Are you planning a green holiday but don't know where to go? Here are 5 unmissable slow itineraries in Italy, the best of beauty and sustainability.
Green tourism or ecotourism is a forma of sustainable and responsible tourism, with the desire of traveling respecting the environment, places, and local communities. Lately, travellers from alla over the world prefer ever more a slow holiday rather than the usual hectic trip: no mass tourism, only moving on foot, by bicycle or bytrain, eating locally grown fresh food, and staying in facilities surrounded by nature.
But where exactly to stay? Being green doesn’t mean giving up luxury and comforts: here comes Glamping or Glamour Camping, the perfect way to travel green with glamour, in touch with nature and sleeping under stars, but with no need to say goodbye to your home comforts. Choosing your best Glamping for your slow holiday in Italy has never been easier, thanks to Nuovi Sogni, the most exclusive themed channel that will make you enjoy a unique and unforgettable experience with your next green accomodation by the sea or lake, mountain or city: from the comfortable mobile homes to the cozy lodge tents, made from eco-friendly materials and innovative designs, your green tourism experience will certainly be wonderful.
So, let's see now what are the 5 best itineraries for your next green travel in Italy. Come discover with us!
5. Green tourism in Italy: in Sardinia for a slow travel through countryside
For a conscious and responsible trip, Sardinia is an ideal destination for its extraordinary biodiversity and cultural traditions. In addition to its wonderful beaches, the island offers many activities in the equally beautiful inland areas for a slow holiday in touch with nature and history.
In the inland areas of the South, you will find several plateaus with circular routes of various levels, interesting from both a historical and a landscape point of view. In Isili you can admire the archaeological sites of the Nuragic civilisation and several museums, or get to know the natural habitat of Europe's last wild horses in the close village of Giara di Gesturi.
For mountain lovers, not to be missed is Gennargentu, the highest mountain in Sardinia, which offers countless itineraries of varying difficulty: the most beautiful time being in spring when the Peonies are in bloom. But the North of the region also offers truly unique experiences, to be experienced in one go in the wild hinterland discovering Monteacuto, between the provinces of Sassari and Nuoro: a territory that transmits a special energy, typical of Sardinia, where the rhythms of nature mix perfectly with human ones, reflected in the waters of Lake Lerno, crossing the lush forests that cover the mountain and experiencing the genuine life of the local population in splendid villages such as Ozieri, Pattada, Bono, Bonorva and Giave.
If you want to discover these places and capture the true soul of the island, then you absolutely must attend events of Salude & Trigu, a program based on the promotion of Sardinia as a destination and experience throughout the year.
Don't miss its 1000 religious celebrations too. Among the most famous and eccentric there are Sant Miquel Festival in Alghero (second half of September/first days of October) and the festival dedicated to Sant'Efisio in Cagliari (first days of May). Here you will be overwhelmed by an explosion of colours, sounds, and scents. The procession is opened by the traccas, oxen decorated with carpets and flowers, and groups in traditional costume recite and sing, with the sound of launeddas in the background accompanying the procession along its route amidst rose petals.
"What is the most significant experience that a 'slow' and environment-friendly traveler can enjoy in North Sardinia?"
A: "We move to the deep countryside territory, in an area of great intensity of woodland, rich in water, plants of rare dimensions, splendid specimens of holm oak, yews, hollies, phillyreas, pines, larches, junipers and with a morphological variance that offers characteristic panoramas and views. The area also offers good accommodation and excellent food. You can start in the location of Sa Fraigada (Bultei), it's possible to get there by car on the SP56 road. Near the famous Su Labiolaju spring, you immediately enter a forest which after a few hundred meters on a unpaved track leads to an avenue of larch pines for more than 30 metres tall, with a path signage easy to understand. From here, for accommodation, you can move to the shores of Lake Lerno near Pattada, where Agriturismo Lerno offers overnight accommodation, excellent local food and all the necessary information. The road to reach Lerno follows the perimeter around the lake with excellent asphalt surface. On the shores of the lake you can visit the namesake nuraghe and the remains of a medieval church. From the farmhouse, the paths with CAI signage allow you to keep hiking for many kilometers and admire the beauty of Monte Lerno (1094 m above sea level). In this area it is easy to spot mouflons, deer, fallow deer and the golden eagle. The routes available can take up to 3 or 4 travel days."
4. Lake Garda: green holiday between nature, sport, culture and local food
Lake Garda, an unquestionable destination for foreign and Italian tourists, has rapidly become itself a very important cornerstone for green tourism, and of course one of the main green destinations in Italy. If you want to experience a true adventure in a surreal landscape, surrounded by the majesty of the Alps immersed in the greenery, then the largest and most picturesque lake of the Boot is what's made for you.
Here you will find beaches to relax and admire the sunset, fantastic thermal baths, food tours with zero-kilometre products, spaces dedicated to water sports (sailing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing), and many itineraries on foot or by bike that will allow you to best explore its natural wonders.
Among the places to visit slowly and sustainably around the lake, we recommend the Blue Flag beaches of Gordone, the magnificent Ponale path overlooking the lake, and the Valle Dei Laghi cycle path, a 15 km track that will not only allow you to admire the most beautiful views and glimpses of the lake, surrounded by vineyards and orchards, but also some of the most characteristic villages around the lake. For a truly unique and relaxing experience, next to the lake you can also immerse yourself in the natural paradise of the Colà Thermal Baths.
