Now it’s true to say that Italy is best known around the world for the Dolce Vita, or the sweet life; it’s superb cuisine, relaxed pace of life and stunning cultural heritage, but did you know that the country also has an incredible range of adventure activities that you can try out for yourself?
Of course, you should certainly take the time to appreciate the art and culture of Italy, however if you want a more adrenaline fueled experience then why not have an unforgettable adventure while you’re living as an Expat in Italy.
Italy has an incredibly diverse landscape with everything from mountains to sandy beaches, fast flowing rivers to beautiful rolling hills in the countryside. As a result of the amazing range of landscapes and natural elements there is an equally broad selection of adventure activities that you can partake in.
As an Expat you’re in a unique position because while most tourists have to rush around from site to site you have the luxury of planning ahead, taking your time and really enjoying everything that Italy has to offer.
Skiing in The Italian Alps.
The Alps are the highest mountains in Europe and their extensive ranges stretch through several countries, including France, Switzerland, Monaco, Austria, Germany, Slovenia and, of course, Italy.
A skiing holiday in the Italian Alps will allow you to enjoy superb hospitality, excellent food and some of the best skiing in Europe. The ski resorts in Italy have a good range of slopes which are suitable for all levels and experience and most have high tech snow making equipment to top up any shortfall of natural snow.
There are many resorts which you can visit but among the best are:
- Passo Tonale.
- Val di Fassa.
- Sauze d’Oulx.
Accommodation on the resorts is comfortable and homely with prices to suit every budget. You can stay in hotels or in private residencies, depending on the type of experience you want.
The best time of year to ski in Italy is between December and April and although the snowfall is less reliable towards the end of the season, as temperatures rise in spring, the snow making equipment at the resorts means that you should always be able to ski.
Italian ski resorts are also much cheaper than their French or Austrian counterparts and the slopes are less busy, even at the height of the season.
Hiking in The Apennines.
The Apennines are made up of several parallel chains of mountains that extend more than 1000 km along peninsular Italy. At their northwestern point they join up with Ligurian Alps, near Altare, and in the southwest they end near Reggio di Calabria, a lovely coastal city.
The best time of year to hike in the Apennines is between the spring and autumn because during the winter it can get very cold and be fairly dangerous, particularly for inexperienced hikers. There’s a lot of accommodation available throughout the central parts of the mountains so you can hike in the day and then put your feet up in a comfortable hotel or lodge in the evening.
There are many centers that accommodate hikers in the Apennines, the most popular of which include; Bologna, Parma, Arezzo, Pistoia, Porretta Terme, Reggio Emilia and Sansepolcro; however you can find small towns and villages that can accommodate you if you want to get off the beaten track.
You can enjoy hiking in the Apennines, no matter what your ability and experience, so it’s a perfect holiday for a family with children.
While you are in the Apennines there are several attractions that you can visit on your way. The Casentino National Park is a haven of natural beauty and the many Franciscan sanctuaries are great to stop by. During the summer months the alpine flowers are stunning and the ancient beech woodlands are a home for dozens of birds and other wildlife.
White Water Rafting In Calabria.
For a wild and adrenaline fueled experience you can try your hand at white water rafting in Calabria. Rafting down the Lao River is a thrilling adventure and will give you a chance to experience the Pollino National Park in an unforgettable way.
When you go rafting you don’t need to worry if you haven’t tried it before because you will always go with a guide who knows the river like the back of their hand! This means they can steer the raft to avoid the more dangerous rocks and eddies while still allowing you to have a great time!
Usually, a rafting crew is made up of 6 passengers and the guide who will handle the main steering and be there in case of an accident or emergency. The canyons through which the Loa River runs are stunningly beautiful which make the perfect backdrop for your adventure.
Depending on how long you want to be out on the water for you can choose between rafting trips that can be as short as 2 or 3 miles right up to longer ones which are around 12 miles and take about 3 hours to complete. The longest routes on the Loa River run for nearly 20 miles and will take around 7 hours to complete. You’ll have to be in fairly good health to handle the ups and downs of rafting but even if you’ve never tried it before don’t be put off, and give it a try!
Hiking in the Dolomites.
The Dolomites are an incredible mountain range that are named after the carbonate rock that makes them up, Dolomite. Also known as the ‘pale mountains’, their natural splendor is hard to beat and make the perfect place for a hiking trip.
