Walking in Tuscany with Collett's
Join organised walks or self-guide – 2 organised walks daily
- The Val d’Orcia – the best hillwalking in Tuscany
- Rolling hills, cypress trees, vineyards, olive groves & pretty hilltop towns
Walking in Tuscany on a Collett’s holiday
A fascinating paradise for ramblers and hillwalkers
Two organised walks daily, one longer than the other
Plan your days at Office Hour
In Summer 2017, after several seasons managing our walking holidays in the Dolomites, we invited George and Emma Cordani-Murray to research Tuscany for us. Inspired by a love of walking and with Emma’s Italian roots, they jumped at it. We bought them a camper van and they spent a very hot Tuscan summer, poring over maps and treading trails all over the region.
In the Val d’Orcia, they found a variety of walks that far exceeded those in areas such as Chianti and the Val di Elsa. They discovered labyrinths of gravel tracks called strade bianche (white roads), intertwined with farm and mule tracks, ancient clay pilgrimage paths and woodland trails, all meandering through breathtaking rural Tuscan landscapes and featuring pretty hilltop towns that date back to the Italian Renaissance. Some local walks touch sections of the Via Francigena, the old pilgrimage route that linked Canterbury with Rome, whilst others venture into the more rugged Crete Senesi region.
Collett’s does Tuscany differently from the others. Ours is a centre-based holiday and you will love coming back each afternoon to the exquisite surroundings of Il Rigo. It’s all so relaxing here. We offer 2 organised walks each day – except Wednesday, our day off. One walk will be longer or harder than the other. Both will involve being out for much of the day, but there will always be time for rest and relaxation before you are invited to join us for a pre-dinner drink at Office Hour.
Self-guiding is possible on a Collett’s walking holiday in Tuscany, but in general we would recommend having your own transport if you are thinking of self-guiding extensively – or if you choose to mix walking with visiting local places of interest. In any event, we can offer self-guiders help, information and ideas – there are several options from the door and, if you have a car with you, we can recommend further delightful itineraries. For non-drivers, it is only a 15 minute walk to picturesque San Quirico, where local buses can assist certain self-guided itineraries.
As with all our holidays, you plan your days each early evening at Office Hour, a most popular Collett’s institution, which is far more informal and sociable than its name suggests. It takes place in the quaint courtyard and surrounding grounds of this gorgeous agriturismo, where vines and roses climb the walls unrestrained and guests are lured into the slow-pace of Tuscan life. At Office Hour, over a relaxing pre-dinner glass of something from the bar, you can glean all the information you require, whether you choose to join our organised walks, self-guide or visit a certain place of interest.
“It’s Office Hour that really makes the holiday…“
Sarah & John Gilman, New Mills
With Collett’s, walking is naturally the main attraction and we have here a wonderful selection of easier rambles and moderate hikes – some linear, others circular – some very local, others a short drive away. We have 3 minibuses based at Il Rigo and – where required – our minibus transport is included in the cost of your stay. All our walks are mesmerising and inspirational in their own way, with many taking in key local cultural gems en route. We cannot wait to share them with you.
You join our organised walks at your own risk as a member of an autonomous group, in which each member has a duty of care to the each other.
Pienza – 15 minutes drive, 2 hours walk
Originally called Corsignano, Pope Pius II came from Pienza. He decided to re-design the town to incorporate a number of piazzas for people to gather in – an early example of town planning. The town was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996 due to its rich Renaissance architecture. Pienza is alsolinked strongly with the ‘Pecorino’ cheese made from sheep’s milk, which is considered a delicacy locally.
San Quirico D’Orcia – 5 minute drive – 15 minute walk
Our local town, San Quirico d’Orcia is historically very important as a place of refuge for pilgrims on the ancient Via Francigena between Canterbury to Rome. As a result, San Quircio D’Orcia is still one of the main gateways to the wonderful walking in the Val D’Orcia. The narrow cobbled streets are lined with cafés and it is a charming and easy to stop here for refreshment after a walk before strolling back to Il Rigo to relax.
Bagno Vignoni – 15 minute drive – 1 ½ hour walk
Often featured in the top 10 most beautiful villages in Italy, Bagno Vignoni has been on the radar since ancient times due to its hot and sulphurous waters. The central square is occupied by a large rectangular pool which is said to have cured illnesses such as leprosy. Nowadays, this square is also lined with cafés and bars and it offers a picturesque coffee stop. Some public pools are found at the southern end of town and it is lovely to dip your toes in the water at the end of a walk.
Montalcino – 30 minute drive – 3 hour walk
Montalcino is home to the world-famous Brunello wine. This hill-top town boasts many beautiful examples of Renaissance architecture as well as a 12th century castle and a number of art museums. Well worth a visit and perhaps a little taste of its most famous product!
Monte Olivetto Maggiore – 30-40 minute drive
Dating back to 1313 AD, this Benedictine monastery, still in use today, is situated amongst the jagged clay hills of the Crete Senesi region on Tuscany. The Monastery has attracted many famous painters over the years and many pieces of work are on display here. However, perhaps the main attraction is a collection of 35 frescoes in the main cloister, which depict the life of St Benedict.
Sant’Antimo Abbey – 30-40 minute drive
Dating back to the 12th century, this is another Benedictine monastery which is still in use. The monks here meet seven times a day to pray. They also perform the atmospheric Gregorian chant.
Monticchiello – 30 minute drive – 4 hour walk
Originally built as a stronghold against the republic of Siena, this stunning village still sits within the defensive walls surrounding its castle’s keep. The village church has a number of historic frescoes and was home to the ‘Teatro Povero.’. Montichiello offers a beautiful panorama of the Val D’Orcia and some of the best sunsets in the area can be enjoyed here.
