Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some typical questions asked by our walkers, they apply to all of our tours unless specified otherwise. If you're looking for details about a particular tour, you can find FAQs in each tour's page in the web site. If you still can't find what you're looking for, then feel free to contact us, we will be happy to answer your questions.
What are the walks like?
The Hidden Italy walks are exactly that: walks, not hikes! Most of the walks follow unsealed country roads and clearly marked trails, passing through inhabited farmlands. They are usually between 10 to 12 kilometres, taking between 3 and 4 hours, and have been designed as half-day walks, leaving you plenty of time at the end of the walk to explore the places you will be staying in.
Vehicles support both the guided and self-guided walks, which gives you some degree of flexibility - with notice some of the walks can be shortened or you can skip a day's walk altogether.
How fit do I have to be?
Although we have vehicles supporting both the guided and self-guided walks, meaning you might be able to shorten or skip some walks, a good level of fitness is required to really enjoy the tours. The grades of difficulty vary from walk to walk but as a rule of thumb, being able to comfortably play an 18 hole round of golf is a good starting point although we strongly recommend you do some training beforehand!
We would suggest starting your training at least two months before your visit and doing at least two walks a week of between 10 and 12 kilometres, including some hill and steps, if possible.
Where possible, we’d also recommend that you do these walks in the clothes and with the equipment that you will be using during your visit eg with a day pack with water, food, camera, raincoat etc; walking stocks (if you decide to use these) and, very importantly, the shoes/boots you’ll be using on the visit nothing worse than walking in new boots!
How safe are the self-guided walks?
For a start, all the Hidden Italy pass through inhabited farmlands and countryside (no national parks or wilderness!) and there will always be a farm house in sight (and the natives are very friendly). Each day, you will be provided with daily walk maps (scale 1:25000) and detailed daily walking notes, which are regularly updated. Each walk has regular GPS waymarkers. With extensive mobile phone coverage, you will also have 24 hour back-up from our operation managers. We've had well over 1000 self-guided walkers and haven't lost any yet!
What is the accommodation like?
This varies from tour to tour, however, as a policy, Hidden Italy uses the best accommodation available. The accommodation is based on two-people sharing a room and all rooms have a private bathroom.
In the guided tours, accommodation is generally in small, centrally located 4-star boutique style accommodation. When we get off the beaten track, this level of accommodation might not always be available, however, we guarantee that the accommodation will always be comfortable, clean and, above all, welcoming.
In the self-guided walks, accommodation in the larger towns is provided in 3-star hotels (except where the ‘superior’ level is offered, where the accommodation is in 4-star hotels), usually based in the historical centres of the towns, often in buildings that are themselves part of the local history. In the smaller, quieter villages, this level is not always available. However, what we can guarantee is that the accommodation will always be clean and comfortable and welcoming. Please see the individual tours for details.
What is the food like?
Food must be a highlight of any visit to Italy - the history and character of each region is best captured in its unique cuisine, which has evolved over centuries and is based on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.
All the restaurants you will visit on a Hidden Italy tour have been chosen to introduce you to the finest regional cuisine, from sophisticated ristoranti of the bigger towns to the simpler homecooking of the country trattorie. Of course, some of the most memorable meals are the simplest - eg outdoor picnic lunches based on the best local produce.
If you have any particular dietary needs please let us know beforehand and we'll be happy to make the appropriate arrangements.
What do the walking grades mean?
While they are walks, not hikes, none of the self-guided walks are ‘easy’ – they all require a good level of fitness. All the self-guided tours and the individual walks of the guided tours have been given a grading to help you assess them:
Self-guided: most walks on this tour are less than 12 kms; orientation is straight forward and there are no long, steep climbs.
Guided walk: this walk is less than 12 kilometres and there are no long, steep climbs.
Self-guided: several walks on this tour are between 12 and 15 kms; orientation is straight forward and there are some long climbs.
Guided walk: this is walk between 12 and 15 kms and there are some long climbs.
Self-guided: several walks on this tour are between 12 and 15 kms; orientation requires previous experience and there are some long, steep climbs.
Guided walk: this walk is between 12 and 15 kms and there are some long, steep climbs
Self-guided: some walks on this tour are longer than 15 kms; orientation requires previous experience and there are some long and steep climbs.
Guided walks: this walk is longer than 15 kms and there are some long, steep climbs.
Guided walks: this is a demanding walk either for distance (over 20 kms long); level of ascent/descent (ie it has some very long, steep climbs/descents) or the surface (skree or boulders)