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Italy: Walking and Wine in the Apennines



  • 14 Sep
  • -
  • 21 Sep 2024
  • |
  • 8 days


per person

Availability: 8 places

    Richly diverse, the Apennine Mountains stretch along the length of peninsular Italy for some 1200 kilometers. Sandwiched between the waters of the Adriatic on one side and the western plains that are home to some of Italy’s most historic cities on the other, the peaks form the backbone of the Italian spine and lay claim to some of the country’s best hiking destinations.

    Our journey concentrates on the wine and walking along the chain’s northern slopes, around the historic towns of Urbino and Gubbio and amongst the serene landscapes of Le Marche and the Umbrian peaks. We begin in the UNESCO town of Urbino, where we’ll enjoy the delights of one of Italy’s most splendid renaissance settings, before ending our journey amongst the equally impressive medieval architecture of Gubbio.

    Enjoying a hedonistic mix of fine wines, wonderful food and characterful accommodation along the way, our journey takes in spectacular coastal walks, captivating mountain scenery and a sense for historical tradition that is quintessentially Italian. Few places do culture, cuisine and custom so well, so join us on this intoxicating Apennine adventure.

    Day 1

    DAY 1: Tour starts in Bologna; transfer to Urbino

    The tour starts at Bologna airport from where we'll be driven two hours to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Urbino, our base for the next four nights. (*Alternatively, you can join the tour directly in Urbino*). There will be an opportunity to freshen up at the agritourism guesthouse before driving the short distance to the hilltop town that was the birthplace of the Renaissance painter, Raphael. A tour of its picturesque streets then takes in the Duke’s Palace Museum and the stunning frescos of the Oratory of St John the Baptist, before returning to our guesthouse for dinner.

    Day 2

    DAY 2: Urbino - Fiorenzuola di Focara - Urbino

    Heading to the coast this morning we’ll enjoy a 10km walk amongst the scenic beauty of the San Bartolo Natural Park. A spectacular region of plunging sandstone cliffs and idyllic beaches, the park wends it way alongside the glittering waters of the Adriatic. Stopping for lunch in the pretty hilltop village of Fiorenzuola di Focara, this afternoon then provides an opportunity for a refreshing dip in the Adriatic, before continuing on to the fortified splendour of Gradara, recently voted as the best medieval town in Italy. *Approx. 3-4 hrs walking (200m ascent, 300m descent. Total distance 10kms, highest point 175m)*

    Day 3

    DAY 3: Urbino - Fossombrone - Urbino

    A day to appeal to all the senses, we enjoy the distinctive attractions of the Cesane Forest and the Metauro River Valley on a stunning 12km walk. Beginning amongst the forest trails that lead down to the village of Fossombrone, we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch and a visit to the old fortified citadel and monastery, before transferring on to a local vineyard. This affords an opportunity to sample the local wines and olive oil of the region, before returning to Urbino for dinner in the heart of the old town. *Approx. 4-5 hrs walking (300m ascent, 500m descent. Total distance 12kms, highest point 642m)*

    Day 4

    DAY 4: Urbino - Furlo Gorge - Urbino

    Beginning with a drive out to the Furlo Gorge, today sees us embarking on a beautiful walk beside the waters of the Candigliano River, to enjoy some of the natural bounty of an area popularly referred to as the Grand Canyon of Italy. With a history stretching back to the Etruscans, the canyon also marks the start of the trail leading up to the top of Mount Pietralata, from where we’ll enjoy some truly inspiring views before descending to dinner at the charming Ca’ Maddalena Agritourism. *Approx. 6-7 hrs walking (400m ascent, 400m descent. Total distance 15kms, highest point 875m)*

    Day 5

    DAY 5: Urbino - Bacciardi

    Heading deep into the heart of the Apennines today after breakfast we’ll depart Urbino and head southwest, towards the small town of Piobbico. After paying a visit to the 13th century Castle Brancaleoni we then enjoy a light lunch, before beginning a walk up through the forest and along the side of a gently flowing river to the tiny hamlet of Bacciardi. Our destination is the captivating Slowcanda guesthouse, nestling along the slopes of Monte Nerone on the eastern flanks of the Apennines. *Approx. 2-3 hrs walking (200m ascent, 0m descent. Total distance 6.5kms, highest point 514m)*

    Day 6

    DAY 6: Bacciardi - Gubbio

    A slightly different start to the day begins with us helping Slowcanda’s cooks to prepare this evening’s meal of pasta and ravioli, before we set off towards the summit of Monte Nerone (1500m). Tackling the northeastern edge of the peak we ascend what is considered one of the great massifs of this region, from where we can enjoy some of the finest views of the surrounding country. After descending to the impressive Fodarca natural stone arch, we then rendezvous with our vehicle for the drive on to medieval Gubbio. *Approx. 3-4 hrs walking (600m ascent, 500m descent. Total distance 10kms, highest point 1200m)*

    Day 7

    DAY 7: Gubbio

    Gubbio is an enchanting mix of Gothic architecture, Roman ruins and meandering narrow streets and a tour of the town this morning takes in the Church of St Francisco, the ancient Roman amphitheater and the 14th century houses of its Old Town. A choice of a cable car ride or an exhilarating 45 minute walk then brings us up to the monastery at Saint Ubaldo, where we can enjoy lunch before possibly following the mountain trail and aqueduct back down into town for a free afternoon. *Approx. 3-4 hrs walking (300m ascent, 300m descent. Total distance 7kms, highest point 800m)*

    Day 8

    DAY 8: Gubbio - Bologna

    After a leisurely morning we make our way back to Bologna today, travelling along the Tiber Valley and by way of Sansepolcro, the home of Early Renassiance artist, Piero della Francesca. Following our visit and a final lunch we then complete our journey back to Bologna’s international airport, where our tour ends.