On offer

Essential Tuscany

Montalcino old town at the beautiful sunset light. Travel Toscana landscapes, Italy.
Duration: 7 nights
Type: European walking holidays
Walking Grade: 1 & 2
from £1,599pp £1,519pp

Arguably one of Italy’s most evocative landscapes, Tuscany tempts with rolling hills, ancient vineyards, cypress trees, and photogenic medieval towns filled with interesting art and architecture. Highlights include relaxing in the natural hot springs at Bagno Vignoni, walking through rural landscapes, and spending time in historic towns and villages such as Pienza, Montepulciano, and Montalcino. There’s also plenty of gentle countryside walks as well as the chance to sample the food and wine this region is so famous for.

What you’ll love

  • Discovering this breathtaking landscape on foot
  • Visiting the towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino
  • Taking a ridge walk for beautiful views of Rocca
  • Enjoying the natural hot springs at Bagno Vignoni
  • Spending time in the tiny village of Pienza
  • Sampling regional food and wine

What’s included

  • Full programme of guided walks led by local HF Holidays Leaders
  • HF Holidays Tour Manager
  • Comfortable accommodation
  • Half-board (breakfast and evening meal)
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees (as per itinerary)
  • Air-conditioned transport
  • Return flights from the UK including hold baggage and airport transfers

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

Welcome to Hotel Albergo Palazzuolo. Unpack and settle in.


The hot springs at Bagno Vignoni have been known since Etruscan times. Santa Caterina of Siena and Lorenzo the Magnificent were amongst those to have taken advantage of the therapeutic values of the waters. The Medici family built the splendid arcaded pool which sits in the middle of the village where you would expect to find the main square.

Option 1 - A New Route to The Spa

Distance: 4 miles (6½km)

Total ascent: 400 feet (120m)

In summary: We start our week with an exploration of San Quirico, a fascinating town in its own right with some spectacular views from the town walls. We then head south out of town through beautiful countryside to Vignoni Alta with its truncated tower. Our route continues descending towards Bagno Vignoni accompanied by great views to Rocca d’Orcia.

Highlight: Explore Bagno Vignone with its hot springs and interesting history.

Option 2 - A Castle and a Spa

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (200m)

In summary: After exploring San Quirico with the easier group, we too head south, taking a loop out to the west via Forn del Chigi and Poggio Grande. We then head east past the ruins of the old bridge, swept away in 1929, and up the side of the calcite cliffs, past bathing pools, to arrive in Bagno Vignoni to join the easier group.

Highlight: Views to Monte Amiata, which forms the southern backdrop to the Val d’Orcia.


Montalcino is a Tuscan hill town with a full circuit of walls. It was permanently settled in 1,000AD by fugitives from the Saracens and their family groups, the Borghetto, Pianello, Ruga and Travaglio. To this day you will see rival flags outside the houses and they compete against each other in an archery competition. The final destination of both walks is the Abbey of Sant'Antimo with time to explore before enjoying refreshments in the village of Castelnuovo dell Abate.

Option 1 - From the Castle to the Abbey

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Total ascent: 600 feet (180m)

In summary: Our walk starts with a bus ride to Montalcino where we can explore the town and enjoy a drink before re-joining the coach to take us to the start of our walk a couple of miles south. Our route takes us through forests, vineyards and farmlands as we make our way to our objective of the day, the Abbey of San Antimo. Our coach then picks us up at the edge of Castelnuovo dell Abate.

Highlight: Visit the attractive town of Montalcino.

Option 2 - Montalicino to Sant'Antimo

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Total ascent: 700 feet (240m)

In summary: The harder walk begins at Montalcino where, after a chance to look around, we head off towards the Abbey of Sant'Antimo through undulating countryside, woodland and farmland.

Highlight: Villa a Tolli, an ancient hamlet of Etruscan origin.


Pienza was once a small village named Corsignano, where Pope Pius II was born. When he became Pope in 1459, he commissioned the most famous architect of his day, Bernardo Rossellini, to create a city fit for a Pope on the site of his birthplace. Pius died within three years of the completion of the city, which was largely ignored by future Popes, leaving us with a beautifully preserved renaissance city not much bigger than a village.

Option 1 - Montepulciano to Montichiello

Distance: 6 miles (9½km)

Total ascent: 1000 feet (300m)

In summary: After looking around the beautiful city of Montepulciano, we start out walk across rolling countryside past the pilgrimage church of San Biagio. On reaching Montichiello, we reboard out coach for the beautiful walled hilltop town of Pienza.

Highlight: Monticchiello is a delightful walled village with a crooked watch tower and a 13th century parish church.

