View our latest travel disruption updates on Coronavirus here

Walking in Tuscany

8 days
from
$2,379
Loading...
4.8 / 5 from 181 reviews
Walking & Trekking
Activity level:
Moderate
Activity Rating - Moderate
Trip code: 
TDT
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Hiking
Group size:
4–14
Ages:
16+

Walks in Tuscany's mountainous Garfagnana region

The Garfagnana region, close to the gems of Lucca, Pisa and Florence, is one of Italy's best-kept secrets and the perfect base for guided walking holidays in Tuscany. The area’s astonishing landscape is a far cry from the rolling hills of southern Tuscany as it lies between the striking peaks of the Alpi Apuane and Apennine mountain ranges, providing us with ample hiking opportunities which, along with picturesque mountaintop and lakeside villages and the warm local hospitality, make for a wonderful trip. Certain dates include more challenging trekking and incorporate one night in a mountain refuge.

Highlights

  • Five wonderful daywalks through Tuscany's idyllic mountains
  • Challenging walks on certain weeks
  • Stay in a beautifully situated Tuscan farmhouse with swimming pool 
  • Opportunity to visit Lucca on the free day

Key information

  • 7 nights farmhouse with swimming pool
  • 8 days land only/ flight inclusive
  • 5 days centre-based walking; 1 free day
  • Altitude maximum 2054m, average 1000m
  • Challenging departures on selected weeks
  • Countries visited: Italy

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches, 5 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • All transport and activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request - limited availability)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Local taxes (approx. EUR 10 per person, see Trip Notes)
Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

On this trip, we spend the nights in Bracciorti, a lodge-style farmhouse or also known as ‘Agriturismo’ in Italy, which is to support the agricultural community by giving farmers an alternative source of income. To be part of the Agriturismo Association, it is a requirement to hire local staff and use local produce to ensure that the local community directly benefits from the visits. As a walking holiday, we actively encourage clients to interact with the locals, visit local cafes and bars, support local produce and craft and to experience what life is really like in Tuscany. Additionally, walking trips like this have very little detrimental impact on the environment and the locals as it is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively little resources to support.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Itinerary

Braccicorti
to
Braccicorti
  • Day 1

    Start Braccicorti

    Start at Braccicorti lodge, approximately 6kms from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and 2 hours from Pisa airport.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Walk through the Orecchiella N.P. to Pania di Corfino (Activity Level 3)

    After breakfast at Braccicorti we drive to the small village of Pruno where we begin our walk into the Orecchiella National Park, home to a variety of flora and fauna changing throughout the year. In spring it can be covered in snow when wolf, deer and mountain hare tracks are easily identifiable. Late spring and summer, the land is carpeted with an array of beautiful flowers and the beech trees begin to grow their iridescent lime green leaves which then change to deep oranges, browns and reds in the Autumn. If we are lucky we might spot a number of birds of prey; the common buzzard, the honey buzzard or one of the resident golden eagles. Set amongst the beautiful beech wood our walk steadily ascends to the flat summit of Pania di Corfino with its stunning 360 degrees views. After a leisurely picnic lunch we head to the 16th century village of Campaiana before following an ancient mule track which descends to the town of Corfino.

    13km, total ascent: 603m, total descent: 603m, altitude maximum: 1603m.

    The beautiful rock arch of Monte Forato (Activity Level 5)

    Starting the day with a drive of approximately 40 minutes we arrive at the gorge of Fornovolasco in the Alpi Apuane NP. From here we follow the dry river bed through the woodland, before ascending more steeply to enjoy stunning views down to the Versilia coast and across to the famous marble quarries. We undertake a short scramble to meet the spine that leads up to the incredible rock arch of Monte Forato. The summit is only a stone's throw away and should be ascended to enjoy the majestic views of Pania della Croce. Continuing on the path we descend sharply through the trees and past old shepherds huts to reach our minibus. 

