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Monday, 08 June 2015 00:00

From the Cinque Terre to Tuscany

Little fishermen and carvers discovering the coasts of Liguria and Tuscany
The National Park of the Cinque Terre is full of small medieval villages hanging on the hillside in strategic places. Over the centuries, travellers and traders have been fascinated by the beauty of this landscape, a territory hanging between sea and mountains. The sea is everywhere, with cultivated vineyard terraces and perfectly preserved medieval villages, offering travellers the chance to trek through nature, culture, history and food - a trekking trip for all lovers of the Mediterranean . We will discover the secrets of the Levanto caves by canoe and admire the sub aquatic landscape. Leaving the coast towards Tuscany, we will explore Lucca where we will cycle on its well-preserved walls. After entering into the heart of the Apuan Alps like real speleologists, in the Grotta del Vento, we will conclude with a visit to a didactic laboratory of a white marble carver, used in the past by the famous Michelangelo.


- The Mediterranean landscape classified on the UNESCO list
- Canoeing in the caves of the Ligurian coast
- Cycling along the walls of Lucca
- Grotta del vento and marble carving in the Apuan Alps

Daily itinerary


LevantoDay 1: Levanto
Individual arrival in Levanto, a small village on the seaside. Meeting with the guide at the hotel. The 13th century church, the castle and the medieval dock all come into view from the green hills above the large beach of the bay. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Levanto. Meals (-/-/D)

Manarola 2Day 2: Between the vineyards of Vernazza and Manarola (3hrs 30min walking, + 435m – 435m, 10 km)
By train we reach one of the village of the Cinque Terre, Vernazza. Starting from the beach, the steps once used for the transport of grapes and wood will take us to the village of Corniglia, fortified and dominating the sea and the coast. The path keeps going up between vineyards until Volastra where ancient traditions and techniques are still part of farming. The route leaves the mountains and returns to the sea by Manarola where it is possible to have a swim. Back to Levanto by train. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Levanto. Meals (B/L/D)
ManarolaDay 3: Punta Mesco (3hrs walking, + 315m - 315m, 7.5km)
From the church of S. Andrea in Levanto, the path climbs between olive trees with some spectacular vantage points over the sea and cliffs. After the pine tree forest in Mesco, we arrive at the 10th century ruin of the "Eremo di S. Antonio". From Punta Mesco, observation point of the Mediterranean cetacean, the way down to Monterosso offers a panorama over the entire coastline of the Cinque Terre. A swim is possible in Monterosso. Back in Levanto, a guided 1hr 30min excursion by canoe to discover the caves of the coast, once home to mermaids and pirates... Scuba diving in the crystal clear water that is home to rich Mediterranean fauna and flora. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Levanto. Meals (B/L/D)
San FruttuosoDay 4: Boat tour to the S. Fruttuoso Abbey (3hr 30min walking, + 250m – 250m, 13.5 km)
Train to Camogli, an ancient fishermen village. Known in the past as the "Town of a Thousand White Sailboats", it has a well-preserved castle and church protected by the rocks. A visit to the "Museo del Mare" is followed by a boat trip to S. Fruttuoso, a small beach hosting one of the historical and architectural jewels of Italy : the San Fruttuoso Abbey, a mystical place. After a swim, the path in the oak forest will lead us to Portofino bay. Bus to S. Margherita Ligure and train to Levanto. Dinner in a typical restaurant and overnight at the hotel in Levanto. Meals (B/L/D)
San Fruttuoso Abbey 2@marta zarrelliDay 5: Carrara and the marble cave (2hr 30min walking, + 250m – 250m, 6km)
Train to La Spezia, then private minibus to reach the marble caves of Carrara with a gentle walk to discover the techniques of extraction and carving of the precious marble, used by Michelangelo for his work. After the visit, private transfer to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, beautiful medieval village in the heart of the Natural Park of the Apuan Alps, where we will settle into a farmhouse. Diner and overnight in the farmhouse in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. Meals (B/L/D)
Portofino Natural Park@marta zarrelliDay 6: Little speleologist in the Apuan Alps
Public bus to Fornovolasco and short walk (20min) to the entrance of Grotta del Vento. A 3hr guided excursion to discover stalactites and stalagmites, the bear hole and the rocky cascades. Back by public bus to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana and relax in the swimming pool at the farmhouse. Dinner and overnight in the farmhouse in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. Meals (B/L/D)structure-separateur-horizontal-dot
Focaccia@andrea fornaroliDay 7: Cycling in Lucca
Today, after a short train ride to Lucca, we will discover this beautiful Tuscan city by bike, cycling on its medieval walls, with spectacular views of the city and the Apuan Alps. The day culminates with a climb up to the top of Torre Guinici, reaching its incredible hanging gardens. Diner and overnight in Lucca. Meals (B/L/D)
Day 8: Departure from Pisa
After breakfast end of services. Transfer to Pisa airport/station upon request. Meals (B/-/-)

Note: B (Breakfast); L(lunch); D (dinner)


Grade: moderate, 3h30 to 5h30 hours walking each day. An hilly-to-steep terrain whit large dirt road, mule track and wooden path. 4 days trekking.

