A Taste of Tuscany Self-Guided Walking Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Destinations:
Italy
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
W07ST
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 8

Trip Overview

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 medieval, 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.

At a Glance

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

Trip 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

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!)
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 accommodation and provide you with route notes so that you can walk at your own pace. The hotelier, Stefano, will be there to meet you and will be available, throughout the trip, should you need assistance.

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 hotelier will be able to help arrange a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. The hotelier, Stefano, is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Route notes and maps are provided. The route notes contain an emergency telephone number. In an emergency, the hotelier would be able to help arrange a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service. Please note: the walking transfers included in this tour are subject to a minimum of 2 people (in total) booked on the departure. A supplement (payable in advance) to cover these transfers and sole occupancy of a room will apply if only 1 person is travelling on a departure date.

Adult min age:
13
Child min age:
8
Child max age:
12

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Chianciano Terme
End City:
Chianciano Terme

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Chianciano Terme

    Arrive at the Agriturismo La Pietriccia and enjoy a stroll to the old town, before your evening briefing by the owner, Stefano, and the first of many home cooked 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 of a local oil mill, then visiting the Cinta Senese pigs followed by an area set up to allow truffles to grow and finishing off in Chianciano Vecchia, with great views of the Valdichiana valley before enjoying wine and local produce tasting in a charming cantina in the old town.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5
  • Day 3

    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
    Distance covered: 14 km / 9 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4.5
  • Day 4

    Castiglioncello to the Hotel

    A short transfer takes you to the charming village of Castiglioncello; once abandoned it is now restored with a hotel, a 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 stopping at the Dopolavoro La Foce where an optional transfer back to the hotel awaits you. Alternative carry on walking along a narrow trail with wonderful views and past a model of an Etruscan farm, before arriving in Chianchiano Terme and a choice of following the white gravel roads passing farms or through the town to return to the agriturismo.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 9 km / 5.5 miles
    Activity (hours):
    3.5
  • 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

    Today you walk to the wine town of Montepulciano, where you will be rewarded with stunning views across the Valdichiana. Follow a chestnut-laden track to meet the forest road, 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
    Distance covered: 17 km / 10.5 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4.5
  • 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 lovely food.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 11 km / 7 miles
    Activity (hours):
    3.5
  • Day 8

    Leave Chianciano Terme

    Leave Chianciano Terme

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

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.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £294.00

Food & Transport

Eating & 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 alla Fiorentina (a T-bone steak which is only cooked blue/rare and 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.

Transportation

All walking transfers detailed in the standard itinerary are included in the cost of the hoilday.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

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.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Alternative Air Travel
Alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area, and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports.  We can also book UK shuttles to connect with your onward flight, please call for details and prices.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers, then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

Self Drive
We can arrange various channel crossings for you. Please call for details and prices.

 

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Air-rail prices include our standard flights, onward rail and station transfers
British Airways Heathrow to Rome Fiumicino 07:30/10:30 then rail Rome Termini to Chiusi 13:00/14:49 and transfer to hotel 25 minutes. Return: Transfer to Chiusi station 25 minutes then rail Chiusi to Rome Termini 10:54/12:48 then British Airways Rome Fiumicino to Heathrow 17:25/19:05.

Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Standard transfers
Standard return transfers are only included for flight inclusive bookings from Chiusi train station at 14:49, and back to Chiusi train station at 10:15. Customers booking a land only trip will be able to add arrival/departure transfers at a supplement payable in advance.

Location start:
Chianciano Terme
Location end:
Chianciano Terme

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Walking boots (with good tread and ankle support)

Small sized day sack (30 litres capacity will be sufficient for camera, water bottle, lunch and extra clothing)

Sun cream, hat and sun glasses

Towel and swimming things

Waterproofs and warm clothes (essential for inclement weather)

Optional Equipment

Woolly hat and gloves

Walking poles

Small umbrella in case of unexpected showers

Reading List

DK Eyewitness Florence & Tuscany

Lonely Planet Florence & Tuscany

Rough Guide Tuscany & Umbria

Practical Information

Passport

Italy

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Italy

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Italy's Timezone:
Europe/Rome CET (GMT +01:00)

Electricity

Italy's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins.

Money

Italy's Currency

The national currency of Italy is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

 

ATM Availability

An ATM is available in all the major towns visited. Most places take major credit cards, however, cash in Euros is generally easier.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Allow about €5-20 per day for lunch, depending on whether you have a picnic, snack or a light restaurant meal. For evening meals you should allow about €15-30 including drinks, although it is possible to spend more than this if you choose expensive dishes or drinks.

Responsible Tourism

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

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.