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ItalyTake your pick... Italy has some of the finest locations for walking holidays from the northern lakes and Italian Alps to the intricate coastlines, romantic cities and rolling hills. See our pick of the best.

Lake Garda

HF Holidays runs guided walking tours of Lake Garda in northern Italy based in the village of Nago. Each day offers two choices: easy rambles through olive groves, leafy lanes and along the lake shore; or more difficult walks along steeper tracks. (You can switch between the two and opt for the easier route if you’ve overdone things the day before.) Every September, HF offers mountain walking in the same area, using buses, cable cars and mule tracks to reach the alpine meadows of the Monte Baldo ridge – you’ll walk up to 12 miles a day, as high as 3,500ft.

Mountain hunting - Gran Paradiso

The little-known and unspoilt Gran Paradiso national park in northwest Italy was originally the 19th century hunting grounds of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy, and the tracks made for his carriage are still fine for hiking. You are likely to spot ibex and chamois, marmots and, high overhead, rare lammergeier (bearded vulture) and eagles. Although you’re following in royal footsteps, accommodation is far from princely – this is a ‘hutting’ holiday, where accommodation is in simple mountain huts or rifugi. Expect dormitory bedrooms supplied with blankets and pillows – bring along a sheet bag and everything else you’re likely to need with you. The route goes over some high passes, with great views to the valleys below. You’ll walk an average of six hours a day. This is a new addition to the Ramblers Holidays catalogue: Gran Paradiso is wild and remote, there are no ski resorts nearby and few tourists visit this area.

Walking with kids - Tuscany

Check out Headwater’s ‘boot’ rating system – any of their 1-boot trips will suit all ages. Volterra to San Gimignano takes you walking through vineyards and fields of sunflowers to the fabled towers of San Gimignano. This is an unguided walking trip based on a maximum 12 miles a day, with days off in between. You walk from hotel to hotel – your luggage travels on ahead – and all hotels have pools for you and the kids to cool off in after a long day’s walk. Active teenagers should be able to cope with the Venetian Hills walk, which has a slightly higher 2-boot rating. The hills themselves are distinctively conical – they were once volcanic islands – and the walks meander through woods of holm oaks, almonds and maples.

Arrivederci Roma - Rome

Walking tours don’t have to be out of town. The best way to explore a city like Rome is on foot. Andante is a tour company owned and run by archaeologists, so it’s not hard to guess what the angle is going to be. The Bare Bones tour – so called because it gives you more independence and flexibility than a standard guided tour – is a mix of walking, free time and information from the ‘guide lecturers’ who lead you through the city’s streets. On a six-day trip you’ll explore the ancient centre – the Forum, imperial palaces and Colosseum; Tivoli, Emperor Hadrian’s vast garden estate dotted with temples and statues; and Ostia, Rome’s port at the mouth of the Tiber. B&B accommodation. Tours run in November and December when the weather is ideal for walking.

Industrial past - Sardinia

Discover a curious blend of industrial heritage and oak forests, all edged with the golden sand dunes of the Costa Verde. The Sardinian trail devised by Inntravel takes you from the green hills near Ingurtosu, along old miners’ trails and past abandoned mine buildings as intriguing and attractive as many older ruins, and through dense woodland. The high point of the trip, in both senses, is the short, steep ascent to Monte Arcuente, a dormant volcano with far-reaching views across western Sardinia. On the way you’ll mostly stay on working farms – agriturismo – where the emphasis is on locally grown food and robust home cooking.

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