Historic Orvieto & Hidden Tuscany

Quiet central Italy, steeped in ancient history
 
Passing from Umbria into Lazio and onward to a quiet corner of Tuscany, this self-guided, hotel-to-hotel walking holiday promises great variety – the enchanting city of Orvieto, ever-changing scenery, and a wealth of history in the form of necropolises and sunken ‘roads’ built by the ancient Etruscan civilisation.
Historic Orvieto & Hidden Tuscany. 7 nights
Historic Orvieto & Hidden Tuscany. 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday from Umbria to Tuscany

Surrounding Italy’s largest volcanic lake, not far north of Rome, stretches a landscape characterised by rolling farmland, ancient woodland, olive groves and outcrops of tufa stone. Despite its proximity to Rome, it is as little-known as it is beautiful.

Starting in Umbria, in the handsome city of Orvieto, this holiday surprises with its variety. After a day visiting Orvieto’s striking cathedral and other sights, you walk to the shores of Lake Bolsena in Lazio, with a day to enjoy its deep blue waters. From here you cross into Tuscany, but not the one of glossy guide books. Instead, the scenery is wilder, the charming hill-top villages quieter, the sense of history more palpable.
Here, in ‘secret’ Tuscany, you will find numerous reminders of the ancient Etruscans, a mysterious pre-Roman civilisation which hewed necropolises into the porous rock and also left behind a network of incredible via cave – ravine-like sunken ‘roads’ – which are a unique feature of this spellbinding corner of Italy.
 
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.

We have improved the itinerary for 2023, and now feature two nights in both Orvieto and Bolsena so that there is more time to explore these beautiful places. Reviews prior to this relate to the old itinerary.
  • 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 10 10 14 17 23 27 31 31 25 21 14 10
    mm 48 48 44 47 32 16 9 10 37 60 84 63
  • Arrival in Orvieto
    Night 1: at Hotel Duomo (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Day in Orvieto
    Orvieto is a compact city full of interest. Its cathedral is one of the most splendid in all of Italy, with a striking facade and striped walls made from layers of black basalt and white travertine. Nearby is the Torre del Moro, a tower which commands sweeping views over Orvieto's rooftops and the surrounding countryside.

    The city's other key sights involve going underground – you can descend the steps into the 62-metre-deep well, and it is also worthwhile joining a guided tour of the network of tunnels and chambers that lie beneath the streets and which incorporate pens for livestock, and even an olive oil mill.

    To finish off your exploration, you may like to venture beyond the city walls and along the lofty crags, for wide-open views over the rolling hills and vineyards which produce Orvieto's delicious wines.
    Exploring Orvieto
  • Orvieto to Bolsena: 16.5km, 6hrs; ascent 350m / descent 395m
    The walk begins with a transfer to a viewpoint from where you can look back to Orvieto to fully appreciate its superb setting on a 300-metre-high outcrop of volcanic rock that rises almost sheer from the valley floor. Seen from afar like this, it is easy to understand why the Etruscans chose it as the site for one of the twelve cities in their federation. Setting off along wide tracks and well-defined paths, you soon leave Umbria and enter Lazio, crossing a colourful patchwork of rolling, open farmland before descending slowly via the old town of Bolsena to the shore of Italy’s largest volcanic lake which occupies a huge crater. Your base for the next two nights is the Hotel Holiday or the Ludwig Hotel.
    Orvieto to Bolsena: 16.5km
    Quiet routes
  • Day in Bolsena
    We suggest a circular walk for today, but there are non-walking options too, including joining a boat trip across the lake (pay locally). Equally, you could choose to potter around Bolsena itself, whose medieval streets are dominated by a castle – there are magnificent views across the water from the ramparts – and then return to the hotel to spend some time by the pool.

    Circular walk from Bolsena: 15km, 5.5hrs; ascent/descent 310m
    Following part of the Via Francigena, a pilgrimage and trading route to Rome, the route heads south across olive-clad hills and open farmland overlooking Lake Bolsena. Along the way you pass via a small nature reserve, ideal for a picnic.

    Cività di Bagnoreggio
    Reached by bus/taxi (pay locally), the remarkable medieval settlement of Cività di Bagnoreggio perches on a tufa hilltop in a magical, almost surreal setting. Access is via a lengthy footbridge, suspended high over the valley, which rises steeply to meet the walls encircling the village’s maze of ancient streets.
    Circular walk from Bolsena: 15km
    Spend the day exploring Bolsena
  • Bolsena to Sorano: 12km, 4hrs; ascent 155m / descent 395m
    This very varied walk starts with a short transfer into Tuscany, after which you walk past the ancient colony of Vitozza, the most important troglodytic settlement in Italy. You continue via a deep wooded valley and follow the River Lente to the magical hill-top town of Sorano, considered by many to be the finest example of a tufa village. Here, you stay at the Hotel della Fortezza for the night.
    Bolsena to Sorano: 12km
    Walking to Sorano
  • Sorano to Sovana: 11km, 4hrs; ascent 275m / descent 360m; optional extension to necropolis: 3.5km
    Leaving Sorano, you notice that the landscape is now characterised by the porous tufa rock. Reminders of the mysterious Etruscans, a powerful pre-Roman civilisation which settled in the area in the 9th century BC, come thick and fast: you follow a deep, leafy via cava that they hewed from the rock, and pass one of their many necropolises, which boasts a splendid viewing platform over Sorano. Finish with a section across open farmland and through vineyards, taking time, if you wish, to walk to another important Etruscan necropolis after arrival in delightful Sovana. Your hotel for your final two nights is the Sovana Hotel & Resort or the Albergo Scilla & Locanda della Taverna Etrusca.
    Sorano to Sovana: 11km
    Walking along the ancient Via Cava
  • Circular walk from Sovana: 14km, 5.5hrs; ascent 325m / descent 330m
    Follow a remarkable via cava to the even more extraordinary Etruscan town of Pitigliano. Set atop high tufa cliffs which lend it the appearance of being suspended in the sky, the town's different quarters are linked by the sweeping arches of a 16th-century aqueduct. There are numerous Etruscan tombs hewn from the cliffs, an imposing fortress (in which there is a museum displaying Etruscan finds) and a network of caves which nowadays are used as wine cellars, but the town is best known for its Jewish quarter. You can wander through the narrow streets and visit the old ghetto (complete with a bakery) as well as the ruins of the synagogue.
    Circular route from Sovana: 14km
    Pitigliano
 

