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.

The Italian Lakes:  2-9 May 2019

The fifth day of this tour in Italy's famous northern lakes sees us take a private boat from our hotel on the shores of Lake Maggiore to the extraordinary island in the centre of the lake known as Isola Bella.  The island came into the private ownership of the powerful Borromeo family in the early 1600s. The Palazzo which dominates the tiny island was started in 1632 and was continually worked on by subsequent generations of the family to make the Baroque masterpiece we see today. The remarkable Italian garden is spread across parterres and terraces, all on different levels, and dotted with statues, obelisks, ancient stone staircases and balustrades with, of course, stunning views of the lake from all sides.  If you are lucky you will also see the pure white peacocks which inhabit the gardens.


Lucca, Volterra and the Island of Elba: 10 - 18 May 2019

This tour starts in the magical city of Lucca in Italy's celebrated Tuscany region. The walled city was the birthplace of the famous composer Giacomo Puccini and he lived and worked in this part of Tuscany for most of his life. The house where Puccini was born is in Corte San Lorenzo in the heart of Lucca and today houses a small museum displaying costumes, working scores and many of his private letters. Perhaps his first real critical and popular success was Manon Lescaut, premiered in Turin in 1893. He went on to write some of the best-loved and most frequently peformed operas of today - La Bohème in 1896, Tosca in 1900 and Madama Butterfly in 1904.  Puccini died in 1924 leaving his final opera Turandot unfinished.  To mark Lucca's close association with Puccini we attend a concert in the city on the second night of our tour at the church of San Giovanni, to hear some of his most popular arias performed live by talented local musicians.


Medieval Umbria: 20-27 May 2019

The final day of our Medieval Umbria tour finds us in the historic Umbrian town of Gubbio with its fascinating layers of Etruscan, Roman and medieval heritage. On the final Sunday in May each year a spectacular crossbow festival takes place between Gubbio and its Tuscan neighbour Sansepolcro. Each town plays to honour their own patron saint and the aim of the competition is to hit the target, which is placed at a distance of 36 metres, from a fixed crossbow. The event is played out in the Piazza Grande, directly in front of the hotel where we stay.  After the competition the residents of Gubbio process through the streets in full medieval costumes, at the same time displaying their ancient and awe-inspiring talents in the art of flag-throwing.  This annual event has a special place in the hearts of local residents and we always feel fortunate to be a part of it.


To share in any of the walking, culinary and cultural experiences of a Hedonistic Hiking tour in 2019 you have only to get in touch.  Tours are filling fast for next year so don't wait too long!