Regional Guide

Via Francigena

Italy's Pilgrim Paths

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 4 Jun 2024

Italy's Pilgrim Paths still attract many walkers today, even if a religious motivation is no longer the reason for setting off.  The trails are peppered with architectural and artistic masterpieces and walking off the beaten tracks means fewer tourists and a more peaceful experience.

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Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 23 Jan 2024

The last stop on our Island of Corsica tour is close to the pretty town of Corte, the former capital of Corsica. The town has a charming historic centre with several buildings and monuments that are well worth a visit.

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Hiking in the Maritime Alps

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 12 Sep 2023

2024 will see us returning to the border area between France and Italy, hiking in two stunning National Parks which are home to a unique cultural and natural heritage. On the French side is the Mercantour National Park and on the Italian side the Maritime Alps National Park. There are around 100,000 hectares of protected natural environment which connect the Alps with the Mediterranean sea.

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Colle di Val d'Elsa

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 7 Aug 2023

Colle di Val d’Elsa is a town which sits right in the centre of the region of Tuscany, a little to the north west of Siena, which has a unique glass-making history. We stay here for the second half of our Tuscan Harvest tour, in the medieval centre, after we have explored the vineyards of the Chianti Classico region on foot.

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Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 5 Jul 2023

Cuneo is a small, elegant city in Italy's north western region of Piedmont which, for centuries, has been the gateway to the Maritime Alps and on into France.  It has almost 1,000 years of history and has been passed back and forth between France and Italy over the centuries.  This is the final stop on our France and the Maritime Alps tour which will run again in June 2024.

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Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 6 Jun 2023

Aosta is a mountain town with over 2,000 years of history. It is surrounded by magnificent alpine scenery, overlooked by some of Europe's highest peaks, and has an interesting cross-culture of French and Italian influences which come to light in the cuisine and in the local dialect.

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7 things you may not know about Tuscany

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 4 May 2023

Jackie's latest guest article for Sixty & Me looks at some of her favourite spots in Tuscany taking the visitor away from busy tourist centres. With a little thinking outside the box you can experience the pleasures of Tuscany without the crowds, and explore the region off the well-trodden path.

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Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 28 Apr 2023

Pontremoli is an evocative town in Tuscany's unknown Lunigiana region.  Its strategic position as the gateway to Tuscany gave it a unique place in religious, social and political history. 

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Hiking in Southern Italy


Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 12 Apr 2023

Maratea is jewel of a coastal town, set high above the Tyrrhenian Sea in Italy’s Basilicata region, with views to rival those of the Amalfi Coast. It is the perfect starting point for our Southern Italy tour.

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2023 Capital of Culture

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 7 Mar 2023

This year the neighbouring cities of Bergamo and Brescia in northern Italy have joined forces and won themselves the title of Italian Capital of Culture 2023. This is the first time that two cities have united together and pooled their resources to create a single Capital.

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Four Favourite Castles

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 1 Feb 2023

Stopping by a castle or palace on holiday in Italy is a great way to learn about the history of the region and the country, and it will often come hand in hand with some eye-popping views. Many of our tours visit some of Italy’s most spectacular castles, fortresses, and palaces.

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Three Great Reasons to visit Beechworth

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 7 Dec 2022

Beechworth is one of north east Victoria's best-preserved gold-rush towns and a charming place for visitors to spend a few days.  Our Hiking around Beechworth weekend takes place from 14-16 April 2023  so, if you don't know this part of Victoria, why not book a few days to walk with us and explore this gorgeous town.

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Amazing Abruzzo

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 8 Nov 2022

If you’re an Italophile in search of new vistas and experiences, make sure Abruzzo is near the top of your list. While this central region is one of the country’s least well-known, its landscape and unique atmosphere certainly make it one of the most memorable.

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Voyage to the centre of the Victorian Alps

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 11 Oct 2022

If you are looking for a little alpine adventure in March of next year, then our Hiking the Victorian Alps tour could be just the right itinerary for you. Jaw-dropping scenery, delicious food and wine and two guides to look after your every need.

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Our Island Tours

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 6 Oct 2022

Thanks to Covid, 2022 was the first year we have been able to run our two fabulous new island tours in Sardinia and Corsica.  These long-awaited departures finally took place in September and the feedback from the Hedonistic Hikers who took part has been incredible.

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Three Quirky Railways

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 30 Aug 2022

Following on from our Blog last month about how efficient train travel is in Europe, and how much better for the environment, this month we take a look at three of Italy's most interesting scenic railways, and show how you could extend our Italian walking holidays to enjoy these experiences.

