Vine-centric strolls await in the spectacular scenery of Tuscany’s Chianti region. (John Hay/LPI)

As if its cultural bite wasn’t fierce enough, Italy boasts some of the planet’s most spectacular scenery, from icy Alps and epic lakes to vine-laced hills and sunburnt coasts.

One day you’re cycling through an Alpine national park, the next you’re sunning it up on a sizzling volcanic beach. Not bad for a country smaller than New Mexico.

Outdoor aficionados are spoilt rotten for choice, with active options spanning high-octane trekking and skiing to lazy coastal meanders. Not that we suggest you snub life’s more decadent pleasures: Chianti wine trails make for tasty cycling trips, while Piedmont truffle hunts turn a walk in the woods into a gourmet adventure. So strap up, hit the track or make a splash in one of Europe’s best al fresco playgrounds.

Thousands of kilometres of sentieri (marked trails) crisscross Italy, ranging from mountain treks to gentle lakeside passeggiate (strolls). In season (the end of June to September), northern Italy’s sweeping Alps provide superb walking with breathtaking backdrops.


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