Headwater - A Taste of Tuscany Walking

8 days
from
£1,299
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Moderate
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Trip code: 
W07ST
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Min age:
12

Based in the town of Chianciano Terme, on this single-centre walking holiday you'll experience archetypal Tuscany: stunning timeless landscapes, delicious rustic cuisine, friendly local people and, of course, interesting walking routes.

This is not just a walking holiday it is a full immersion into local Tuscan life, from a guided walk passing the local produce providers to wine-tasting, a cookery class and a chance to bathe in sulphur-rich healing waters. You'll walk through ancient chestnut forests, vineyards and olive groves, passing lakes and freshwater ponds alive with the sounds of frog chorus. Visit mediaeval, Roman and Etruscan towns and villages, sample the Vino di Nobile of Montepulciano, rich Peccorino cheese in Pienza or take a bath in Roman Bagno Vignoni.

Highlights

  • Fabulous insight into traditional Tuscan life: the food, the wine, the culture
  • Wonderfully varied walking, including the beautiful UNESCO Val d'Orcia
  • Delicious classic Tuscan cuisine 'km 0' cooking (all local food)
  • The wine and cheese towns of Montepulciano and Pienza
  • Warm and welcoming agriturismo with a passionate owner

Key information

  • 7 nights single-centre accommodation
  • All buffet breakfasts and 4-course evening meals
  • Management by local hotelier
  • Route directions and maps
  • Wine and olive oil tasting
  • One spa entrance
  • Cookery class

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • All buffet breakfasts and 4-course evening meals
  • Management by local hotelier
  • Route directions and maps
  • Wine and olive oil tasting
  • One spa entrance
  • Cookery class

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Arrival & departure transfers (available on request)
  • Single accommodation (available on request) Compulsory supplement
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

5

Days of Walking & Trekking
Terrain:

The walking routes follow a mixture of paths, quiet roads, gravel track and woodland trails.

Day by day breakdown
Day 214.0km/9.0miles
Day 313.0km/8.0miles
Day 414.0km/9.0miles
Day 615.0km/10.0miles
Day 711.0km/7.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here

Itinerary

London
to
London
  • Day 1

    Arrive in Chianciano Terme

    Take the train from Rome to Chiusi-Chianciano, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Perhaps enjoy a stroll to the old town, before your evening briefing by the owner, Stefano, and the first of many superb dinners. (Staying at the Agriturismo La Pietriccia for 7 nights, Half Board)

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Visit the Farms

    You’ll start this morning with a guided walk passing the different producers that make this a special part of the world, through fruit orchards and vineyards, visiting the Cinta Senese pigs, an area set up to allow truffles to grow, and finishing at Stefano’s own oil mill. From here you can continue your walk with great views of the Valdichiana up to Chianciano Vecchia or return to the hotel with the guide.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Castiglioncello to the Hotel

    A short transfer takes you to the charming village of Castiglioncello; once abandoned it is now restored with a hotel and cafe, and the interesting Etruscan burial site. From the village you follow a trail through the forest to pass wonderful viewpoints of the area, dropping down to Poggio Pietraporciana, a Nazi gun point in the war. Continuing through the Pietraporciana Nature Reserve you pass the Rifugio Pietraporciana, once owned by the Marchesa of Val d'Orcia, Iris Origo, who during the war cordoned off this area to create a neutral zone, which the allies, Nazis and partisans all obeyed. From here, a forest track takes you past a charming argiturismo before a trail along a dried up river alongside rocky cliffs and on to the outskirts of Chianchiano. A narrow trail with wonderful views takes you past a model of an Etruscan farm, before arriving in Chianchiano Terme. Two choices follow the white gravel roads passing farms, or through the town to return to the agriturismo. This evening before dinner you have wine-tasting in a charming cantina in the old town.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    A Walk to Lake Chiusi

