Lucca Nature and Wildlife Tours

The Great Oak

Wandering round and about Lucca!

With the expertise of our nature and walking guides, we offer a series of hiking and walking itineraries through the most picturesque rural areas of our province.

The areas around Lucca are rich in culture and natural beauty and worth exploring. There are three diverse hill formations with different flora and each itinerary offers delightful vistas. Far from the crowds, numerous trails lead through vineyards, olive groves, chestnut woods, and medieval villages.

The following itineraries are suitable for all those that like to walk. However because of their difficulty, ranging from easy to moderate, certain precautions must be taken. Suitable footwear is necessary.

Walking through Vineyards

Take a stroll through the beautiful countryside, typically Tuscan, covered with rows upon rows of grapevines and olive trees. The tour begins at Fontananuova. After a short walk along a paved road, we come across a wood of broad-leaf trees with a special oak tree that is five hundred years old. According to legend, this is where witches would meet to celebrate their Sabbath. The trail proceeds to the picturesque village of San Martino and continues through areas that alternate olive trees with grapevines, ultimately leading to the fortified hilltop village of Montecarlo.
Difficulty: easy with a 200 m ascent
Length of tour: half day

Monti Pisani: Walking in the Footsteps of Dante

A solitary trail through an area of small trees and shrubs typical of the Mediterranean coastal areas (in Italian: macchia mediterranea), across the Monti Pisani with a view of the Arno River Valley and Pisa with its Leaning Tower.
The first part of the walk is along a paved road, and from Catro, by way of a narrow trail through olive groves and then scrub, we reach Caldaccioli where there is a splendid panorama of the Arno River Valley stretching to Pisa. The trail continues toward San Giuliano. Near the tunnel, there is a path that leads to Dante’s Pass. This is the same way Dante Alighieri would reach Pisa from Lucca.
From the pass, there are two possibilities to complete the tour:
✓ Head back toward Santa Maria del Giudice, about 5 km with a 300 m descent
✓ Proceed in the direction of Monte (Mount) Castellare to the ruins of Villa Belvedere aka Villa Bosniaski. The first part of the route is very narrow and overgrown, the second part allows you to reach the villa with ease. From here the descent through unspoiled countryside with many rare plants in the direction of Asciano. The walk is about 8 km long and there is a descent of 300 m.
Difficulty: from easy to moderate
Length of tour: half day

The Hills of Lake Massaciuccoli

A walk through some very picturesque countryside with vistas of Lake Massaciuccoli and the sea.
The trail begins by the lakeshore and leads to a garden with splendid specimens of lemon trees. After a short, steep incline, we find ourselves among archeological ruins of Roman baths and catch a first look at a panorama which will become more breathtaking as we ascend. The trail continues through woods to Monte (Mount) Aquilana and Compignano and then through olive groves. Near the Church of San Frediano, we head south-west, skirting round Monte Castellaggio, for a view of Pisa, then Lucca. The return is by paved road (about 800 m) to avoid repeating the same route as at the outset.
Difficulty: fairly easy with an ascent of 400 m
Length of tour: half day

A Walk to the Sea

A short lovely walk through the coastal woodlands to the sand dunes of the shore of Torre del Lago. The woods have typical Mediterranean vegetation but also continental flora. Exiting the woods, there are the natural sand dunes and then the beach.
Difficulty: easy
Length of tour: half day. A full day tour can be arranged by adding a visit to Villa Puccini at Torre del Lago or a boat ride on Lake Massaciuccoli.

Alpi Apuane: The Cardoso Ring

The excursion begins at Cardoso. Just outside the village there is a steep incline that leads to a broad-leaf tree forest with rich underbrush. Just before arriving at the summit, we suddenly find ourselves in typically Mediterranean woods below Monte (Mount) Penna until we reach San Michele. From here, there is a mule path to the village of San Luigi. At the rise, we continue north to the iron cross on Monte Penna. Enjoy the fantastic panorama of the Serchio River Valley and the Apennines. The trail then leads through chestnut tree woods back to Cardoso.
Difficulty: from fairly easy to moderate with a steep incline (the first 2 km have a 300 m ascent)
Length of tour: about 4 hours of walking. We recommend a full day tour of the Serchio River Valley in order to include a visit to the hilltop town of Barga with its noteworthy Duomo from where there is a stupendous panorama of the Alpi Apuane and Apennines.