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Siena's Magnificent Mosaics

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 6 Jul 2022

Anyone joining our Tuscan tours from August to October, with a plan to spend time in Siena, has a rare opportunity to see the stunning marble mosaic floors in the city's famous cathedral.  Most of the year this beautiful floor is covered with protective layers, but it is opened for just a few weeks giving visitors to the Duomo a chance to marvel at its pure magnificence.

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Exploring with Experts

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 10 Jun 2022

Often when we are visiting major cities at the start or end of our tours, we draw on the knowledge of licensed guides who can absolutely bring the city to life, or help us to focus on a particular building or artwork. We have worked with a number of highly qualified guides over the years, and we thought it would be good to share them with you here. 

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A Week in Pictures

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 15 May 2022

On the basis that a picture is worth a thousand words, we have put together a photo album of some of the highlights from our first Etruscan Trails in Central Italy tour.  It really is a feast for all the senses ...

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One Holiday: Two Countries

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 27 Apr 2022

We all know that mixing together the right travel ingredients produces a magical trip, but exploring two countries in one holiday makes for a double helping of enjoyment. This year we will cross from Slovenia into Italy's Friuli region on foot, and from Austria into the stunning Italian Dolomite mountains.  Want to join us?

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Abruzzo: From the Apennines to the Adriatic

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 9 Apr 2022

Jackie has recently been interviewed for the Amateur Traveler Podcast series, talking all about the region of Abruzzo, which for us at Hedonistic Hiking is an all-time favourite.

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Highlights of our Tyrolean Tour

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 8 Feb 2022

Our Austria and the Dolomites tour explores the delightful Tyrol landscape of both Austria and Italy, and we cross the border between the two on foot. If you are looking for hikes with world-class views, fascinating history and excellent food and wine, then this could be the trip for you!

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Hike from Slovenia to North East Italy

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 7 Feb 2022

Jackie's latest Blog for the Sixty & Me US website takes a look at the region of Friuli in North East Italy and uncovers details of our tour from Slovenia's capital Ljubljana to Venice.

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Looking on the Bright side

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 6 Jan 2022

Bright is one of the most charming country towns in Victoria's High Country. It sits on the banks of the beautiful Ovens River and has a rich gold-rush history.  We have three events coming up which all start in or near Bright so we are encouraging as many hikers as possible to wend their way to our beautiful corner of Victoria and make the most of it.

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Three Favourite National Parks

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 26 Nov 2021

National Parks are a natural home for us here at Hedonistic Hiking.  We are drawn to the wild, unspoilt landscapes, the fascinating flora and fauna and the interesting history of these protected areas.  Here we take a look at three of our favourites.

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6 Good Reasons to visit Abruzzo

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 30 Jun 2021

You may think that finding a tourist-free region of Italy is improbable, or even impossible. Think again.  The Abruzzo, situated to the east of Rome, is one of the country’s true hidden gems.

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In Exile on Elba

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 31 May 2021

Last month saw the 200th anniversary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte: Emperor of France and famous resident of the island of Elba which we visit on our Lucca, Volterra and Elba tour.

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7 things you may not know about Tuscany

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 10 May 2021

We’ve been lucky enough to have lived in Tuscany for over 20 years and, after planning our own tours in the region, we’ve really got to know every nook and cranny. So while travel to Italy remains challenging for now, here are our own little Tuscan gems, guaranteed to whet your appetite for your next trip!

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Booming Ballarat

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 6 May 2021

Our new tours in the Grampians in central Victoria start and finish in the town of Ballarat, an established foodie destination with some magnificent gold rush architecture. Well worth a visit if you have not been before ...

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Who were the enigmatic Etruscans?

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 7 Apr 2021

The Etruscan people occupied an area of Central Italy referred to as Etruria predominantly in the 7th and 6th centuries BC, the region broadly covering modern day Tuscany, the west of Umbria and the north of Lazio.

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Three reasons to visit Bright in May

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 12 Feb 2021

If you're still hoping to lock in plans for an autumnal trip to Victoria's High Country then look no further than our Bright tour from 14-18 May.  This truly is the most stunning time to visit for the landscapes, seasonal produce and autumn festivals.

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Budj Bim Cultural Landscape

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 14 Jan 2021

When we are hiking in Italy we are spoilt for choice when it comes to UNESCO World Heritage sites, as Italy has over 50. So we are more than excited to now have a UNESCO World Heritage site on one of our tours here in Victoria and to be able to take our guests for the first time to this truly fascinating place.

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3 of our best days on Europe's greatest walking trails

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 30 Sep 2020

When we research our tours, we usually head off the beaten tracks and design routes which will take us where no other hikers are to be found.  Occasionally however, we connect to some of Europe's greatest hiking trails and experience just small sections of what they have to offer ...

