Hiking in Hidden Tuscany
Hiking in Hidden Tuscany
Hiking in Hidden Tuscany
Hiking in Hidden Tuscany
Hiking in Hidden Tuscany
Hiking in Hidden Tuscany
Hiking in Hidden Tuscany
Hiking in Hidden Tuscany

Hiking in Hidden Tuscany - Lobatz

Hiking in the mountains of Tuscany

Trek through a truly beautiful and ancient Tuscan mountain landscape while enjoying exceptional hospitality. In contrast to the rolling vineyards and cyprus avenues of Chianti, this is an untamed land of chestnut and beech forest with trails weaving along ridges and amongst jagged peaks. We hike the limestone summits of the Apuane Alps and the more benign sandstone features of the Apennine range around the famous hilltop town of Barga. A week in what many of our guests have called a 'true haven of tranquility'.


  • Hike the highest mountain in Tuscany
  • Stay in a truly lovely traditional Tuscan farmhouse 
  • Fabulous cuisine prepared by a professional chef
  • Complimentary wine with dinner
  • Optional rest day with time to visit Lucca
  • Gourmet Pizza night with Wine Tasting included
  • Italian ice cream 'gelato' after every walk!
  • Private pool and hot tub
  • Massage and Reflexology available
  • Extend your trip and visit Pisa or Florence
Spring Flowers, Autumn Colours

Spring in Tuscany is a riot of wild flowers, vibrant greens and heady scents. Fresh flavours dominate the menu and the magical fireflies provide the evening entertainment. Autumn offers gorgeous copper and orange colours, sweet chestnuts and figs plucked from the trees, and of course the chance to sample wild porcini mushrooms. Sightings of boar, deer, muflone or even porcupine are common in both seasons.

Our week of walking in Tuscany is based at Col di Lavacchio, a small organic hill farm with chestnut woodland, olive groves and a small vineyard. The traditional farmhouse provides comfortable and elegant accommodation, with the food and pool adding a touch of luxury.


  • airport
  • meet in
  • accommodation
  • route
  • peaks
  • transfer
  • Today you arrive at Col di Lavacchio organic farm, near the tiny hilltop hamlet of Promiana. We invite you to join us in the main house for a complimentary aperitif when we can discuss the week ahead. A candlelit dinner is served in the cosy dining room amidst the antiques and oil paintings, or on warm evenings we will eat on the terrace with views of the Serchio Valley and the mountains beyond.

  • This first walk is an excellent introduction to the area, a gorgeous summit with a 'cross' at 1314m (4311ft). Each spring when the narcissi are in flower there is a pilgrimage to the summit involving several hundred local people, there to celebrate the spring flowers, and to enjoy the wonderful scent of the daffodils. We begin with a drive through the steep sided valley of Fabbriche di Vallico to the remote village of Palagnana, where we take an ancient trail through the beech forest. We reach the Foce delle Porchette, a pass, which offers incredible views all the way to the Mediterranean, and the marble quarries where Michelangelo sourced his stone for 'David' in the year 1501. Then it’s up an impressive limestone gorge, before clambering out onto the grassy mountainside, and the final pull to the summit of Monte Croce. We descend by a circular route through the ancient beech forest and the quaint hamlet of Pioppo and enjoy a drink at the village bar in Palagnana.

    Ascent: 580m (1902ft) Descent: 570m (1869ft) Distance 9km (5.6 miles) 6hrs

  • This morning we are aiming for the highest peak in Tuscany. It's always lovely to feel that sense of surveying all before you, and realising you are as high as you can get, and the views from the summit of Monte Prado do not disappoint. The summit sits at 2054m (6739ft) and offers views back to the Apuane Alps and also across the Apennine Alps with wave after wave of ridge lines. Although it is the highest it is easy walking along a broad grassy ridge where many berry pickers are to be found in the autumn as they harvest the wild 'blaeberries', known locally as 'myrtillo', for sale in local villages. The route begins after morning cappuccino at the ancient coaching house at Rifugio Casone di Profecchia, built to service the pilgrims and travellers heading for the Passo delle Radici which leads to Emilia-Romagna, one of the wealthiest and most developed regions in Europe. A stroll though beech forests, dappled with sunlight, and we emerge onto open grassy hillside covered in juniper, myrtillo and heather. Lunch will normally be eaten on the summit where Italian hikers may arrive from the 'other side' and offer a chance to compare notes!