Accommodation

All your hotels are comfortable and welcoming.

In some places, we work with more than one hotel, as shown below. All are hand-picked by us and, unless there is a price implication (in which case we will contact you to discuss your options), we will tell you which one we have booked for you on your booking confirmation.
 

Extend your stay

 
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. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 7 nights: 01 April 2024 - 30 June 2024 & 28 August 2024 - 31 October 2024

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

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 Apr 2024 £1110 £270
    1 May - 23 Jun 2024 £1210 £270
    28 Aug - 24 Oct 2024 £1170 £270
    3rd & 4th person discount -£110
    Single traveller supplement £110

    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.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel Duomo, Orvieto
    Junior suite: 10 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £10
    Junior suite: 21 Aug - 31 Oct 2024 £10
    Hotel Holiday, Bolsena
    Deluxe with lake view and balcony: 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £26
    Deluxe with lake view and balcony: 28 Aug - 31 Oct 2024 £26
    Lake view: 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £7
    Lake view: 28 Aug - 31 Oct 2024 £7
    Superior with lake view and balcony: 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £17
    Superior with lake view and balcony: 28 Aug - 31 Oct 2024 £17
    Hotel della Fortezza, Sorano
    Suite: 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £20
    Suite: 21 Aug - 31 Oct 2024 £20
    Sovana Hotel & Resort, Sovana
    Superior: 10 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £13
    Superior: 21 Aug - 31 Oct 2024 £13
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Rome
    As an alternative to flying, we can arrange rail travel from London

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

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

    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Rome Fiumicino jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Rome Fiumicino easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Nottingham East Midlands - Rome Ciampino Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Rome Ciampino Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Rome Fiumicino (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Rome Fiumicino jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow Prestwick - Rome Ciampino Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Leeds Bradford - Rome Fiumicino jet2 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Rome Fiumicino Blue Air 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Rome Fiumicino British Airways,  easyJet,  Vueling 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Rome Fiumicino Alitalia,  British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Rome Fiumicino easyJet,  Wizz Air 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Rome Ciampino Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Rome Ciampino Ryanair 
    Manchester - Rome Fiumicino British Airways,  easyJet,  jet2,  Vueling 
    Manchester - Rome Fiumicino (via Munich) Lufthansa 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Rome Fiumicino jet2 
    Newcastle - Rome Fiumicino (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Rome. 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 for any of the options listed above. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service. 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.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Where a price range is given, the price you pay depends on your date of travel.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Rome Ciampino

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Rome to Orvieto (1h30), taxi Orvieto to hotel (0h10) £32 1600
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Orvieto (1h30), rail Orvieto to Rome Termini (0h55) £86 1300

    Connecting travel options - flying via Rome Fiumicino

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Rome to Orvieto (1h30), taxi Orvieto to hotel (0h10) £32 1600
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Orvieto (1h30), rail Orvieto to Rome Termini (0h55) £86 1300
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 2 dinners
    2 picnics
    7 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • transfers on days 2 & 4
 
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 A to B, 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.
  • Yes, prior to going on holiday you will be able to download GPX tracks so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. It’s entirely up to you whether or not you use them – our detailed, step-by-step route notes remain the principal means of guiding you from A to B – but we provide them as a secondary means of navigation for additional reassurance when walking.
  • We can book a wide range of routes from the UK with a variety of airlines. 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. The fee for this service is £35 per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). 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 us to discuss your plans.
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to 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.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • 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 incur a five or six-figure bill.

    Many insurers offer travel insurance (you can find details on our insurance page of a policy that you may like to consider if you are a UK resident), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    When you purchase a policy, be sure to check that it covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs.
  • 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 (please note, however, that a new travel authorisation system is being introduced). 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 for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). You should also apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your EHIC has expired (if you have a still-valid EHIC, you can use this until it expires).
  • 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.
  • For information on the practicalities of travel now that the UK is no longer part of the European Union, visit www.gov.uk/visit-eu-switzerland-norway-iceland-liechtenstein.
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) 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.
  • You are the best judge of your child’s/children’s capabilities. We are happy to take bookings for families of older children/teenagers if they walk regularly, love the outdoors and are comfortable with the distances and ascent/descent involved. Please note that the bedrooms at most of the accommodation we use will normally only sleep a maximum of 3 people, and sometimes only 2.
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