Planning an Italian escape in 2015? Here are our recommendations for a wild holiday…
Best for Kids and Families: Fiume Secchia, Reggio Emilia Talada
Here the Fiume Secchia flows calmly over a broad bed, forming lovely pools. The water is warm and not very deep, and the beach is pebbled. A great spot for families to picnic surrounded by hills and nature.
From Busana, take the SS63 and turn right when you see the sign for Talada. Turn right in the village and take the road downhill, past the houses, through fields and woods. At the end of the road, leave your car and go down to the river. 3 mins easy, 44.3732, 10.3498
Best for Camping: Lago Di Fiastra
A beautiful blue lake (in fact a reservoir) in the Sibillini mountains. With sandy beaches and stunning white rock tiers, it is easy to find a secluded spot to relax or, for more services, choose one of the popular beaches on the south. From the dam, have a beautiful trek to the Lame Rosse (Red Blades), rock formations that could be straight out of an old Western.
The pedestrian/cycle path along the south shore makes a perfect walk for families. From the medieval university town of Camerino, take SP132 heading south. After about 7km take the R onto Località Sfercia. Continue souh on SS77. Turn left onto SP98. After crossing the dam you will find the first set of beaches in San Lorenzo al Lago. For more natural beaches continue on the SP91 for about 1.5km, park and take one of the trails to go down to the shore. 4 mins easy, 43.0528, 13.1752
Best for History and Ruins: Pantalica, Sortino
Remote and inaccessible, this was a refuge and burial place from 1250 to 650BC. Two narrow valleys have been carved into the rock by the waters of the Anapo and Calcinara with deep canyons, tight loops and pools hidden by the dense greenery. Two small pools to dive into, surrounded by luscious greenery, at the bottom of a pathsfrom the Necropolis of Pantalica trail. Ideal for cooling off after the walk.
From Siracusa, head north west along the SP76 to Sortino. From the south end of the town, follow Via Pantalica until it ends in a fence with a kiosk beyond. Park on the road and walk straight on to reach the first tombs. Continue and the trail descends to the valley bottom and a tiny clearing. Bear right for the river. There are some small pools here but head downstream via a rock tunnel to find the largest pool. Continue down to find the confluence with the Calcinara. 40 mins moderate, 37.1397, 15.0294
Best for Waterside Food: Candalla, Camaiore
An area with many impressive pools, waterfalls and canyons. The pool below the mill is deep enough to jump into, from the top of the waterfall. Follow the trail to explore the river and ruins of the old mills. After a five minute walk, you will find the first set of pools. There is also a great place which serves food on terraces and balconies overlooking the river.
From Camaiore leave the SP1 to Casoli-Lombrici, and when near Lombrici turn to Candalla. Leave your car on the road before the mill, and continue on foot following the road that becomes a path. A great place to eat is s Osteria Candalla (Tel 0584 984381). 20 mins easy, 43.9571, 10.3238
Best for Hot Springs: Cascata Del Mulino, Saturnia
A beautiful thermal waterfall where series of natural pools have formed, arranged like terraces of blue and white jacuzzi pools. These are among the most famous Tuscan thermal pools, and for this reason they are always very crowded. We recommend you visit in the evening.
You can reach the hot springs of Saturnia from Pitigliano by leaving the village along the SR74 and heading west. Take the SP10 and follow signs to Saturnia until you reach the entrance of the Hotel Terme di Saturnia. Continue for about 200m and turn left towards the waterfall. 1 min easy, 42.6479, 11.5112
For more information, check our Wild Swimming Italy.