But Lake Garda is not only nature: in fact, history and culture complete its panorama. In the Upper Lake area, for example, you can visit the Vittoriale Degli Italiani, the home of Gabriele d'Annunzio, the Andreè Heller Botanical Garden, as well as various Roman and prehistoric sites.
You will also have the opportunity to take part to food and wine tours: for example, in the vineyards from Desenzano to Salò you can visit local farms and oil mills and taste DOC wines. In addition, we recommend to taste the renowned Monte Baldo truffles and the tasty citrus fruits used to make various liqueurs.
3. Tuscany: slow holiday through the green heart of Maremma
The entire Tuscan territory has long boasted particular attention and respect for the environment, with an eco-friendly slow tourism system among the most developed in Italy. Just think of Grosseto, a model city for sustainable green tourism in Europe, or the Maremma National Park, recognised as an European excellence destination for slow holidays. Here you will join a truly complete green experience: renewable energy, sustainable structures, plastic-free beaches, zero-km products, cycling paths and hiking trails.
Right in the Maremma you will be amazed by the diversity of its territory, starting from the colours that combine with each other, the yellow of the beaches set against the green of the hills with the blue of the Argentario sea in the background. Special mention must go to the seaside village of Castiglione Della Pescaia, which adopted a plastic-free policy some time ago, visible in the cleanliness of its beaches and crystal-clear water.
Not to be missed is the marvellous natural oasis of the Maremma Natural Park, where you can wander through the lush Mediterranean greenery, discovering wild, unspoiled landscapes and meeting typical local animals. Here you can choose from a variety of routes on foot, by bike, or even on horseback to explore different areas with unique views. The pearl of the Maremma and an unmissable stage is the Argentario, of course, a promontory overlooking the sea famous for its crystal clear waters, to explore through its coves and paths surrounded by greenery and rocks.
For those who love hiking and scuba diving in emerald waters, then a visit to the magical Giglio Island, still little known to mass tourism, is a must. In addition, the Maremma boasts several of the most beautiful natural thermal baths in Italy, including the famous Saturnia Hot Springs which offers total relaxation and enchants with its spectacular setting from where these sources come from.
But Tuscany still has so, so much to give. Do you wanna travel towards Val di Chiana, even further in the hinterland? Here you can experience a new adventure of your green holiday, discovering the beautiful Montepulciano and delicious local wines!
2. Emilia-Romagna: a slow experience on foot or by bike
Usually, when we think of holidays in Emilia-Romagna we immediately think of the Riviera, with its beach umbrellas, its beaches and nightlife. But the region's territory is vast and varied and will excite you with its beauty and 100% green activities.
Among the main ones, we suggest the Ciclovie dei Parchi: an itinerary of 10 cycle routes suitable for everyone within beautiful parks and nature reserves, ranging from the Po Valley to the Apennines, passing through the famous hills of Bologna.
In addition to natural wonders, you will also discover many historical and architectural beauties that will take you back in time. Details of the routes can be found on the Region's website. You can also easily visit the main towns by bike, as they all have an excellent network of cycle paths.
For those who prefer to walk, the region offers many itineraries in areas that are off the mass tourism, such as the 14 Cammini (walking paths) that cover 2000 km through nature, local traditions, and typical products, to discover places that are still authentic. The most fascinating route is the Via Francigena, which in the past connected Canterbury with Rome, and which in recent times has been generating great development opportunities for sustainable tourism. Its original length is 1800 km but the stretch in Emilia-Romagna is about 145 km: a wonderful route, perfect for a slow experience, through mountain paths, country lanes, villages, tree-lined roads, and towns.
After a long walk, relaxation is a must, and Emilia-Romagna will not disappoint you with its natural swimming pools surrounded by silence, waterfalls, rivers, and lakes. One of the most beautiful places is the Acquacheta Waterfall in Val Montone, which is also located in the beautiful Casentino National Forest Park.
1. Green tourism in Italy: Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, a sustainable excellence
Trentino-Alto Adige is the symbolic region of sustainable tourism in Italy, having been awarded the title of 'Green Region of Italy'. From the Dolomites to Lake Garda, you can choose countless green activities for a slow holiday in unspoiled nature.
Active tourism is the most widespread in the Alps, which not only encourages sustainable practices but also supports local economies. You can choose from hiking, Nordic walking, and cycling routes that will take you to the highest peaks and admire the stunning scenery. Another attraction of Trentino regards the lakes: we recommend the suggestive Lake Coldonazzo, the largest in the region, where you can relax on its beaches and bathe in its clean waters, as well as practice various water sports in the unusual mountain landscape.
Also of interest is IT.A.CÀ, the Festival of Responsible Tourism, which will allow you to explore the wonders of Trento and its hidden valleys more authentically and consciously. In addition, the region boasts 300 km of cycle paths suitable for everyone and in excellent condition, with relaxation and refreshment points, and a railway line well connected to the departure and arrival points of your eco-tour. Among the various cycling itineraries, we recommend the Green Valley, an easy route that runs along the Adige river, through enchanting landscapes far from civilisation, among wonderful forests and vineyards.