Option 2 - Montepulciano to Pienza

Distance: 9½ miles (15km)

Total ascent: 1,500 feet (480m)

In summary: Our walk starts from Montepulciano. After a spot of sightseeing, we head east out of town towards Monticchiello and onto Pienza where we can join the easier group for refreshments.

Highlight: Pienza is an historical town with Romanesque architecture.


Each week there is a free day when no guided walks are offered. This is an ideal opportunity to relax around the hotel, walk independently or visit local places of interest. If there is sufficient demand, leaders can organise a visit to San Gimignano.

San Gimignano: This is a fascinating hilltop town with a breathtaking skyline of towers. You can enter the town through the Porta San Giovanni and then head to the Piazza del Duomo. The Duomo has an exotic interior containing fresco cycles of the Old and New Testament stories. It is worthwhile visiting the Rocca and ramparts which offer extensive views across the countryside. The church of St. Augustine is well away from the crowds and has frescoes on the life of Saint Francis. On the return to San Quirico you could stop at the heavily fortified small town of Monteriggioni, once the border of the Florence and Siena republics.

Villa La Foce: Visit this villa and its gardens, made famous by Iris Origo’s book War in the Val d’Orcia – An Italian Diary 1943-44.


Located on a ridge that separates the Val d'Orcia and Valdichiana is the Piertaporciana Nature reserve known for its rare flora, we finish in the pretty hilltop town of Sarteano with it castle looming over.

Option 1 - Le Foce to Sarteano

Distance: 7 miles (11 km)

Ascent: 1150 feet (360m)

In summary: A short bus ride from the hotel, we start the walk at Le Foce an impressive country house with beautiful gardens. A gentle climb takes us into the Pietraporciana nature reserve passing low lying Beechwood, we pass the small visitor centre once a hideout for partisans in the world war. We then make our way through this idyllic reserve to the pretty medieval village of Sarteano and time for a small exploration.

Highlight: Explore Sarteano a real treat off the tourist trail

Option 2 - Le Foce to Castiglioncello del Trinoro Sarteano

Distance: 9½ miles (15km)

Ascent: 1300 feet (400m)

In summary: We start our walk at Le Foce, and begin our gentle climb into the Pietraporciana Nature Reserve, with its rare flora. We then pass the visitor centre and café, and make a delightful detour to the medieval town of Castiglioncello del Trinoro before dropping down into beautiful Sarteano.

Highlight: Explore Sarteano a real treat off the tourist trail


Today we travel south to the castle keep of Tentennano, known locally as Rocca d’Orcia. The harder walk is circular, starting and finishing at the Rocca and taking in three castles. The easier walk takes in a beautiful stretch of the Via Francigena heading for the little village of Gallina which sits on the 43rd Parallel. Both groups walk through undulating farmland and woodland where wild game, such as deer and boar have been seen. At the end of both walks there will be the opportunity to climb the tower of the castle keep and/or take refreshments at the café nearby before we return to the hotel.

Option 1 - From the Rocca to the 43rd Parallel along the Via Francigena

Distance: 7½ miles (11.5km)

Total ascent: 400 feet (120m)

In summary: Today’s walk begins with a circuit of the beautiful village of Castiglione d’Orcia before walking through Rocca d’Orcia village and picking up the Via Francigena which we walk almost all the way to Gallina. After a short refreshment stop we will board the coach to return to our starting point and meet up with the harder walkers at Rocca d’Orcia.

Highlight: Castiglione d’Orcia is an ancient settlement first referenced in 714AD.

Option 2 - Rocca D’Orcia Circular – A Three Castles Walk

Distance: 8½ miles (14km)

Total ascent: 1,600 feet (500m)

In summary: The walk starts by wandering through the medieval streets of Rocca d’Orcia village. An old road, now just a track takes us down to the Orcia River with views of Ripa d’Orcia. We follow the river for a while before gaining height to join a ridge with stunning views of Monte Amiata to the south. The return allows us to explore the village of Castiglione d’Orcia and its castle – the Rocca Aldobrandesca. Finally we return to Rocca d’Orcia to join the easier party with time to explore the castle and/or take refreshments.

Highlight: Take in views of three medieval castles.


We hope to see you again soon.


Itinerary map for San Quirico

Hotel Albergo Palazzuolo - Tuscany

The 3-star Hotel Albergo Palazzuolo is set in a peaceful location in the countryside surrounding the village of San Quirico, and is very convenient for the local amenities. This family-owned hotel was originally an attractive farmhouse, extended on both sides to incorporate the bedrooms. The property has excellent views to the rolling hills of Montalcino and offers good standards of service and comfort with a relaxing atmosphere after your days out walking.

Rooms

The hotel has 42 comfortable bedrooms, all en-suite with shower. 