    Ascent: 1040m (3412ft) Descent: 1040m (3412ft) Distance 9km (6 miles) 6hrs

  • Some wonderful rock 'sculpture' provides our goal today as we climb through the forests in search of the stunning ridge line and natural archway that lies just below the summit of Monte Forato. To reach this impressive limestone arch we begin from the quintessential Italian village of Fornovolasco with its cobbled streets and ancient homes. A steady climb takes us to the pass at Foce di Petrosciana with breathtaking views of the rock tower of Monte Procinto. We then follow the rocky ridgeline, with views to the Mediterranean, until the huge limestone archway is suddenly before us. At this point there is usually a compulsory photostop, before a short climb to the summit itself for lunch. We eat our picnic while taking in views of Tuscan villages, surrounded by forest, and in the distance the sea. Well fed we continue along the ridge until Foce di Valli, and a descent through the meadows, past ancient ruins, and then the forest back to Fornovolasco. This is usually followed by a well earned stop at the gelateria in Gallicano!

    Ascent: 915m (3008ft) Descent: 895m (2936ft) Distance 10km (6.2 miles) 6.5hrs.

  • Today you have the option of either a free day or to explore the mountains on another walk. Many of our guests choose a day to either enjoy the beautiful grounds of Lavacchio, relaxing by the pool and resting tired limbs, or perhaps taking a short stroll from the house through the local chestnut woodlands. If you are keen to explore further a field then why not visit the medieval walled city of Lucca which is absolutely stunning and a great place to relax or engage in some serious retail therapy! It is the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) who composed some of the most beloved operas of all time, including La bohème, Tosca, and Madame Butterfly. The museum documenting the life of this famous 'local' is definitely worth a visit. A complimentary taxi to the railway station will be offered in the morning with a return service late afternoon. Massage is also available as we have an excellent local masseuse who can come to the house, though pre-booking at the start of the week is essential. In the evening, you choose to have a prepared by our hosts or stroll along to the local restaurant, Il Sassone di Fobbia.

  • A gorgeous summit today, with a chance to sip from the Fountain of Love, and perhaps the chance to pick a few porcini mushrooms on the woods? A short drive to the ancient village of Corfino on the Apennine side of the Serchio valley shows the Garfagnana valley opening up with views to ancient homes perched on the hillsides. Starting from the shepherds’ hamlet of Pruno, we wind upwards along a trail in the beech forests and then join an old cobbled mule track along the south side of the Pania di Corfino. We pause for a sip from the Fonte del Amore - Fountain of Love - and then stop at the tiny mountain community of Campaiana for lunch. Winding up to the summit of the Pania di Corfino  at 1603m (5257ft) takes us to an excellent view of the jagged ridges and peaks of the Apuane Alps to the west. The Pania di Corfino is interesting in that it is a limestone mountain set in a range that is otherwise sandstone. We complete our circular walk by heading down the well worn trail to Rifugio Isera and back to Pruno. We normally stop on our way home at the medieval town of Castelnuovo di Garfagnana for gelato.

    Ascent: 775m (2542ft) Descent: 750m (2460ft) Distance 12.5km (7.7 miles) 6 hrs

  • This is a “big mountain" day. Together with its direct neighbour, Pania Secca, the Pania della Croce stands out as one of the most visible mountains in Tuscany. It forms a barrier, separating the northern main summits of the Apuane group from the lower hillcountry in the south. Throughout the week you will have been aware of the 'Pania' rearing skywards high above the farmhouse at Lavacchio. The peak is made even more dramatic by the fact that the mountain is separated from the rest of the range by two valleys meaning that on both sides the elevation difference is more than 1000m. We being with a short drive to Piglionico at 1008m (3307ft) where there is a memorial to WWII partisans who fought a fierce battle on nearby Monte Rovaio. We then traverse round the north side of the Pania delle Croce, to the Refugio del Freo before beginning our main climb of the day on a steady zig zag path. Gaining the ridge we are offered a vista of a rugged, wild landscape, with impressive faces and cliffs as well as glimpses of numerous marble quarries. The Gulf of La Spezia can be seen in the distance and on a clear day Corsica is visible. An easy path takes us along the ridge to the summit 'cross' at 1858m (6096ft) and a well earned picnic lunch. The descent of the rocky Canale d’Inferno often gives sightings of muflon, the wild sheep believed to be the ancestors of all domestic sheep breeds.  It's then back to Lavacchio for a well-earned drink on the terrace and a chance to watch your final Tuscan sunset. 

    Ascent: 940m (3083ft) Descent: 890m (2919ft) Distance 11.5km (7 miles) 7 hrs

  • Today you head home, having experienced a week of exploration which revealed the wilder side of the mountains of Tuscany.

It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.


