Italy is a wonderful land, to be savoured in every aspect and without haste: step by step. This is our Top10 best hikes in Italy
Walking is one of the best and most sustainable ways to discover a territory, especially Italy. Our country is so full of wonderful places, ever-changing landscapes, small towns, hidden places and artistic wonders that deciding to walk in Italy is the best idea to savour this territory as an immersive experience and not just as a destination.
This is our Top10 ranking of the best hikes in Italy.
The shortest way to reach oneself goes around the world.
10. Cammino dei Briganti
The Cammino dei Briganti (Brigands' Path) will take you on a discovery of the area between Lazio and Abruzzo, in the lands beaten by the brigands of the Band of Cartore. The route is about 100 km long and winds through forests, mountains, medieval villages and stories of brigandage. You will cross a borderland that was disputed for many years between the Papal State and the Bourbon kingdom: this led to the emergence of independent powers and outlaws who joined the victorious army. Along the way, you can talk to local people who will tell you the stories of these free-men who never wanted to be subjected to a master and instead preferred to live in hiding.
The Cammino dei Briganti can be walked in about 7 days and you can stay in hostels along the way or sleep in tents.
9. Via degli Abati
The Via degli Abati (Abbots Way) is a rather demanding hike that takes you 190 km into the Po Valley and the northern foothills of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. Unlike the Via Francigena which passes through cities, here you will travel along paths, mule tracks, through valleys and over ridges with very few asphalted stretches. This road is very old and was used by those who wanted to travel from Pavia (capital of the Lombard kingdom) to Lucca. The name comes from one of the most important stops along with the way, the Bobbio abbey, where the faithful on their way to Rome stopped to pay homage to the remains of Saint Columbanus.
The Abbots Way is the name of a marathon from Pontremoli to Bobbio, one of the most important ultramarathons in nature that has been held on these impervious roads since 2008.
8. Magna via Francigena
The Magna Via Francigena is an ancient road route that runs from Palermo to Agrigento. It was laid out by the Normans around the year 1000, then fell into disuse and has only recently been recovered thanks to topographical studies. The original hike covers almost 190 km, is divided into 9 stages and is enhanced by the "Documento del Viandante", a credential on which a stamp is placed at each stage. Those who arrive in Agrigento with the complete document (you have completed the route on foot, by bicycle or on horseback) will receive the Testimonium, a certificate issued by the Diocesan Museum of the Cathedral of San Gerlando.
Is a great way to move between two of Sicily's most fascinating stops!
7. Cammino dei borghi silenti
If you are thinking of discovering Umbria, what better way than by taking the Cammino dei Borghi Silenti (Way of the silent villages)? This is a ring-hike divided into five stages that pass through enchanting and silent medieval villages, surrounded by green chestnut woods. Along the way, you will encounter villages with narrow alleyways and mighty walls, castles on hilltops from which you can see entire valleys, caves, churches and palaces. In Roman times, this area was densely populated, so you will often find archaeological treasures clearly visible.
Immersed in the heart of the Apennines, you will be able to spot deer, fallow deer, hares, wild boar, porcupines and a wide variety of birds.
6. La Via del Sale
This breathtaking ancient hike winds its way through the French and Piedmontese Alps and finally dives into the blue Ligurian Sea. This path of mule tracks and rough paths has been used since ancient times to transport salt from the sea inland. Salt was a product of great value, especially for the preservation of foodstuffs, so everyone needed it. This is why the salt route is actually made up not of a single path but of a network of roads that touch on many villages along the way. But don't worry! The 121km route is well signposted and there is no risk of getting lost.
This is a route that we recommend you only do if you are already trained, but trust me: when, after days of walking, you finally see the deep blue of the Mediterranean in the distance, all your effort will be worth it.
5. Il Cammino Celeste
The Cammino Celeste (Celestial Way) is a pilgrimage through the Italian, Austrian and Slovenian Alps. On the Italian side, the starting point is Aquileia, which was founded by the Romans and became the capital of the Augustan region. If you are coming from Austria, the starting point is the Maria Saal church, and if you are coming from Slovenia it is Brezje church. In both cases, your point of arrival will be Mount Lussari. The special feature of this hike is that it is always at a high altitude and you can stop in beautiful alpine huts. The route passes through the forest of Tarvisio, and on the way, you will encounter abbeys and sanctuaries.
It is a spectacular and very spiritual path that will make you enjoy the grandiose spectacle of the Alps to the full.
That road suspended over the magical gulf of the "Sirens" still furrowed by memory and myth",
4. Sentiero degli Dei- Path of the Gods
And now we move on to one of the most famous and picturesque places in Italy, the Amalfi Coast. With its unmistakable Mediterranean maquis, the Capri island peeping out of the sea and the ridge of the Lattari mountains, the skyline of this area is truly unmistakable. Deciding to discover these enchanting journeys by walking along the coast is a good idea. The name (Path of the Gods) comes from an ancient myth that tells of how all the Greek gods gathered along this path to save Ulysses from the Sirens. There are two hikes to choose from: a high path of the Gods, which is slightly more challenging and mountainous, and a low path, which is easier and suitable for everyone. In any case, it is a fairly easy walk that will take you about 7 hours.
The Sentiero degli Dei (Path of the Gods) offers fantastic views of Italy's most iconic panoramas, thanks also to the presence of beautiful terraces overlooking the sea.
3. Cammino di Santu Jacu
Thanks to the Santu Jacu Trail, you can walk the entire hinterland of Sardinia from north to south. The project was born in 2009 with the idea of tracing a sort of continuum of the Camino de Santiago in Sardinia: Santu Jacu in fact means Saint James, from the name of the saint who inspired what is now one of the most famous hikes in the world. This route has a clear international flavour and is managed in close collaboration with other Jacobean associations around the world, multilingual maps are created, there are hostels dedicated to welcoming pilgrims and the sign of recognition is the famous shell. The route is about 1600 km long and follows the central axis from Cagliari to Porto Torres, touching also Olbia, Oristano, Sant'Antioco and the upper Gallura.
The Cammino di Santu Jacu will take you to prehistoric and archaeological sites, Romanesque basilicas, important cities and remote villages, volcanic areas and forests, seas and mountains. You will get to know at first hand the heart of Sardinia, its customs, languages, dialects and everything there is to know about an island that is considered an 'almost continent' because of its originality.
2. La Via degli Dei
The Via degli Dei (Way of the Gods, not to be confused with the Sentiero degli Dei, or Path of the Gods) is a fantastic trail that winds through the heart of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines between Bologna and Florence. Set between two of Italy's most beautiful cities, this hike soon leaves the city environment to plunge into the deep heart of central Italy, among woods and meadows, mountains and abbeys. The Via degli Dei is dotted with Etruscan remains, ancient Roman furnaces and monasteries where monks still make an excellent liqueur
1. La via Francigena
At the top of our list is the Via Francigena, the queen of all hikes. This was the road that connected northern and southern Europe, crossing England, France, Switzerland, Italy and the Vatican City. Its point of origin is the famous cathedral of Canterbury, from where the pilgrim may cross the Channel, land in France and head south across the continent in a long journey that aims to reach the heart of Christianity, the tomb of St Peter. These routes, which cross the whole of the peninsula, touch on many important cities such as Aosta, Pavia, Lucca, San Gimignano, Viterbo, Rome and Brindisi: all you have to do is choose your route.