Tuscany Skyline Trek Itinerary

(Challenging: Grade 7/12)

Day 1: Transfer from Pisa airport to Col di Lavacchio. Guide’s briefing. Aperitivo and dinner

Apuane Alps

Day 2: An hour’s transfer takes you deep into the heart of the Grafagnana to Rifugio Val Serenaia (1059m) with Mt Pisanino rearing above you. You begin with a gentle ascent through the beech woods to Rifugio Orto di Donna before clambering up to Foce Cardeto (1644m). A traverse round Mt Cavallo opens up views of the Garfagnana before you reach the marble quarry at Passo della Focolaccia and your first glimpse of the coast. A rocky ridge ascent to the summit of Mt Tambura (1890m) affords superb views to east and west.The descent to Passo della Tambura is taken with care before you reach the Via Vandelli – an ancient trading route – which takes you to your first destination: Rifugio Nello Conti (1407m).

Ascent: 1100m Descent: 645m    9.5km    Time: 6.5 hours

Rifugio Nello Conti: clinging to a ledge set into a cliff facing west, this rifugio is a spectacular setting for a sunset aperitivo. As the sun sinks into the Mediterranean, appreciate the silence and solitude broken only by the bleat of a goat. Enjoy a fabulous dinner before sinking into a large bunk bed.

Day 3: Your day begins with a 400m plunge downhill into ravines with old stone bridges and ruins. The climb today is steep and long, back onto the Apuane ridge and the summit of Mt Sella (1736m). From this sensational summit the descent is on a narrow path in a vast limestone slab: not for the fainthearted. A winding trail takes you to Passo di Sella before a thrilling end to the day with a ridgeline traverse of the Schienale dell’Asino (the Donkey’s Spine) and descent to Rifugio Puliti (1000m) above the marble town of Arni.

Ascent: 820m Descent: 1490m    9.6km    Time: 7.5 hours    

Rifugio Puliti: offers welcome shade and fine hospitality, set into the east facing hillside with fine views of Mt Sumbra. The food is sumptuous, the bar cosy and the small bunk rooms comfortable.

Day 4: A gentle trudge past the Madonna del Cavatore watching over her quarrymen takes you to Le Gobbie, a well known mountain restaurant. The climb up cobbled trails to Foce del Frate is a good warm up for things to come and rewards you with fine views of the Gulf of La Spezia. A fabulous ridge walk and scrambly ascent takes you to the summit of Monte Altissimo  (1589) – from the coast seemingly the highest summit in the range. The descent takes you through the Cervaiole marble quarry before a transfer to Col di Lavacchio for a well earned dinner.

Ascent: 773m Descent: 725m    9.4km    Time: 6.5 hours


Day 5: begins with a late breakfast and some time to enjoy the pool at Lavacchio. After lunch you transfer to the Apennines, past the town of Barga and the little mountain village of Renaio (1016m). The toughest part of the climb is the first 40 minutes up through the beech woods to the high Apennine meadows. The 4 hour ridge walk is gently undulating and includes Mt Albano and Mt Romecchio (1802). The views to the west and the Apuane Alps are sensational, while to the east is the more benign country of Emilia Romagna. A descent to Rifugio Burigone (1402m) sees you enjoying a welcome aperitivo on their lawn in the sunset.

Ascent: 656m Descent: 552m    11.4km    Time: 5 hours

Rifugio Burigone: the plushest of the rifugi with ample water for showers and a huge dining room. Enjoy hearty food, fabulous views, a range of drinks and comfortable small rooms.

Day 6: The longest walk of the week begins with a gentle trek back onto the ridge to the Giro di Diavolo – where you can leave a rock to atone for your sins. From Passo delle Radici you have far reaching views before plunging into the high woodland before Passo delle Forbici. As you ascend Mt Cello (1946m) and the final push to Mt Prado (2054m) you can appreciate the vastness of the Apennine wilderness as well as views as far as Corsica. The descent to Rifugio La Foce is swift, the welcome drink much appreciated.

Ascent: 1000m Descent: 645m    22km    Time: 9+ hours

Rifugio La Foce: rather like a Scottish bothy but with exceptional hospitality. Enjoy an “al fresco” shower and appreciate some fabulous home cooking. A wonderful wilderness experience.

Day 7: The morning walk through dappled sunlight with plentiful birdsong is one of the most serene experiences on the trek. As you hit the Apennine trail and take in Mt Porraie (1800m) and then Mt Sillano (1847m) you remark on the diverse nature of this trip. Here it’s all high pasture and gentle trails compared to the rugged beauty of the Apuane. A brief stop at Passo di Pradarena for a light lunch and then a gentle descent through the woods to Oasi Lamastrone sees you finish your week in the early afternoon with a beer or a gelato beside the little lake. The transfer to Col di Lavacchio tends to be a quiet one!

Ascent: 355m Descent: 853m    12.5km    Time: 5.5 hours

Day 8: A single timed transfer to Pisa airport after breakfast.


Essential Equipment

  • A 30-40 litre rucksack
  • Walking boots with good ankle support
  • Comfortable padded socks
  • Waterproofs, hat, gloves, fleece or jumper
  • Sun screen and sun glasses
  • Towel and swimming things
  • Headtorch
  • Mountain activity insurance


May: 12C – 20C

June: 14C -26C

July/August: 20C – 30C

September: 15C – 25C

Useful Equipment

  • European mainland enabled mobile phone
  • Small pair binoculars
  • Lightweight camera
  • Phrase book
  • Walking poles
  • Blister packs
  • Sheet sleeping bag (They are supplied)
  • A good level of fitness!

Useful Maps

  • 4Land Cartography: Alpi Apuane 1:25,000
  • Carta dei Sentieri No18 Appennino Modenese Garfagnana
  • Carta dei sentieri No15 Appennino Reggiano Lunigiana-Garfagnana

You can pre-order these from us when you book