Walking Tour in Tuscany, Elba and Giglio Islands and Coastal Walks In The Maremma, Italy
Our walk begins in the beautiful city of Florence. The magic of Tuscany is not only its culture that brought forth the Renaissance or masters like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci but its magnificent countryside. Our walk leads us through medieval hilltop villages, rolling hills, fertile valleys, vineyards, olive groves and forests ablaze with colour.
We follow a trail through the wooded countryside of Chianti and the hills around San Gimignano. At night enjoy delicious Tuscan cuisine - vegetable timbale with a basil sauce, bruschetta, guinea fowl in vin santos, memorable porcini dishes, the best pasta and mouth-watering pastries.
With just a ferry ride away we will immerse ourselves in the dreamy Italian island of Elba, one of the most beautiful Islands in the Mediterranean! The meandering footpaths on the colourful island bring us through the quaintest of villages, green shady forests leading us up to high secluded peaks, which offer stunning 360° views of this slice of paradise!
Elba’s typical low mediterranean vegetation offers a large variety and the greatest treat is that one can always finish off at one of the many inviting beaches to cool off from the day.
Explore the mystical Tuscan coastline of the Maremma, a hilly area dotted with vineyards, castles and a sandy coast with beautiful beaches. This region has been inhabited for a period of one thousand years and along our trails we will discover many archaeological sites. We walk through pine forests and aromatic Mediterranean vegetation to sandy beaches.
In the nearby Uccellina Mountains we explore a medieval cistercian abbey. Nearby Mount Argentario is a peninsula tied to Tuscany by just two strips of land. This wild and unspoilt promontory was once used as a defensive fortress, and indeed, its former military function is still visible today. From Porto Ercole we meander up through oak forests to the Convento dei Frati Passionisti, a monastery built in 1737. From the summit of Monte Argentario at 645 metres we descend to the panoramic seaside town of Porto Santo Stefano, which is the departure point to Giglio Island.
This ultimate hidden gem offers the bluest of seas all around and fabulous beaches to unwind after a day of walking. The largest part of the island is wild and covered by mediterranean vegetation. Get ready to be intoxicated by a whirl of fragrances. The wild beauty of the countryside around Capalbio will sweep you off your feet to mystical places such as the magnificent Tarot garden, which features large colourful sculptures created by renowned artist Niki de Saint Phalle.
Our Hotels and Cuisine
The first 3 nights are spent in a grand country estate, nestled in the hills, surrounded by olive trees and overlooking San Gimignano. It has a beautiful landscaped garden, complete with a swimming pool and tennis courts. A highlight here is the opportunity to eat in some of the best local restaurants in this famous region of Tuscany.
In Elba we stay in a charming hotel close to the seaside.
Our hotel in the Maremma is on the beautiful Monte Argentario promontory and enjoys an exclusive location with stunning panoramic views over the beautiful landscape. Immersed in luxuriant natural surroundings, we are only one kilometre from the centre of Porto Santo Stefano.
I loved the variety of walks and also the variety of experiences. Roaming around in the countryside was my kind of holiday, as was the gourmet eating and drinking, and visiting isolated historical sites. Helmut was the ideal guide: professional, knowledgeable, encouraging and caring." Kath from Wellington, NZ 
Great holiday. Most locations chosen are off the main tourist areas and give a better idea of the countryside and the way of life. Hence the walks are mainly off the beaten track and much more enjoyable. The expertise of the guides is invaluable and you certainly get to enjoy the highlights of the areas in very safe hands. The time spent in each location is just right. Small group worked out well with walkers being of similar capabilities." Pamela from Sydney, NSW, Australia 
We were a group of fourteen friends under the leadership of Helmut; Ages varied from 40 to 74, but all with a good level of fitness. Some parts of the walk were challenging, but these walks were the ones that rewarded you with amazing scenery. Four different parts of northern Italy, all uniquely different. Perhaps my favourite was the starting point, a lovely country setting motel with walled cities all around the region, where we ate in one each night we were there. Or did I like the five fishing villages along the coast the most. Where we trudged vertically to the top each day to be rewarded with spectacular views as we trekked along the cliff tops, and the different sea food courses each night in a different restaurant, and the wine, ahh. Or did I really love Tuscanny the best. Rolling hills of vineyards, wine tastings, the food of a night and perhaps the best wines in the world. My spine still shudders, or was it the ancient walled cities and their history. Then, staying on the lake, more seafood restaurants, bubbles as the sun sets over the lake, following the paths of the ancients of three thousand years ago, maybe this was my favourite part of the trek. What I did not like at all was the finish, all over too soon." Terry, Townsville, QLD, Australia 
