If the ups and downs of mountain trails and picturesque forests lure you, Italy will seem a land of fantasy. Hiking, backpacking and trekking ventures in this exciting country are not your usual organized tours with bus transportation, first-rate hotels, meals and guides. What you will get here is the freedom of a true down-to-earth, under-the-stars, roughing-it adventure - though there are also hundreds of easy one-day walking routes to be found as well. Italy offers some of the finest and most varied walking in Europe - from the gentle, mysteriously beautiful hills of Etruria with their picturesque walled towns and villages, to the dramatically eroded peaks of the Dolomites; from the splendid snowy sky line of the Gran Paradiso to the long ridge of the Apennines with their great diversity of flora, extensive views and, for mountains, fairly stable weather conditions; from the hot lava flows of Mount Etna to the wildlife-filled National Park of Calabria. The relatively mild climate makes Italy a perfect location for year-round hiking and backpacking. Spring is the time for educational hiking. With the aid of local maps you can easily combine tourist sights with leisurely walks and secluded trails. During the summer months the northern regions with their beautiful streams and panoramic scenery will add breathtaking excitement to backpacking vacations. When fall rolls around, the colorful flora found in the central wooded areas, such as the famed National Park of Abruzzo, will have you wondering whether it is Italy you are exploring or Canada. And don't pack up your gear during the winter. This is the period when all warm-blooded birds, and hikers, head south. Though the nights can be cool, the warm sea-breezes off Sicily will keep you moving over the rolling hills for days. Most veteran hikers, however, agree upon four or five locations as being the ultimate in beauty, history and walking pleasure. Beginning in the north-west, near the French and Swiss borders, is the Gran Paradiso National Park. Encompassing the four valleys of the Gran Paradiso Massif, this area contains some of Italy's finest alpine scenery and wildlife. To the east, in the Brenta Dolomite mountains, is the Stelvio National Park. Hiking and trekking adventures here can be planned to fit any schedule - a few hours, a single day, a week or more. In central Italy, the Abruzzo National Park offers thick forests, mountains, rivers and lakes, not to mention an abundance of wildlife. Here, too, routes can easily be combined to fit any schedule. An unusual outing is found along the west-central coast within the borders of the National Park of Circeo. Here you confront not only forests and mountains, but the sea as well. To the south, adventurers enjoy the mild climate and splendor of the National Park of Calabria, which is actually three separate areas stretching along the Sila Mountain ranging from Lake Cecita to the tip of the boot near Reggio Calabria. While these are among the favorite walking areas, there are thousands of others. This guide tells you the details about the best of them all, with suggested daily itineraries, what to look out for, the flora and fauna, the risks, and much more. Filled with color photos.
Author: Sedge, Michael
Publisher: Hunter Publishing
Title: The Best Hikes in Italy: An Insider's Guide
Pages: 00234 (Encrypted EPUB)
On Sale: 2014-05-08
Category: Travel : Europe - Italy
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