    15km, total ascent: 693m, total descent: 693m, altitude maximum: 1223m.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Apuane National Park to Monte Sumbra (Activity Level 3)

    Today we drive 40 minutes to the small village of Vianova and begin our walk into the Alpi Apuane NP. Much of our initial ascent is on a wide forest track that continues through the beech wood to our first view point across to the face of Pania della Croce and the Omo Morto range. From here we take a footpath ascending to a limestone plateau where there is an optional ascent to the summit of Monte Sumbra (1765m). Weather permitting, we will enjoy an uninterrupted view of the Alpi Apuane range, the Ligurian coast and the enormous spine of the Apennines. After lunch on the summit we retrace our steps back to the limestone plateau, before heading down through the trees following one of the old charcoal trails back to the minibus. On the way back to Braccicorti, time permitting, we may stop in the lovely town of Careggine.

    16km, total ascent: 672m, total descent: 672m, altitude maximum: 1765m.

    Apuane National Park to the summit of Pania della Croce (Activity Level 5)

    Today we drive for around 45 minutes to return to the Alpi Apuane NP, this time to arrive at the foot of Uomo Morto, the 'Dead Man'. We ascend steadily through beech wood to emerge at Rifugio Rossi, a small mountain hut at the foot of the 'Dead Man's' nose! There is a high chance of seeing mouflon (wild mountain sheep) as we make our way up a large boulder field to a ridge that takes us to the top of the 'Dead Man's' stomach and the summit of Pania della Croce at 1858m. Along with good views of the marble quarries and the local coastal town of Forte di Marmi below us, we can admire the coast to the Cinque Terre, the flat plains of Lucca and Pisa to the east and the long spine of the Apennine ridge on the opposite side of the valley. After a picnic lunch on the summit we retrace our steps back to the Rifugio, before heading back to the bus. 

    12km, total ascent: 758m, total descent: 758m, altitude maximum: 1858m.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Circular walk from Braccicorti to mediaeval market town Castiglione di Garfagnana (Activity Level 3)

    Having a change of guide for the day, we walk directly from the farmhouse at 410m, firstly visiting the new town of Villa Collemandina before heading to the church and learning about the history of the area. After this the route uses tracks, quiet lanes and footpaths through the local farmland and houses allowing us a real feel of local village life. Midway through the day we will arrive at Castiglione di Garfagnana at 545m, a small but beautiful mediaeval town, still inhabited and visited by tourists throughout the year. Castiglione is also the place where the region’s largest and most popular chestnut festival is held each autumn, celebrating the chestnut tree and the growth of truffles and mushrooms. After lunch we cross a 13th-century bridge below the town leading into more farmland and back to Braccicorti on easy tracks. 

    19km, total ascent: 145m, total descent: 145m, altitude maximum: 545m.

    Apuane National Park to Monte Tambura (Activity Level 5)

    Changing guides for the day, today you transfer to 16th century shepherds village of Campocatino.  From here you begin the continuous ascent on a well marked path to reach the ridge line of Monte Tambura where you will start your way unto the summit. The path can be a little exposed and loose in places with stunning views of the craggy peaks all around. From the summit you continue on the ridge line descending to one of the many marble quarries in this mountain range before carefully making your way across several small rocky sections with a fixed security line to aid you on your way back at Campocatino. 

    16km, total ascent: 800m, total descent: 800m, altitude maximum: 1890m.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Free day to visit Lucca, the Cinque Terre, Florence or Pisa

    Free day to enjoy any of the following: 1 hr train journey to visit the stunning fortified city of Lucca; 20 minute taxi and 1.5 hr train journey to the coastal UNESCO World Heritage site of the Cinque Terre; 2.5 hr train journey to visit the capital city of Florence, home of Michelangelo's David or the 1.5hr train journey to Pisa where you can ascend the leaning tower and walk along the beautiful river Arno.

