Archive for the Activities Category

Paddle Boarding On Lake Trasimeno

Paddle boarding on Lake Trasimeno is a lovely activity on a hot summer’s day. There are several beaches around the Lake where you can hire boards, these photos are from Sualzo Beach which is located next to Passignano Sailing Club on the north shore of the Lake. 

It doesn’t take long to get the hang of it and you’ll soon find yourself out in Lake looking back to the distant shore, if you find yourself overheating from the exertion you can always stop for a quick swim. It cost €10 an hour to hire a board.

Paddle Boarding On Lake Trasimeno
You Can Always Sit Down If It Gets Too Much

Pian di Marte Walk 2016

In early June 2016 I took a couple of friends on the Pian di Marte Walk, a route from my book, Circular Walks On The Tuscany Umbria Border, available as a Kindle download from Amazon. It’s a fairly long walk and took us over 4 hours, so it’s not a route if you are planning a quick stroll. It starts with a tough climb from the valley floor up to ridges with views of Lake Trasimeno followed by a descent through thickly wooded hillsides.

If you ever bought the original hard copy of the book you may recognise the Torre di Fiume which featured on the cover photo. A decade later, the tower is almost fully restored and makes for a very fancy residence. We finished just in time, no sooner had we arrived back home than we heard the ominous rumble of thunder.

Rocca Di Pierle Walk 2016

At the beginning of June 2016 I took some friends on a couple of walks from my book, Circular Walks On The Tuscany Umbria Border (available for download from Amazon). The Rocca di Pierle Walk starts in the hamlet of Pierle which is built around an old castle, the Rocca di Pierle. The route climbs steeply up tracks through thickly wooded hillside, partially following an old Roman road. Once you emerge on the ridge at the top there are splendid views to either side. As you climb along the ridge to the highest point, Monte Ginezzo, there are views in every direction and you can see a large part of Lake Trasimeno, particularly if you climb the wooden  tower use as a fire look out point in the dry summer months. The route descends through more chestnut and oak forest and returns to Pierle along a gravel track. It takes about 3 hours and is a tough walk so don’t attempt it if you are very unfit!

A Panoramic View From Monte Ginezzo On The Rocca di Pierle Walk With Lake Trasimeno In The Distance.

The Waterfalls At Sasso, Città di Castello

A great place to go on a hot summer day are the waterfalls at Sasso, a hamlet on the picturesque road between Città di Castello and Pietralunga. The waterfalls cascade through a series of large pools where you can swim and cool off from the heat. The pools are large enough for a decent swim, particularly if you face the current. At first, the cold water can be a bit of a shock but take the plunge and you won’t be disappointed!

There is a large children’s playground above the river and an open space where many of the young people from Città di Castello congregate in the summer months. The hamlet also has a bar that specialises in serving Torta al Testo, an Umbrian flat bread cooked on a flat stone left in hot ashes. The torta al testo is split, filled with a choice of roasted vegetables, greens, sausage and cheese and grilled before serving.

Saturnia Hot Springs

Our Day Out In Southern Tuscany started out at the furthest point from our base on the Tuscany Umbria border, the hot springs near Saturnia. The hot water gushing from the spring has formed natural limestone basins that are perfect to relax in. The water at the top is quite hot but if, as it was when we visited, it is a chilly autumn day, you will soon find yourself moving up the basins to the hotter water. Experienced hot spring visitors bring dressing gowns and flip flops so that you can walk from the car park having got changed there. We started our trip here so that we had a shorter drive back in the fading autumn light, the disadvantage is that you may not want to have a sulfurous smell having around on your skin and hair for rest of the day. It looked like there were showers there if this might be a problem for you.

Read about another Hot Spring In Tuscany

Feeling relaxed we got back in the car, next stop Pitigliano.

Hot springs Saturnia, Tuscany

Electric Bikes In The Niccone Valley

The Tuscany Umbria border is not very flat and unless you are a very keen cyclist you may find it too much effort to get around, particularly if you are staying at a holiday villa high up on a hillside!

Riding an electric bike through the Niccone Valley

Riding an electric bike through the Niccone Valley

Today we went to try out a new service being offered to visitors to the area, electrically assisted bikes. The new business is based in the centre of Lisciano Niccone at the western end of the valley and is run from the offices of BRS Baffi Residential Services, you should be able to spot it, there is a yellow spray painted bike mounted on the wall outside.

Cycling an e-bike up to Pierle

Cycling an e-bike up to the Pierle Castle

We were amazed at how easy the bikes made riding up steep hills, as part of our test route we climbed up to the ruined castle of Pierle and cycled around the adjacent hamlet. as well as conventional gears there are several levels of electric assistance and the bikes actually respond to the amount of effort you are putting in, adding extra power as you push harder. With conservative use the battery will last for around 80km (50 miles) and the business owners, Tim Hudson and Louise Anderton have compiled routes with “e-bike friendly” restaurants, that is, you can recharge the battery while you enjoy lunch.