It is without a doubt that our accommodation at Col di Lavacchio, Tuscany, is a highlight of this trip. Over the years we have without fail had great feedback from our guests who have stayed at this lovely agriturismo property. It is a true haven from the hustle and bustle of modern life, and perfect to catch your breath and relax at the end of a great day of hiking. 

Jamie and Ailsa Reynolds found the abandoned farm in 2003 and embarked on a project to restore it. It is now a productive organic enterprise with extensive grounds where you can wander through the olive and fig trees, and smell the herbs growing in the borders. 

Today the property features 110 olive trees, 40 fruit trees, including apples, apricots, pear and quince, a small vineyard and countless herbs. With some wonderful produce available to buy locally they plant their two vegetable plots with rare or unusual varieties. The fowl include 3 different breeds of duck and 4 rare breeds of hens with numbers ranging from 25 to 70 providing guests with ample organic meat and eggs. On many occasions guests have gone home clutching a jar of one of Ailsa's amazing chutneys!


La Fattoria


"La Fattoria" is a traditional Garfagnana farmhouse in the remote hamlet of Lavacchio. Chestnut beams, exposed stone and terracotta tiles, combined with antique furniture, art and excellent beds add a touch of luxury to this rural retreat.

There are five bedrooms with three bathrooms, and outside a wisteria clad dining terrace. The sitting room has a wood burning stove. The house is well stocked with books, cards and games. There is a kitchen where you can make teas/coffees and access a fridge, honesty bar and snacks. The terrace is equipped with an enormous barbecue and ancient bread oven. There is a covered table tennis table, marked badminton court, and yoga decking for those who wish to stretch at the end of the day. Depending on the season you will also have access to either the pool or the hot tub with bathrobes available for guests to use.

  • Italy is easily reached by road, rail, coach or plane.

    A private group transfer from Pisa airport to your accommodation is provided on the first day. This takes approximately one hour and normally departs the airport at 1430 hrs. If arriving outside of this time it is very easy to reach the local town of Barga-Gallicano by train, and we will pick you from the station and take you to the farmhouse. The train journey is around 10€ (including the transfer from the airport to the main Pisa station) and takes about 2 hrs. The train line which you need to take to Barga-Gallicano is usually going to Aulla or Piazza al Serchio. Train information and advanced tickets can be bought/sourced here at Trenitalia.

    There are left luggage facilities in the airport (approximately 8€ per day per piece) and the train ticket office and information centres are right next door. There is a station in the terminal and the journey to Pisa Central Station is just 5 minutes. The return fare is approximately 4€. At the end of the holiday there will be a single, timed transfer back to Pisa Airport which departs after breakfast, arriving at the airport for approximately 0930 hrs.

    Please do not hesitate to get in touch to chat through the details. 

  • You must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity including emergency helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. We also advise you take out Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance in the event of you being unable to join the trip. 

    If you are joining a trip in the UK helicopter/mountain rescue insurance is not required as this is a free service.

    The insurance referred to should only be purchased AFTER we have confirmed your trip is guaranteed to run. 

    The insurance clause set out in our Terms and Conditions is below:

    Insurance: It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, cost of repatriation, and personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the trip. For tours taking place outside the United Kingdom you must ensure that your insurance covers rescue from the mountains, including helicopter rescue. It is the right of the leader to make a decision to call for helicopter rescue if such assistance is needed. Costs incurred by you, the client, due to an evacuation, rescue or other emergency shall be your responsibility. Any subsequent costs incurred for expenses, not limited to but including such costs as hotels, food, transport etc, shall be borne by you, the client. You are responsible for ensuring insurance cover is adequate for the particular needs of your chosen activity. You must be fully aware of the implications involved in arranging your own travel insurance and understand the limitations and exclusions of the policy. By agreeing to our Terms and Conditions you are authorising Tracks and Trails Ltd, or the person employed to lead the trip for Tracks and Trails Ltd, to instigate rescue and/or helicopter evacuation procedures without previously obtaining the permission of the company issuing your insurance policy. We reserve the right to cancel your booking at any time if we are not satisfied you have the necessary insurance policy covering your activity. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip then please contact us for specific details.

    You must bring all insurance documentation with you at the time of the activity. We also recommend your insurance covers you for trip cancellation and baggage loss/damage. Tracks and Trails Ltd are unable to accept responsibility for the loss or damage to any client equipment or luggage.

    For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.

  • On many of our trips there will be an element of 'group kit' which will be shared amongst our guests. As mountain people you will be used to team work and working together to the mutual benefit and safety of the group.

    The 'group kit' will be minimal and usually just a case of sharing a few lightweight 'survival shelters'. For example on a week-long trip you may carry a small shelter for just one day before passing it on to the next person. 

