Toscana Trekking

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Sud and Islands
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Outside Tuscany


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1.    Hiking in the ‘Oltrepò Pavese’ region: where the Alps meet the Apennines

3 days – 2 nights

An unusual itinerary, off the beaten track, in search of unexplored environments, atmospheres and landscapes: the Oltrepò Pavese region with its misty hills cloaked in vineyards, its kind, industrious people who warm the grey winters with their cordial humour, and its mountains - unknown to most, where the Alps meet the Apennines – sunny islands floating on a sea of clouds. This land of the “Four Provinces in Four Regions” (Piacenza in Emilia, Pavia in Lombardy, Alessandria in Piedmont, and Genoa in Liguria), despite its administrative borders, retains the cultural identity of the ancient “High Lands”, inextricably linked by the historical Via del Sale along which the Liguri people marched through centuries of history up until Longobard Christianity and the Malaspina feuds. We will discover a unique natural environment along the Val Trebbia, Val Staffora and Val Curone valleys and on the mountain paths in the heart of the two Italian mountain ranges. We will be able to see the highest peaks of the Alps and the Apennines and will discover the mitigating influence of the nearby Ligurian Sea on the natural environment.



Useful information: medium-easy hike. Optional canoeing on the River Trebbia (additional cost). Breakfast, packed lunches and dinners supplied by the hotel (please advise of any special dietary requirements). Participants will use their own cars for transfers; we can use a minimun number of cars and share the costs. There will be a group leader and GAE guide for the duration of the trip.


We are proud to have put together this programme which embraces every aspect of this fascinating area of Lombardy which, being still relatively unknown, offers landscapes of rare beauty, in some places rugged and wild and in others pastoral and tranquil.

1st day – outward journey from Tuscany using own means of transport or travelling with other participants, as organised by the group leader. Alternatively, meeting  with the group leader in the central square of Bobbio (Parma Province) in the late morning. By car to the beginning of the path (packed lunch to be provided by participants). Hike of about 2h 30’. Transfer to hotel for dinner and overnight stay. After-dinner walk to Romagnese for traditional Easter celebrations (“Galina griza”) and village fair. Opportunity to attend Easter mass at midnight.

(On this first day our hike will take us into the Mediavalle, from Passo Penice to Pietra Corva and the slopes of Romagnese through green meadows and mountain pastures where time seems to stand still. The rural silence is interrupted now and again only by the mooing of the roaming cows and the gurgling of streams. The  Pietra Corva, with its rugged ophiolitic rocks and its pioneering vegetation, stands out clearly like a pinnacle over the gentle valley with its endless carpet of flowers. In the evening we can join the people in the village for the Easter celebrations, taking part along with these reserved and hard-working people in these most important of religious events.


2nd day – After breakfast we will set out for a day’s hiking along the Apennine ridge “of the four regions”, on the border between the Alps and the Apennines (average walking time 5h). Packed lunch provided by the hotel. Return to the hotel in the evening for dinner. After-dinner walk to one of the nearby villages. Overnight stay.

(The second day will be dedicated to the two elements, river and mountain: the Pavia Apennine and the splendid Val Trebbia.  From the Bralo Pass and the ancient village of Bocco we will climb to the top of mounts Colletta, Tartago and Terme through centuries-old beech woods and slopes covered in blackcurrants, slopes which become the reign of the ski lift during the winter. From here, as we make our way along the panoramic ridge, we will be able to make out the peaks of the Ligurian, Piedmontese, Parma and Lombard Apennines in the majestic weave of valleys rich in history (the Staffora, Curone, Tidone, Trebbia, Aveto and Nizza valleys) and famous Roman and medieval routes. In fact, Hannibal passed along the same route during the Second Punic War, as did San Colombano di Bobbio, called by the Longobard Queen Teodolinda to the centre of her Kingdom in Pavia. The mortal remains of Saint Anthony also passed through here on the way to Sardinia via the historic Via del Sale. From a geological point of view this is exactly the point where the Alpine chain meets the Apennines, where immeasurable pressure pushed the rocks of ancient sea beds to altitudes of over 1800m. From the top of the majestic Mount Lesima we will be able to see the top of Monte Rosa and other Alpine peaks to the North. At the end of our mountain route we wil descend along the Val Trebbia with its narrow incised meanders form a picturesque canyon, where the most important moments in the history of geology took place with the discovery of  deep-sea turbidite processes right in the centre of peninsular Italy. The river Trebbia will be our playground again at the end of the day, offering the chance to take an energising swim in its cool clear water and enjoy the last rays of sunshine on its white beaches.