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Walking on the Earth's Treasure

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 9 Sep 2020

Travelling on foot gives you time to stop and explore the natural world and a number of our walks give us the chance to learn more about the earth's precious resources. Knowing what's underfoot can bring a whole new dimension to a hike, and often these natural riches have shaped the history and fortunes of the areas we are passing through.

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Rivers Deep, Mountains High

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 4 Aug 2020

Walking next to water is endlessly fascinating.  Rivers shape the landscape, affect the fortunes of those who live in their valleys and give life to a huge array of flora and fauna.  Many of our tours include hikes which trace the course of well-known rivers in Europe and Australia, and here we have looked at some of the most memorable.

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Three Favourite Lakes

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 7 Jul 2020

At Hedonistic Hiking we continue to reminisce about many of our best-loved places in Europe and we are looking forward to being back there in 2021!  Walking by water, whether it be the sea, a fast-flowing river or a perfectly still lake provides the perfect backdrop for many a hike and this month we have reflected on some of our favourite lakes in Italy and Slovenia.

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Italy launches the Path of the Parks

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 16 Jun 2020

The Italian Ministry of the Environment and the Italian Alpine Club are joining forces to create the Path of the Parks, a hiking trail which will connect all 20 Italian regions and include all 26 of the country's official national parks.

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Piedmont's Historic Occitan Culture

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 17 Mar 2020

Anyone who’s spent any time in Piedmont will probably have heard of Occitania, a huge historic region which, in addition to extending into parts of Piedmont, also comprises most of the South of France, the Aran Valley in Spain and the principality of Monaco.

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Five Best Day Trips from Venice

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 14 Feb 2020

When it comes to looking for the best day trips to take from Venice we have a few favourite cities in the north east corner of Italy which we always recommend.

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Escape to Tuscany

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 3 Oct 2019

Great to see Hedonistic Hiking mentioned by Kendall Hill in his piece for Australia's Escape.  He hiked with us in September of this year on our Parma, Tuscany and Ligurian Sea tour and really appreciated the benefits of travelling slowly in today's fast-paced world.  As he points out, walking holidays are increasing in popularity all the time and Italy remains a hotspot for hikers from around the world.

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Choice Magazine reviews Hedonistic Hiking

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 25 Sep 2019

We were delighted to be featured in this month's Choice magazine, Britain’s leading independent magazine for women and men over 50. Clive Nicholls joined us in May on our Lucca, Volterra and Elba tour and saw for himself the joys of combining fabulous hiking with the delicious food and wine of Tuscany. 

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Seven of the most beautiful gardens in Italy

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 10 Sep 2019

This year, more of our tours than ever before take in some of Italy’s most spectacular gardens. If you like the idea of combining a walking holiday with some botanical beauty then these might just whet your appetite!

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On the Culture Trail 2

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 2 Nov 2018

In many ways our tours are much more than walking holidays in Europe.  Alongside the excellent hiking we delve into the culinary traditions of the areas we are walking, but we also work hard to include cultural highlights too and all our hikes have moments of special interest. Here we explore three more memorable experiences for our 2019 tours for culture seekers from around the globe.

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Hiking in Umbria

On the Culture Trail

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 16 Oct 2018

In many ways our tours are much more than walking holidays in Europe.  Alongside the excellent hiking we delve into the culinary traditions of the areas we are walking, but we also work hard to include cultural highlights too and all our hikes have moments of special interest. Our first three tours scheduled for next year are The Italian Lakes, Lucca, Volterra and the Island of Elba and Medieval Umbria.  Here we explore three memorable experiences on each of these tours for culture seekers from around the globe.

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Hiking in Abruzzo - wild orchids

Italy's awesome orchids

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 14 Aug 2018

You might be forgiven for thinking that orchids are a luxury of the tropics, but they don’t just reside in exotic rainforests and your local garden centres!  Italy, and particularly Abruzzo, is home to some 50 species of orchid thriving in the lofty woodlands and meadows which cover this unique corner of Europe.

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Victoria's Stunning Ocean Walk

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 15 Mar 2018

We have specialised for over ten years now in tailor-made hikes for small private groups along the Great Ocean Walk, Australia's world-famous coastal trail from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles.

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The Secrets of Saluzzo

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 15 Nov 2017

At Hedonistic Hiking we like to get off the beaten tourists trails and explore hidden gems which are usually ignored by the majority of visitors. Saluzzo is just such a town and is the first stop on our Jewels of Piedmont tour. 