You can go on a self guided hiking trip, in which case you’ll have to do the navigation yourself or else, if you prefer, you can hire a guide to lead you through the trails.
The Dolomites are located in northeastern Italy and stretch through several provinces, including Belluno, Verona, Trentino, South Tyrol, Pordenone and Udine. The Dolomites are made up of steep mountains with dramatic valleys and lower lying highlands with grassy pastures and alpine meadows.
If you want a more challenging experience in the Dolomites you can climb the Via Ferrata, or the ‘iron way’ in English. This is an old World War I route that can only be accessed using iron cables, ladders fixed to the slopes and bridges to traverse the large gullies!
Drive A Ferrari On A Race Track.
One of the most iconic cars in the world, the Ferrari, is also one of Italy’s proudest exports to the world; and there’s no better way to experience driving this epic race car than on a race track!
You won’t have to worry about pesky speed limits, traffic cops or other drivers getting in your way as you floor the accelerator and hurtle around the track. If you’re a little hesitant about driving on a race track you can pay to be accompanied by an expert race driver who will sit in the passenger seat and give you tips on the best ways to approach corners and tricky parts of the track.
Most major cities have the facilities for you to drive a Ferrari on a race track so if you’re looking for a once in a lifetime experience why not book your session at the race track for this weekend?
Tour Rome On A Vespa.
Rome, the eternal city, and the home of some of the world’s most famous tourist destinations is an amazing place to tour but, as you’ll quickly realize, it can be quite hard to get around the city.
The roads are almost always congested and the public transport is hot, busy and uncomfortable, especially in the summer months. However, there is a solution! Why not hire a Vespa and tour the city in style?
Many local Italians in Rome actually chose to drive scooters, such as Vespa’s, or small motorbikes, because it makes getting around easy and convenient. There are also plenty of parking for scooters and small bikes, unlike cars, for which there is very little facilitation of parking spots.
The Vespa is one of Italy’s iconic models of scooter and its clever design means that even women wearing dresses can travel with ease – unlike if they were using a standard motorbike!
You can book a guide to lead you on your tour through Rome on a Vespa. You can also tailor the tour to suit your requirements and can arrange to have a focus on food, museums, galleries or even shopping districts – it’s completely up to you!
Alternatively, you can lead yourself on a self guided tour but if you do choose to do this you should make sure you have a SatNav on the bike with you at all times, otherwise you are likely to get extremely lost on the confusing roads of Rome.
So, next time you’re in Rome, why not see the sites like a local and rent a Vespa to get around?
Sailing In Sardinia.
Sardinia is a classy resort with chic restaurants, superb scenery and an incredible culinary heritage; but it’s also a popular location for sailing. The Sardinian coast is famous for its beauty and the La Maddalena Islands, that ring its coast, are ideal for exploring by boat. The area has been designated an official National Marine Park and so the ocean and surrounding islands are kept in absolutely pristine condition.
You can arrange to take a sailing tour around the islands with a guide, who will handle the boat for you, or, if you know your way around a yacht you can rent your own. Mooring costs for a standard 39 foot yacht range from as little as 20 Euros per night up to around 100 Euros in other marinas.
The best time of year to take a sailing trip in Sardinia is between June and September when the sun will be shining and you can take a dip in the ocean to cool down.
Mountain Biking In Abruzzo.
Abruzzo is one of Italy’s most beautiful rural regions and is sometimes called the ‘greenest region’ in all of Europe. Incredibly, almost half of the entire region is made up of national parks and nearly 40 protected nature reserves. Located in central Italy, it’s the ideal place to enjoy some mountain biking, and regardless of your experience and levels of fitness there are more than enough trails to choose from.
The mountainous parts of the region have a huge plateau in their center with the Gran Sasso peak that stands at over 2000 meters above sea level! This makes the terrain perfect for mountain biking and with the stunning views, incredible natural beauty and wildlife it’s something you can’t afford to miss as an Expat in Italy.
There’s plenty of hotels and accommodation you can stay in and if you don’t have your own mountain bike you can rent one for a very reasonable rate.
An Expats Guide To Adventure Holidays In Italy.
As an Expat in Italy you have the chance to get off the beaten track and have some incredible adventures in the mountains, off the coast, under the sea, in a Ferrari or on the back of a Vespa!
Adventure activities are not always the first thing people think of when they’re planning their time off but once you try these kinds of activities you’ll wonder why you never did before! So pack your bag, and get ready to set off on the adventure of a lifetime in Italy.