Hike in Cinque Terre and the Mountains of Tuscany

Italy’s geography is governed by two contrasting forces—sea and stone. The warm Mediterranean gives life to the olive groves and painted towns of the Italian Riviera, while the rugged Apennine Mountains form the backbone of the boot-shaped peninsula.

Discover both faces on this two-week hiking tour, split between the picturesque coastline of Liguria and the rugged ridges of Tuscany. However, if seven days in Italy is enough for you, feel free to choose only one region to visit.

Whichever it may be, when the time comes to say arrivederci, you’ll understand why they call it Bel Paese—the beautiful country.

This boot is made for hiking—and that’s just what you’ll do

Your Italian idyll starts in Cinque Terre, a colorful coastal community shaped by its historical isolation. For centuries, the only way in or out was via a thin thread of walking paths. Those footpaths are the same seaside promenades that flow through the UNESCO-listed site today.

Cross into neighboring Tuscany expecting vistas of sun-kissed vineyards and you might be surprised. Instead, you’ll follow the hidden trails of the Garfagnana Valley along rolling alpine meadows, up to towering peaks that vanish in the clouds. These are Tuscan treasures you won’t find in tourist brochures.


Two weeks, two itineraries—one feast for the senses


While the Cinque Terre hike itself is only 11 km long, you’ll spend seven days exploring the sights and side trails of each stop on the tour. Sample the flavors of local cuisine, amble along vine-strewn terraces, and take in the Ligurian panoramas from hilltop overlooks.

Your homebase for the second week will be the newly restored Lavacchio Farm, an organic oasis where there are no guests, only friends. After 5-7 hours of hiking in the mountains of Tuscany, coming back to a homemade meal, fine wine and a swim in the pool feels like paradise.

Life on the colorful, busy streets of Cinque Terre
Hikers walking on a ridge of the Apennine Mountains in Tuscany

An awe-inspiring experience awaits

Take five and enjoy life in Cinque Terre


The hamlets of Cinque Terre mushroom out of the cliffs above the Ligurian Sea in splashes of bright pastel. Get ready for a colorful week of hiking in these five fishing villages strung together by age-old mule tracks and dusty roads. As the day winds down, enjoy a refreshing aperitivo from the comfort of your seaside hotel.

Between dips in the sea, wine tasting sessions in Levanto and sunset dinners in Riomaggiore, you’ll visit medieval fortresses, stroll through shaded orchards, and hike on the centuries-old stone terraces carved into the hillside. These sprawling structures are a testament to the ingenuity and spirit of the local people.


With its relaxed atmosphere, ancient architecture and total absence of traffic (cars cannot enter the villages), Cinque Terre feels like a portal to a bygone era. There is a 19th century railway line cutting through the hillside, but most of the time you’ll get around like in the old days.

Take a boat ride to the solemn church of Porto Venere where Lord Bryon penned some of his best-known verses. And if that doesn’t whet your spiritual appetite, complete the Way of the Sanctuaries, a special trail that connects the 800-year-old shrines belonging to each of the five villages.

Uncover the wild side of Tuscany


Leaving the dolce vita vibes behind, set your sights on bigger and bolder things. Your second week takes place on the craggy kings of Tuscany—the Apuan Alps and the Apennine Mountains.

Make your way through the densely forested Garfagnana Valley while stopping at abandoned villages, WW2 memorials and historic churches. This is an area steeped in history—just as Dante traveled these mountains in search of inspiration, Italian partisans found freedom on its long-forgotten paths.


As you forge on along the snaking ridgeline of the Apennine Mountains, you’ll feel like you’re treading on the backs of sleeping giants. Expect your hikes to grow longer and the vistas more arresting. The penultimate finish line is at Prado, the roof of Tuscany, where the view stretches 500 km into the distance.

Then, for your last hike of the tour, conquer the Apuan Alps—Italy’s Mountains of Marble—where the world’s purest has been quarried since Roman times. Michelangelo sculpted David out of these rocks, and you will carve your name among Tuscany’s adventurers of old.

Discover the refined and the wild side of Italy with a local guide

Your guide

Born and raised in Lucca, Italy, Stefano Lera has been working as an eco-friendly hiking guide since 2013. He leads customized hiking tours all over Central Italy, the Apuan Alps and the Apennines. Stefano is the founder of Wild Trails Hiking Guides, as well as a park guide in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennine National Park, where he organizes outdoor activities for local school children.


I recently did the guided tour of the cinque terre. I don’t often provide feedback but this tour was amazing. You can’t go wrong when you have a back drop of the cinque terre but what made the tour was the very knowledgable guide Stefano. His knowledge of the Cinque Terre walks, history and nature was fantastic, he was always willing to answer our questions. It was great having an Italian guide, not only did we learn about the region but also Italian culture in general. The food and accommodation was also very good.

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