Portofino. For the avid walkers we lead an optional walk. In the evening we get together to enjoy a farewell dinner party. (2.5hrs, 4.5miles optional)
Departure by train from Monterosso al Mare station
Normal group departure time is by train from Monterosso station. Time and other commitments permitting we sometimes take people to Florence airport .
Dates for 2013 :- 10-17th June and 18-25th September
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Europe Italy Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Cultural Journey