3rd day – After breakfast we will set off on a hike through the Tidone, Trebbia and Staffora valleys, following the winding streams and rivers of the Oltrepò Pavese. Packed lunch. Return in the afternoon.

(our third day will be dedicated to the Val Staffora with a cultural and natural itinerary that will include two charming hermitages in the woods – San Ponzo and Sant’Alberto di Butrio. This third route is characterised by lush vegetation with perfumed valleys cut away by age-old river courses and wide fans of detritus on the slopes of the rocky walls which look as if they have been cut by a sharp blade. A close look at all these elements will give us a greater understanding of the evolution of the landscape.



What to wear and bring: Wear light comfortable clothing (in layers) and walking shoes. You will also need a rain jacket, a small back pack in addition to baggage that will be left at the hotel, a water bottle, torch, trainers for river walking, and a swimming costume.


2.    Hiking in the Pontine Islands

5 days – 4 nights

The islands of the Sorceress Circe, with their extraordinary landscapes, lace-edged rocks, stacks and caves, can be visited from a naturalistic point of view in order to get the most from the outstanding natural beauty of the area. We will also be able to meet the lively and welcoming local people.

Ponza, with its wealth of history and natural beauty, will be our base. Every corner of the island holds a fascinating story, still alive in the memory of its inhabitants. The culture of hiking has not yet taken off on the island, its economy being based on the hords of summer seaside visitors: our stay during the spring will bring us into contact with the more authentic side of the island, known as the “most beautiful in the Mediterranean”. From Ponza we will go to Palmarola, an abandoned rocky settlement with a rich seabed and many small sandy bays. Zannone, on the other hand, is completely different. This island, which is part of the Circeo National Park, is the site of an ancient monastery and has different geological origins to the other islands. Like Palmarola, it is also uninhabited and we will be able to enjoy its wild beauty from its highest point from where you can also see the entire Pontino archipelago and the coast of Lazio.


1st day – outward journey from Tuscany using own car or travelling with other participants, as organised by the group leader; alternatively, meeting with the group leader at the port of Formia (NB: the cost of the guarded car park in Formia is about 8€/day); ferry for Ponza (about 2h 30’ crossing time). Our guide will meet us in Ponza from where we will take the local bus to Le Forna where we will check into our small apartments. Dinner in restaurant. Evening to explore and get to know Le Forna.

2nd day – Transfer by local bus to Ponza Porto. Hike to Monte Guardia and the necropolis of Bagno Vecchio; bathing opportunity in the charming bay below. Lunch at own leisure in the old town centre. Afternoon in picturesque Ponza Porto, tour of the old town centre and the spectacular cemetery clinging to the cliffs.

3rd day – Short walk to the Caletta (cove) where we will board a boat for the island of Zannone, part of the Circeo National Park and never inhabited. We will make the short walk across the island and up to the highest point, to the ruins of the Cistercian-Benedictine monastery. Visit to the Roman Bath near the landing point, where morena eels were bred by the Romans. Return to Ponza by boat and trip around the island with lunch on board, with a chance to visit the Pilato Caves (part of which involves walking through water), the spectacular basins used for the breeding of morena eels  which were sacred to the ancient Romans. They are connected by a maze of long passageways all practicable on foot. We will be able to swim in the island’s coves and most beautiful caves, and snorkelling and marine biology will also be possible. Return to our accommodation and dinner in restaurant. After dinner we can either go to Ponza Porto (by bus) or to Le Forna.

4th day –  Boat trip (lunch on board) with a tour around and to the island of Palmarola. Short and easy walk to the highest point on the island where the remains of a medieval Cistercian monastery and the cave-houses of the ancient rock settlement dug into the tufo (a kind of rock) are found.  Swimming in the most attractive caves with their emerald coloured water. Return to Ponza and our accommodation, dinner. Evening walk.

5th day – hike to Forte Papa and the natural baths (or another cove of equal beauty and charm); transfer to the Port by local bus; lunch at leisure; ferry back to Formia.


NB: The programme is subject to variation depending on weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances.


Useful information: easy hiking and boat trips (extra cost including lunch on board), with stops for swimming and guided snorkeling. Breakfasts and dinners at our designated restaurant. Packed lunches provided by participants or by the restaurant at an additional cost. During boat trips lunch will be served on board (if weather conditions prevent boat trips, we will organise trips on land and lunch will be bought by participants). Transfers by public transport (€1 per journey); group leader and GAE guide will be present for the duration of the trip.


What to wear and bring: shoes for the rocks, mask and snorkel, swimming costume, sunscreen, sunhat. Wear light comfortable clothing (in layers) and walking shoes. Also bring a small back pack in addition to baggage that will be left at our accommodation, a water bottle, and a torch. Sheets and towels also required.