A great trip and fabulous dinners. Loved the Cinque Terre area, but was a bit surprised by the degree of difficulty. Quite manageable, but not a "walk in the park" so to speak. Very well organised - ran like clockwork. Helmutt and Dominique were great. Something different to see in each village. Certainly would recommend this trip to anyone wanting an active holiday accompanied by wonderful food. What appealed to me most was that we didn't spend any time in large cities and were able to experience the countryside and small villages." Lyn, Ridgewood QLD, Australia 
Great itinerary with a great guide (Helmut the magnificent). Walking through the vineyards was a highlight, as was the restaurants we visited - lots of steps on the Fitbit each day was rewarded with varied (and plentiful) cuisine and the chance to try the wine that we wanted. The accommodation was eclectic, from the hotel looking over the valley to San Gimignano, to the room at the top of Riomaggiore, and the weather was perfect. Would recommend to anyone who wanted an active walking holiday." Paul & Terri, Melbourne, VIC, Australia 
A group of eight women friends, we were ably and enthusiastically led by the indefatigable Helmut who indulged our every whim from language lessons to shopping time, to soaking feet in ancient Roman springs, and realising he could not tame us eventually acquiesced and proudly referred to us as 'his women'! Walking the hills of Barolo was hot and strenuous in early Sept and Cinque Terre proved to be not for the ain't hearted and certainly rough terrain put some off but the Chianti District and Lake Bolsena resurrected our spirit and becoming fitter we enjoyed the walking. Sampling the best wines in Italy we found the food was a test of endurance in that although superb we would have been happy to have been able to skip Piatti Secondi and I found the only way to manage the dinner was to skimp on breakfast and lunch! Accommodation was varied some better than others but we were always dining at the well chosen restaurants of each stop. On the whole we were unprepared for Italian hills in 32 degrees heat but pathways were full of interest through welcome shade of forests and the crossing of occasional creeks and in historic footsteps of the Etruscans and the Romans and we covered an amazing amount of Italy and always plenty of variety. Tour could have been more specific in its degree of difficulty but then we would not have achieved such satisfaction at completing the walks or had so much fun answering the challenge!" Susan, Emu Park, QLD, Australia 
My husband Peter and I both really enjoyed our 15 day walkabout in Italy. We had a group of 12 with two guides, Gabriella and Milo who did a great job of keeping us on "track". The countryside, food and wine was stunning, particularly the coastline around the Cinqua Terra. The walking was challenging at times but that only added to our sense of achievement at the end of the day. All in all it was a very happy and interesting walk. The tour was very well organised and the accommodation was very comfortable. I would have no hesitation in recommending Walkabout Tours for anyone wanting to get off the beaten track and enjoy a holiday with a challenge." Anne & Peter, Perth, WA, Australia 
We thoroughly enjoyed our walking tour and the places we visited. Meals were on the whole excellent although for our own needs far too large. Accommodation was excellent apart from Riomaggiore which we understood to be the best available." Tim, Perth, WA, Australia 
We were excited about walking in such an iconic area in Italy particularly as we had not visited these areas before. The accommodation, restaurants and wine were of a high standard although at times the meals were very large particularly after a long day and a strenuous walk. We loved the scenery and the company of our friends and guides. We found the walk a wonderful way to experience the delights of such a beautiful part of Italy." Ted, Perth, WA, Australia 
Another fantastic walking adventure in Europe, our second one. From the stunning scenery around the rolling hills of the vineyards in Piedmont, to the rugged coastline of Cinque Terre and finishing beside the beautiful Lake Bolsena, it was all specular. Our guides, Helmut and Milo were always willing to help and with their extensive knowledge of the area, made it easy and interesting throughout each day. The walking days were varied with some easier than others. Nothing too strenuous. We stopped at bars and cafes along the way which were a welcome break. The picnic lunches were a highlight where we could relax and enjoy our lunch in a convenient park or under a shady tree. The historical villages we visited along the way, were interesting and we had time to explore these areas. The food was delicious with a great variety of Italian delights. This was our first trip to Italy and was a great way to experience Italian customs and way of life. We love these well organised walking holidays and have already planned our next adventure. John & Cheryl, Hervey Bay, QLD, Australia 
Our hosts, Helmut and Milo, were excellent! We loved the way they were both so passionate and knowledgeable about the country, the food and wine, it's history, and its people. The walks were varied and interesting - they exceeded our expectations. The level of the walks was pitched about right for us and we had no difficulty on any of the trails. The local scenery was delightful. The weather was starting to heat up on some walks - a couple of weeks earlier would have been better. The accommodation was excellent except for Riomaggiore, which we felt was below average. We loved the location at San Gimignano, and Castello di Novello was a unexpected and special experience. The food was fantastic, however on a couple of occasions, the generosity of our local hosts was overwhelming! We really enjoyed all of the wine-related experiences - both the tastings and the wine that was shared over dinner. Overall it was a fantastic touring experience. We would love to try another Walkabout tour again soon. Lucas, Wheelers Hill, VIC, Australia 
