Tuscany is not only the land of great food and wine, it is also a hiker’s paradise thanks to the gorgeous trekking routes and hills of Siena and the Apennines which border Emilia. The region is full of them, so there is an abundance of choice for a very long hike which you may want after having enjoyed the wine and food of this area. But you don’t have to worry about when you’ll have your next glass of wine, most of these trails are found along Tuscan viticulture areas which means you’ll get to combine well-being, nature and wine all in one.
The Ministry of Culture as declared 2016 the Year of National Walks in Italy so you’re just in time! Here are 5 Tuscan nature and wine routes for anyone who wants to enjoy the beauties of Italy!
Via Francigena Route (400 km/250 miles of Tuscan sun)
This is perhaps one of the most famous roads of Tuscany which dates back to the Middle Ages when pilgrims from Northern Europe used it to reach Rome. If you want to experience the true wonders of Tuscany, this is the path for you. This trail spans from Lunigiana in the north to Val d’Orcia, the cities of Lucca, Siena, villages in Monteriggioni, San Gimignano, Bagno Vignoni and further. The landscape is beyond beautiful, not to mention the extraordinary wines that you will encounter along the way. Once you reach Val d’Orcia in San Gimignano, the choice of red wines and are well worth a stop. To name a few, reds of the area include Chianti, Chianti Classico, Doc Orcia, Nobile di Montepulciano and Rosso di Montepulciano. White wines of the area include Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Tuscan’s first DOCG labels. This is a journey worth embarking on filled with nature, religion, art and of course wine!
The Renaissance Ring Route (172 km/107 miles)
It starts from Calenzano, located in the Province of Florence, and it ends in… Calenzano. Yes, this is why this route is called the Renaissance “Ring”. This path takes you around the circular network of roads which once connected Florence to the rest of the world. A journey around the ring is a journey through the past, reliving great artists from the Renaissance and exploring the landscapes which once inspired the likes of Leonardo da Vinci. The path follows the fills of Mugello, Apennine, Fiesole which can all be experienced via bicycle journey as well. This road is full of wine stops with only the most famous of Italian reds like Chianti Classico!
Natural Park of Maremma Route (90km/56 miles)
This is one of the most beautiful of all routes within the region since it unites all the beauties of the coastal area. The heart of the route is located in Magliano, among the picturesque vines of Vermentino and Morellino. The route is rich in pine trees which have become emblematic of Italian countryside landscapes. The Natural Park stretches along the South Coast of Tuscany all the way to Orbetello Lagoon and Monte Argentario. These areas make for dream-like scenery but not limited to dreams since you can literally dive into the crystal clear waters from Cala di Forno to Cala Violina.
Saint Francis Valley Route (270 km/168 miles)
This path starts at Ermo della Verna in the Province of Arezzo all the way to Assisi, and takes the name of Saint Francis because of the many spots along the way where the saint is said to have prayed until finally reaching his destination – Assisi. Most of this journey unfolds in Umbria close to Valle del Tevere Valley, though the Tuscan area of the tour is just as full of history and nature. Chiusi della Verna is rich in scenic landscapes that are definitely worth a visit from Casentino Forest Park which is one of the oldest in Europe all the way to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines views. This area has become quite popular for touring spot in central Italy, due to its strategic positioning right between Umbria and Emilia-Romagna. Ideal wines to try in this area are the Shiraz, Cortona which is one of the oldest native grape variety given a DOC certification.
Valdarno Inferiore Valley Route (113 km/70 miles)
This path connects Pisa to Florence, with picturesque views of the Arno River which gently flows along the countryside and villages connecting the two cities. Starting from Torre, this route takes you to the Cradle of the Renaissance, crossing through villages so unique that they will give you glimpses of rare beauty of cities such as Montemagno, Rocca di Verruca, Cappiano Bridge, Malmantile and Renai Park. This tour will give you a full immersion into art, nature and history and of course wine with vineyards like those of Colli Pisano and some of the most famous from the province of Dlorence like Chianti Classico and Carmignano.