The sunburnt terrain of Tuscany lends itself perfectly to gentle, leisurely hiking and there are countless well-maintained routes that weave and wend their way across the rolling landscape that defines the region. Few places in the world are more iconic to put foot to soil, and there's no better way of gaining an authentic connection to this captivating land.
Explore on Foot
For aficionados of so-called “slow travel", organised tours of Tuscany that include a component of walking or hiking offer a meaningful way in which to explore the region. Getting up close and personal to the land allows a more tangible immersion in the culture, cuisine and even the history. As you tread the ancient paths of the Romans and Etruscans, the centuries fall away beneath your feet.
But exploring the Tuscan landscape on foot doesn't have to mean lugging around heavy backpacks and roughing it in a tent! Hiking tours of Tuscany can be as long or short as you like, and even a simple morning itinerary covering a few hours will provide an authentic taste of the rural countryside.
What You'll See
Everything you've imagined about this iconic landscape is true and every well-worn turn of phrase appears in front of your eyes in magnificent reality. You'll encounter neatly planted olive groves, cool, shaded cypress woods, endless rows of grapes on the vine and the crumbling ruins of villas and fortifications, as you traverse ancient bridle paths and strade bianche (the small dirt “white roads").
If you choose an organised itinerary you'll be hiking along established trails, so there's no danger of encountering the problems of private property or having to walk on busy roads. Florence-based ArtViva's hiking tour itinerary, for example, encompasses a 4.5-hour itinerary that takes you through some of the areas that provided inspiration for many of the Renaissance Masters. You'll also visit an enchanting villa for lunch (which you may recognise from its appearance in several well-known films), with an opportunity to explore its delightful gardens and enjoy the far-reaching views back to Florence.
You're beginning to see just how far from “roughing it" hiking tours of Tuscany can be, aren't you?
Naturally, this will depend on the length, duration and accessibility of the hike. But for gentle walks through the typical Tuscan countryside, no more than a reasonable level of fitness is required. All you need are a good pair of boots, a hat and maybe a walking pole if you need a little bit of assistance. One of the benefits of organised hiking tours of Tuscany is that you'll be transported to the beginning of the walk and picked up at the end, which is a far better option than having to choose routes from your starting point.
Switch Back to Tuscan Time
The people, landscape and traditions of this spectacular region have changed very little in the past few centuries. Taking the opportunity to experience it on foot at a relaxed, unhurried pace is part of the inimitable Tuscan experience, and one that should not be missed at any cost.
Rose Magers is an Australian-born Italophile and the founder of ArtViva. With an international reputation for excellence and creativity, ArtViva are at the forefront of escorted day tours in Italy. Rose has indulged her own passion for history and the arts by designing an innovative range of exceptional experiences and tours of Tuscany , from hiking and biking through the Tuscan countryside to unforgettable villa visits.