Valdinievole to explore and to challenge yourself with

The Valdinievole, an extraordinary place, known for its therapeutic and generous waters, is rich in history, tradition and natural beauty that you can immerse yourself in, and which will remain forever in your memory as a unique experience.

Sports enthusiasts, beginners or, quite simply, people interested in new ideas, will easily find points to start from, will find the right way of living their active holiday, so as to refresh their body and soul and with the aim of discovering a yet unpolluted land.

If the password is ‘challenge’, from the sky to the depths of the earth, then there will be many ways of challenging yourself: from the rocky walls of the Cava Grigia in Monsummano Terme to the abyss of the Grotta Giusti, and to paragliding from the Colle di Monsummano Alto.

On foot, by bike or on a horse: exploration is the code word. Routes and paths of varying difficulty, will lead you to a sanctuary, to a parish church or to a tiny hamlet, to be explored, even reaching as far as one of the places from where you can enjoy wonderful panoramic vistas.

Contemplate nature to restore both body and soul or throw yourself into new, adrenaline-filled experiences. Because not for everyone a holiday is synonym for rest; instead, there can be friendly gatherings, sports, outdoor activities.

In addition, at the end of the day, to finish off the day perfectly, you can sit down at table and delight in the typical products and the traditional cooking which this area conserves and carefully looks after, as an integrated part of its identity.

Longing for nature, sport, new experiences: many, whether young or old, families or groups of friends are nowadays looking for an active holiday, in the quest for adventure.

Valdinievole has so much to offer: charming authentic hamlets, breathtaking panoramas, natural beauty and a wonderful tradition of food and wine, so it will be able to offer these adventure-seekers excitement and fun, even to those who, for the very first time, want to grapple with a fast-paced experience.

A land of cliffs and crags, rocky coastlines with high and steep walls, the area around Monsummano Terme is ideal for rock climbing.

Rock climbing
This sport requires coordination, resistance and concentration: rock climbing is a question of both body and mind. A safe sport, great fun, to try out alone or with friends. The Cava Grigia at Monsummano is suitable for beginners, and you can also practice paraclimbing, for disabled athletes including blind athletes.

On the ‘Cava Grigia’, you can go rock climbing all the year round, thanks to its mild climate and suitable for many due to various itineraries, long and short, and of varying levels of difficulty. A true “rocky gym” to train the body and to refresh the soul. Here, the Italian Alpine Club organizes courses in mountain climbing, rock climbing, in hiking and in potholing.

Paragliding is at home in Valdinievole where you can enjoy a spectacular and decidedly unique view of the landscape.
You don’t have to be expert athletes to go on a tandem flight from the Colle di Monsummano, qualified instructors will help you experience the thrill of flying while you can enjoy the surrounding nature, as you softly twirl in the air, driven forward by ascensional currents; all you need is a lack of fear of heights and the right spirit of adventure. To be able to admire the gentle profiles of the hills, suspended between the green of the fields and the blue of the sky, will be an unforgettable experience.

For trekking enthusiasts, this area offers a good range of trails in the midst of nature: in the gently sloping hills of Montalbano, there is a vast network of paths that join together San Baronto, Porciano and Lamporecchio. For those looking for demanding and difficult routes, there are walks through the woods as far as Barco Reale Mediceo that suddenly open up to marvellous views, from San Gimignano and Volterra, from San Miniato to Monte Pisano. For those looking for more gentle routes, you will find fascinating walks through the Tuscan countryside, in the middle of fields and olive groves.

Mountain Bike
The mountain bike is the best way to visit the secret and most fascinating corners of our territory. Ascents, descents, hills and mountains, in the fresh air of chestnut and beech tree woods, or through the olive groves and vineyards of the best local production. The numerous choice of itineraries, starting from the hamlet tour at Serra Pitoiese to the trip around the Valleriana, ensure diverse levels of difficulty.

Mountain bikes are also popular in this area, either in the ‘classical’ version for purists, or in the more recent “gravel” bikes and in the version for a pedal assisted mountain bike ride. Therefore, there is something for everyone and for all ages.

The first trip we would advise you is the one, which connects together the medieval hamlets, from Buggiano Castello to Cozzile, up as far as Massa. To truly immerse yourself in the midst of nature, you must not miss the routes inside the Natural Reserve of the Fucecchio Marshland – the largest interior marshland in Italy – where 200 different species of birds live. Ideal for the bicycle, you can reach Casin del Lillo, a small and picturesque port, where little boats leave for day trips or for local hunters, or for the Faunal Observatory “Le Morette”.

An excellent departure point is the village of Chiesina Uzzanese where you can see the xenodochium – an ancient place of support and welcome for wayfarers and foreigners who could find a resting place and refreshments while on their pilgrimage.

The thermal aspect of this area will surely surprise those who love active tourism.

In the saddle!
Everything of beauty that the nature of the Valdinievole can offer takes on a different dimension when you are riding a horse. A slow and natural way to discover the countryside and to be with friends, trotting or walking, according to the experience of the horse rider. All you have to do is go to one of the many stables or riding schools in the Valdinievole.

The Grotta Giusti, at Monsummano Terme, found by chance in 1849 (and described by Giuseppe Verdi as the eighth Wonder of the World) soon became a much-loved destination for those fond of steam baths. The grotto, which is now inside a hotel and a wellbeing centre, is, in fact, a speleological site.

One of the activities you can do here is the guided dive with qualified instructors as well as the Natural Spa Floating, an experience of floating in order to relax but using the techniques of scuba divers.

Golf, too, has much to offer in this area. In between the hamlets of Cecina and Montevettolini, lies the “Golf Montecatini Terme” golf club, which is a paradise for lovers of this sport: 18 holes surrounded by luxuriant nature, in the middle of olive groves, cypresses, junipers and flowers that embellish the fairways. In addition, it is terribly difficult not to be distracted by so much beauty and to think only of getting your ball into the hole!

The City of Sport
Since 2017, Montecatini Terme has been proud to hold the title of ‘European City of Sport’, having numerous, top level,  sports facilities, suitable for holding important events, and also for having a urban city park for outdoor sports.
In fact, this thermal town has held several international sports meetings, such as the Golden Age of Artistic Gymnastics in 2012, Road Cycling World Championships in 2013, the FIMBA Basketball World Cup in 2017, and the National Summer Games of Special Olympics in 2018.
Moreover, the city’s Thermal Park, known as the “pineta”, the “pinewood”, is one of the few parks in Italy approved and validated by the Italian Federation of Track and Field for its 1500-metre race. A green heart in the middle of the town where you can walk, run or practice sport, in close contact with nature.