Join us on our hiker’s journey along the Apennines, the long sweeping chain of mountains that form the spine of the Italian Peninsula. Our adventure—Part I of a fantastic journey from Liguria to Rome (Part II brings us all the way to Calabria)—is the happy invention of veteran WT Trip Leader Gianluca Canalicchio, who never tires of exploring his native country and sharing its delights with our travelers. Our hikes begin at the edge of the sea in the famed Cinque Terre, and bring us up into verdant mountains, through three national parks, and six different regions of Italy—each with their own distinctive cuisines and wines! We’ll hike along old Roman roads, through the famed marble quarries of Carrara, and on forested trails leading to summits with glorious views. A special treat is a stay at a historic mountain lodge set atop an eerily beautiful plateau in the Gran Sasso Massif, our gateway for hikes to the highest peaks of the Apennines. Along the way, we experience villages and towns that for centuries have been the keepers of local traditions. Amatrice, home of the renowned spaghetti all’Amatriciana; historic Fiesole and Settignano, set in the olive-covered hills above Florence; Norcia, the ideal Umbrian setting for hikes in the Sibillini Mountains—they’re all on this magnificent hiker’s adventure!
Ligurian Coast / Apuan Alps
From the enchanting beach resort town of Levanto, set just north of Italy’s celebrated Cinque Terre, we head to the mountains and follow an undulating trail paralleling the coast that brings us among the highest peaks of the Ligurian Mountains. In the Apuan Alps, our trails lead through the extensive network of ancient quarries where pure white Carrara marble has been excavated for thousands of years.
Emilia-Romagna / Monte La Nuda / Pietra di Bismantova
Parco Nazionale Apennino Tosco-Emiliano is an extraordinary environment of grasslands, lakes, waterfalls, and steep summits—an amazing setting for our hikes. Starting right from our hotel, we head to the summit of Monte La Nuda (6,217’), set on the border of Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany. On a clear day, we can see as far as the Ligurian Sea! After a hike to Passo Pradarena (5,180’), we head to Castelnovo né Monti, a charming town set below the massive Pietra di Bismantova, an incredible flat-topped mesa that dominates the surrounding area. An optional hike brings us to its summit (3,435’).
Flaminia Militare / Fiesole, Tuscany
For the next two days, we hike a section of the Sentiero degli Dei (“Paths of the Gods”) that connects Bologna to Florence on a long-distance trail of some 75 miles. The trail, built by the consul Flaminius in 197 BC, is called the “Flaminia Militare” and features original Roman paving stones in some places, as well as the remains of trenches and bunkers dating from the fierce fighting that took place here during World War II. On Day 7, we overnight in Fiesole, a town of Etruscan origins set in the hills above the magnificent city of Florence.
Settignano / Norcia, Umbria / Sibillini Mountains
A wonderful hike leads to Settignano, once home to many artists, sculptors, and stonecutters, including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. After discovering the town’s stone-paved walkways and old villas, we head to Norcia, in Umbria, the “green heart” of Italy. Our hikes in Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini bring us steeply to the summit of Monte Patino (6,178’) and onto the slopes of Monte Vettore (8,123’). On Day 10, we overnight in Amatrice, in the Lazio region, where no doubt we will dine on its namesake dish—spaghetti all’Amatriciana!
Lake Campotosto / Campo Imperatore
Our hike in Parco Nazionale Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga brings us to Campotosto (4,659’), set near a lake that’s a nature reserve for migratory birds. We then head to Campo Imperatore, a beautiful, high-altitude grassland plateau in the Gran Sasso massif. We follow a trail that traverses the steep rugged limestone slopes of Corno Grande (9,554’) and Corno Piccolo (9,482’), the highest peaks of the Gran Sasso. Overnights are at a mountain rifugio that offers a spectacular setting, great food, and warm, welcoming service. Depart on Day 13 via Rome.