    There are also plenty of options closer to home. Relax with a good book at the farmhouse and make use of the sun loungers and outdoor pool, take a walk down to Lago di Pontecosi for lunch or take 10 minutes train along to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana for lunch and a walk to the old castle. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Campocatino and San Viviano's Hermitage (Activity Level 3)

    A drive of 25 minutes to Lago di Vagli with its submerged village and impressive backdrop of Monte Sumbra will bring us to the start point for the day; Vagli Sotto. From here we walk on a small footpath to the town of Vagli Sopra where we continue to ascend on a section of the pilgrimage walk through the chestnut wood to arrive at the 16th century shepherds village of Campocatino. Wandering through the village and seeing the beautiful terraced meadows, protected by the impressive wall of Roccandagia, it is easy to understand why the shepherds chose this location. From here we continue to our highest point for the day at 1190m before descending through the trees to San Viviano's hermitage. Built into the rock face, the tiny hermitage is said to be where San Viviano lived before his bones were finally discovered in 1993. It is now used as a chapel and pilgrimage site. Our descent takes a rarely used mountain path with views across the valley before arriving back at the bus.

    12.5km, total ascent: 630m, total descent: 630m, altitude maximum: 1190m.

    Appennino Tosco‐Emiliano N.P. Monte Prado and Monte Cusna (Activity Level 5)

    After a 40 minute drive we begin our 2 day ridge walk with a steady ascent through the beech wood to meet the Crinali ridge in the Tosco-Emiliano Appennino NP. During the winter the ridge is covered in snow but spring brings the new growth of alpine flowers and autumn carpets the ground in purple hues from the myrtle berries mixed with the green juniper. Following the crest, this easy route takes us along the ridge up onto the summit of Monte Prado, the highest peak in Tuscany at 2054m. We then descend to the small tarn of Lago di Bargetana, before continuing into Emilia Romagna and up to Monte Cusna at 2121m. Marmots can be encountered on the way.  After our second summit we descend to our mountain hut Rifugio Bargetana where we enjoy an evening meal before a well deserved rest.  Nestled amongst the trees, the rifugio is known for its good food and wildlife spotting. 

    22.5km, total ascent: 807m, total descent: 807m, altitude maximum: 2121m.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Appennino Tosco-Emiliano N.P. and the summit of Monte Prado (Activity Level 3)

    We start the day with a 40 minute drive to the small ski area of Casone. Walking through beech wood brings us to the beginning of the Crinali ridge, a section of the 1600km Apennine ridge in the Tosco/Emiliano/Apennino NP, offering some of the most impressive views of the week. Below is a basin of fiery colours from the forest between the ridge line of Tuscany and the opposite ridge of Emilia Romagna. Our route takes us along the undulating ridge on an easy path leading us up onto the peak of Monte Prado, the highest in Tuscany at 2054m. After lunch we retrace our steps along the ridge before descending on another route leading us through woodland back to Casone where there is a bar to enjoy a well earned drink.

    16km, total ascent: 740m, total descent: 740m, altitude maximum: 2054m.

    Apennino Tosco-Emiliano N.P. to Passo di Praderena (Activity Level 5)

    After our night in the mountain hut we retrace our steps to Lago di Bargetana, then head back into Tuscany and onto the Crinali ridge. We stay on this ridge line all day with fantastic views across the Alpi Apuane national park and the Serchio valley.  During the autumn the views can stretch as far as the Alps to the North and the islands of Corsica and Sardinia.  After completing 15km we arrive at Passo di Praderana where we will drive the 40 minutes to Braccicorti, with the option of stopping at the Osteria of Verrucole Fortress to enjoy a celebratory drink. 

    15km, total ascent: 209m, total descent: 209m, altitude maximum: 1949m.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    End Braccicorti.

    The trip ends at Braccicorti.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 5 dinners are included.

Continental style breakfast with a choice of cereal, bread, yoghurt, eggs and fruit with milk, fruit juice and an array of teas/coffee.
Packed lunches are provided for the daywalks  with a buffet style selection of meat, cheese, fish, salad, bread and salad mix such as panzanella with a cake and fruit.

Starters include the Garfagnana soup, Pesto pasta, Bresaola or risotto with locally made bread, water and Braccicorti red wine. 

