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Digital Subscriptions > Italia! > Jan 2019 > Head for the Hills

Head for the Hills

Travelling far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Rachael Martin heads off the beaten track to find peace and quiet in Tuscany’s Casentino National Park
Climbing the hill towards the Sanctuary of La Verna
Image courtesy of the Sanctuary of La Verna archive

Once more, TripAdvisor figures confirm that Tuscany is at the forefront of Italian tourism, and in particular Florence, which comes in after Rome as the second most popular destination in Italy. Of course the problem with these hotspots is that you will certainly not be visiting alone. So what if you fancy getting off the beaten track and exploring somewhere slightly quieter?

You could head for the Casentino or more precisely, the National Park of the Casentino Forests, Monte Falterona, and Campigna. One of Tuscany’s three national parks, it was founded in 1993 and is just 50 kilometres east of Florence, high up in the Arno valley.

To the east of the park there are the Camaldoli, La Verna and the Catenaia Alps mountain ranges, and to the west the Pratomagno massif. In the south, the River Arno begins on the slopes of Mount Falterona at Capo d’Arno, the mountain spring.


One of the largest areas of forests in Europe, the park straddles both the Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna border in the provinces of Florence, Arezzo and Forlì and encompasses part of the Apennines.

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About Italia!

Our writers have travelled around Italy this month to bring you inspiration for your next adventures in 'il bel paese'. Lake Garda is our starting point, an ever-popular destination where quieter corners still remain – if you know where to go. We also head to the hills in Tuscany’s Casentino Forest (whose trees provided the wood for scaffolding to build Brunelleschi’s dome), and if you want to get fit, a healthy spa break in Puglia could be just what you’re looking for.