My first time as a solo traveler so I was a little apprehensive about the whole going overseas. But, despite a few problems with flights and luggage, I had an awesome time. The Italian people are beautiful and so welcoming. Lovely group of fellow travelers and with our small group (13) it gave us all a chance to walk with others, share stories and experiences. Our vehicle transport, when in use, gave us the opportunity to get right into the heart of the villages and small cities we visited. The daily walks of between 10 to a max of 18 km (one day only) was easily achieved and the combination of country lanes, woodlands, villages, vineyards, olive and chestnut groves was just right. Food was beautiful, albeit a bit too much sometimes. Every one of our hosts, whether in a restaurant, vineyard or hotel, were so generous with their time, and their passion for the local produce was clear to see. Thank you Walkabout for making this such a great experience. I'll definitely be back. Cheryl, Melbourne, VIC, Australia 
Everything about our tour was excellent, from the start in Turin, to the end of our tour in Florence. With all accommodation and transport arranged, and guide information provided along the way, it was a fantastic experience. There were some challenging walks, but overall the scenery was spectacular, and we benefited from the exercise, and so looked forward to the evening dinners, all first class meals. When we all went our separate ways in Florence, it was a quite sad, like saying goodbye to family. Our tour group were all fun people, and our tour guides were top class. We have already booked our next Walkabout Gourmet adventure. Rex, Adelaide, VIC, Australia 
Wonderful holiday, loved our guides Petra and Adriane. Walks always exciting, with another marvellous vista over the hill or around the corner, most quite a challenge, but there was always a reward at the end, a village to explore, a wine tasting and so many other things too numerous to mention. I was really looking forward to the food and learning about the regional specialties, this did not disappoint, beautifully presented and so flavoursome, maybe a little too much, 3 courses enough for our Australian stomachs, also I hate waste after so much hard work has been put into the cooking. I was very pleased that I had prepared for the walk by doing lots of exercise beforehand, this made the holiday so much more enjoyable for me. Thank you." Pam, Melbourne, VIC, Australia 
Follow the Gourmet Tour was a wonderful experience. The walks were varied, interesting and sometimes challenging. Our accommodation was great and our dinners, which were mostly delicious, gave a marvellous insight into regional Italian cuisine and winemaking. Petra and Adrian, our guides, were attentive, entertaining and knowledgeable. Overall, the tour was very enjoyable. It was a pleasure walking alongside such a bunch of interesting people." Kathleen, Batman Park, VIC, Australia 
I had a wonderful time on this 15 day tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the walking with a fantastic guide named Petra. Her knowledge and history of the area was very good. It was well organised and the pace was excellent for me. The accommodation was good and it was great staying in places for 3-4 nights as this allowed us to rest at the end of the day. 4 courses at every evening meal was excessive and meant that you could not really enjoy the food. I would suggest only 2-3 courses is sufficient and a healthy option. Perhaps a option of guided tours in the bigger towns eg Lucca and Sienna would have been worthwhile One of the best holidays." Robyn, VIC Australia 
What an amazing holiday. Fabulous walks, excellent accommodation and food, and congenial company. Thank you Graeme and Helmutt for your warm, professionalism and sense of humour. True magic." Avril, Wentworth Falls, NSW, Australia 
Scenery spectacular - every day seemed like the best one! A good varied itinerary allowed for some well-earned breaks, with the unseasonally cool weather playing a welcome hand in very pleasant walking conditions. Our guide Helmut provided a capable good-humoured framework for the forays of our cheerful & diverse group. The temporary closure of the last leg of the Cinque Terre 5-villages walk did not impact that day's proceedings, as it is only a quick half-hour around the cliff-side, at sea level, after the spectacular views and walking we experienced throughout the rest of the day." Jenny, Sydney, Australia 
A beautiful walk with some challenges, rewarded by magnificent scenery, great wine tasting and food. We had done this walk as our first with WGA some ten years ago, and decided to repeat it as the walk had changed to be almost new, especially including Cinque Terre. When do we go again? Judith & Kevin, Melbourne, Australia 
David and I have just returned from our holiday in Italy where we were part of the Follow the Gourmet Trail walking tour. It was a really fabulous holiday most enjoyable and we wanted to let you know that Petra and Helmut were such wonderful guides. Nothing was too much trouble for them and they made the holiday really special. I hope we will be able to do another Walkabout Gourmet Adventure in the future. Christine, Ascot, Australia