This holiday is an opportunity for curious travellers looking for the true essence of culture and traditions in Italy. It’s a journey in an unspoilt area of Tuscany where you can really enjoy the local life-style and walk through extraordinary landscapes. Unlike Valdorcia which is a very popular destination, in this area you'll see few people during the walks, and except for Arezzo, the medieval hamlets are virtually "free" from tourists.
What's included |> B&B in charming family run hotels |> Holiday schedule and Trip Guide |> Daily, guided itineraries |> English speaking local Italian guide throughout the holiday.
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(0)845 0944 669
| Medieval hamlets of Tuscany | Natural splendour of the valleys of Arezzo province | Siena | Arezzo | Anghiari, one of Italy's most beautiful villages | renaissance town of San Sepolcro | hiking in Valtiberina | Casentino National Park
| Day 1: Transfer day, arrive morning in Arezzo. Day 2: Arezzo and surrounding coutryside. Day 3: Valdichiana, Lucignano and Monte San Savino. Day 4: National Park of Casentino Forest. Day 5: Siena. Day 6: Valdarno. Day 7: Valtiberina. Day 8: Transfer day, depart from Arezzo.
Day 1: Transfer day, arrive in Arezzo.
Check into your hotel anytime after lunch. The rest of the day in Arezzo at leisure.
Arezzo is one of most beautiful and interesting towns in Tuscany, being extrememly rich in historic sites. It's wonderful medieval centre maintains its unchanged ancient architecture and in the Romanic churches there are many important art works (from Piero della Francesca and Cimabue, for example).
Arezzo is important also for artisans and antiques; walking along the streets you can visit their workshops and shops. In the “trattorie” you can taste traditional recipes prepared according to the expectations of local people.
For those arriving in the morning, meet for lunch followed by a walking tour of the historic centre where “Life is beautiful”, and in the surrounding countryside.
Day 2: Leonardo was here! (5h).
We begin today's walk discovering something special - the landscapes of the Monalisa.
Walking in the nearby countryside crossed by the river Arno, just ten minutes away from Arezzo, it is possible to walk in the background of Monalisa, perhaps the most famous painting of Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo travelled in this area and, according to many preeminent art experts, he was inspired by the shapes of the territory we talk about. In the painting, behind the lady, you'll see gorges and a medieval bridge - elements that are easy reached during this fascinating walk.
Day 3: the jewels of Valdichiana (5h).
Country walk through typical Tuscan countryside discovering rural culture and medieval hamlets.
We leave Arezzo travelling with a local train to Monte San Savino (0h30) passing through small villages seemingly 'lost' in the countryside. From M.S. Savino, we'll follow the country trails to Lucignano. Return by bus to Arezzo (0h50).
Valdichiana is a fertile valley which looks like an enormous garden thanks to the combination of grasslands, fields, olive groves and vineyards. The hill chains which surround this landscape are the backdrop of today's walk. This itinerary is extremely rich in local culture and history as well as offering impressive panoramic views over the valley and towards the Apennines.
Lucignano represents a remarkably conserved medieval, walled hill-top village, elliptical in shape. Walking inside its narrow streets you can breathe the atmosphere of times long past. This hamlet is pretty much untouched by mass tourism and so conserves its own peculiarities.
Day 4: the patron of nature (4h).
Discover the National Park and historical sites of the Casentino Forest. Transfer by local train from Arezzo to Bibbiena (0h40), and return by public bus from Bibbiena to Chiusi della Verna (0h40).
Today’s walk takes us to 'la Verna', where Saint Francis spent most of his life. La Verna Mountain is an enormous calcareous monolith, towering over clay reliefs, with a shape easy recognisable in the Apennines chain.
From the beginning of the 13th century, this area was closely linked with the spirituality and the philosophy of the Saint who believed in a harmonious relationship between man and nature. According to the tradition he received 'Stigmata' there.
Thanks to the respect of the Franciscan community towards all living creatures, you'll walk through one of the best preserved forest of it's kind in Europe - the beech and fir trees are enormous columns which seem to support the sky above them.
Day 5: a ramble through the richness of Siena.
A walk in the gothic town exploring its secret corners. Transfer by public bus from Arezzo to Siena (1h30).
Siena is recognised as a jewel of Tuscany. It exhibits some of the most important gothic churches of Italy and its districts maintain the original medieval architecture. It’s necessary to spend an entire day to enjoy the most important places and buildings (Piazza del Campo, the Duomo, the Battistero…) hidden in the many narrow streets which compose the old town.
Siena is famous, also, for the annual horse-race called “Palio” - an historic, folklore phenomenon deeply felt by the local people. Months before the race you start to feel a kind of fewer in every place where people meet (squares, bars, restaurant, homes..).
Day 6: Nobles and peasants in Valdarno (5h).
A walk in a countryside where time seems to have stopped, tasting olive oil and other local products in a typical Villa along the way. Transfer by local bus from Arezzo to Pergine Valdarno (0h30).
“Valdarno” is the valley of the river Arno between Arezzo and Florence. It hides many historical and cultural places of interest linked to the traditions and local life-style. In this area, the system of “Podere” and Villa Padronale” is still very much in evidence - ancient vital elements of the way the countryside was managed in Tuscany. In Valdarno, in fact, you can cross vast estates still operating as they did in the past when manpower was much more important than machinery.
Our walk takes place around Pergine Valdarno where vast olive groves produce one of the most delicious and scented oils in Italy. A local noble family receives visitors in it's villa to taste the classic “fetta unta” (bred and oil), their wines and other typical products of this area.
Day 7: Alps of the Moon (4h).
Hill walking amongst castles, classical villas and medieval hamlets including a visit to Anghiari, one of the most beautiful villages of Italy. Transfer by private mini-bus from Arezzo to San Sepolcro (1h00).
Today is the time to get 'in touch' with the wilderness of the Apennines, hiking in the mountain chain called “Alpe della Luna” (Alps of the Moon). It’s an area almost unpopulated, covered by forests and pastures with impressive cliffs 250m high. From the top of the cliffs (1450m) it is possible to see the Adriatic sea on clearer days.
During the walk it is quite usual to see the tracks of the perhaps Italy's most fascinating wild animal - the wolf. This species populates the area because of the absence of human activity and the abundance of prey. During the day we will also explore two beautiful towns - San Sepolcro (the birthplace of Piero della Francesca) and Anghiari.
Day 8: Transfer day, depart Arezzo.
Clients can leave from Arezzo's main railway station for their onward journeys.
Minimum group size of 6 persons required for this tour to go ahead. For groups of 10 persons, holiday price reduced to 560pp. Hotels used are family run alberghi of 3-Star standard. Please request further information if higher standard hotels required. Half-board upgrade also possible for those preferring to eat at the hotel each night.
For lunch, it is generally the case that people buy food for a pic-nic lunch before leaving in the morning. We offer this holiday on a B&B basis so that client's have greater opportunity to taste local cuisine in the restaurants and 'trattorie' of their choice each evening.
Check or email or call +44 (0)845 0944 669
1. Prices in 'euros' and based on 2 people sharing a double room,
otherwise a single supplement applies.
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