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Enchanting Lake Orta

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 22 Sep 2017

Right over on the Western edge of the Italian Lakes, where Lombardy meets Piedmont, lies the flawless and beautiful Lake Orta. Much smaller than its closest neighbour Lake Maggiore, Lake Orta is tranquil, restful and has a picture-perfect island in the centre, Isola San Giulio.

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The Franja Partisan Hospital

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 5 Jul 2017

One of the most memorable visits we make on our Slovenia and Friuli tour is to the clandestine Franja Partisan Hospital, buried deep within the Pasice gorge.

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Paestum - City of Temples

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 4 May 2017

Anyone spending a few days in Southern Italy might like to take some time to visit the impressive Greek temples at Paestum.  This remarkable archaeological area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and lies about a mile inland, on the Mediterranean side, south of Naples and the city of Salerno.

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Hiking in Southern Italy

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 9 Mar 2017

The southern part of the Italian peninsula, even in 2017, is much less visited by tourists than the north and remains mysterious and often misunderstood. But to ignore the south is to miss a genuine Italian experience and the warmest possible welcome from the people you will meet there. Hiking in regions like Abruzzo and Basilicata is like travelling through time and taking a step into life as it was lived a hundred years ago.

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A Look Around Rotonda

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 13 Dec 2016

Rotonda is a small medieval town located in the heart of the Pollino National Park in Basilicata, with a population of around 3,500 people. In 2017 a change to the accommodation on our Southern Italy tour means that we will have the chance to spend more time here than in previous years and to explore a few more of its important sites.

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The Villa d'Este in Tivoli

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 3 Nov 2016

The first stop on our Wilds of Abruzzo tour is Tivoli, just on the eastern side of Rome, and a visit to the world-famous Villa d'Este and its astounding gardens. A UNESCO world-heritage site, this former palace of Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este dating back to the 1500s remains today an incredible feat of engineering and a true "Garden of Marvels" which continues to thrill visitors in the 21st century.

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Piero della Francesca

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 30 Aug 2016

We have updated the itinerary for our Medieval Umbria tour in 2017 to include a guided visit to one of Italy's most famous fresco cycles, painted by Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca. The tour will now start and finish in the attractive town of Arezzo, home to the church of San Francesco which houses these celebrated artworks. Freya Middleton, who is an art historian, private guide in Florence and great friend to HH recently wrote this fascinating article for Italia! magazine on the subject of the frescoes and she has kindly agreed to share it with us.

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Bolzano's Famous Frozen Man

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 9 Aug 2016

On a sunny day in September 1991, two German hikers enjoying a walk in the Ötztal Alps, close to the border between Italy and Austria, made a discovery in the ice that would soon become a worldwide sensation.

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Les Routes du Sel

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 2 Jun 2016

Our brand new 2016 tour in France and Italy has got me thinking about salt!  This is because our route takes us along some of France's ancient salt roads from the Mediterranean over the Maritime Alps and into northern Italy.

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Pollino National Park

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 7 Feb 2016

The Pollino National Park is the largest in Italy and straddles both the regions of Basilicata and Calabria, in the instep of the foot of Italy. It covers around 1960 square kilometres and has the richest collection of flora and fauna in the whole of Southern Italy.

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The Via Francigena - Walking to Rome

Submitted by HedonisticHiking on 14 Dec 2015

This ancient pilgrim path is one of Europe's most famous routes dating back to the early Middle Ages - a trail which connected Canterbury in England, via France and Switzerland, to Rome and the Holy See.

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Hiking in France and Italy

Submitted by admin on 3 Nov 2015

Our brand new tour for next year explores two stunning National Parks which are home to a unique European cultural and natural heritage. On the French side is the Mercantour National Park and on the Italian side is the Maritime Alps National Park. There are some 100,000 hectares of protected natural environment which connect the Alps with the Mediterranean sea following the present day border between France and Italy.

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A Night at the Opera

Submitted by admin on 12 Jul 2015

I've just had the chance to be in Verona and see one of the world-famous opera productions in the Roman arena in the heart of the city. This is something to be recommended to any traveller to Italy who is visiting between mid June to early September as it is truly one of Italy's greatest spectacles.

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Giacomo Puccini

Submitted by admin on 2 Nov 2014

Giacomo Puccini, composer of some of the world's favourite operas, was born in the city of Lucca in 1858 and lived almost all of his life in this part of Tuscany.

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The Diary of a Hedonistic Hiker

Submitted by admin on 17 Sep 2014

In the summer of 2013 Gina Dark entered a competition through Italia!