Main course can be stuffed peppers and courgettes with local cheese and pancetta, roasted meats, locally caught trout or a vegetarian dish such as aubergine and mozzarella bake with home grown vegetables and salad.

Each meal is finished with a small dessert of homemade tiramisu, panna cotta, gelato or fruit salad and on occasions followed with the offer of homemade grappa or amaretto.  

Vegetarians are usually well catered for in this area. For those who require gluten free diets, we recommend taking items with you, as it is not easy to purchase gluten free products locally.

Weather

May departures can expect warm days, although rain is always possible. Nights may be rather cool. Early June is similar, with the days becoming progressively hotter and the evenings much warmer. September and October are cooler and wetter, however visibility is better. We strongly recommend a fleece-lined jacket or warm sweater in May, September and October.

Is this trip for you?

The Garfagnana area provides enormous scope for some of the most spectacular and interesting trekking in Italy, with the added bonus of knowing we will rarely see other walkers. The majority of the paths are well-maintained, however a few sections are less frequently used and rough underfoot, with some steep ascents and descents, it will suit people who exercise regularly. Previous trekking experience is needed. Some trails can be overgrown and long trousers are recommended. Early in the season there may be patches of snow and snowshoes may have to be used. 

The area is mountainous and the majority of drives, although short, follow twisting mountain roads through wooded areas. 

Activity level: 3 (Moderate) departures
Most departure dates are graded Moderate and ascents and descents of 400 to 700 metres should be expected. We usually walk 4 to 6 hours each day and a good level of fitness is required.

Activity level: 5 (Challenging) departures

For Challenging weeks, we usually walk between 5 and 8 hours per day and a high level of fitness is required. We spend one night in a comfortable mountain refuge, so we will have to pack our belongings for our two-day ridge excursion into our daypacks (e.g. sleeping bag liner, wash kit, change of clothes). It should not be necessary to carry more than 6-8 kg. Items not required on the walk can be left in your room at Braccicorti.

All departures

We use the same mountain ranges for both levels and vary the routes according to the weather conditions or other factors beyond our control. Whilst aiming to always follow the routes described in these trip notes, it will be the leader's decision to amend the itinerary if and when necessary.

You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference:
http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Summer months

Tuscany can be very hot during summer months, especially from June to August but heatwaves can happen also in April and May. During summer months temperatures can possibly reach high 30s (degC). We will try and start our walks earlier to avoid the hottest hours of the day but please be aware that temperatures and humidity will be high. You should feel comfortable and be used to walk in the heat. Agriturismo type of accommodations, as based in the countryside, are not normally equipped with air conditioning therefore rooms can be quite warm at times. Presence of mosquitos in summer may increase (significantly), we recommend to take mosquito repellent with you.

Please note that at times, especially during summer months, the inbound flight can be late in the evening. In this instance you will have additional time to spend in Pisa. The leader will take care of all arrangements in terms of transport from/to the airport and the city centre and luggage storage. It may also happen that, for logistical reasons, on return we will have to be at the airport earlier than normally scheduled. This will mean a longer waiting time before checking in. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Braccicorti

Braccicorti
Braccicorti

Our lodge-style base is the welcoming Agriturismo Braccicorti, a traditional stone building tucked away on a hillside on the lower slopes of the Apennines. Situated on a typical Tuscan farm, it has been authentically renovated and is surrounded by meadows, orchards, woodland, and vines. 
The accommodation comprises 4 twin/double rooms (with en suite facilities) and 1 apartment, with 1 twin/double and 1 single room sharing a bathroom. Double or twin should be stated upon booking and the en suite rooms are on a first-come served basis if requested. There is also a dining room, comfortable living room, a quiet room, terrace, golf course with driving range, swimming pool (seasonal - mid-May to end of September), and a garden with sweeping views to the mountains.

For 2022 dates, Casa Apollonia will be part of the accommodation offer. Located 10 minutes’ walk from the main farmhouse, it is a house within the family property and it provides the same features and level of standard. Casa Apollonia comprises 2 twin/double rooms (both with en suite facilities). Please contact our Sales team for enquiries.