3.    Hiking-Tour of Corsica

6 days – 5 nights

Corsica is an island to be explored. There is a surprise round every corner: unexpected vistas and breathtaking landscapes, a variety of environments, a crystal clear sea, lush vegetation, desert, snow-capped peaks and wild deserted beaches – all these varied elements are enclosed within this one precious treasure chest surrounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea.

During this trip we will have an opportunity to enjoy every characteristic, every environment, and all the beauty there is to see on this island, including its interesting and laboured history. We will discover the island by walking along its paths in search of its natural wonders.



1st day The enchanting north coast and Saleccia beach (total hiking time 3h)

Ferry at 9.00 from the Port of Livorno. Arrival in Bastia at about 13.00

Packed lunch or from the self-service restaurant ( not included).

On our arrival in the port of Bastia we will be able to admire this characteristic town from the ferry. It is the largest commercial port in Corsica. We will then board a coach and set off for the graceful and charming little town of Saint Florent, known as the Saint Tropez of Corsica because of the magnificent boats moored in the gulf on which the town lies. We will take the characteristic boat to the marvellous beach of Saleccia with its fine white sand which slopes gently into a breathtakingly clear blue sea. It was on this beach that the landing scenes from the film “The Longest Day” were shot. After a short stop on the beach, we will take the panoramic path which leads along the coast to another enchanting beach called Plage du Loto (2h). After a refreshing swim we will take the boat back to St Florent where we will be given a guided tour of the village, including the fortified citadel dating from 1439. Return to Bastia by bus, passing through the Patrimonio region famous for its fine wines. At Col di Teghime (536m) we will be able to admire the plain of Bastia and the Biguglia wetlands – a nature reserve – and the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. On very clear days you can even see the Italian coastline. Dinner and overnight stay in hotel.



2nd day Regional Natural Park of Corsica and its waterfalls (hiking time 2h 45’)

Departure from Bastia at 8.45. We will head first of all in a southerly direction along the eastern edge of the island, turning inland through the Forest of Bavella where the finest group of needles in Corsica is found. Their beauty derives from their unusual shape, due to the action of the wind, and from the changing colour of the rocks which soar above the pine trees. Lastly, we will come to an impressive oak tree which grows between two stones. This is where our short walk starts to the pretty succession of basins which make up the Cascades du Polischellu (45 mins return). We can swim in one of Corsica’s clear rivers. Packed lunch. We will then set off for another enchanted spot, the Cascate Piscia di Gallo (2h return): across the Col di Bavella, a spectacular pass at 1200 m from where there is a splendid view, and on to our destination. We will descend into the gorge to see the source of the River Oso; the sight of this impressive waterfall 50 metres high in a surreal landscape will make up for the minor effort required to reach the spot. We will then take the coach to Porto Vecchio. Possible stop in the beautiful gulf and beach of Santa Giulia.

Dinner and overnight stay in hotel.


3rd day Bonifacio,between white limestone and emerald seas; Ajaccio and the enchanting Sanguinaires islands (hiking time 2h)

Departure 8.45. We will walk from the lower town in the gorge of Bonifacio to the old Citadel with its powerful fortifications overlooking the sea. Guided tour of this incredible village with its Italian feel, the island of Sardinia only 12 km away, with views of Santa Teresa di Gallura in the distance. Bonifacio is an unforgettable place of outstanding beauty. Walk to the lighthouse of Bonifacio and Capo Pertusato. The path leads along the coast on the high cliffs of white limestone typical of this area (2h). Packed lunch. Return to the lower town by bus. Chance for a swim in the little cove of Granello di Sabbia.

Afternoon: possible boat trip, highly recommended if weather conditions permit because of the beauty of the scenery and the sea. Departure by coach mid-afternoon. Stop in the village of Sartene, famous for being the most Corsican of the Corsican towns, or at the archaeological site of Filitosa. Evening arrival in Ajaccio where we will watch the spectacular sunset from Punta della Parata, reached along a short path from where we can see the Sanguinaires islands, so called because at sunset they take on stunning tones of red. Dinner and overnight stay in hotel.


4th day The Calanches at Porto, pink granite protected as a World Heritage Site (total hiking time 3h 20’)

Departure 8.45. Guided tour of the town of Ajaccio, administrative centre and “most French” town in Corsica, the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. Afterwards we will head for the Calanches. Panoramic walk (2h 20’ return) along the cornice of this marvellous mass of pink granite sculpted by the wind and rain in the most incredible manner. The panorama over the Gulf of Porto and the Natural Reserve of Scandola is unmissable! Return to the starting point and short walk to the Chateau Fort (1 h return), another fantastic viewpoint. Transfer to the village of Porto and swimming from the splendid beach at the foot of mount Capu d’Ortu (1294m). Dinner and overnight stay in hotel.


