The majestic mountains of the Apennines that surround the city of Pistoia offer various sports, culture and spa activities for a perfect weekend. We recently went on a tour to the Pistoia Mountains and the suggestions we are going to give you are all things that we experienced first-hand for you! Here are some ideas for a perfect weekend in the Apennines in northern Tuscany.
The first stop is adventure filled: we visited the “ponte sospeso” (suspended bridge) that connects the two sides of the river Lima between Mammiano Basso in the municipality of San Marcello Pistoiese and Popiglio in the municipality of Piteglio. This pedestrian bridge was opened in 1923 as a shortcut for workers who had to cross the valley to reach the factory where they worked. 227 meters long, 36 meters high and less than a meter wide made with steel cables anchored to rocks by heavy chains, it is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, and you can cross it to admire the valley, the Lima stream and the hamlet of Mammiano Basso. Be careful because it swings!
After a regenerating night’s sleep, a beautiful sun brightened our morning devoted to skiing in the Abetone pass. Here, there are more than 50 kilometres of slopes for winter sports, featuring some of the most famous ski resorts in central Italy, including Abetone and Doganaccia di Cutigliano, with trails of varying difficulty, ranging from training camps to black slopes, recommended for the most expert skiers.
The slopes of Abetone cover different sides of the mountain offering a variety of characteristics: Monte Gomito with the "Zeno" slopes, the ancient woods of Le Regine and Selletta, the alpine environment of the Val di Luce, the steep slopes of Coppi in Pulicchio and 21 modern, fast lifts. There are also three slopes for Alpine skiing (6.5 km) and the possibility to learn from a ski instructor for kids and adults.
We had a fabulous lunch on the top of Monte Gomito, the highest peak in the resort thanks to its 1,930 meters, where you can admire the unique views of the coast (as far as Corsica on sunny days) and the snow-capped mountains of the Alps and Pre Alps to the north. The ski resorts are open from 8 am to 4.30 pm upon purchase of the Abetone Multipass skipass (prices here).
Countless sporting events are scheduled in Abetone every year, including the Women’s European Cup, International Ski Federation and Master competitions as well as “Pinocchio sugli sci”, the young skiers world championships that takes place in March. Abetone is one of the best equipped ski resorts for disabled people, thanks to a dedicated parking system, changing rooms, qualified ski instructors and specific equipment such as monoski and dualski, which allow complete autonomy on the slopes and lifts.
Skiing is not the only sport you can practise here. In fact, we tried also snowshoeing in the beautiful forest of Pian degli Ontani. We chose the five-kilometre round trip (one of the shortest tracks) but there are many other paths into the forest, as well as a nature trail that is great for kids as the plants and animals are explained on some information boards. Other sports you can practise in the Pistoia Mountains are Nordic walking, snowboard, bob sledding and, during the summer, mountain hiking, downhill, mountain biking and more.
The Apennine Mountains are not only about sport but also relaxation. You can chill out at the Val di Luce Resort, where modern spa facilities and a well-equipped fitness centre offer the perfect occasion to relax. Here you can find a heated multi-sensory pool, an alpine sauna, steam baths, frigidarium and massages. You can even stay for an aperitivo with mountain views and for dinner at the restaurant.
Something else you can do in this area is to visit the countless mountain hamlets. We went to Cutigliano and you can find the post about it here. Have you ever visited this area of Tuscany? Tell us your experience! More info here. A special thanks to Sara and Irina from Consorzio Turistico A.P.M. Abetone Montagna Pistoiese; the Hotel Sichi in Pian degli Ontani, Marco the ski intructor, the restaurant on the top of Monte Gomito, the restaurant Fagiolino in Cutigliano and AISLA for the snowshoeing experience.
Cover image credit: Stefano Cannas