La Dolce Vita - Page 2
6. Hiking in Calabria
Southern Calabria lies far off the tourist radar screen at the toe of the Italian boot. But for flexible, adventurous types, the hiking is superb. Farm roads and trails through vineyards, olive groves, and dense forests lead to waterfalls and dramatic rock formations, untouristed hilltop villages where the locals still speak ancient Greek, and the ruins of Norman castles perched atop granite pinnacles. And always in the distance is the deep blue of the Mediterranean.
7. Cycling in Abruzzo
If your quadriceps are up to it, head for the heart of the Apennine Mountains in the forgotten province of Abruzzo. Although only an hour or two by car from Rome, Abruzzo seems lost in time, with shepherds and farmers still living the old ways. The air is crisp and cool as you ride by the Gran Sasso ("Big Rock") the castle at Rocca Calascio, and navigate the Gorge of Sagittario and the Devil's Pass.
8. Volcano-Trekking in Sicily
Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe, and in mid-2000 was entering its most active phase in years, with huge eruptions of ash and steam, as well as lava flows visible 50 miles away. A series of trails and basic sleeping huts allow a three-to-five-day circuit of the mountain, through barren moonscapes of lava. Recent eruptions may close parts of the route; check with rangers at park headquarters in nearby Catania.
9. Hiking the Amalfi Coast
Here's the perfect spot for fit sybarite/adventurers: walk through steep, densely wooded mountains along the Path of the Gods to the impossibly picturesque town of Positano, then retire to a glamorous seaside resort. (And that's just the first day.) Any number of day hikes will reward you with spectacular ocean views, but be prepared to huff and puff up 2,000 to 3,000 feet to get them.
10. Hiking the Lake District
Henry James wrote that, "One can't describe the beauty of the Italian Lakes." So we won't try. But we will tell you that there is a vast network of hiking trails connecting lakeside towns, mountain villages, and the summits of surrounding mile-high mountains. To explore the numerous islands, however, you'll have to take a boat.