Five reasons to explore Italy on foot or by bike

Culture, beauty, food, history, this small European country has it all. Our friends at Headwater Holidays tell us why this beautiful country is one of their favourite places to explore.

 

1. Iconic routes
Italy boasts awe-inspiring landscapes and sights and is a playground for those who like to explore slowly and soak up the sights, sounds and scents of their holiday destination. As you walk or cycle amongst the stunning UNESCO Dolomites, history will engulf you. A string of castles along the Adige (Etsch) valley and U-shaped steel rungs and pathways of cables on the via ferrata (iron road) have fascinating stories to tell, as they have borne witness to the bloody battles of WW1. In Umbria, fondly known as the ‘Green Heart’ of Italy, you can walk in the footsteps of St Francis through peaceful woods, and discover quiet hilltop towns with exquisitely decorated buildings, such as churches, adorned with old paintings and frescos. Or perhaps stroll or pedal through the Veneto’s striking Euganean Hills, or the rolling hills and ancient forests, with their amazing array of beautiful wildflowers.

 

2. Heavenly Italian food
There are many foodie adventures to be had all over Italy. Food and wine are a defining part of the country’s culture; sitting around the table and sharing a good meal means more than just filling empty stomachs. It’s about family, tradition and experiencing something special.

Piedmont is famous for its Slow Food Movement; tucked away in the north-west of Italy, this region is characterised by rolling countryside and sweeping vineyards. Indulge in locally-caught game, melt-in-the-mouth cheeses like Gorgonzola and Toma delle Langhe and the much sought-after white truffle. Wine here is second to none; sip on sweet Moscato or sparkling Asti Spumante, or go for full-bodied reds like Barbera or the ‘king of wines’, Barolo. If traditional, hearty meals are more your thing then look no further than Tuscany, where the meat is locally-sourced from the undulating green hills and beans are a key ingredient in soups and many other dishes. Enjoy lightly toasted Tuscan bread rubbed with raw garlic and a drizzle of freshly-pressed olive oil, washed down with a glass of Chianti or Montepulciano wine, as a tasty snack. Whilst Umbria produces more than 40% of Italy’s pasta, their highly-prized black truffle and fine olive oils, Italian desserts are also special, like gelato, which is delicious!

 

3. Historic sites
In the Veneto marvel at the magnificent architecture including the region’s stunning villas. UNESCO-recognised Vicenza is nicknamed ‘Venice of the Terra Firma’ for its marvellous architecture. San Gimignano’s soaring mediaeval towers in Tuscany are an impressive sight and in Umbria, the picturesque walled town of Spello is one of Italy’s best preserved mediaeval towns.

 

4. Sparkling coastlines

From the turquoise seas and unspoilt sands of Sicily to the views of the Adriatic coast; from Puglia to the elegant Amalfi Coast, every stretch of beach or coast in Italy is awe-inspiring. And there are plenty of places to enjoy fresh seafood dishes and soak up the beauty of characterful old coastal villages along the way.

 

5. Art
Italy is home to some major cities of art that are rich in monuments, churches, castles, museums and historic dwellings. Venice, Padua and Vicenza in the Veneto region, Tuscany’s Renaissance art cities of Florence, Siena and Pisa, and Umbria’s Perugia to name a few.

 
If you like the sound of this, take a look at Headwater’s full range of self-guided walking and cycling holidays at www.headwater.com

Give your holiday wardrobe a refresh with our latest collections for the whole family at www.landsend.co.uk

Shop the Look

Women's Xtra Life Denim Pull-on Skinny Jeans

We love these easy pull-on jeans as much for their style as for their comfort. The Xtra Life™ fabric is a fantastic blend that gives with every move, snaps back into place. And we listened you wanted us to tweak the fit on the waist, and we have. Hello perfection!

Women's Patterned Rain Coat

This cheerful Rain Coat will put a smile on your face, even on the dullest day. It comes in a choice of lovely patterns with fun contrast linings.

Women's Slim Cargo Trousers

Stretch chino trousers in a modern cargo pant style Cargo trousers can be quite baggy and masculine looking. Say 'hello' to our newest Slim Cargos - designed with a feminine silhouette that's slightly sleeker, more modern, casual and yet still as comfortable.

Bamboo Jersey Stripe Scoopneck Tee

The new tee in town. Wowing fans with a natural silkiness that gets softer wash after wash.

Women's Slouchy Suede Boots

What these suede boots lose in structure - being unlined from the ankle up - they gain in slouchy, on-trend style. Butter-soft suede rumples casually, pulls on easily, looks fabulous with skinny jeans, leggings or tights.