Italy: This Boot Was Made for Walking
Berkeley, CA (February 2011) With a passionate Italian heritage—including a father twice knighted by Italy's government for his efforts to promote Italian culture in the U.S.—it's no surprise that Jeff Cantarutti chose a line of work that enables him to share his beloved Italy. As Italy Regional Manager for Backroads, the world's #1 active travel company, Jeff draws on his insider's knowledge and connections to create unforgettable experiences for Backroads travelers. "I can show up at the homes of my Italian cousins anytime," he says. "And thanks to the local friendships I've cultivated over the years, our trips have an authenticity that can't be matched." For 21 years, Jeff and the Backroads team have lived, worked and played in Italy, uncovering inviting lanes, tracks and trails, and getting to know the locals, from chefs and vintners to historians and hoteliers. According to Backroads Founder and President Tom Hale, "Travelers are likely to be exposed to more natural beauty and meet more of the local people on a six-day Backroads trip than they would in twice the time on their own."
One of the best ways to see Italy, Jeff explains, is on foot—it's shaped like a boot after all! On Backroads' walking trips, along with impressive local expertise, Backroads travelers can expect:
- To go at their own pace: Every day, on every trip, Backroads immerses travelers in their destination not by herding everyone about, but by offering a variety of activity choices and range of mileage options, so the guests decides exactly what and how much to do.
- Truly exceptional trip leaders: Filled with passion, expertise and instincts for extraordinary service, Backroads leaders are renowned for their ability to transform a vacation into an authentic enriching experience. Hale comments, "According to past guests, the caliber of Backroads' Trip Leaders is the number-one reason people return to travel with the company again and again."
Backroads' Five Ways to Walk Around Italy
Identifying Italy's most alluring regions to explore by foot, Jeff designed five Backroads walking trips, with 53 departures between mid-April and mid-October in 2011. Whether travelers choose Premiere or Casual lodging, the trademark Backroads style translates into quality from beginning to end.
Starting in the southwest, travelers revel in the realm of Italy's elite on the Amalfi Coast trip: strolls through lemon orchards and terraced gardens high above the Mediterranean, decadent villa-hotels with top-notch service and fresh seafood, million-euro views of Capri's limestone peaks, and to top it all off, an evening of authentic Neapolitan cuisine with a celebrity chef.
Farther north, experience the stunning Liguria coastline and classic Tuscany on the Cinque Terre & Chianti trip. Cliffside walks link picture-perfect perched villages, then cypress-flanked ambles connect archetypal hilltop towns. Get ready for arresting scenery, melt-in-your-mouth pesto and branzino (sea bass), and sun-drenched vineyards offering celebrated Ligurian whites and Tuscan reds.
Moving inland, the Tuscany trip offers a taste of the good life, featuring undulating tracks past grape vines and gnarled olive trees; nights in lavish hotels; unforgettable Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico; classic medieval hill towns, including Radda, where you meet Fabrizio who knows it come la sua tasca ("like his own pocket"); and cooking lessons with a local chef.
Approaching the Alps, venture into an often overlooked, gorgeous region of Italy on the Lake District trip. Lakeside trails and mountain paths reveal elaborate gardens, frescoed hamlets, castle ruins and breathtaking scenery, including staggering views from Monte Mottarone, 4,000 feet above Lakes Orta and Maggiore. Superb picnics, unforgettable dinners, wine tastings and stylish villas keep you in the lap of luxury.
Head east to the Dolomites, where Michelin-starred cuisine and views of jagged snowcapped cliffs are on the Backroads menu. Hike—and chairlift—your way into grassy meadows, fairy-tale villages, pine forests and cozy alpine huts, serving piping hot spaghetti al ragu and vino rosso. Embrace your sophisticated self in the stylish and distinctly Italian town of Cortina.
Backroads was founded in 1979 by Tom Hale and has grown to be the world's #1 active travel company, with the most destinations, itineraries and annual departures in the active vacation industry. There are nearly 1200 scheduled departures in 2011. Backroads is regularly included in the prestigious Travel+Leisure World's Best Awards as voted on by travelers worldwide. Backroads is also a founding member of the Adventure Collection. Open daily, 7 am to 5 pm, Pacific time. Call 800-462-2848 or visit the Web site at www.backroads.com/media. To request a catalog, please visit www.backroads.com/catalog.