4 nights in hotel*** in Levanto
2 nights in a farmhouse with swimming pool in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
1 night in hotel*** in Lucca

trekking shoes, trekking socks, trekking t-shirt, warm shell, wind and water proof jacket, hat and gloves, bathing suit, sun glasses and sun cream, daily backpack (min. 30 liters), trekking poles advised.

Getting there:
The destination airport is Genoa or Pisa.


Supplements price per person

Kids in triple room with their parents - 40 €
Single Room Supplement - 140 €


- 7 nights' accommodation in hotel*** and farmhouse with swimming pool on half board basis
- 7 dinners with typical food and special meals for kids
- All transfers by train, boat and public bus and private minibuses
- All lunches (except on day 1 and day 8)
- Canoe guided excursion and scuba diving on day 3
- Entrance to the Museo del Mare in Camogli on day 4
- Entrance to Grotta del Vento
- Bike rental in Lucca
- Entrance to Torre Guinici in Lucca
- City taxes
- English spoken tour leader

Not included:
- All entrances to the museums not included in the itinerary
- lunches on day 1 and day 8
- All beverages
- Transfer from the airport/station on day 1
- Transfer to the airport/station on day 8
Published in Family Holidays
Monday, 20 February 2017 00:00

Cinque Terre DOC wine

Cinque Terre is a small DOC white wine region in Liguria, North Italy.

The DOC was granted in 1973 and production is limited to the coastal areas of the Cinque Terre in the Province of La Spezia, and specifically to the territories of the communes of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza (which includes the village of Corniglia, whose wine has been known since Roman times) and Monterosso al Mare, together with two adjacent areas within the commune of La Spezia: Tramonti di Biassa and Tramonti di Campiglia.
The wine is produced from a must containing at least 40% of the Boscogrape, but may also contain up to 40% of Albarola and/or Vermentino and up to 20% of other white-berried grapes approved and/or recommended for the Province of La Spezia.
The wines tend to be dry, with straw yellow color, and a delicate aroma.
Typically, it is best drunk with the local cuisine, and especially with seafood — until the arrival of the railway in 1874, the five villages of the Cinque Terre were little fishing hamlets, accessible only by sea.

The harvest and the wine production
The terraced vineyards located along the coastline offer a raisin wine.
The name of Sciacchetrà wine comes from the dialect of Liguria, and means: (sciac) = to press the grape and (tra) = removing bad grape during the fermentation.
It is produced thanks drying the harvested grapes on the farmstead roofs, exposed to the sun.
The wine producers use the “cremagliera train”, a motorized monorail system to carry the grapes from the terraced vineyards on the steep mountains down to the roadway, for transport to the winery.
In the past was really different and more strenuous: the grape growers were used to anchor their fishing boats below the vineyards. Then, with the basket on their shoulders full of grape, downhill to their boat and sailing to other villages to work the grape for the wine.

Sciacchetrà DOC wine
Sciacchetrà DOC is also produced in the same Cinque Terre area and is a 'vino passito' or Straw wine of the Cinque Terre DOC wine, and is typically drunk with cheese or desserts.
Published in News
Thursday, 23 February 2017 00:00

Portofino Natural Park San Fruttuoso Abbey

San Fruttuoso Abbey
The origins of the complex are still shrouded in mystery. One of the most famous traditions traces the construction of the abbey to the eighth century, when Prospero, bishop of Tarragona fleeing Spain invaded by the Arabs, chose the bay to shelter and build a church where the relics of the martyr Fruttuoso. The cult of the saint soon spread throughout Liguria, so much so that it attributed special protection functions for sailors.
Much of the Abbey dates back to the X-XI century. In the new structure, the Byzantine dome, built in the tenth century at a perennial spring, was incorporated in the octagonal tower. In this period, the complex of Capodimonte increased its prestige up to assume jurisdiction over the entire promontory of Portofino.
From the thirteenth century the fortunes of San Fruttuoso became intertwined with that of the Doria family, who commissioned the renovation of the building, by building the abbey overlooking the sea with loggia with two orders of three-mullioned windows. In recognition of the many restoration projects promoted by the Doria, the monks allowed them the adjoining crypt on the lower cloister as graveyard family: even today the tombs of white marble and gray stone are visible, dating between 1275 and 1305.

The legend of the dragon
Legend has it that a priest Justin, one of the young men who accompanied San Prospero in his flight from Spain to Liguria, brought with him the ashes of the three martyrs: Fruttuoso bishop and his Deacons Eulogio and Augurio. While sailing in Giustino appeared in a dream the angel of the Lord (in other versions San Fruttuoso itself) revealing that would take them in a overhung place to a great mountain. In a cave of this mountain, he said the angel, lived an enormous dragon, that they should not fear, because, thanks to the powers of the three martyrs, could have cast it out Justin himself. The angel still indicated that under a rock would find a source of water to which they would have had to build a church. The "famous Dragon" is a widespread legend among sailors, perhaps to ward off possible contenders who wanted to get water in the place.

For general information, opening hours, tickets and events, see:
Published in News