    As you descend into the Valdichiana, a mix of quiet lanes and gravel tracks provide perfect views of the vineyards and over to Monte Rufeno. Passing pretty farmhouses you make your way to the small town of Montallese, and from here you pick up the Sentiero della Bonifica, a long-distance path between Chiusi and Arezzo. This leads you to the charming Lake Chiusi, where you can enjoy the birdlife and perhaps lunch at the lakeside restaurant. You will be transferred back to the hotel.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Afternoon Cookery Course

    This morning you have time to yourself, maybe walk into Chianciano Vecchia and visit the Etruscan Museum of Chianciano Terme, or use your voucher for the Theia Spa and relax in the healing waters or treat yourself to one of their many treatments. In the afternoon you begin your cookery class where you will learn classic Italian techniques and eat the meal you prepare for dinner.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Walk to the Wine Town of Montepulciano

    Walk to the wine town of Montepulciano, then climb out of Chianchiano where you will be rewarded with stunning views across the Valdichiana. Follow a chestnut-laden track to meet the forest road, then detour to the Convento dei Cappucini (optional), before following a track around the vines and farmlands up to Montepulciano. You will be picked up here, but before this, take time to explore the town, which is full of wine bars and shops and has plenty of tasting opportunities.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Pienza to Bagno Vignoni

    After a short transfer to Pienza, take time to explore the town, it is one of the cheese capitals of Italy, and a beautiful mediaeval historic centre. Perhaps pick up a sandwich filled with porchetta or a slab of rich and creamy pecorino cheese. The walk takes you downhill from Pienza, crossing the stunning Val d’Orcia. It is an easy walk following a well-marked trail, giving you the chance to take in the views of mediaeval towns, rolling hills and rows of cypress trees. You will reach Bagno Vignoni then follow the river Orcia before climbing up to the town passing the spring baths and the old mill, before arriving in the Roman town, with its large baths in the centre of town. Perhaps treat yourself to the hot waters of the Hotel Posta Marcucci, where the baths come with a view! We transfer you back to the hotel for your final night of Stefano’s superb food.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    Leave Chianciano Terme

    We take you back to the train station where you could possibly head to Florence or Rome for extra nights.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Italy

No visa required for British passport holders.
Please note in Italy it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times.

Vaccinations

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

Tuscan food is based on the Italian idea of 'cucina povera' (poor cooking); simple inexpensive meals that can be made for large groups. Whilst this was once dictated by the economy and expense of the produce, the tradition has remained. The cuisine of this region doesn't use complicated seasonings or elaborate recipes, and instead focuses on fresh, high quality ingredients that allow the natural flavours in each dish to shine through. Typical dishes include fagioli con salsiccia (cannellini beans with sausage), tagliatelle al tartufo (pasta in a truffle sauce) bistecca Fiorentina (a T-bone steak often large enough to share!), pici (a fat, handmade spaghetti, often served with tomato and garlic sauce or game meat). Don't miss the local cacio and pecorino cheeses, and sample the famous wines: Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino.

Weather

April and May departures can expect warm days, although rain is always possible. Nights may still be rather cool. Early June is similar, with the days becoming progressively hotter and the evenings much warmer. September and October are cooler and wetter, yet visibility is usually better. We strongly recommend a fleece-lined jacket or warm sweater in May, September and October.

Is this trip for you?

This is a self-guided tour; you can walk at your own pace (we recommend taking your time and enjoying the sights!)

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate).
Average daily walk: 13.4km (8.5miles)
No. of days walking: 5
Terrain & route: The walking routes follow a mixture of paths, quiet roads, gravel track and woodland trails.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to walk independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with route notes so that you can walk at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next. A representative will be there to meet you and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain an emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotel

Your base for the week is the modest but comfortable Agriturismo La Pietricca, which stands on a hill with great views of Chianciano Vecchia. Stefano who runs the agriturismo will welcome you with his enthusiasm for everything to do with nature in the surrounding area. He will also lead the cookery course for you during your stay, and teach you all about the artisan products in the local area. The hotel produces 65% of what it serves on your table, and is surrounded by its own farm and orchards. There is a lovely terrace and swimming pool and lovely shady grassy area that looks out across the valley, where in the heat of summer you can take your dinner outside.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 020 8772 3936