CHALLENGING DEPARTURES: We spend one night in dormitory-style accommodation in a comfortable mountain hut.

There is no charge for the standard single rooms, as bathroom facilities are shared. These are provided on a first come first served basis and should be requested upon booking.
Further double rooms for sole use can be requested 2 weeks prior to departure; a supplement applies for these. We cannot guarantee these will be en suite.

 

Braccicorti farmhouse

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for private group trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

costa rica

You can’t deny there’s an inextricable link between happiness and travelling.

  • Reviewed May 2022

    You're the Top

    Excellent trip - had a really great time. The walking was varied and enjoyable with a mix of woods and mountain tops, rocks and even the odd patch of snow. I can't praise our guide Sarah enough. We were able to spread out and enjoy the walking at a different pace if we wanted but to come together easily for stops and directions. The landscape is stunning with magnificent views. She went out of her way to make the holiday special and to include everyone. Starting in the agristurismo made the holiday much more special. The sense that you are joining a family, the food is produced on site and cooked and prepare in a traditional style. The bedrooms are simple but functional and the site itself is a lovely place to stay with chickens wandering around and a golf course on site. The day we spent with the local guide was also really enjoyable - walking at a lower level and learning all about the area through different environments. We also had a lovely day in Lucca - we all decided to do the same day off, travelled together and although we split up to explore Lucca met up and travelled back and shared a meal out. The people on the trip are what make it and I couldn't have had a nicer group. I enjoyed every minute of this holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I always find it inspirational to exert myself to climb a mountain and then take the time to take in the vast landscape below and to put any outside worries into perspective. There were many opportunities to do this on this trip but I think the day we climbed Monte Ferato was my favourite because the view was so panoramic. I took a moment to absorb it before others came up the mountain. I also hired a bike and rode it through the streets of Lucca out of the walled area and found myself at a level crossing and by the time the train arrived a group of Italian women all shopping on bikes had gathered one by one and struck up conversations with each other and me. An impromptu social gathering in response to an unwelcome delay..

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sarah was extraordinary - going out of her way for everyone to make the holiday work. Providing those with sore knees tape to provide support and teaching us about the area, the farm, the family history and the providing little snacks. Her fitness and lifestyle is inspirational. When we climbed the highest mountain I left my fleece on the very top. It was one that they don't make anymore and was a favourite. The next day was Sarah's day off and she climbed back up the mountain and got it back for me which was really above and beyond and I was very grateful. On the last night we all performed a few verses of a song I wrote to say thank you to her - which was great fun but probably quite painful to listen to.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be fooled into thinking that Tuscany in April will be warm. At the top of the mountain I needed all my layers and I really bought clothing for strolling through rolling hills not climbing. As a result I had too many t shirts and not enough warm layers. You do however need both that work together. I think a down jacket would have been helpful and don't forget waterproof trousers. I didn't wear walking boots just walking shoes and its not as craggy walking as Iceland where I felt I did need my boots for ankle stability. I was happy to rely on the food from the farm which is fine for the packed lunch but others took snacks with them.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip went very smoothly and I didn't. have any issues.
  • Reviewed May 2022

    Highly Recommended

    This was not our first walking holiday in Italy but it was the first time that we had been with Exodus and our first experience of staying in an agiturismo. This type of accommodation adds to the experience in that there is more interaction with the local community and greater exposure to their way of life. Although not as popular as some other regions of Italy Garfagnana is well worth a visit and deserves to be better known.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outstanding. Our previous trips with Exodus have been with leaders who are native to the country. This has many advantages. Although she is english, Sara has led this trip for over 15 years and is pretty much accepted as a native by the locals. Furthermore, her professionalism and dedication to making the trip safe and enjoyable for the group was beyond question. Shortcomings in equipment were overcome using spare kit that she has accumulated over the years, minor injuries werer attended to, advice on how to use walking poles was dispensed, rail tickets were acquired on our behalf etc etc - both the expected and unexpected were more than adequately addressed. She even baked buns to welcome us back from our walk on her day off

