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Adventure Holidays: Walking Holidays in Italy

Updated on January 31, 2016
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Walking holidays in Italy are very popular.

Northern Italy is a fantastic place for walking because it has well laid out mountain and hill paths, that are never crowded, and the scenery is breathtaking.

Walking is a great activity for those very hot summer months because the higher you go the cooler it gets.

There are all sorts of different kinds of walking holidays in Italy. Many people are attracted to the high mountains and to trekking in more remote and difficult to reach areas in the Alps. For others, including me, there is no need to go so high and the hills beckon.

Here’s an example of a day out I had last summer. I decided to explore the region of Liguria, in northern Italy though had I gone anywhere else I am sure my experience would have been similar.

It had been a particularly hot summer that year so I was desperate to go high fro some respite.

We chose to walk to the summit of Monte Gottero, which is the highest peak in La Spezia standing at 1639 metres. It is in an exceptionally beautiful part of this region and well worth the walk because of the fabulous views of the hilly-forested countryside all around.

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To make the most of a whole day we camped in a church, after getting permission from the priest who gave us a little corner of the church grounds to pitch our tents. We spent a refreshing, if not chilly night there.

It is important to remember that even in the heat of an Italian summer the nights can be cold up high. It’s difficult to imagine when you are down in the sweltering heat of the seaside planning your walk.

We had breakfast in a nearby bar and set off. We took a gentle path that became more and more steep as the morning meandered by.

We were with Italians and they were glad to tell us about their memories of this wonderful part of Italy. Our friends had grown up there, and are very lucky to live nearby in the seaside towns below near la Spezia itself.

Apart from talking, we enjoyed the silence with our frequent stops to eat succulent wild raspberries. They were everywhere along the paths. I couldn’t believe they hadn’t already been eaten! But given that even though this was the middle of summer, we were the only people walking!

Italians are great lovers of wild mushrooms too, and although it is forbidden to pick them on these hills, I learned a lot about the ones we saw and noted the details for another time.

The walk itself was under trees for a time and they gave us welcome shelter from the sun. After about an hour the trees subsided and we reached an opening with the most glorious views of small villages peppered around and the pink haze of the sun glistening on the sea in the far distance.

When we reached the top we were rewarded with a 360-degree spectacular panoramic view. The air was clear that day and we could see for miles.


Holiday Flat for rent in Carro, Northern Italy

BAFX Products - 2 Pack - Anti Shock Hiking / Walking / Trekking Trail Poles - 1 Pair, Blue, Royal Blue
BAFX Products - 2 Pack - Anti Shock Hiking / Walking / Trekking Trail Poles - 1 Pair, Blue, Royal Blue

Walking sticks like these are very helpful when walking. These are lightweight but sturdy. They are a pair and they fold.

 

Then we met a fellow walker with his son making their way back down. They stopped for a chat. The father told us that he was 94 years old and had lived in the area all his life.

He was full of very funny stories about the village he was brought up in, which we could see way down in the valley. He explained that although the villages all looked the same the people who lived in them saw themselves as very different from each other. Young men often used to meet on the slopes of Monte Gottero and fight each other over real or imagined slights, or disputes over women. He laughed as he remembered how ridiculous it had all been.

He went on to tell us about the war and how these beautiful, peaceful hills had been the scene of savage fighting between the partisans and the Nazi occupiers. The Battle of Gottero that took place in January 1945 is still remembered and commemorated every year, and there is a cross on the summit in honour of the fallen.

We shook hands and took some photos to prove that we really had met a 94-year old walker at the top of Monte Gottero.

Osprey Packs Talon 22 Backpack
Osprey Packs Talon 22 Backpack

A perfect rucksack for day hikes.

 

During our picnic in the sunshine and cooling breeze, we got another more sudden surprise. A bank of thick mist was climbing steadily up the side of the mountain and within a few minutes the view had completely vanished.

Another useful reminder that, however peaceful and safe you feel in the warmth of the afternoon sun, the weather can change suddenly. The temperature can drop, and the mist can obscure your path even on a safe and fairly gentle walk.

Once up high you have to be prepared for anything.

The great thing about a day’s walking is that no two days are the same. Walking is walking, and you can have a few days in the countryside where the views are fairly similar, but every walk is unique. I believe that that’s because there is time on a walk to talk, think, stop and explore, meet people, and get to know the people you are with better than before.

Go for a walk it’s good for you in more ways than you may imagine.

Thanks very much indeed for your visit. Here's an article I have written about walking to lose weight and gain health.

Please do leave a comment before you go.

© 2014 Giovanna Sanguinetti

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    • Adventuretravels profile image
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      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      There are so many wonderful walks in the foothills of Northern Italy. Slovenia is a beautiful place too. I'd love to visit. Maybe I'll make it next year. Hope you find time go on a great walk soon. Let me know when you do.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 2 years ago from Ljubljana

      I am also a fan of walking holidays. It seems walking through an area provide much more authentic experience of the place than just being there as most of holiday makers do. This is possibly one of the reasons most of them can't make up to 94 ...

      Italy is our neighboring country and I hope I can repeat similar track in near future. Thanks for sharing your story and lovely photos.

    • Adventuretravels profile image
      Author

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      Thank you same to you. I haven't been for a walk in quite a while -have to put that right soon! Thanks for visiting I really appreciate it.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      I love to walk and this looks like a wonderful place. Italy looks great, I still have family there. Have a good Christmas.

    • Adventuretravels profile image
      Author

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      Thanks very much indeed for your visit. I really appreciate it and I'm very happy that you enjoyed it.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love going for nature walks. The activity that you've described is my favourite type of holiday! I enjoyed reading your description and looking at your photos very much. Thank you for sharing this interesting look at Italy.

    • Adventuretravels profile image
      Author

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      Spot on Colin:) We had such a lovely day. Thanks for your visit.

    • profile image

      Colin323 2 years ago

      This sounds lovely; my sort of holiday. A great combination of sunshine, exercise, and a chance to experience a different culture and pace of life. A chance too, to get away from the crowds in the towns and on the beaches and experience the real Italy. Bring it on!