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The Secret Apennines

The Apennines - the unknown Italian mountains
 
On this scenic self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking holiday, you walk through beautiful, little-known mountains while your luggage is transported ahead. Besides the excellent routes and sweeping views from the peaks, one of the holiday’s great features is the warm and genuine hospitality of your hosts.
The Secret Apennines. 7 nights
The Secret Apennines. 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday in the Apennines

The Apennines, stretching from Liguria to Umbria, form Italy's spine and offer some of the country's best walking. Our chosen area is the Alto Appennino Bolognese between the great cities of Florence and Bologna and close to the Tuscan border. Here, traditional villages cluster on the lower slopes of dramatic peaks rising to nearly 2,000 metres, and inviting paths lead up through thick, majestic woodland of beech, oak and chestnut to the high mountains.
Much of the walking occurs in the protected area of the Corno alle Scale Regional Park, rich in wildlife and flowers, and named after the area's imposing highest peak. In such a quiet, untouristy area, the welcome is genuine and warm. Our chosen inns receive high praise, not least for a regional cuisine of pasta, cured meats, fish from the rivers, bread made from chestnut flour, and, in season, wild mushrooms, truffles and chestnuts.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 8 8 12 15 20 24 28 28 23 18 12 8
    mm 67 55 59 72 56 40 2 22 51 78 112 83
  • Arrival in Porretta Terme
    Night 1: at Hotel Helvetia (where you spend one night).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Porretta Terme to Lizzano: 9.5km, 4hrs; ascent 625m / descent 345m
    As your first walk is not overly long, you could take some time to explore Porretta Terme before setting off. When you are ready, you strike out uphill in the direction of Castelluccio, an ancient village with a crumbling castle and sweeping views over the surrounding area to reward the occasionally steep ascent. Most of the walk is flat, however, and you pass through a series of other captivating hamlets. Your destination is the Hotel Il Fondaccio in Lizzano in Belvedere, where you stay two nights. From here the views – as the village's name suggests – are every bit as panoramic as those of Castelluccio, if not more so.
    Porretta Terme to Lizzano: 9.5km
    The route from Porretta Terme to Lizzano
  • Circular walk from Lizzano: 13.5km, 5hrs; ascent 660m / descent 640m
    We recommend a fairly strenuous circular walk that starts with a transfer and then ascends to the summit of Mount Belvedere, so named because it offers a 360-degree panorama of the Apennines. Part of the route is along the ‘Freedom Path’ that commemorates the heroism and sacrifice of the local resistance fighters and American troops who fought the Germans here.
    Circular walk from Lizzano: 13.5km
    Reaching the summit of Mount Belvedere on the route from Lizzano
  • Lizzano to Pianaccio: 11.5km, 4.5hrs; ascent 700m / descent 625m
    Leaving Lizzano, you gradually ascend towards Monteacuto, passing several hamlets, the Sanctuary of Madonna del Faggio, old water mills and 'window' viewpoints through the trees from which you can look to the dramatic peaks of La Nuda and Monte Grande. At Monteacuto it is well worth taking some time to explore, as the medieval village is one of the region's prettiest. From here, you descend to your destination, Pianaccio, and the welcoming Antica Locanda Alpina for two nights.
    Lizzano to Pianaccio: 11.5km
    Dramatic mountain views
  • Circular walk from Pianaccio: 16.5km, 6hrs; ascent 830m / descent 970m
    The day starts with a short transfer, after which you have a steady ascent to Porta Franca and its refuge on the border between Tuscany and Emilia Romagna. At certain times of year, many migrating birds can be seen soaring above the peaks. If you are feeling energetic, you can detour to the summit of Mount Gennaio. To return to Pianaccio, you descend across the high pastures of the western flank of the Corno alle Scale, following an ancient mule track.
    Circular walk from Pianaccio: 16.5km
    Mount Gennaio on the walk around Pianaccio
  • Choice of route from Pianaccio to Vidiciatico: 10km or 11km

    Pianaccio to Vidiciatico via Monte Grande: 10km, 4.5hrs; ascent 840m / descent 815m
    This route ascends steadily through the tranquil, wooded Bagnatori Valley to the panoramic summit of Monte Grande, from where a path descends via a delightful hamlet to the attractive village of Vidiciatico.

    Poor weather, low-level option: 11km, 4.5hrs; ascent 600m / descent 740m
    If the weather is poor, we recommend a second option which bypasses the summit of Monte Grande to a lovely col, before descending to Vidiciatico and the Hotel Montegrande for your final two nights.
    Woodland path on the route from Pianaccio to Vidiciatico
    Pianaccio to Vidiciatico via Monte Grande: 10km
    Poor weather, low-level option: 11km
  • Choice of walks from Vidiciatico: 7km to 12km
    For your last day, you have a choice of three routes, the first two of which involve short transfers at the start and end of the day, and take in the romantic 16th-century sanctuary of Madonna dell’Acero.

    Corno alle Scale: 12km, 5hrs; ascent 970m / descent 740m
    This is probably the highlight walk of the week. After a transfer to Madonna dell’Acero, you follow the Dardagna river along the valley to the Dardagna Falls. There is a stepped path alongside the waterfall providing the opportunity to experience at least three of its main tiers from up close. From the falls, you enjoy open views on your way to Lago del Scaffaiolo followed by a stunning ridge walk to the highest point, Corno alle Scale, crowned by the iconic metal cross that has been visible for most of your time in the Apennines. You descend on a track, then a lovely forest path to the refuge and lake at Cavone where you will be collected.