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have the appropriate clothing and equipment for a day out in the mountains.
  • Reviewed May 2022

    A fantastic holiday in a relatively undiscovered corner of Italy

    This was a trip that will live long in my memory. My first journey abroad since the start of the COVID pandemic, the holiday was everything I hoped it would be and more. Stunning scenery, fantastic food, awesome accommodation, great people and a wonderful leader all combined to ensure that Italy will be the destination I will visit in my next holiday - and I would love to return to the Garfagnana region.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are too many moments to choose from. The walk to the summit of Mount Sumbra was challenging and certainly tested my head for heights, but the view from the top was out of this world - we could see the snow-covered peaks of mountains in nearby Emilia-Romagna as well as the broad sweep of the Italian coastline. I also really enjoyed the free day in Lucca - it is a stunning city with a lovely walk around the city walls and some interesting attractions, including the Torre Guinigi which gives you excellent views across the whole city. And then, of course, there was the 'village walk' led by one of the members of the family that own the agriturismo we stayed at - it provided a fascinating insight into the culture of a region that is still relatively unexplored.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara was absolutely awesome and the best leader I have encountered in all of my trips. She had a genuine interest in each and every member of the group and nothing was too much trouble for her. She also had a real passion for the area and her close connection with the family that runs the agriturismo meant that she was (and is) a well-integrated part of the local community. I really could not have hoped for a better person to lead our trip - she was wonderful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for all weathers, particularly if travelling in April. The trip notes warned that snow was possible on the mountain slopes, but the snow cover we encountered was deep (apparently exceptionally so). It was easy to walk through and added to our overall experience, but I would definitely be prepared to take a thick waterproof coat, waterproof trousers and some decent hiking boots if travelling early in the season. Sara also loaned me some walking poles that were very useful when negotiating downhill sections covered in snow/rocky scree.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If the trip sounds appealing to you, don't hesitate to book. I have been on many Exodus trips and this was, for me, the stand-out one. I loved every aspect of this holiday and really wish that I could re-live the week again.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Brian White

    Well Delivered Challenging Walking in a Beautiful Area

    We did the challenging week in early September. Having done many 'challenging' holidays with Exodus in the past, for the first time a very challenging weeks walking was actually delivered. This was our first time in Tuscany and from the moment we got off the plane at Pisa we were taken with the area. The accommodation was idyllic and the surrounding scenery stunning. The day trip by train to Lucca was well worth it and very interesting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This was a great area for some serious walking, summits, views and scenery. Even the vehicle transfers to and from the start of the walks were interesting. The demanding two day walk with an overnight stay at the comfortable refuge was a great experience along with the strenuous summit of Monte Cusana.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara was a very good and knowledgeable guide who had a great passion for the area.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The weather was very kind to us in early September and we walked mainly in t-shirts, but we did have one wet afternoon when it absolutely poured, so take decent waterproofs and proper boots. There are problems with ticks in this area so it is important to check yourself at the end of each walk. We found a few! For the challenging departure you need to be fit otherwise you will hold the group back. Take good boots, poles and ideally a hydration system (Camelbak) as you get through plenty of water, and refills are not always available on the route. Although the overnight refuge was more 'posher' than some, you still need to take earplugs, eye shades, towel and a red bulb head torch. The food is excellent and plentiful and there is hot water, showers and proper toilets! All in all, a good experience and the thought of a refuge should not put you off booking this trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip has to be the best challenging walking week we have been on with Exodus. Do it, you won't regret it!
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Annie Hibberd

