How To Experience The Best Of Italy - By Foot

By Jennifer Patterson

In Italy, there are a million places to see. Known for its incredibly diverse landscapes brimming with natural beauty, amazing views, and picturesque little towns - who wouldn't want to walk along the country's most breathtaking trails?

But where should you go? What trails should you hike? Here I'll share my summer adventures discovering Italy that will make your trip nothing short of unforgettable. From stunning scenery to cooking with locals, get ready to experience Italy just like the Italians.

Walking The Italian Amalfi Coast

Located on the southern shores of Italy, the Amalfi Coast is one of Europe's most stunning coastlines. Best known for The Path of The Gods Trail, you'll be mesmerised by the endless idyllic sights and sounds that immediately transport you into a state of tranquillity.

The tour I opted for was a small group hike with Exodus, a Canadian travel company specialising in responsible travel adventures. Because it's a one-centre-based trip, you get to stay at one hotel for the entire week, making it your home and meaning - you only have to unpack once. From our base, we did day walks to the towns of Amalfi and Ravello and the Walk of The Gods to Positano.

All the walks were about 10 km long, with plenty of breaks to soak in the impossibly perfect blue skies and surrounding coastline. If you're not an avid walker - not to worry! The pace of the hikes is relatively leisurely, and there are loads of steps that make the journey more comfortable.

We also visited the UNESCO sites of Pompeii before hiking up to the rim of Mount Vesuvius to peek inside the active volcano (don't worry, the last eruption occurred in 1944). Fun Fact: The Royal Ontario Museum had an entire exhibit dedicated to Pompeii from 2015-2016.

Our itinerary allowed for an entire day of free time in which a few of us took the ferry to captivating Capri, and it was even warm enough to swim in the Aegean Sea. Don't you love these spontaneous bucket list moments when you travel?

One of the best parts was our hotel, a cosy family-run place in the quiet village of Bomerano, which sits high above the glorious Amalfi Coast. The restaurant served authentic local cuisine

prepared by one of the brothers, who even gave us Italian cooking lessons. Of course, this wouldn't be the whole experience without our dishes being paired with incredible homemade wine at a fraction of the prices we're used to paying for quality vino. Salud!

Experiencing the world is nothing without the people that surround you (even if just yourself). For this particular group, there were sixteen travellers, all 50 to 70 years old, made up of Brits and four Canadians. Our guide, Paul, was English and had been leading hiking tours in this part of Italy for a while. He knew all of the trails and was full of other fun tips, like where to set up lunch for the best views and where the locals loved to hang out at night.

If you want to see and taste the best of the Amalfi Coasts' landscapes, food, culture, and cuisine, this walk is right up your alley!

Enjoying The Best Of Italy

When considering the best of Italy, there's no arguing that Rome is near the top of that list! It's one of those cities that's just made for walking. There are so many things to see and do on foot, from the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain, to the Spanish Steps; it never ends. On my daily strolls through the charming neighbourhoods of Roma - as the locals call it - I effortlessly stumbled upon iconic site after iconic site - even without a map.

Next up was Florence. The city is full of Renaissance art and architecture, leaving you with a lifetime's worth of memorable experiences. Thankfully I had pre-booked my museum visits and got to skip the long lineups and crowds. Although it's tough to pick, the most impressive to see would have to be Michelangelo's David.

After that, the great medieval town of Lucca was calling my name. On our daily outings, we chose to see the remarkable sights by bicycle, allowing us to match the still pace of life that made us feel more alive moment by moment. We stayed within the city walls in an apartment, providing the entire 'live like a local' experience.

Discovering Beautiful Cinque Terre Italy

The Cinque Terre, also known as the five towns, is a string of old fishing villages perched high on the Italian Riviera. Noted for its exquisite beauty, this area alone would make for a unique Italian holiday. We hiked the coastal trails for superb sea views floating by the side of colourful small towns. While I could have easily stayed here for some time, it wasn't long before we were back on the train to Lake Como outside of Milan, where imposing mountains, lakes, and ancient stone towns awaited us.

Visiting Beloved Venice

What can I say that you have not heard before? Venice is a fantastic renaissance city to explore by foot before boating through the canals. Here you can wander around seemingly aimlessly and yet find purpose at every corner. Maybe it's the canals, or perhaps it's the art. The only thing I know for sure is that there is really something special about Venice.


It's not a coincidence that all of Canada's most popular travel books will feature this must-see destination at the top of the list. The country, known for its art, architecture, splendid cities, and endless outdoor marvels, is a paradise for travellers who love to see a destination through the magic of walking.

Exploring Italy on foot creates terrific opportunities for learning more about its culture, enjoying its breathtaking views, and discovering exciting treasures about this otherworldly country.

My next visit to the land of la bella vita will be a walking-based trek through the diverse Italian Dolomites with Exodus. It is a centre-based trip, so you do day walks that take you through some of the most idyllic landscapes you’ll ever see while retreating and relaxing at the same hotel in the evenings. I’ve heard fabulous reviews about this itinerary from fellow travellers and am thrilled about this premium adventure with a travel company I love. 

 Whether you choose a small group tour or explore by some other means - Italy is one of those rare places that will leave you feeling fully satisfied and as though you're just getting started.  

Contact Jennifer