Hike, Travel, Write

September, 2015: Hiking and Touring in Tuscany and Cinque Terre

You know about Italy’s food, history and culture. Do you also know about its hiking? Want to go do it all with me and a great group of people?

This could be you!

This could be you!

Beginning September 22, 2015, I will be leading a two-week trip, for Portland-based Embark Adventures, to my favorite place in the world: Italy!

This will be my fourth time leading this trip to Tuscany, each one a combination of walks, private tours, and some of the best meals you’ll ever eat. If you want to get off the beaten track in Tuscany, this is your trip. If you’ve always wanted to hike the amazing trails of Cinque Terre, this is also your trip. And if you want to see Italy like no regular tourist can, this is also your trip!

The rollings hills of Tuscany.

The rollings hills of Tuscany.


Alpine splendor.

Alpine splendor.

Amazing private meals.

Amazing private meals.

Here’s the Deal.

We start and end in Florence, seat of the Renaissance, home to some of the world’s finest art and most charming streets. We will have dinner in a local trattoria and have time to wander the  streets, perhaps even meet with Michelangelo’s David.


Florence from above.

The Arno River.

The Arno River.

Next it’s off into the countryside for a hike in the hills above town, perhaps to the hometown of Leonardo da Vinci, where we can see his boyhood home and church and hike the hills where he first connected with nature.

Curious about the food on this trip? Of course you are!

Check out My Ultimate Italian Meal, Part I

Then we’ll settle in the Garfagnana region north of Lucca, spending the next two nights in a small, family-run hotel in a mountain village. This will be our base for two days of hiking and relaxing.

We will go for a few hikes in the Apuane Alps, one of the world’s great sources of marble.

Apuane foothills in the Garfagnana north of Lucca.

Apuane foothills in the Garfagnana north of Lucca.


Trail in the Apuane Alps.

Trail in the Apuane Alps.


Roaming sheep in the high country


High peaks of the Apuane Alps.


Mountains, forests and villages.

Next we’ll spend a night in the walled medieval city of Lucca, a kind of smaller, less-discovered Florence. We’ll spend a night in a small hotel, dine in a wonderful local restaurant or home, and in the morning take a tour of the city before traveling by train to the Cinque Terre.


Lucca, with the Garfagnana and Apuane Alps in the disctance.


Gardens in Lucca


Touring the tops of the medieval walls.


Amazing dinner in a quiet square.

From Lucca it’s on to the magical coastal villages of Cinque Terre, accessible for centuries by sea or trail only. Now we can use a train and wonderful system of hiking trails to visit all five villages over two or three days, returning to our three-star hotel each night.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre


Three of the five villages.


From the trail above Vernazza


On the trail.


The waterfront in Manarola.


Corniglia, from our boat ride!

After Cinque Terre we’ll set up a base in a Tuscan hilltop village, where our guide — a lifelong Tuscan — will take us on walks, tours no tourist would even know of, and out for fabulous meals you’ll never forget.

The view from your hotel?

The view from your hotel?

Roam the Chianti hills.

Roam the Chianti hills.

Dine with the locals.

Dine with the locals.

Best food in the world!

Best food in the world!


Vineyards and a village on the hill.


Walking to the castle for a little break.


The amazing Chianti countryside.


Rambling country lanes.


The view from one of our private dinners.


On our way to lunch at a small winery.

Il Campo in Siena.

Il Campo in Siena.

The Specifics

Dates are September 20 to October 3, 2015. The trip begins and ends in Florence, and I encourage you to tack on some time before or after to see Italy on your own. We have plenty of ideas for you!

Logistics: There will be two American leaders the whole time, and while in Chianti we will also have an exert Italian guide. Often we will have our own bus and driver, but occasionally we will travel by train. We will stay in three-star hotels such as the Hotel Silla in Florence.

The cost for this trip is $4,399. This covers everything but your airfare, souvenirs, and optional guide tips.

For more information and a detailed itinerary, contact me by email.

This is the Italy trip you have dreamed of: walk the hills and towns, meet the locals, enjoy the food and culture, and do it all in comfort and style.

Contact me today to go to Italy this summer!


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