    Magical mountains in Italy

    This beautiful undiscovered corner of northern Tuscany was both a delight and a surprise, and especially gorgeous in all its autumn glory. If you love mountains and views come here. If you love trees, they make the walking even better. There are Medieval villages too and gorgeous local food and wine. Perhaps a little more strenuous than other grade 3 trips, but with a good pair of boots, walking poles, lovely Braccicorti cooking in your belly and the best guide ever, you will reach heights, literally, you hadn't imagined. With two exceptions, all of our group were 60+ and it was all achievable and a good challenging mixture of climbs and descents (with a fine hostelry at the end in most cases!) The walks were all interesting and varied in the amazing geography of Garfagnana with a brilliant day out to Lucca in the middle of the week. Don't hesitate - just go there!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing to the top of Monte Prado in clear warm weather in late October. The autumn colours of the beech trees, which extend to the tree line, were just beautiful - and catching a glimpse of a golden eagle on the way down. Walking up through the dappled light of the beech woods, knowing there were wild boar, deer and even wolves (higher up) unseen, but there nonetheless.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara is probably the best guide I have had the pleasure of walking with. Her love and knowledge of the area shines through as well as her vast skill and experience at getting the very best - plus a bit more - out of us motley crew. If I knew she was leading another trip (assuming the endurance levels were within my reach!) I would not hesitate to choose it. She went above and beyond to make two birthday celebrations on the final day most memorable - especially her home made cakes!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take good boots, definitely walking poles - and learn how to use them properly. Layers and rain protection. Late October was lovely and warm on most of the days, but a hat and fleece at the summit was welcome, even in bright sunshine. Leave your busy life behind and be ready to immerse yourself in the amazing peace of the mountains.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared to be amazed and delighted.
  • Reviewed September 2019
    David Lowe

    A brilliant holiday

    We have walked many times on Exodus holidays and this rated at the top of our list of many great holidays. We chose a challenging week and were very pleased that we had. Braccacorti as a base was a delight - views across the valley to distant mountains, really comfortable and delicious food (and plenty of it!). The walking was as it had been described in the brochure - challenging but so rewarding and so varied.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hardly a moment but the two day walk with an overnight in the refugio will be a lasting memory of a great trip. This was a first venture into an overnight stop in a refuge. We didn't know what to expect but "really warm", "good food", "comfortable with plenty of space", "hot showers", "set in the heart of the mountains" all contributed to a wonderful experience. Walking the ridge with some wonderful views into Tuscany and Emiliano with the sun on our backs and good company - wonderful!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sara was simply great! Nothing seemed to be too much trouble for her in explaining what we were going to be doing, checking we were OK, making sure all arrangements were in place...this we have come to expect from Exodus leaders. Sara added much more - sharing her own experiences as a world wide traveler and leader, telling us about the region in which we were walking, listening to our experiences, introducing us to local people, the family who run Braccacorti, restaurants and watering holes ( the local taxi drivers and guides). Her enthusiasm and passion just shone through!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are ready for wet weather because when it rains that is something special! We had one downpour and then blue skies and sunshine for the week. For those on the challenging week and the stop in the refuge we would suggest taking a light weight towel so you can make the most of the showers. You don't need additional footwear as that is there for you in the refuge. For the light sleepers some earplugs might be helpful.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Now looking forward to planning where we go next....starting with the Exodus brochure
  • Reviewed September 2019
    Anne Wenlock

    Everything I could have hoped for.

    This was my first holiday abroad for several years as well as my first booking with Exodus. My initial contact with the company was very positive and as soon as I booked my excitement began. The Agriturismo Braccicorti was idyllic and food was both plentiful and delicious (and washed down with Braccicorti wine). As for my fellow travellers, you couldn't have chosen a more like-minded group. I can't wait to start planning my next holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing Mount Prado, the highest peak in Tuscany. The views were incredible.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz was a brilliant group leader. She was knowledgeable about the local area, an excellent Italian speaker and an experienced mountain leader. She went out of her way to ensure that everyone was happy during the climbs and considered everyone's abilities. Liz made train, taxi and restaurant bookings for us. She certainly seemed to go above and beyond!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes very carefully, consider how fit you are, wear technical clothes in summer, make sure your insurance is good enough for this activity - you will be asked to note down if you are covered for a helicopter evacuation. Get a good rucksack which is comfortable to wear for the whole day.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    J C