All bedrooms also have:

  • TV
  • Telephone
  • Air conditioning
  • Fridge
  • Hairdryer

About your stay

Hotel Albergo Palazzuolo facilities consists of:

  • Lounge
  • Bar
  • Terrace
  • Attractive gardens
  • Outdoor swimming pool (swimming hat is required)

Food & drink

Our holidays at Hotel Albergo Palazzuolo are on a half-board basis and include breakfast and evening meal.

Breakfast

The self-select continental breakfast includes cereal, cheese and cooked meats, bread, croissants and home-produced honey. Tea and coffee is available.

Lunch (payable locally)

You can buy a picnic lunch from the hotel (order the night before). Alternatively ingredients can be bought in local shops, including a supermarket five minutes' walk away. On some days it may be possible to eat in a café during a walk or excursion; your leaders will advise you of all the options.

Evening meal

The five course set menu features many Tuscan specialities, using homemade pasta and locally-produced oil, meat and cheese. An alternative is available for vegetarians; however we recommend that those with special diets discuss their requirements with the manager or chef.

Drinks

There is a well-stocked bar serving beer, wine and spirits.

Your evenings

The friendly atmosphere of our holidays continues into the evening.

Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer before hearing about the next day's activities, then join your fellow guests for a leisurely meal.

Your leader will be checking out for other local events going on nearby, or you may prefer to relax on the terrace enjoying the panoramic view or in the bar with a drink.

Essential information

It's best to be prepared for all weather conditions. To make it easier, here is a list of items you should consider packing.   

Essentials  

  • Walking boots 
  • Waterproof jacket 
  • Waterproof trousers 
  • Insulated jacket/top 
  • Walking clothing  
  • Walking socks (plus spares)  
  • Sunhat 
  • Gloves/mitts and warm hat
  • Water bottle (minimum 2 litre capacity)  
  • Headtorch 
  • High-factor sunscreen (minimum SPF 30)  
  • Sunglasses with a dark lens 
  • Rucksack (15-30 litres)  
  • Mobile phone 
  • Personal first aid kit (containing your medication, blister plasters, etc.) 
  • Passport 
  • Visa (if applicable) 
  • Copy of your travel insurance policy 
  • UK Global Health Insurance Card (formerly known as EHIC

Recommended

  • Collapsible walking poles 
  • Swimwear and travel towel
  • Snacks
  • Dry bags
  • Rubbish bags
  • Insect repellent

Optional extras

  • Camera 
  • Sit mat
  • Flask for hot drinks 
  • Durable lunch box
  • Gaiters 
  • GPS device 

Guest reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Supplements may apply.

Non-member fee: £30 per person.

All packages that include flights are ATOL protected. Advertised prices listed below show the lowest economy flight price option for that departure. On holidays where we offer local UK airports, details will appear in the “Important Information” section below and available alternative flight options will be offered when you book. Seating upgrades may be available on request and at an additional charge, please call 020 3974 8865 for a quote.

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2024

07 Sep - 14 Sep 2024

7 nights

Itinerary
Flight from London Heathrow Airport

Single Call to Enquire

Double from

£1,849 £1,749 pp

from

£1,849 £1,749 pp

Call to Enquire Save £100 Per Person Trip Notes
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14 Sep - 21 Sep 2024

7 nights

Itinerary
Flight from Manchester Airport

Single Call to Enquire

Double from

£1,799 pp

from

£1,799 pp

Call to Enquire Trip Notes
Book Now

21 Sep - 28 Sep 2024

7 nights

Itinerary
Flight from London Heathrow Airport

Single Call to Enquire

Double from

£1,799 pp

from

£1,799 pp

Call to Enquire
Call us to book
Trip Notes
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Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2024

07 Sep - 14 Sep 2024

7 nights

Itinerary

Single Call to Enquire

Double from

£1,619 £1,519 pp

from

£1,619 £1,519 pp

Call to Enquire Save £100 Per Person Trip Notes
Book Now

14 Sep - 21 Sep 2024

7 nights

Itinerary

Single Call to Enquire

Double from

£1,599 pp

from

£1,599 pp

Call to Enquire Trip Notes
Book Now

21 Sep - 28 Sep 2024

7 nights

Itinerary

Single Call to Enquire

Double from

£1,599 pp

from

£1,599 pp

Call to Enquire Trip Notes
Book Now

Important information

  • With flights holidays: Price includes return flights to Pisa Airport, hold baggage and airport transfers
  • Regional flights: Please click BOOK NOW to view alternative UK airport options
  • Our airport taxi service operates at this resort - prices available on request
  • Independent travellers can join our transfer from Pisa Airport - please contact us for prices
Duration:
7 nights
Type:
European walking holidays
Walking Grade:
1 & 2

7 nights from £1,599pp £1,519pp

On offer

or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ guests click here

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