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Discover Tuscany’s Maremma Region with VBT

Tuscan landscape
A hidden gem in the western reaches of Tuscany is the unspoiled Maremma region. Ancient traditions thrive here along the rugged coastal farm lands. Once the territory of the butteri—horse riding cattle herders—the area is becoming a must-see travel destination that is perfect for active travel enthusiasts and foodies alike. We’ll ride through rolling foothills and smooth vineyard laden landscapes before retiring to our farm hotels—known as agriturismi—and enjoying meals so fresh that the vegetables were picked mere minutes before being served.

Giglio Island View
They say that drama defines all things Tuscan and nowhere is this truer than in its westernmost reaches. Just add water—in the form of the azure Tyrrhenian Sea—and this cypress-dotted region of Italy is transformed from glorious to sublime. Hill towns don’t merely perch atop earthen mounds; they seem sprouted from the soft limestone tufa that hoists them above pristine fields. And ancient subterranean caves, believed to have been carved centuries ago by Etruscans—the area’s original settlers—are now used as labyrinthine wine and olive oil cellars.

That’s only one hint that you’re not in central Tuscany anymore. If you need more, put your nose to the air and Orbetello windmillbreathe in the aromatic macchia scrub of lavender and rosemary that perfume the countryside. Listen to the whisper of palm trees in soft sea breezes. Admire precise rows of prickly pear cactus, laid long ago to delineate farmers’ lands. And a visit here isn’t fully realized without feeling white sand between your toes and wading into the sea, the green island of Giglio shimmering in the distance.

Agrituismo
A new trend, agritourism, is taking hold in this land whose marshes once made it unfit for the building of civilizations. All the better that yesterday’s murky tidal flats attracted hundreds of species of birds that are here to stay, herons and storks among them. In keeping close to nature, rustic farmhouses in magnificent settings have been converted into elegant inns, where the makings for dinner are plucked straight from the garden—and cheeses appear on your plate courtesy of resident goats.

To learn more about how you can visit the Maremma region on VBT’s popular Tuscany by the Sea tour please click here. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868 or visit vbt.com. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Walk the Path of the Gods on Italy’s Amalfi Coast with VBT

Path of the Gods
The Amalfi Coast, located on the southern edge of the Sorrentine Peninsula in Italy is an astonishing landscape where dramatic cliffs of the Lattari mountains crash into the Gulf of Salerno below. Dotted with charming villages, majestic views and world-class walking trails, the Amalfi Coast—named a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a cultural landscape in 1997—is a must-see destination for any world traveler. Active travelers will delight in the experience of walking along its most revered walking path, Sentiero degli Dei or “The Path of the Gods.”

Path Sign

This trail, that runs from Agerola to Positano was once a path for mule herders to transport goods between coastal villages, but now serves as a recreational walking route with heavenly views. VBT travelers on our Amalfi Coast and Capri walking vacation will walk the scenic stretch between the Biscotto Caves and the hamlet of Nocelle. The path is well-marked and offers views of Capri and the islets of Li Galli, or Sirenuse, where the mythical Sirens attracted seafarers with their melodious songs. Once we reach the Nocelle, we’ll stop to enjoy lunch on your own. Afterwards travelers have the option to continue walking along the path or shuttling by van on to Montepertuso where according to legend, the Madonna was challenged by the devil to punch a hole in a towering mountain—pertuso means “hole” in Neapolitan dialect. The views from here are simply amazing.

VBT Backpack

The best time of the year to walk the Path of the Gods is in the late spring and early fall as the weather on the Amalfi Coast tends to be dryer, clearer and offers conditions more conducive to walking during this time than in other months. VBT offers departures on this tour in May, June, September and October. A recent VBT traveler, Caryl from California had this to say about her experience while on vacation— “This trip walking along the Amalfi Coast makes you feel sorry for travelers going by on big tour buses and thinking they have seen the Amalfi Coast. We saw the coastal villages by boat, as well as from above as we hiked the Path of the Gods, and enjoyed the villages free from worry of navigating the narrow roads. Stopping at specially picked restaurants with fantastic views for lunch and taking time to see gardens in Ravello made the trip oh-so special.”

Amalfi Couple

To learn more about this popular walking vacation—which includes visits to Pompeii, Capri and Sorrento— and to see traveler reviews and available 2014 departure dates, please click here. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

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