    Fantastic walking and first class accommodation

    This was my fourth Exodus holiday, all were excellent but this was probably the best overall in terms of consistently excellent accommodation, food and walking routes. Our Agriturismo was beautiful, delicious food and wine all locally produced, plus a lovely large pool. Rooms were very comfortable. This is a mountainous area with unpredictable weather, so come prepared for some heavy downpours/thunderstorms mixed with hot sunshine, even in July. Our guide Tony was very professional and knowledgeable, and provided a good mix of encouragement and flexibility to enable everyone in the group to get the most out of their trip. Thoroughly enjoyed the free day in Lucca, hired bikes and rode around the ancient city walls. Don't believe the trip notes which suggest Cinque Terra is do-able on the free day, it is too far away.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking for 2 hours up a mountain in torrential rain , thunder and lightning, drenched to the skin despite all my rain gear, then coming out at the summit to blue skies, hot sunshine and jaw-dropping views across the peaks in every direction. Magical!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was excellent - highly experienced, a great leader and a wonderful mixture of Yorkshire grit and Italian charm.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Prepare for varied weather - this part of Tuscany can get very wet even in July.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some issues pre-trip with incorrect information about travel arrangements but this was sorted out by Exodus to my satisfaction.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Jo Ware

    A well balanced, challenging trip

    It was with some trepidation that we embarked on this walk. Not having participated in an organised holiday for many years and being rather "senior" in age we were unsure whether we had picked the right grade. However, from the time of booking to our return, the trip went without a hitch. The Tuscan scenery is stunning, and we loved the accommodation at Agriturismo Braccicorti - comfortable, homely accommodation with home produced Italian food. The walking was varied and challenging in places however never beyond our capabilities. This was mainly due to Sarah our excellent guide who had a wealth of knowledge and experience and in a short while was able to assess the groups abilities - and encourage when necessary. What a sense of achievement when we reached the summits! A balanced itinerary of four days mountain walking, an interesting walk around the local villages with Luigi and a visit to Lucca ensured a holiday to remember and one to be recommended.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing to the summit of Monte Sumbra and Monte Prado

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Knowledgeable, encouraging and observant

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you Exodus for the quality of the trip and efficiency at every stage
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Heather Franks

    Brilliant week

    We had a really brilliant week - Sara our guide was the best ever and went out of her way to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves and accommodated those who couldn't quite manage to do every walk all the way. She also managed to organise fantastic weather - not wet and not too hot and a great group! The accommodation was in a fantastic location with a lovely outdoor pool. The family were friendly and produced scrumptious home cooked food from local produce.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching a golden eagle majestically glide through the air - below us! I decided to simply watch rather than fumble for my camera to get what could have been a fantastic picture but miss the spectacle.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I have been on 20-30 group trips with Exodus and other companies over the past 11 years and Sara was one of, if not the, best group leaders I have had. She was always professional and approachable and did whatever she could to ensure our enjoyment.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was a bit hesitant about booking this trip (activity level 3) as I am "getting on" and having to reduce the activity levels I do. However the walks were easier than I anticipated because of the amount of shaded woods we walked through and a lot of the gradients were more gradual than I expected. We didn't have to do a couple of the tougher end bits to the summit. Both times I (and others) opted out of the summit the group was retracing it's steps and we were able to sit and wait with beautiful views - no hardship!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Lovely get away from it all week!

Dates & Prices

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

Fields with * are mandatory.

Please call one of our experts to discuss your private group requirements on 1300 131 564, or fill out the form below and we will give you a call back.

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

Fields with * are mandatory.

 

Trips you might also like

Chianti Walking & Wine

62 reviews

Experience the magic of Italy in Tuscany

Walking & Trekking
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Ages: 18+
8 Days
from $2,679 $2,479
Guided (Excl. Flights)
View More Details

Walking the Prosecco Hills

42 reviews

Unveil one of the world’s best yet largely undiscovered wine regions.

Walking & Trekking
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Ages: 18+
8 Days from $2,879
Guided (Excl. Flights)
View More Details