Walking And Eating

Walking And Eating

…in Tuscany and Umbria / Provence

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Reader Praise for WALKING AND EATING IN TUSCANY and UMBRIA


We used this book for a trip to Umbria with our children ages 9 and 12 this September and thought it was great, both for the walking and the eating. We have been to Tuscany several times and wanted to branch out to Umbria on this last trip, and can only say we wish we had done so sooner. We stayed in the lovely town of Norcia, and did the “San Eutizio” walk: an amazing adventure with children! Norcia was an easy place to be with kids, the hotel recommended in the book was extremely friendly, the town had such a safe feeling and enough of interest (particularly the gelato bar) to the kids to keep them busy. The walk—one of the longer ones in the book—was an ambitious one for kids, but gave them an exceptional feeling of accomplishment at the end, and they loved the beautiful abbey at San Eutizio, especially enjoyable on our visit because as we ate dinner at the tiny restaurant next door (the only building in the immediate environs) there was a wedding going on, which spilled into the outdoors. While my husband and I lingered over our “vino,” the kids went inside the abbey and mingled with the wedding party stragglers, a few of whom—along with our kids of course—crawled through an ancient tunnel behind the altar, an action that is supposed to cure all ills.

We also went up to Castelluccio, the mountain village about 15 miles from Norcia, which was stunningly beautiful, remote, and virtually deserted. There is a small restaurant there which was fabulous, and the sunset behind the austere Sibillini mountains was a stunning backdrop to our outdoor meal. Next time we would plan to stay in this tiny village overnight.

Note: We had the 2005 edition, and the friend who recommended this book says the San Eutizio walk wasn’t in the original.
—A reader from Cape Cod - Dec. 2004


I first discovered this book on a trip to Italy in 1999, and after my first walk I was hooked. The walk (Lamole Ring walk) took me to a place I never would have found on my own, and the experience of visiting this lovely off-the-beaten-track hamlet and its beautiful surrounding countryside on foot turned out to be the highlight of my vacation. The restaurant recommended (the only one in Lamole) was also one of the best I’ve ever eaten in, and was at the same time friendly and not terribly expensive.

I used the book extensively when I returned in 2003, doing seven more of the walks (mostly in the “Southern Tuscany” section) and they have all been splendid. However, I encountered several changes (more on the restaurant side than the actual walking side, though there were also some of those), and was hoping the authors would do a new edition by the time I was next lucky enough to be going to Italy. I think I was probably one of the first people to use the new edition when I went this September (2004) and I am happy to report it was excellent! I drove first to Lamole (wherein spite of another reviewer here who must have been looking for an American-style parking garage— there is no problem whatsoever in parking your car: it’s just a tiny hamlet and you can park anywhere you like) and found the restaurant to be still at the top of its form, still friendly and unpretentious. The walk has been improved in that formerly there was a stretch on the road (admittedly untrafficked, but road nonetheless) which has now been replaced with a shortcut through the woods. After my walk I drove up to hotel/hostel/restaurant on top of San Michele, and spent the night there, amidst the sighing evergreens there at the top of the mountain. Sublime!
—Alan Brooks, New York City - Dec. 2004


I did the Fiesole walk when I visited Florence in May of 2003, and even though it has been a few years since the book was written, it was still very accurate and easy to follow. Of course, this was not one of the more ambitious walks, and we didn’t use any of the B&B or restaurant recommendations, but for the walk itself it was a great guide. The only problem I had with the book was that my particular copy (bought used on amazon.com) was missing a few key pages!! The seller reimbursed my purchase price, so I can’t really complain, but I think the binding glue was weak, so I would recommend checking your copy to make sure all the pages are there before you set off on a walking tour of Italy.
—A reader from Charlottesville, VA - Dec. 2003


I have just returned from a year in Italy and completed almost every walk in the book. It is a superbly researched, well written book that makes walking in Italy fun. All of the walks were interesting, some of them remote and spectacular, others through a foodies and nature lovers paradise. The book is still up to date.
—Simon Read, London - July 2003


southtuscany
In a recent trip to Tuscany we were able to take one of the walks described in the book. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. When used with a good map, the directions are good. The trails are easily traveled (my map had many other trails, but some of them were overgrown) but not overused (we did not see any other tourists the whole day). Following this guide helped us see a side of Tuscany we would have missed otherwise, and gave us stories that made other friends who have visited Italy jealous.
—A reader from Morton Grove, IL -June 2003


Because of torrential rains I only had the chance to do one of the walks in this book on my visit to Italy this past October—from Ripa d’Orcia to Bagno Vignoni—but it was one of the highlights of my trip. I found the directions to be painstakingly accurate, which was surprising to me considering that this book was published 3-1/2 years ago. Walking from place to place and then eating delicious local cuisine is a wonderful way to explore Italy and I’d love to return and do other walks from this book.
—A reader from Seattle, WA - December 2000


This is truly a great book. It adds a new dimension to your holiday without turning it into a full on trekking trip. We completed the walks within the time specified and found the directions to be more than adequate. We used the book in 1997 and 1999 and are planning to use it again in 2001. I hope there’s a new edition out by then. Enjoy!!
—Miss R.D. De Palma, Adelaide, Australia - September 2000


We spent two weeks in Tuscany in July 2002 and did 4 walks out of this guide. We found the directions very accurate and easy to follow and we enjoyed the walks very much. This is the best way to see and experience the Tuscan countryside. Many walks are from point to point and can be linked to form longer itineraries, but we preferred the ring walks. We also liked the style of writing; it is quite witty and funny at times.
—A reader from County Kerry, Ireland - August 2002


