Imagine the Tuscan landscape and postcard-perfect rich green and warm amber, rolling hills, intersected with winding country roads that lead to quaint, medieval hamlets are likely to come to mind; an Italian landscape that has inspired artists for centuries. However, there is a less well-known beauty; the undiscovered gem of northern Tuscany and the Garfagnana region. This is where we base our Walking in Tuscany tour, where rolling hills are replaced by dramatic peaks, and stunning lakes and alpine flower meadows leave you captivated; our favourite part of Tuscany and one which we would like you to discover.
Orecchiella National Park and the Summit of Pania di Corfino
It is difficult to decide which season is more splendid in Orecchiella National Park. In early spring, the lasting snow underfoot exposes the tracks of the resident wolf, deer and mountain hare. As the temperatures warm towards summer, the snow is replaced by a carpet of vibrant, wildflowers, whilst the beech trees are brought to life with their bright green foliage. The autumnal colours of the landscape create another beautiful spectacle when it is the perfect time of year for spotting buzzard or eagles soaring overhead. Take the steady ascent up to Pania di Corfino and admire the 360-degree view of this stunning landscape, whichever time of year you choose to visit.
The Peaks of Apuane National Park
Three of our favourite trails in Apuane National Park lead up to the summits of Monte Sumbra, Pania della Croce and Monte Tambura. The routes start through a beech wood, before ascending past boulder fields, marble quarries and limestone plateaux. Each summit offers different, but equally spectacular views across the far-reaching spine of the Apennines and out towards the stunning Ligurian coastline.
Rural Countryside and the Medieval Town of Castiglione di Garfagnana
Take a break from the mountains and enjoy a more leisurely walk through the rural farmlands and quiet lanes in the province of Lucca. Stop off at Castiglione di Garfagnana, a small, but beautiful medieval town that attracts visitors during its chestnut festival, which celebrates the growth of truffles and mushrooms in the autumn.
Home and Hermitage of the Shepherds
Following the footpath to the town of Vagli Sopra, with Monte Sumbra providing an impressive backdrop, takes you on a pilgrimage walk through the chestnut wood and to the 16th-century shepherds’ village of Campocatino. Past the beautiful, terraced meadows, the trail continues to ascend to 1190m, before descending to the fascinating hermitage of San Viviano. Viviano was a protector of the shepherds and later, of the quarryman, and lived here in this sanctuary, set into the rocks. It is now a chapel and pilgrimage site.
A Ridge Walk to Tuscany’s Highest Peak
In Tosco-Emiliano Appennino National Park, you can take a steady ascent to the Crinali ridge, where the views are impressive throughout the year and in autumn, they can stretch as far as the Alps in the north and south to the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. Changing snow-covered crags to a flurry of alpine flowers and autumnal berries with striking purple hues, this magnificent landscape is a hiker’s paradise. There are a few different paths following the ridge up to the summit of Monte Prado, the highest peak in Tuscany at 2054m, and although undulating, they are surprisingly easy.
Walking in the mountainous region of Garfagnana is hugely rewarding and the seasonal variations ensure the views are delightful at any time of year, enticing you back again for another visit.
If you’d learn more about our spectacular adventure holidays in Tuscany, click here.