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Walking in nature. Five slow routes in Northern Italy

Walks surrounded by nature are the most authentic way to experience a genuinely "slow" holiday in Northern Italy and discover itineraries of surprising beauty.

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Taking things at a slow pace in the immensity of nature helps us find our vital rhythms: here are five treks in Northern Italy to be enjoyed on foot or mountain bike. There are hospitality facilities accessed with "credentials" - a kind of travel passport that documents and facilitates the experience.

Celestial Way (Cammino Celeste)

Celestial Way: for expert hikers | Friuli Venezia Giulia
Celestial Way (Cammino Celeste)

This itinerary is so-named because it links sites devoted to the Virgin Mary since ancient times. It is essentially a nature trail crossing the solemn mountainous landscapes of the entire region. It sets off from the Patriarchal Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Aquileia, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999, and then climbs the Collio hills to the majestic Julian Alps and the Sanctuary of Monte Lussari. Although the itinerary does not involve particularly challenging difficulties, is it recommended for more expert hikers. The most significant stop-offs along the route are the Sanctuary on the Island of Barbana and the Sanctuary of Castelmonte, as well as Camporosso where the track to Monte Lussari begins.

Total distance: 210 kilometres

Trek duration: 10 daily stages

Travel period: from spring to autumn, preferably between June and September; snow is likely in winter

Via Claudia Augusta

From the Alps to the Adriatic | South Tyrol - Trentino - Veneto - Lombardy
Via Claudia Augusta

An ancient Roman road dating from 15 B.C. - a scenic and cultural route suitable for everyone. For the most part, it follows paths in the woods at the feet of the mountains. Starting off from Bolzano, it branches in Trento into two variants: the first towards Altino (VE) through Valsugana, the National Park of the Belluno Dolomites, the Prosecco Wine Route and Venice Lagoon, passing through places such as Feltre, Treviso, Jesolo and Mestre on the way; the second diverts towards Ostiglia, near Mantua, passing through Monte Bondone, Lake Garda, Valpolicella and the Po Valley, as well as passing through Rovereto and Verona.

Total distance: 600 kilometres

Trek duration: 19 daily stages

Travel period: always accessible

Via degli Abati

360° mountains | Lombardia - Emilia Romagna - Toscana

This a rather demanding mountain itinerary over rough trails, mule and cart tracks and forestry roads. Starting from Pavia, it moves into the heart of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines - the provinces of Piacenza, Parma and Massa Carrara - coming to an end in Pontremoli, where it joins the Via Francigena which continues on to Lucca or Rome. The varied route over valleys and ridges also takes in historic villages such as Bardi, Borgotaro and above all Bobbio and its Abbey - home to the remains of the Irish abbot St. Colombanus, founder of European monasticism together with St. Benedict.

Total distance: 190 kilometres

Trek duration: 8 daily stages

Travel period: always accessible

Via degli Dei

When history and nature come together | Emilia Romagna - Toscana
Via degli Dei

The "Way of the Gods" is so-named because it crosses places with mythological names such as Monte Venere and Monte Adone, connecting Piazza Maggiore in Bologna with Piazza della Signoria in Florence in the midst of nature in the Tuscan-Romagnolo Apennines dominated by the National Park of the Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna Forests. You will encounter historic villages, protected areas and artistic and archaeological treasures such as the Roman aqueduct of Sasso Marconi, the Pliocene Buttress with its fossils, the Roman theatre and acropolis at Fiesole, as well as churches, convents and castles, chestnut woods and sunny meadows. The path also crosses The Ways of Dante, the network of paths unwinding through the symbolic places of the Supreme Poet - 2021 celebrates the 700th anniversary of his death. It is ideal for everyone, even people with dogs, since there are several pet-friendly facilities along the route.

Total distance: 120 kilometres

Trek duration: 4/6 days

Travel period: always accessible, but snow is possible in winter

Sentiero Liguria

Trekking by the sea | Liguria
Sentiero Liguria

A panoramic trek between beaches and cliffs, vineyards, olive groves and Mediterranean scrub running along the entire Ligurian coast between the towns of Luni and Grimaldi. It passes through many characteristic villages such as the enchanting UNESCO World Heritage site scenarios of the Cinque Terre and the National Park of the same name. Amidst aromatic herbs and fields of gorse with superb spring blooms, it is suitable for everyone thanks to the availability of organized transport services; it is also connected with the Ligurian Cycle Network.
It is also included in the Ligurian Hiking Network and, through the Grandes Randonnées hiking networks, also links up the Via Francigena with the Camino de Santiago. 

Total distance: 457 kilometres

Trek duration: 31 daily stages

Travel period: always accessible

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