Last June I left for Florence as part of a semester abroad with my school, and I found this wonderful book quite by chance. I brought it with me and three of us set out for the Casentino. This excursion was so memorable. My friends and I will never forget the breathtaking views and colors of the woods as we walked to Castagno d’Andrea in the setting sun. The bramble-edged road and the low shrubby patches of forest interspersed with meadows are etched in my mind.
—Brendan Bernard, New York, NY - August 2000


I bought this book and used it to plan out part of my honeymoon. It was the sort of thing I was looking for, and I’ve recommended it to several friends. We did some great walks from this book, and ate at some fantastic restaurants recommended in it. The walks we did were beautiful, and we really enjoyed picnicking along the way. We stayed at one of the agriturismos recommended in the book, in San Donato (near San Gimignano), and it was everything the authors described and more. The proprietor does not speak English, but between our stumbling Italian and the help of English-speaking Italian guests, we were able to work things out. Not only did he do our laundry for us, but he gave us a bottle of wine produced on his farm as a parting gift. A wonderful experience, which we would never have had without this book.
—Ellen Bitterman, NY - August 2000


I was inspired by this guidebook to do 4 days of walks in Tuscany this spring—from Buonconvento to Montalcino, Sant’Antimo via Ripa D’Orcia to Bagno Vignoni, and on to Pienza. I had previously done the Montepulciano-Pienza walk. Every walk I took was wonderful and I can’t recommend this way of seeing Italy highly enough! There is no way I could have done these walks without this book, which I found to be very accurate. There were a few places where I had minor trouble interpreting the directions, but was never really lost, and I found the maps very helpful. Proprietors of the places I stayed or stopped for a meal were sometimes amused, but always pleased, when they heard I was on foot. I also had the Lonely Planet guidebook to walking/hiking in Italy, but found that to be much less helpful and less detailed. It was clear to me that Lasdun and Davis had done painstakingly thorough background research. (i.e., had walked every trail more than once, and had tried every restaurant—obviously a great hardship, especially in the spring and fall!) It will take me years to do all the walks in this book that call out to me, but I’m already thinking of my next trip (in grape harvest season this time).
—Caryn Bern, Atlanta, GA - August 2000


I planned a walking trip to Umbria and Tuscany based on this excellent and thorough guidebook. My wife and I and three other couples, all friends and all in our 50’s and 60’s, spent two weeks in May of 2000 umbriawalking three of the inteneraries in Umbria and seven in Tuscany. The experience was, arguably, the most satisfying vacation any of us has ever made. Fields of red poppies, yellow buttercups,and a vibrant bouquet of many other flowering plants and trees colored our surroundings. The book guided us through dramaticaly changing scenes from stately vineyards, to deep woods, to beautiful medieval and renaissance villages, towns, and abbeys, to mountain pastures and fields of flowers, and to a procession of stunning views. Walking gave our encounters with the places and people of our trip an exhilarating immediacy and intimacy that we would have otherwise missed. Buy the book, make the trip, do the walks, and be entranced. (The Lamole and the San Michele to Radda walks need updating because of property and road changes, but you can still find your way.)
—Richard M. Greene, San Diego, CA - June 2000


I took the walk from Montepulciano to Pienza, and found the times quoted in the book to be quite accurate. It was also incredibly beautiful (in early June there were huge fields of bright red poppies). I had no problem getting from Montepulciano to Pienza in time for lunch (with a stop for a mid-morning capucchino in Montechiello), lounged around for a couple of hours in Pienza and returned to Montepulciano by bus. In Pienza, I was told that the bus company was on strike and I admit to a moment of despair at the thought of starting to walk back at 4 PM—but it turned out to be a different bus company that was on strike! I will be returning to Tuscany for more walking in May and may have more comments when I get back.
—A reader, March 2000


I bought this book before a recent trip to Italy. We stayed in a town described in the book and did one of the walks. Wonderful scenery and we thoroughly enjoyed the walk, and the excellent lunch at the restaurant recommended. We thought the book extremely useful and very well researched, and hope to use it to plan more walks next year.
—Duncan Naylor and John Cowell - August 1999


This book is for anyone who wants to fully experience the Italian countryside the only way it can be fully experienced—on foot. Instead of merely viewing the fantastic landscapes from afar, we were able to get out umbriathere and get among it. This kind of experience can mean the difference between an ordinary postcard vacation and something truly memorable. The food in this area is heavenly—all the more so when you’ve completed a healthy walk!
—A reader, August 1999


I am writing to say that we found the above book very useful and helpful. We were on holiday in Tuscany at the end of last month and used the book to make two successful walks, which we all enjoyed. The instructions were easy to follow, and our 8 year old son enjoyed the attraction of lunch half-way.
—A reader, Sussex England - July 1999


We found this book delightful, and a real benefit during our first visit to Italy in May of this year. We have holidayed extensively in many parts of France over the years and were looking for some assistance in our first attempt to discover the gems of Italy. Early in our holiday we ate (twice) at the Le Cave de Maiano and really enjoyed it. We also followed one of the walks from Fiesole. We stayed at one of the “agriturismo” recommendations in the book (”La Gavina”) for two nights and found it exceptional. The proprietors were very friendly and welcoming. Their house is beautiful and it was really nice to stay on a working farm which produces its own meats, cheeses, vegetables, olive oil, and wine. The evening meal was truly excellent and as good as the best restaurants we ate in. The company was international and great fun. We would recommend this opportunity—and this book—to all future travelers.
—A reader, County Dublin, Ireland - July 1999

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