Cannero Riviera, Lake Maggiore
Sirmione peninsula Lake Garda
Cannero Riviera looking north , Lake Maggiore
Images courtesy of Owen Llanwarne
Whilst many people go to Italy to take it easy and enjoy the food and wine, it's a great country for walking and climbing as well. There are the southern peaks of the Alps, including the Dolomites, with tough hiking and climbing routes. Heading south are lower ranges of mountains and hills with easier walking along well-marked trails.
There are walks around the famous lakes and through historic towns and cities. After enjoying a morning - or a day - hiking, then it's time to take it easy and relax over a good meal, enjoying the view with a glass of wine in hand.
The Cinque Terre is an area on the Northern Riviera of Italy, just along the coast from Genoa. Ariel Foxman's account of just 36 hours spent here was published by the New York Times on 5 August 2007. He says there are "miles and miles of breathtaking trails" so the area has "long been a magnet for hikers.....trekking through the five villages is certainly a backpacker's dream — each town is a unique destination carved rather amazingly into the steep terraced-vineyard coastline...It's almost unfair how much intense beauty, great cuisine and amazing aromas are jampacked into such a compact space."
The Blue Trail is a challenging route taking five hours and connecting all five hamlets. Some sections are easier, and it's possible to take a diversion to secluded beaches. He does seem to get waylaid by the wide choice of eating places, and even takes a boat trip, but it's still well worth reading about...
This story from the Guardian of 30 June 2007, by Chris Moss, covers one of Italy's lesser known national parks, Majella. He was on a holiday organised by Upland Escapes, staying in family-run hotels, walking through woodland and fields full of wild flowers. Sounds marvellous.
Another Guardian story dated 19 May 2007 describes the Aeloian Archipelago, and a night climb up to the crater of Stromboli, one of Italy's liveliest volcanoes.
Of course there are unlimited opportunities for walking in different parts of Italy - if you've sampled some of them, why not share your stories here?
(To order the stories by name, date, country or type click on the appropriate heading)