A Walking Tour In Italy

As with much of Europe, Italy is a country best seen by walking, either casually or by taking a walking tour. No matter what method of transportation you use to arrive at a particular location, you need to be right there in the middle of the action to really experience it. Whether it's wandering through a museum or church to feed your senses with centuries-old art and sculpture, tasting the local delicacies at a sidewalk restaurant, or bargaining with the vendors at a bustling outdoor market, you'll make good use of your walking shoes. So be sure to bring one or two really comfortable pairs on your trip.

For the more adventurous, there are longer walking tours or hikes that you can enjoy throughout Italy. In their excellent book, Unforgettable Walks To Take Before You Die, travel photographer/authors Steve Watkins and Clare Jones recommend two walks in Italy and one in the alpine region near the Swiss-Italian border:

1. The first walk is on the fabled Amalfi Coast, one of Italy's World Heritage sites. Famous for its rugged coastline and picturesque villages built into the rock face, the Amalfi coast doesn't immediately strike you as a suitable walking destination. But surprisingly, there are a number of established walking trails in the area.

Steve and Clare suggest starting from the town of Amalfi, following the path to the village of Ravello and on through the nature reserve at Valle della Fiere to Pogerola. Or you can take the walking trail knows as Footpath of the Gods from Bomerano through Nocelle to Positanto, one of the settings for the American romantic comedy, Only You. Many people who've seen the movie, starring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr, have fallen in love with Positano and made it their number one must-see destination.

The best time of year to do the Amalfi Coast walks is before and after the hot summer months of July and August. So June or September would be perfect.

2. The second walking tour is in northern Italy, in a mountain area known as the Dolomites. While summer hikes are the most popular, you can also strap on your snowshoes and explore one of the many walking trails in winter. The snowshoe trails begin in Pedraces and Arabba, where you'll find companies that organize the walks. You'll see some spectacular Alpine scenery, have the option of spending time at first class ski resorts, and explore the tunnel systems used during the First World War.

The best times of year to do these walks are May to September for the summer walks and December to April for the winter walks.

3. The third and final walk mentioned in the book is in the Alpine region of Mount Blanc. This very popular long-distance walk has a long history and can begin in one of three locations: the French town of Les Houches, Champex in Switzerland or Courmayeur in northern Italy. The route passes through seven valleys around the Mont Blanc massif in Switzerland. The Glacier de la Lee Blance in Val Ferret, Italy is visible from the trail.

This walk is for serious hikers only and can extend for 7-10 days, with a range of accommodation available at various locations along the trail.

The best time to do this walk is between June and September when the cable cars are operating. You can choose your country of departure depending on your personal preference. 

For detailed descriptions and maps of the Amalfi Coast walking tours and trails, read Julian Tippett's walking guidebook, Landscapes of Sorrento, Amalfi and Capri.

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To discover the full list of 30 international walking tours recommended by Steve Watkins and Clare Jones, you'll find their book at Amazon.

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