Hiking trails in the Tuscan landscape.
Hiking is a great way to discover Tuscany’s magical natural beauty. In some regions, like the large plot of land surrounding Castelfalfi, time seems to have passed by without leaving a mark. The grounds contain several hiking trails, of varying length and difficulty, which you can use to explore the different areas of Castelfalfi. My personal favourite is the 13km red path that passes through all the areas and takes about three and a half hours.
Trees and cypresses.
My hiking trail starts right behind the medieval castle of Castelfalfi. I walk away from the castle along the tree-lined path. I can see that cypresses are the most common type of tree here – they’re perfectly suited for growing alongside paths. Not only do they live around 2000 years, but they also have roots that grow vertically. That means they don’t alter the course of country roads or paths. The sun is high in the sky, but these trees make sure the path is always refreshingly cool and pleasant. Incredible views can be seen from between the trees.
Nature in the Tuscan landscape.
With every step I take, I feel more at home in the Tuscan natural landscape. The air is very clean and there are wild plants growing everywhere, including bramble bushes, fig trees and prickly pears with their delicious fruit. Walking may be an everyday activity, but Castelfalfi transforms it into something magical. The only sounds to be heard are birdsong and the rustling of leaves in trees and bushes where small woodland creatures are moving around. The region is also home to many larger wild animals, like foxes, roe and fallow deer, and wild boar.
A challenging route to the viewpoints.
The route through the Tuscan hills around Castelfalfi is anything but flat. A few steep gradients make the trail a demanding adventure, so you almost have to ‘conquer’ each viewpoint. The path also winds past small lakes, which are really rainwater dams. They help the resort reduce water waste. The entire resort is run according to environmentally sustainable principles, as my trail gradually reveals.
The golf course and the vineyards.
The hiking trail also passes through parts of the golf course, which was built along the hillside and offers unmatched views. By now I’ve been walking for a little over two hours. I’m beginning to feel tired, so it’s time for a break. I sit down among the trees to look at the scenery: the wide blue sky above and the green stripes of hills, meadows and vineyards below. Castelfalfi’s land has been cultivated for centuries and produces an abundance of crops for wine and olive oil.
The charm of the landscape.
Now I understand why the Tuscan landscape enchants all its visitors: it’s impossible to tear yourself away from the romance of the graceful hills that have inspired so many painters and poets.
The peace of the forest.
Soon I reach the end of the trail. I slow down, wanting to linger in the forest a while longer. All is silent around me and the sunbeams twinkle through the trees, bringing light to the ground and the smaller plants. As you walk there’s plenty of time to observe the beauty closely and rejuvenate your body and spirit.