From Bologna to Florence

Emilia Romagna - through the Mugello
 

Holiday Highlights

The food | Enjoy it everywhere! But especially in Bologna, internationally celebrated city of gastronomy.
The journey | Along a long-distance footpath through striking limestone mountain-scapes and rolling hills.
Florence | Cradle of the Renaissance. Architecture and art – its legacy to the world.
Autumn days | Woodsmoke and autumn tints; chestnuts and wild mushrooms.
From Bologna to Florence. 8 nights
From Bologna to Florence. 8 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A walking holiday to Florence

There’s a real sense of pilgrimage on this self-guided, hotel-to-hotel walking holiday (with luggage transfers) between two of northern Italy’s greatest cities. Starting in Bologna, Italy’s gastronomic capital, you follow ancient trails, enjoying the sweeping views, to reach the great art city of Florence.
Combining culture and full, rewarding days of walking, much of which is through majestic woodland, this is a magnificent journey between two great cities: Bologna in Emilia Romagna and Florence in Tuscany. Linking the two is the Via degli Dei (the Route of the Gods), a series of ancient drovers’ roads and mule tracks that lead through beech woods and along broad, grassy ridges between rugged peaks named after gods.

You follow this most of the way, with stays at traditional wayside inns adding to this sense of pilgrimage. The views from the ridges are inspirational, and to witness the subtle daily changes in landscapes as you walk from the Apennines into Tuscany's Mugello Hills is immensely satisfying.
 
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.

    In the hills, temperatures are likely to be cooler than those shown above.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 9 11 14 18 23 26 30 29 26 20 14 10
    mm 69 67 71 69 67 51 35 60 73 77 114 76
  • Arrival in Bologna
    Night 1: at Hotel Porta San Mamolo or Hotel Commercianti (where you stay one night).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Bologna to Sasso Marconi: 19km, 6.5hrs; 640m ascent / 460m descent
    You leave Bologna on foot via the longest arcade in the world, made up of many (supposedly 666) of Bologna's famous portici. They lead all the way to the hill-top Sanctuary of San Luca, where you are rewarded with wonderful views. From the sanctuary, woodland paths head south following the River Reno. Towards the end of the day you cross wooded, panoramic hills to the grassy uplands of Prati di Mugnano, from where you are transferred to your hotel, the Locanda dei Cinque Cerri in Sasso Marconi.
    Bologna to Sasso Marconi: 19km
    Grassy uplands of Prati du Mugnano
  • Sasso Marconi to Madonna dei Fornelli: 23km, 8.5hrs; 1100m ascent / 830m descent
    Today’s walk takes you to the fringes of the Apennines via two quite different but equally excellent sections of the Via degli Dei. The day begins with a short transfer, after which you ascend dense woodland trails to reach the rocky ledges of Mount Adone (655 metres) for wonderful 360-degree views over the valley. A gentle descent follows, going through the tranquil village of Brento to reach Bivio Furcoli, from where you catch the bus to Monzuno (5km; tickets included). From Monzuno, you walk along a high, broad ridge that offers magnificent views towards the highest peaks of the Apennines. You stay in the Albergo Poli in the village of Madonna dei Fornelli.
    En route to Madonna dei Fornelli © Phil Crean
    Sasso Marconi to Bivio Furcoli: 11km
    Monzuno to Madonna dei Fornelli: 10km
  • Madonna dei Fornelli to Santa Lucia: 19km, 7hrs; 780m ascent / 890m descent
    This wonderful walk is a significant chapter of the journey as it is today that you cross the border between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany. This is one of the most remote sections of the Via degli Dei, and leads along a high and panoramic ridge (you pass over summits of more than 1,100 metres above sea level), through silent woodland and past abandoned farmsteads. Several stretches are along ancient cobbled trails. Your destination, not far beyond a German military cemetery from WW2, is the Podere Belvedere in Santa Lucia.
  • Santa Lucia to San Piero a Sieve: 21km, 7hrs; 515m ascent / 1215m descent; shorter option: 15km, 5hrs
    The day begins with a short transfer to the Futa Pass (903 metres) just south of the Tuscan border. From here you ascend to Mount Gazzaro (1,125 metres) before descending through woodland which shelters fallow deer and wild boar into the softer, more open landscapes of the Mugello area. Although you are much lower here, the views of the surrounding valleys are remarkable. Tonight's destination is the Hotel la Felicina in San Piero a Sieve. (You can shorten this walk by catching the bus from the village of Sant'Agata.)
    Santa Lucia to San Piero a Sieve: 21km
    En route to San Piero a Sieve © Phil Crean
  • San Piero a Sieve to Olmo: 20km, 7.5hrs; 930m ascent / 695m descent
    You again follow the Via degli Dei to climb up past Castello del Trebbio – originally a Medici family villa – from where you are rewarded with great views to the north. You are now in the Mugello Hills and the route passes between two fine abbeys: the Abbey of Buonsollazzo and the Monastery of Monte Senario. From the latter the views stretch over the entire Mugello Valley. The landscape gradually softens as you wander along quiet country lanes, across fields and over a small ridge to Olmo, where you stay in the Hotel-Ristorante Dino.
    San Piero a Sieve to Olmo: 20km
    Try local specialities
  • Olmo to Fiesole: 16km, 5.5hrs; 565m ascent / 815m descent
    Cross terraces of vines and olive trees to the small chapel of Montereggi, from where pleasant woodland tracks ascend past a breathtaking viewpoint over Florence to a panoramic ridge. The last part of the walk leads along quiet country lanes and paths past more olive groves to reach the wooded promontory of Mount Ceceri, famed for its terraces overlooking Florence. As this is a short route, you can take time in the afternoon to explore Fiesole, its archaeological museum, Roman theatre, and fine church. You stay in the Pensione Bencistà in Fiesole.
    Olmo to Fiesole: 16km
    Fiesole
  • Fiesole to Florence: 8km, 2.5hrs; 60m ascent / 200m descent
    Your last walk is easy and relaxing – the route winds across panoramic hills to the suburbs of Florence and then follows wide, elegant avenues into the historic centre, where you spend your final night.
    Fiesole to Florence: 8km
    Approaching Florence
 

