Thursday 24th – Sunday 28th May 2018
Join us in Italy for our next Nordic walking explorer-trip. Experience dramatic scenery, beautiful accommodation and the fantastic cuisine of ‘Wild Tuscany’.
- Three bespoke Nordic Walks
- Rural Tuscan Accommodation
- Delicious home cooking
- Wine Tasting & Cookery Class
- Visit the ancient town of Barga
- Relax by the pool with an apéro at end of the day
- All meals with wine & airport transfers included
Our welcoming base for this holiday is the hilltop Tuscan farmhouse of ‘Lavacchio’ surrounded by 26 acres of meadows, vineyards, vegetable gardens and woodlands and enjoy locally sourced organic produce prepared by our host and professional chef, Ailsa. From here we’ll explore rich forests, alpine meadows, timeless villages, hidden valleys and breath-taking views of the Alpi Apuane.
We have prepared three walks varying in length and terrain to explore and get to know the beautiful area around the Apuane & Appennine Alps plus experience first hand the art of Ailsa’s work by joining her in an Italian cookery class. After our walks there we will be time to visit the local vineyard for a tour & tasting, stroll the ancient streets of Barga (via the speciality gelateria) or stretch out by the pool all before enjoying a delicious home cooked meal.
Arrival at Lavacchio
After our arrival we can settle into the relaxing environment of Lavacchio, a traditional Garfagnana farmhouse with chestnut beams, traditional stone walls and terracotta tiles. Located below the peak of Pania della Croce there are beautiful views towards terraced hills and the Serchio Valley. You’ll have time to enjoy a stroll through the beautiful grounds and enjoy a drink before dinner taken on a wisteria-clad terrace.
The sitting room has a wood-burning stove. The house is well stocked with books, cards and games. The kitchen terrace has an enormous barbeque and ancient bread oven. There is a covered table tennis table and marked badminton court.
Antique furniture, art and comfy beds add a touch of luxury to this rural retreat. There is a kitchen, 5 bedrooms and 3 bath/shower rooms shared between them. There is also one extra twin room and shower room in the main family villa.
Walk 1 Monte Matanna & Wine Tasting Tour
This first walk is an excellent introduction to the area as it offers a little bit of everything. We start from the historic and characterful Alto Matanna restaurant. The route is circular all on easy paths and tracks, where we soon reach a pass and view along the open hillside of ‘Foce del Pallone’. The paths then wind their way through woodland to reach the charming Rifugio Forte dei Marmi, a traditional Italian mountain hut. After a real cappuccino in this delightful mountain setting our route then passes some impressive rock towers before a short steeper section of path allows us to reach the summit cross of Callare di Matanna at 1317m. This perfect picnic stop on a clear day offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks, marble mountains and islands of the Mediterranean. A short walk then returns us back to the Alto Matanna parking. Ascent: 300m. Distance: 10km. On our way back to Lavacchio we’ll visit the local vineyard for our tour & tasting.
Walk 2 San Pellegrino Alpe, Barga & Pizza Evening.
We start with a short drive to the Apennine side of the Serchio valley where we see the Garfagnana valley opening up with views to ancient villages perched on the hillsides. We arrive at the ancient hilltop settlement of ‘Santuario di San Pellegrino in Alpe’. This extraordinary setting is the home to an ancient Catholic Church, hostel & hospital. Since the Middle Ages it has been the main crossing for pilgrims and merchants between the province of Lucca and Modena. From this beautiful setting we begin a point-to-point walk. Following a well-graded track, once a roman road, we enjoy a relaxed walk through the forest to reach the Rifugio Burigone at 1420m. Situated in a charming ‘alpi’ or summer meadow, from the rifugio we can have a snack and coffee break whilst enjoying views of the Apuane Alps chain. Our trail continues to reach a path that enables us to easily access parts of the Apennines ridge (Tuscany / Emilia-Romagna border).
We then reach Vetricia, an unusual limestone karst plateau of geographical interest. The area is characterised by large superficial and deep karst phenomena, caused by heavy rain and snowfall intense fracturing has left behind large cavities beneath the ground. Ascent: 500m Distance: 14km
On our way back to Lavacchio we can stop in the charming Tuscan walled town of Barga. Enjoy a gelato whilst exploring the enchanting streets of the old town.
If the weather allows dinner this evening is traditional homemade pizza. We plan to fire up the old wood oven at La Fattoria for a pizza night like no other! Our hosts first demonstrate the ‘method’ then we get hands-on to concoct the pizzas of our dreams.
Walk 3 Sillico Valley Walk & Cookery Class
Our final walk is a low level route starting near to our accommodation. Walking through pristine chestnut woodland we follow the Torrente Sillico valley. Close to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana the capital of the Garfagnana valley, Sillico is a delightful medieval village dating back to the 1500’s when it was home to one of the most notorious bandits of the region, Il Moro. The village sits at 700m is full of character and history and has a bar with an outside terrace providing those all-important views. We continue down to the small town of four bells ‘Bargecchia’ where we meet our transport. Ascent: 200m. Distance: 10km.
Our last afternoon will be a cookery master class with Ailsa. Ailsa, whose talents as a chef are something to aspire to, trained in the art of cookery professionally and has, through popular demand started writing a book of her recipes. Working in small groups Ailsa will share with us some tips and trade secrets of her delicious cuisine, followed by a chance to create a mystery Tuscan dish – all with locally sourced produce.
After a relaxing breakfast we will transfer you to back to Pisa airport in time for midday flight.
We always aim to complete the itinerary as outlined, however, the itinerary will only be followed when conditions and weather make it appropriate, both in terms of safety and enjoyment.
Trip Price: £945 per person (£300 deposit is required to confirm your place)
Included: 3 Bespoke Nordic Walks, Instructor fees with 2 walk leaders, full board accommodation based on twin or double rooms in a traditional Tuscan villa/farmhouse. All meals: breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner, wine with evening meals. Access to all farmhouse facilities: swimming pool, yoga decking for stretching & hot tub. Your return Pisa airport transfer is also included in this price along with a mini bus and car for accessing walking locations for the duration of the trip.
Not included: flights, UK airport transfer, insurance, poles, drinks/snacks whilst out during the day.
Massage is also available as an extra. Lavacchio work with an excellent local masseuse who comes to the house.
Fitness Level and Clothing
We grade this trip at an easy-moderate level. You will need to be able to walk between 3 – 4 hours per day. Upon booking we will issue you with a kit and clothing list.
The closest airport to this part of Italy is Pisa and the proposed flight arrival time is 14:40. A single group transfer is included in the trip and will take the group from Pisa International Airport to our accommodation near Promenia, Garfagnana high in the Tuscan hills. Approximate transfer time is 1h15. If you wish to drive or travel by train then please ask us for further details.
You will be responsible for organising your own flights to Pisa. Pisa is serviced by Easyjet, Ryan Air, Jet2 and British Airways airlines. The proposed flights from the UK that best suit this trip are:
Stansted-Pisa: 08:45 – 12:00 £87 Ryan Air
Birmingham-Pisa 08:00 – 11.20 £120 Jet2
Pisa-Stansted: 12.55-14.20 £71 Ryanair
Pisa-Manchester: 13:15-14.50 £105 Jet2
This trip will run once a minimum number of 5 guests have booked and we can take a maximum of 12. Due to the rooming at Lavacchio there are only 2 single rooms available and each incur an additional fee of £200.
Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. You must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs.
The map shows the approximate location of the Holiday.
For more information, availability and booking, please use the contact form below.