    If you are booking a trip in winter there will be a few additional safety items. These will be distributed in such a way that no one is over burdened. 

    Other group items necessary for safety and comfort will be carried by your guide/instructor.

  • After we have processed your booking we will send you a comprehensive clothing and equipment list that is appropriate to your trip and activity. There will be some items on this list that we strongly recommend and others which are suggested. Our list is based on our experience of what is needed for any particular trip, but it is not the definitive article! If you have items you like to use then do bring them, but be aware of over-loading your 'day' rucksack with items that are heavy and therefore making the trip more challenging.

    Please contact us if in any doubt about what to bring.

  • For each of our trips there is a minimum number of guests required to book before we can 'guarantee' your trip will run. It depends on the particular trip in question, but it is normally 4. The maximum number of guests on your trip is displayed in the 'At a Glance' box on the righthand side of the trip page. 

    We strongly advise you do not book travel until we have confirmed your trip is 'guaranteed' to run. If you book travel before we have confirmed it is 'guaranteed' we cannot be held responsible for any financial loss if the trip does not go ahead.

  • We go to great lengths to work with first class guides and instructors who are passionate about their work. They are all fully qualified, insured, and hold the correct documentation.

    Please note your guide/instructor has complete discretion to make a daily decision on whether or not to take the advertised route based on the weather and the ability of the members of the group. They have our authority to make any route changes they believe are necessary in the interests of safety and enjoyment. 

    For our walking, family, and snowshoeing trips your guide will be a fully qualified and experienced International Mountain Leader. For our running trips your guide will be an International Mountain Leader, and an experienced mountain 'trail runner'.

    If you have booked on a cross country ski trip you will be with a fully qualified professional BASI Nordic Ski Instructor or equivalent. BASI is the British Association of Snowsport Instructors.

  • We have graded this trip 'Difficult'. You are never higher than 2054 m (6738 ft) altitude, you have a rest day if you wish and are based in one place making it easy to opt out and lie by the pool. However, the walking is sufficiently steep and challenging to also satisfy the 'keen' walker. One guest described it as, "surprising, impressive, challenging, but done in a relaxed fashion." This week combines 'relaxing' with a full day of exercise on trails that in the Apennine are easy and rolling, while in the Apuane they are rocky and steep. We say that in the Apennine you can walk AND look at the views, whereas in the Apuane you need to STOP before looking at the views. Please read the full grade description before booking. 

  • For this trip where you are centre-based, in other words where you are staying in the same accommodation all week, you are welcome to bring whatever luggage you require. However, please note that there are no elevators in our traditional Tuscan farmhouse. This means you may need to carry your luggage to your bedroom and this might involve climbing several flights of stairs. 

  • Lunches are included in your trip fee, and will be provided by your hosts. The lunches are fabulous and are far removed from the normal mountain hiking fare of baguette and cheese.

    Ailsa will prepare a picnic box each day featuring delicious home made pies, quiches, pastas and salads. You will also have home made cake, fruit and local cheese. Plus we usually take a flask of great Italian coffee to have a morning stop with Ailsa's tray bakes! 

    The food at Col di Lavacchio is a highlight of this trip with much of it sourced from the organic garden.

  • On your itinerary you will find an indication of the amount of ascent and descent you can expect each day. This offers a guideline to how much effort might be expended each day and allows you to decide, based on previous experience, if your fitness and stamina are correct for the trip. 

    We make every attempt to ensure these statistics are as accurate as possible, but ask you to note that the most modern of technology used to record these details can show considerable variations in terms of ascent, descent, and in particular distance. In other words no two people using GPS devices on the same route will have exactly the same details recorded at the end of the day. 

    The statistics given should be used as a 'general' indication of the effort required. 

  • In mountainous terrain the weather can vary considerably and you should be prepared for any eventuality. Temperatures in Tuscany, Italy, can reach over 30°Celsius (86°F) even in May and June, but can be as low 5°Celsius (41°F) on the high ridges and mountain passes in September, and early October. It is usually sunny with good clear days, but it can rain, and occasionally strong winds can affect walking in the mountain ranges. The average temperatures range from a very pleasant 18 - 25°Celsius (64.4°F - 77°F) in the valleys and 10 -15°Celsius (50-59°F) on the passes.

  • It is useful to arrive at your destination with some cash in the local currency, however, on most occasions it is relatively easy to visit a 'cash machine' after arrival and withdraw money on a credit or debit card. Some of our locations are an exception to this in particular Norway, where the accommodation will often have no facilities for withdrawing cash, but they will take a credit card. 