Accommodation

You stay in a pleasingly eclectic mix of hotels.

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.

Wherever you stay in Bologna and Florence, we recommend adding extra nights so that you have time to explore.
 
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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  • 8 nights: 10 April 2024 - 30 June 2024 & 21 August 2024 - 13 October 2024

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

    Starting Price Single room
    10 - 30 Apr 2024 £1515 £235
    1 May - 22 Jun 2024 £1620 £235
    23 Jun - 31 Aug 2024 £1570 £235
    1 Sep - 5 Oct 2024 £1615 £235
    3rd & 4th person discount -£180
    Single traveller supplement £180

    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 Porta San Mamolo, Bologna
    Superior: 10 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £40
    Superior: 21 Aug - 13 Oct 2024 £40
    Podere Belvedere, Santa Lucia
    Large double (no twins): 10 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £72
    Large double (no twins): 21 Aug - 30 Sep 2024 £72
    Large double (no twins): 01 Oct - 13 Oct 2024 £59
    Pensione Bencistà, Fiesole
    Junior suite: 10 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £72
    Junior suite: 21 Aug - 13 Oct 2024 £72
    Suite: 10 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £90
    Suite: 21 Aug - 13 Oct 2024 £90
    Superior: 10 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £72
    Superior: 21 Aug - 13 Oct 2024 £72

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

    Hotel Porta San Mamolo, Bologna (B&B) Double room Single room
    10 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £84 £141
    21 Aug - 13 Oct 2024 £84 £141
    Hotel Alba, Florence (B&B) Double room Single room
    10 Apr - 30 Jun 2024 £85 £122
    21 Aug - 31 Aug 2024 £70 £107
    01 Sep - 13 Oct 2024 £85 £122
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Bologna, Florence or Pisa
    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,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed. 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 - Florence (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    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 - Florence British Airways 
    Bristol - Pisa easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Nottingham East Midlands - Pisa Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Bologna Ryanair 
    Edinburgh - Bologna (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Edinburgh - Florence British Airways 
    Edinburgh - Pisa Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Bologna (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    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
    London City - Florence Air France,  British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Bologna easyJet 
    Gatwick - Florence British Airways,  Vueling 
    Gatwick - Pisa British Airways,  easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Bologna British Airways 
    Heathrow - Bologna (via Düsseldorf) Eurowings 
    Heathrow - Florence British Airways 
    Heathrow - Pisa British Airways 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Bologna Ryanair 
    Luton - Florence Vueling 
    Luton - Pisa easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Bologna Ryanair 
    Stansted - Pisa Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Bologna Ryanair 
    Manchester - Bologna (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Manchester - Florence British Airways 
    Manchester - Pisa easyJet,  jet2,  Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Bologna (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Newcastle - Florence (via Amsterdam Schiphol) Air France 
    Newcastle - Florence (via Paris) Air France 
    Newcastle - Pisa (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Teesside International - Pisa (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  you may need to fly to an airport not listed. 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 Bologna

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    own travel arrangements Bologna airport to hotel pay locally flexible
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Florence SMN (0h10, pay locally), rail Florence SMN to Bologna Centrale (0h40) £37 1100

    Connecting travel options - flying via Florence

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Florence SMN to Bologna Centrale (0h40), taxi Bologna Centrale to hotel (0h10, pay locally) £37 1800
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    own travel arrangements hotel to Florence airport pay locally flexible

    Connecting travel options - flying via Pisa

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    rail Pisa Centrale to Bologna Centrale (2h-2h15), taxi Bologna Centrale to hotel (0h10, pay locally) £48 1700
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to Florence SMN (0h10, pay locally), rail Florence SMN to Pisa Centrale (1h15) £11 1100
What is included
  • 8 nights
  • 5 dinners
    6 picnics
    8 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • GPS navigation
  • transfers on days 1, 2 & 4
 
Reviews

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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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