In pictures – Walking in Tuscany
Wonderful week walking in Tuscany. First the accommodation. Having been to Andalucia last May, this was heaven! Unbelievably thoughtful hosts in a delightful simple, quiet house, with exceptional food, not flashy or haute cuisine, but local and always interesting.
Walking was gentle but always interesting, and the other walkers were delightful company. The Italian towns were utterly charming - I love the idea of walking to lunch. OK the scenery was not Corvara or Ehrwald, but it had a gentle,subtle appeal.
And of course yet again the Colletts team! Gosh, how do you do it? They were delightful company, wonderful hosts, first rate guides (..not qualified, of course ... (though one of them was)). It was lovely to see Ben again and watch him lead us without ever being bossy, and Charlie and Caroline and Clare made the perfect team. Special, very very special thanks to Clare. We managed to ruin both her rest days by falling and having to be collected. My wife suffered a particularly bad fracture of her wrist (absolutely no reflection whatsoever on the team - just a simple mishap) and Clare picked her up in the van, brought her to hospital and stayed with her, and saw her through all the painful waiting, whilst messaging me about what was happening. No words can express our gratitude to Clare, her simple humanity and professionalism, and her ability to handle the Italian medical system and ensure that we were able to fly home the next day. [Let's hope, as a special reward for all she did for us, that she manages to bump into that anaesthetist again...]
So many thanks to you all for looking after us, and yes, we would go back. Tuscany is magic!
We have returned from a week in Tuscany staying at Il Rigo, what a fantastic place for walking, eating and drinking! The food was fantastic and with special dietary requirements nothing was too much trouble. Collett's staff, Charlie, Ben, Claire and Caroline were fantastic guilds and full of fun. All that you need for another fantastic holiday with Collett's.
Another brilliant holiday with Collett's - our 5th. It’s a great formula, please don’t change. Our thanks to Ben, Caroline, Claire and Charlie - nothing was too much trouble for them and thanks as well to all at Il Rigo. Can’t decide which location is best. We might have to do them all again!!
This was our third holiday with Collett's and as always the staff, George, Rachel, Duncan and Ben were amazing. The accommodation was spectacular and the walks were beautiful and not too challenging, across lovely countryside and quaint towns and villages. The other guests were great company too.
The most memorable feature for us was the cookery class on Wednesday. Lorenza is a superb teacher and to cook and eat a genuine Tuscan meal in the kitchen of her 16th Century family home was a unique experience not to be missed. Fortunately there were enough people in the group to run the class (minimum of 4). Lorenza is also very knowledgeable about wine and made the wine tasting session very entertaining.
The weather was a little chilly so I hope Colletts might be able to extend the season in future years. We will definitely return.
Tuscany was a fantastic experience,with beautiful scenery. The accommodation in the Annex was very comfortable, with a touch of luxury. It had a lovely rustic charm. The family and their helpers were friendly and the food was very good, a self-service breakfast and a plentiful evening meal.
Last of all, I can't praise George, Duncan,Ben and Rachel enough, they were very well informed, helpful, caring and smiley!
A most enjoyable week.
As always admin staff in the office friendly, helpful and informative when making pre-holiday enquiries.
Fabulous location and welcoming and friendly staff. Wow factor view from our room. Fantastic food. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Il Rigo. Enjoyed the wine tasting too! Thank you. The walks were fabulous, well researched giving us a wonderful orientation of the area and the varied scenery. The transport arrangements were a bonus as we were expecting to use the hire car. Thank you.
A huge thank you to the Collett's team, George, Duncan, Ben, Rachel for their hospitality and providing us with a fantastic holiday in Tuscany. We always appreciate the welcome we receive on arrival by the Collett's team. Thank you. It met more than our expectations and we hope to return maybe in the Autumn season to see the changing colours of the amazing landscape.
We enjoy walking and have done many guided walking holidays. Collett's were advertising in Ramblers magazine (I think) and a specialist walking company. Had a great holiday. Planning to join you again next year. In Tuscany only 6 out of 22 guests were new to Collett's! Many recommendations were for Dolomites, winter and summer, so that’s next!
The staff were all fantastic as usual, both during office hour and on the walks. A great choice of walks in a beautiful location. We are regular customers who love the Collett's formula. Thank you for introducing walking in Tuscany in the spring and autumn. We had an excellent holiday as usual.
Reason for coming with Collett's - The Walking, Tuscan Scenery, walking with Collett's, Historic Towns, Village Destinations, Food & Wine. The interaction between various members of staff was particularly impressive, both in the office and in-country. The repeat Collett's walkers gave great advice on where else to go. They are your best advertisement!
I had a fabulous walking holiday in Tuscany and will certainly happily travel with Collett's in the future.
I'd like to thank Collett's and its outstanding staff for such an amazing first experience of a Collett's holiday. My partner and I had a wonderful first experience of your company from the very start. The on-site staff were exceptionally knowledgeable, friendly, welcoming and attentive. Ben, Rachel, Duncan and George could not have done more for us and I am so grateful to them for their guiding and advice.
The accommodation and food and Il Rigo were faultless. The food was varied and plentiful, and of the highest quality. The accommodation was ideally appointed and spacious, with wonderful views. The hotel staff were welcoming and warm.
The walking was ideal, with a good choice of varied walks and excellent scenery, all clearly very well-researched and planned.
This was a really enjoyable, relaxing, sociable and unforgettable experience. Thank you for a great first holiday with your company. We will be back!