    On many of our trips we will visit remote cafes/farms where it is wonderful to enjoy a drink and a cake, at places such as these they will only accept payment in the local currency in cash.

  • Food

    On our trips we encourage you to experience local tastes and dishes that reflect the culture of the country and for this reason many of our accommodation options will be family run with a reputation for the traditional food of the region. 

    If you have a 'special' diet because of an allergy or intolerance to a certain food type which will make you ill the accommodation will cater for this as best they can, eg gluten free, nut free, lactose free.

    If you are vegetarian then this is not a problem as the hotels/refuges are used to being asked for vegetarian meals. Our accommodation will try to cater for those with vegan diets but in remote refuges in the mountains this is more difficult. If you would like to discuss the suitability of a trip for a vegan diet please contact us. Gluten-free diets will be possible with regard to the evening meals, but we would advise that you bring along some gluten-free snacks for your breakfasts and lunches.

    If you have a 'special' diet which is NOT because of an allergy or intolerance, and is not 'veggie' then we apologise, but we cannot cater for this. The accommodation on the popular routes will be catering for many people each evening, in some cases up to 70/80 meals per night, 7 days a week, and realistically they cannot produce many different meal options unless the food will result in illness.


    The countries we visit all have tap water which is drinkable. If for any reason a particular hotel is having a problem with a remote mountain water supply they will normally post a sign over the tap indicating that you must not drink the water. At all times you are welcome to ask your guide/instructor if the water can be drunk. We would ask, for environmental reasons, that you avoid using single-use plastic bottles, and bring a water bottle that can be used repeatedly. 

  • A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required for visits to countries outside the EU, such as Norway. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice.  

  • We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:


    Note that if your trip involves staying in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut that electric sockets may be in short supply and for that night you may not be able to charge any items. Although the accommodation will have electricity this will often be supplied by solar panels or a generator and limited to use by the staff. For this reason we advise that carrying a small slimline and lightweight 'battery pack' can be very useful for recharging phones which many of you will also use as your camera. 

  • Before booking consider whether you expect to be in the appropriate physical condition on the date of your  departure to allow you to fully participate in and enjoy your holiday. If you have any doubts because of an illness or injury it would be advisable to check with your doctor.

    For UK residents travelling to an EU country you should obtain and bring with you a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment in certain European countries, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance. Also note that if/when the UK leaves the European Union that the EHIC card may no longer be valid. Please check this before departing. We advise that you always carry your insurance documents with details of the Emergency Medical telephone number for your insurance provider, and your policy number. 

  • We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. In particular we ask that you remove any toilet tissue.

    You can read our full policy here.

  • Working across international boundaries, and with various currencies means that the price of our trips can change overnight. We have, however, undertaken to guarantee that once you have paid your deposit the price of your trip is fixed. In this respect we urge you to book early to ensure that you receive the price advertised on our website. The website price may increase due to currency fluctuations, but we guarantee that the price advertised on the date of your booking will be maintained in your individual case. 

Prices may vary depending on date.


Spaces available Book

What's Included

  • Breakfast, picnic lunch, and three-course dinner with wine. Based on two people sharing
  • Single rooms available, though limited in number
  • All meals are prepared by our professional chef who uses local seasonal produce.  All dietary requirements can be met
  • Gourmet pizza evening, roll your own and cook in the wood fired oven
  • Wine tasting evening with 6 wines from the Lucca hills made by artisan winemakers
  • The guiding services of a qualified hiking guide for 6 days
  • Includes an optional free day to either explore Lucca, rest by the pool
  • Complimentary transfer to/from the railway station on your free day, if required
  • Depending on the season, use of the hot tub or the swimming pool
  • Airport transfers, and all transport in Italy on walking days
  • Tracks and Trails gift for the 'outdoors'

What's Not Included

  • Travel Insurance
  • Flights (but we can offer advice on the best flight options)
  • Train tickets on your free day: to Lucca cost approximately 9 Euros and to Florence 21 Euros
  • Massages or reflexology are extras and usually cost 50 Euros per hour
Return to Search Print Trip Notes

Grade: Intermediate


At a Glance

From Price £1695
Holiday Type Walking
Duration 8 Days
Group Size 8
Maximum Altitude 2054m (6738ft)
Countries Visited Italy
Meet In Pisa Airport, Italy
View all Walking Holidays

Welcome to Secret Tuscany

Why book with T&T?

  • Highly professional guides
  • Personal service guaranteed 
  • Attention to detail throughout
  • Explore off the beaten track
  • Single rooms on request
  • No surcharge guaranteed
Read More