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.