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Palio Passion

Submitted by admin on 13 Aug 2014

Ten things you may not know about The Palio

If you've not yet joined one of our annual Palio tours in Siena every August your ideas about this horse race might be a little sketchy. As race day approaches (August 16) we thought you might like to discover more about one of Italy's greatest spectacles!

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Bear Essentials

Submitted by admin on 4 Jun 2014

The first tour of our Italian season took us to the wild landscape of Abruzzo, in the central Apennine region of Italy. Abruzzo is home to many National Parks but the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise itself is home to some very special residents.

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Exploring Elba

Submitted by admin on 7 May 2014

The island of Elba sits opposite the coast of Tuscany, about 20km from the town of Piombino, where the ferry leaves to connect the island to the mainland. It has a population of about 31,000 residents but is incredibly popular with visitors during the summer months who come to enjoy the secluded coves, azure waters and stunning views from the mountains to the Mediterranean sea.

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A Bonzer Brit!

Submitted by admin on 9 Apr 2014

Chris Bell is one of our most dedicated followers of Hedonistic Hiking tours in Italy but this year, for the first time, he flew to Australia and joined our hikes on the Great Ocean Walk and in the Victorian Alps. We asked him for his first impressions ....

We loved the way you incorporated two Hedonistic Hiking tours into a month of travelling exploring Victoria and Tasmania. Would you recommend this approach to other  travellers?

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Magical Mount Buffalo

Submitted by admin on 12 Nov 2013

Very close to our headquarters at Porepunkah in north east Victoria lies the magical Mount Buffalo National Park. It was one of the first National Parks in the region to be established in 1898 and today covers some 31,000 hectares, encompassing the entire granite plateau and the majority of the forested foothills below it.

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The Gulf of Poets

Submitted by admin on 21 Sep 2013

At the end of our tour of Parma, Tuscany and the Cinque Terre we arrive at the charming coastal town of Lerici which sits on the famous Gulf of Poets to the south of La Spezia.   Lerici is a gorgeous collection of tall terracotta and ochre houses, palm trees, piazzas and an imposing castle high above the port which bears witness to centuries of conflict between the great naval powers of Pisa and Genoa.  Today it houses a museum but the climb to the top is worth it

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Street Food

Submitted by admin on 17 Aug 2013

The Night Before The Palio

Last night we went with our Hedonistic Hiking group to witness the unique events of the evening before the famous Palio horse race in Siena.  The build up to the Palio is of equal importance to the race itself and by tradition all the different contrade (the 17 geographical regions of the city) host a dinner in their streets for all the members of their community plus one or two extra guests, in our case from Australia and England!

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A Look at Lombardy

Submitted by admin on 10 Jul 2013

Our Italian Lakes tour starts in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. Whilst the Lakes and Italy's economic powerhouse Milanare perhaps best known to a global audience, the region is also home to some historic towns which are well worth a visit with free days before or after your walking tour. 

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A Taste of Paradise

Submitted by admin on 28 Mar 2013

The Gran Paradiso National Park, in the very north western corner of Italy, covers an area of 70,000 hectares and is Italy's oldest National Park. The region is dramatic, wild and beautiful and home to the Gran Paradiso peak, which gives the park its name, standing at 4,061 metres above sea level. From its summit you can see Mont Blanc, the Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn peaks.

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A Pom's Perspective

Submitted by admin on 17 Feb 2013

It's more than 20 years since I came to Australia as a student and back-packed up the east coast from Sydney to Cairns, so when Jackie and Mick invited me to come over and see Hedonistic Hiking from the Oz side I jumped at the chance. I've been working with HH for over 18 months in Europe and am very familiar with the Italian side of the business, so this was a great opportunity.   "Avagoyermug," I thought to myself!

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Christmas in Verona

Submitted by admin on 11 Dec 2012

For those of you who haven't met me, I work for Hedonistic Hiking as the UK Office and Marketing Manager and, last weekend, I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days in Verona soaking up some Christmas atmosphere!  The city looked wonderful with all its  decorations and lights and I have to admit to indulging in one or two of the local festive culinary specialties!

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The Gold Rush

Submitted by admin on 27 Nov 2012

The great Gold Rush of the 1850's was revolutionary in changing Victoria's social and political landscape and many of the most historically important mining towns such as BeechworthBright and Omeo can be visited whilst on our walking tours in the north-east part of the region. The history is fascinating and has helped to shape the area as we know it today.

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Wild Abruzzo

Submitted by admin on 6 Sep 2012

Abruzzo is arguably one of the regions of Italy least known to foreign visitors. In spite of lying just one hour driving time to the east of Rome, the area is unspoilt and tranquil, home to stunning Apennine peaks, silent valleys and ancient villages. It is a walker's paradise and offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Italy.

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