Riding past Pierle Castle in Tuscany

Riding past Pierle Castle

We are very excited about the opportunity these bikes will offer our visitors. On a bike you can see the area in a completely different way, and the electrical assistance means that you can cover huge distances without becoming worn out. Suddenly, a gentle tour of local hill towns becomes possible by bike or perhaps a route taking in a few wineries.  If you are staying at one of our properties and are interested in renting these bikes, please let us know, we will be happy to arrange it for you.




The Fonti del Clitunno

Today we went to visit the famous Fonti del Clitunno, natural springs that have inspired poets since Roman times. In the 19th Century the springs were the inspiration for the line, “Umbria, green heart of Italy” that has since been used by almost everyone promoting the region.

The Fonti del Clitunno in Umbria

The Fonti del Clitunno in Umbria

The spring water in the surrounding pools was remarkably clear and we took some great photographs. However, if you are expecting to commune with nature you might be disappointed at the manicured appearance of the area around the springs, it reminded me of a very pleasant public park except with a €3 entrance fee.

The crystal clear water of the Fonti del Clitunno

The crystal clear water of the Fonti del Clitunno

It only takes a few minutes to walk around the springs so definitely combine a visit here with something else in the area. We had a great lunch afterwards at a nearby trattoria that we had discovered on a visit to Pissignano Antiques Market.

Reflections in the water, Fonti del Clitunno, Umbria

Reflections in the water, Fonti del Clitunno, Umbria

I had been under the impression that the Tempio del Clitunno, an early Christian church built with recycled Roman materials was in the the same place as the springs but it turned out to be a kilometer down the road and required a separate €2 entrance fee.

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The Round Bell Tower in Città di Castello

If you visit Città di Castello in the Upper Tiber Valley and look at the town from afar you will notice a circular bell tower that features prominently on the skyline. Once you get into the town centre you might wonder if you had imagined seeing it, the tower is down a narrow alley and from many angles the view is obscured by other buildings, particularly the Duomo.

The Circular Bell Tower in Citta di Castello, Umbria

The Circular Bell Tower in Citta di Castello, Umbria

The tower’s circular shape is quite unusual in Italy but it’s main point of interest for the visitor to the town is the view of the rooftops and surrounding countryside that you get from the top. To gain access the tower you usually have to get the key from the cathedral museum and leave a document there as a deposit.

The view from the Circular Bell Tower, Citta di Castello

The view from the Circular Bell Tower, Citta di Castello

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Monte Tezio Walk

Monte Tezio is a mountain just to the north of Perugia, the top of the mountain is very wide and rounded, once you are at the top it is relatively easy and you can enjoy views from several places.

Walking on Monte Tezio in Umbria

Walking on Monte Tezio in Umbria

You can find instructions for a hike up Monte Tezio in my walking guide book, Circular Walks On The Tuscany Umbria Border (available as an e-book for the Kindle). The walk is relatively short but, if you take children, it will take longer (around three hours rather than two). We set off early on a summer morning in July to avoid the heat of the day. The walk involves a hard climb through woods at the start but after about twenty minutes you emerge from the tree line onto the pasture at the top of the mountain. From here the gradient eases off and it’s a relatively short walk to the summit marked with a short stone post.

On the summit of Monte Tezio in Umbria

On the summit of Monte Tezio

A short distance to the south and, still part of the mountain, is a lower summit known as Monte Tezino, this is made obvious by a cluster of communication antennae. From up on the summit of Monte Tezio there are marvelous views in every direction, you can see Lake Trasimeno to the west, the Apennines to the east and the centre of Perugia to the south. It was going to be a hot day but up here there was still a beautiful cool breeze.

The Nevicata, an old snow store, on Monte Tezio

The Nevicata on Monte Tezio

The next point of interest on the route is the Nevicata, a circular stone structure that was used to store compacted snow in the winter. Straw was used to insulate the snow and stop it melting, it  gradually turned into ice and provided Perugia with a supply well into to summer. The blocks of ice were transported by mules to the city below.

A view from Monte Tezio

A view from Monte Tezio

The route continues across the top of Monte Tezio to Croce della Pieve, a large iron cross at the northern end of the mountain. Nearby you have to find the route down, a narrow path with a easy gradient that cuts diagonally back along the side of the mountain to the start.

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Rafting In Umbria

There are two places where you can go rafting in Umbria, the Cascate della Marmore and a rafting centre on a tributary of the River Nera between Spoleto and Norcera. If you are a client of Gorgacce Rentals and would like us to book you a rafting trip we will be happy to do this, simply let us know which house you are staying at and the name of the person who booked it along with details of your rafting group, when you want to go etc..

Rafting at the Cascate della Marmore

There are two sorts of rafting at Cascate della Marmore, the high level white water rafting is for people aged between 18 and 55 (16-17 year olds can also go with an adult, ID required) and who weigh less than 100kg. They also offer “rafting soft” along a gentler 5km course of the River Nera, this is open to pretty much anyone.

Rafting near the Cascata dei Marmore, Umbria


Rafting Umbria

We have been to the second place, “Rafting Umbria” which has a relatively two part easy course that takes around 2 hours travelling 7km down the River Corno and an activity park with rope bridges. You can buy combinations of tickets, we did both parts of the river and our children went on the rope bridges afterwards.

Rafting on the River Corno in Umbria

Rafting on the River Corno

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