Hidden Italy has been escorting walking tours to Italy in conjunction with Mary Rossi Travel since 1993 and was one of the pioneers of small group active tourism. Owner/director Simon Tancred has lived in Italy on and off since his first visit in 1980, including five years in Milan and two years in Florence, as well as numerous regular visits leading tours to all parts of the peninsula, from the Dolomites in the north to Sicily in the south. Hidden Italy is based in Sydney, with our operational manager based in Tuscany. In addition to Guided Walking Tours, Hidden Italy has a range of Self-Guided Walking Tours.
Hidden Italy’s Guided Walking Tours are a unique way to discover a side of this fascinating country that most people only read about. The pace is relaxed (it is a holiday after all) which gives you plenty of time to unpack and soak up the atmosphere of the places we visit. We go to places that are well off the regular tourist trails and focus on a single area with its own history and cultural traditions. We travel in small groups (maximum 15) which are led by experienced, bi-lingual guides.
The guided tours go in spring (May) and autumn (September), the ideal time for walking. We stay in carefully selected 4-star, boutique hotels, which are themselves often part of the local history. Food must be a highlight of any visit to Italy – the history and character of each region is best captured in its unique cuisine. All the restaurants you will visit on a Hidden Italy tour have been chosen to introduce you to the finest regional cuisine, from sophisticated ristoranti of the bigger towns to the delicious home-cooking of the country trattorie. Of course, the most memorable meals are often the simplest: picnic lunches based on the finest local produce.
The walks are exactly that: walks, not hikes. Most of the walks are half-day, following unsealed country roads for between 8 to 12 kilometres (or 3 to 4 hours). They finish with a delicious lunch, leaving plenty of time to explore in the afternoons. We have support vehicles should anyone wish to shorten or miss a walk.
“I think you’ve got the combination just right: well-paced walks and memorable lunches – the food was superb. You do it all very well and I think your personalised tours must be unique. Thanks for a great holiday!” Jan M, Puglia guided tour
The Hidden Italy Self-Guided Walks follow clearly marked paths that have been used for centuries and have been designed to give the independent walker the chance to explore a less well travelled side of Italy. No shuttles or buses, these itineraries are continuous walks, taking you from A to B, along ancient paths that lead you through some of the most spectacular countryside in Europe. All you have to do is get up in the morning, pull on your boots, have breakfast and enjoy the walk – we look after the rest.
The walks are graded into four categories according to the level of challenge you are after (see the individual itineraries for details). They pass through inhabited farmlands and countryside (no national parks or wilderness!) with a farm house always in sight (and the natives are very friendly). Each day, you will be provided with daily walk maps (scale 1:25000) and detailed daily walking notes, which are regularly updated. Each walk has regular GPS way-markers. With extensive mobile phone coverage, you will have 24 hour back-up from our operations managers.
The accommodation varies from tour to tour, however, Hidden Italy uses the best accommodation available. In the larger towns, this means a mixture of 3 and 4-star hotels, usually based in the historical centres. In the smaller villages, this level is not always available, however, what we can guarantee is that the accommodation will always be clean and comfortable and, above all, welcoming. Please see the individual tours for details.
“The Amalfi Coast walk was without doubt the absolute highlight of several trips to Europe … the walk of a life time”
– Robert B, Amalfi Coast self-guided walking tour