    Dardagna Valley: 7km, 3hrs; ascent 680m / descent 350m
    This shorter, low-level walk is mostly in the cover of trees, so ideal for poor weather. You are transferred to Poggiolforato, from where you follow the Dardagna river to the Dardagna Falls. Ascend the stepped path alongside the waterfalls, getting up close to at least three of its main tiers. From the top, you follow forest tracks to Madonna dell’Acero where you may wish to spend some time exploring the church before your transfer back to Vidiciatico.

    Vescovi & Farné: 9km, 4hrs; ascent / descent 370m; longer option 16km, 5.5hrs
    If you want a short walk, or if the weather is poor, this is a lovely, flat, low-level walk, enabling you to get ‘under the skin’ of the local region. From the hotel, you follow quiet country lanes, through pastureland, and short sections on busier roads (but not for long) to explore peaceful villages like Vescovi and Farné with stunning views of the lowlands and valleys. There is an option to extend your day by visiting the church and bell tower at Rocca Cornet.
    Corno alle Scale: 12km
    Views towards Corno all Scale on your walk around Vidiciatico
    Dardagna Valley: 7km
    Vescovi and Farné: 9km
 

Accommodation

You will be warmly welcomed at all your charming, comfortable hotels.
 

Options to extend or shorten your stay

 

Prices for 2020

We are in the process of updating our prices for 2020. If you’d like to book now, please contact us – we’ll be happy to provide a quotation.
Get in touch >
 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
Currency converter

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  • 7 nights: 12 May - 21 July 2019 & 25 August - 06 October 2019

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    12 - 23 May £730 £80
    24 May - 24 June £755 £80
    25 June - 14 July £795 £80
    25 - 30 August £795 £80
    31 August - 29 September £755 £80
    3rd & 4th person discount -£15
    Single traveller supplement £15

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    Hotel Helvetia, Porretta Terme (B&B) Double room Single room
    12 May - 21 Jul 2019 £66 £94
    25 Aug - 06 Oct 2019 £66 £94
    Hotel Il Fondaccio, Lizzano in Belvedere (with dinner) Double room Single room
    12 May - 30 Jun 2019 £62 £68
    01 Jul - 21 Jul 2019 £69 £75
    25 Aug - 31 Aug 2019 £69 £75
    01 Sep - 06 Oct 2019 £62 £68
    Hotel Montegrande, Vidiciatico (with dinner) Double room Single room
    12 May - 30 Jun 2019 £62 £68
    01 Jul - 21 Jul 2019 £69 £75
    25 Aug - 31 Aug 2019 £69 £75
    01 Sep - 06 Oct 2019 £62 £68
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Bologna, Pisa

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Rome or Milan.  To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Bologna (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Aberdeen - Bologna (via Paris) Air France 
    Aberdeen - Pisa (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Bologna (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Birmingham - Bologna (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Birmingham - Pisa jet2 
    Birmingham - Pisa (via Munich) Lufthansa 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Bologna Ryanair 
    Bristol - Pisa easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Durham Tees Valley - Pisa (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Nottingham East Midlands - Pisa jet2,  Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Bologna Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Pisa Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow Prestwick - Pisa Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Humberside - Bologna (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Humberside - Pisa (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Bologna (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Leeds Bradford - Pisa Ryanair 
    Leeds Bradford - Pisa jet2 
    Leeds Bradford - Pisa (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Pisa Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Bologna easyJet 
    Gatwick - Pisa British Airways,  easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Bologna British Airways 
    Heathrow - Pisa British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Pisa easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Bologna Ryanair 
    Stansted - Pisa Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Bologna Ryanair 
    Manchester - Pisa easyJet,  jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Pisa jet2 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Rome or Milan.  To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Bologna

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Bologna Centrale to Porretta Terme (1h10), walk Porretta Terme to hotel (0h05) £7 1700
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    hotel transfer to Porretta Terme (0h30), rail Porretta Terme to Bologna Centrale (1h10) £22 1200

    Connecting travel options - flying via Pisa

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Pisa Centrale to Porretta Terme (2h30-3h50), walk Porretta Terme station to hotel (0h05) £12 1400
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    hotel transfer to Porretta Terme (0h30), rail Porretta Terme to Pisa Centrale (3h) £30 1330
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 6 dinners
    6 picnics
    7 breakfasts


  • luggage transported

  • route notes and maps
  • transfers on Days 2, 4 & 6
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • Absolutely! We are experts in tailored rail travel. Making use of sleeper trains or stopovers in cities along the route, we can get you from London to virtually anywhere in mainland Europe. We can even make arrangements to Mallorca, Sicily and Norway with a combination of ferries and rail. Please contact Abi to discuss your plans.
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Italy, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The principal official language is Italian, though some regions have a second official language, such as South Tyrol, where German is widely spoken. The currency is the Euro. Italian time is GMT/UTC + 1. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on BST + 1.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 9/16/2019 3:14:18 AM