5th day The immense Aitone Forest and the splendid Gradule Waterfalls (total hiking time 5h30’)

8.30 optional visit to the Genoese Tower in Porto. Departure by coach for the Aitone Forest, a splendid forest of Austrian pine which was once used by the Genoese for boat-building materials. Walk to the Aitone waterfalls which slide over rocky masses alternating with basins of cool water (1h return). We will cross a pretty bridge before returning to our starting point. Transfer to the path for the Gradule waterfalls. Beginning of our walk. Packed lunch. The environment has changed dramatically: we are at about 1330m and, through tranquil birch woods, we will come to the shepherds’ goat sheds used during the summer months., and then to the cool waterfall which forms a lovely emerald coloured pool (4h30’return). After a rest, we will retrace our steps. Transfer to the Balagne region for dinner and overnight stay in hotel.


6th day Visit to the fortified town of Calvi and the capital of Upper Corsica, Bastia

Departure 8.45. Guided tour of the fortified citadel of Calvi which claims to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus; transfer to Bastia, capital of Upper Corsica and the most important commercial town on the island. Guided tour of the town and the fortified citadel known as the Terra-Nuova. Packed lunch. 15.00 departure by ferry for Livorno.



4.    Salsomaggiore, the historic Spas and the Parco Fluviale (riverside park) of Stirone (Province of Parma)

2 days – 1 night

A weekend dedicated to spa relaxation and peaceful walks in the gentle green hills of Salsomaggiore Terme, with its history and therapeutic waters.  A surprising trip into the province of Parma in Emilia-Romagna, to the area where the River Stirone marks the boundary with the province of Piacenza. The River Stirone environment is a Site of European Importance and around it the splendid riverside park, the Parco Fluviale, has been established, with its crystal clear water, lush riverbank vegetation and rocks rich in fossils.


1st day – Meeting at the entrance to the Stirone Park in the late morning. Beginning of our walk in the Parco Fluviale dello Stirone (distance 8 km, average walking time 4 hours – Our path winds along flat ground, following the River Stirone for the most part, where we will find the riverbank plant life and fauna typical to the area). Packed lunch on one of the pretty pebble beaches along the river. Visit to Pietranera, an enchanting ophiolitic spur which represents the remains of rock which in the Jurassic era formed the bottom of the ancient Tethys ocean. The environment here is extreme, but still contains a flora that has adapted to the particular nature of the substrata. On the other side of the valley the rock is dominated by the characteristic medieval village of Vigoleno. Check-in at hotel in Salsomaggiore, half an hour’s rest at the Berzieri Spa, the area’s oldest and most famous thermal waters, in a splendid art-nouveau atmosphere. A chance to regenerate in the therapeutic waters of Salsomaggiore. Guided tour of the spa complex. Return to hotel and dinner. Evening walk through the streets of the town, and overnight stay.

2nd day – Departure after breakfast at 9.00. Visit to the Herb store and the Botanical Garden of Gavinel, with more than 450 species of aromatic and officinal plants cultivated with passion and skill in an area of 12 hectares, of which more than 50,000 sq m is open to the public. Standing out from the many plants is the extraordinary White Salsomaggiore Lavander. Walk in the gentle green hills of Salso (9 km, about 3hours of walking), from where we will be able to admire the splendid view over the lush natural environment and the town itself (some stretches are along secondary asphalted roads). Packed lunch. Departure after lunch in the early afternoon.


What to wear and bring: Wear light comfortable clothing (in layers) and walking shoes. Rain jacket, a small backpack in addition to luggage that will be left at the hotel, a water bottle, torch, shoes for walking in the river and a swimming costume.


5.    Weekend at Bardi Castle, walking in the Ceno Valley (Province of Parma)

2 days – 1 night

A weekend in the Parma Apennines exploring the beautiful Ceno Valley area, between streams and mountain ridges around the imposing Castello di Bardi. The spectacular castle’s massive bulk rises on a spur of jasper, standing guard over the valley below where the rivers Ceno and Noveglia meet. The ancient atmosphere with its pastures and thick woods of Turkey oaks is accompanied, of course, by the castle ghosts.


 * Direzione Tecnica Forza 7

 Per informazioni sulle escursioni:

alice: 347 7922453

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Toscana Trekking - Guide Ambientali Escursionistiche

Dott.ssa Alice Colli - viale del Tirreno 373 - Tirrenia 56128 (PI)

P.IVA 01494300492 - - 347 7922453 - fax 050 30448