Italy’s stunning, incredibly diverse countryside and coastline offer endless opportunities for things to do. Northern Italy’s magnificent mountainous region holds rugged terrain perfect for hiking, walking, rock-climbing, mountaineering, winter skiing, and snowboarding. Its lovely Lakes region encompasses Maggiore, Coma and Garda, bound by lush forests and popular for sailing and fishing. The Italian Riviera is beach paradise with water sports and adventures readily available.
Tuscany is the great outdoors of Central Italy, with national parks, protected areas and nature reserves making it the ideal location for horse riding, adventure sports in the mountains, climbing, cycling, walking and hiking. Ancient forests, wildlife and varied bird species including golden eagles are highlights, and the Etruscan coastline is wild and beautiful. The beaches of southern Italy offer everything from water activities and sailing to paragliding, while the rivers and valleys in the region’s unspoiled interior are ideal for rafting and canyoning.
One of northern Italy’s best kept secrets is stunning Cinque Terre, five ancient fishing villages clinging to steep cliffs along the Ligurian Sea coastline. Hiking from village to village along the spectacular mountainous paths above this UNESCO World Heritage site’s terracotta rooflines is a great way to spend a day or three. Walkabout Florence offers a full-day guided tour along the coast to the five villages.
Skiing in northern Italy is at its best in the Piedmont region, and is set in the villages which hosted the Torino 2006 Winter Olympics. As well as downhill and cross country trails, the resorts offer snowboarding, ice climbing, dog sledding, paraskiing, heliskiing and telemark (free heel). Valle de Susu’s magnificent landscape is a bonus, and from Nontagnedoc skiers can access the official Olympic runs. SkiCentral offers tailored ski trips to the region.
The Chianti region of Tuscany is famous for its rich, red wine, and equally popular for its legendary landscape complete with castles, historic hilltop towns, valleys and forests. It’s a powerful rural scene, best viewed from the air via a hot-air balloon ride for 360 vista views of all its glory. Invitation to Tuscany is the company to seek out for this unmissable adventure.
Less than an hour from Rome in central Italy is the Cascata della Marmore, the Nera River’s magnificent waterfall. Below the falls, the river winds through deep wooded canyons and over rapids, giving the ideal setting for white-water rafting, canoeing and tubing. Raftingmarmore provide equipment, safety gear, clothing and an experienced guide, meaning even beginners can enjoy this adrenaline-enducing sport.
Umbria’s wild Sibilini mountains with their gullies, canyons and deep gorges are perfect for canyoning, with licensed Alpine guides provided by Canyoning-Italy ensuring the most exciting routes according to ability level. Climbing and abseiling down sheer rock faces into deep, mysterious pools in the heart of the mountains is a thrill you won’t forget.
If the picturesque island of Sicily is part of the vacation itinerary, Etna Regional Park has a great deal more than its living and regularly-erupting volcano, Mount Etna, although a hike with Volcano Trek’s expert geologists up to the official viewing area is a must. The park itself has stunning walking paths in addition to winter ski trails, and the fertile volcanic soil creates a unique landscape rich in vegetation, wildlife and bird life. Golden eagles and many other species of prey make their homes here.
Italy’s beaches, stretching from the Italian Rivera to the beautiful Amalfi bays and beyond, as well as along the Adriatic coastline, are famous for their beauty and home to many varieties of water sports. The island of Sardinia is known for its surfing, diving, wind surfing, and kitesurfing, and Sicily’s hundreds of sandy shores offer an equally wide selection. For the ultimate romantic night out, sailing is the answer, with Sail Italy offering chartered yachts from its bases all over the coastal regions.