Donkey trekking

Donkey trekking in Italy: Are you looking for something sporty and love animals? Would you like to take care of a donkey and combine this with hiking for a few days? In turn they will take care of you by carrying your baggage. Or do you want to get the kids excited about trekking with donkeys in Tuscany?

For young and old, donkeys are the ideal company on walks. They are sweet, patient and strong. Because of this children like to take care of donkeys and to help guide them. As a result, they walk much further than they would normally. If they get tired, they can rest on the back of their new found friend. At the same time, parents enjoy a nice walk through nature and its peaceful surroundings. In short, trekking with donkeys is a perfect family vacation.

All the walks with donkeys depart from Pomarance, a village near Volterra in the heart of Tuscany. During the first day you will learn how to take care of the donkey, handle it and distribute the baggage load. This is followed by a one-hour walk under supervision as an observation exercise. The rest of the day is free to relax by the pool or explore some of the area.

The second day is the actual departure. You walk alone with the donkey through the forests and fields. The routes are well marked on a map and GPS, therefore, minimum knowledge of map reading is sufficient to find the paths.

There are three, five and seven day treks. All tours are exclusively on narrow tracks and paths through nature, every day is different. The routes lead to a waterfall where you can take a plunge, the ruins of a monastery on a hill, an old railway bridge in the forest, a castle, a charming village where you can rest on a terrace, and there’s so much more.

These tours are ideal as a sporting twist is added to a relaxing and cultural holiday in Tuscany. Below are our proposals. We can insert a rest day in all routes.

Trossa, three day donkey trekking

Walking level ****
Average walking distance per day: 7 km
Average height difference per day: 150m
Swimming pool at all locations

Day 1

Arrival in Pomarance and training at the riding stables. You will learn how to load and groom the donkey, how to encourage him to walk and stop, and what it likes and dislikes. Before the start of your adventure you will take a short walk under supervision to try out your handling skills. Overnight stay at a children's farm or an agriturismo location with a swimming pool, in Pomarance.

Day 2

Departure from the stables. Taking the route along the old alabaster quarries, you will descend from Pomarance to the Trossa River. Along the path are white, marble-like rocks: the alabaster that was dug here was later worked on in Volterra. Once you have crossed the river, it is a few kilometres to the agriturismo destination, a beautiful farm in the middle of the valley. You spend the night in a furnished tent or in a room at an agriturismo with a swimming pool. Walking distance: 6 km

Day 3

A path through the forests of Monterufoli takes you further upstream the Trossa River. With a little luck you will spot turtles and freshwater crayfish at this location. From here a beautiful route meanders through fields and olive groves to your final destination of Pomarance. Walking distance: 8 km

Adio, three day donkey trekking

Walking level ****
Average walking distance per day: 11 km
Average height difference per day: 300m
Swimming pool at all locations

Day 1

Arrival in Pomarance and training at the riding stables. You will learn how to load and groom the donkey, how to encourage him to walk and stop, and what it likes and dislikes. Before the start of your adventure you will take a short walk under supervision to try out your handling skills. Overnight stay at a children's farm or an agriturismo location with a swimming pool, in Pomarance.

Day 2

Departure from the stables. After a nice descent through the fields to the river, the path winds upwards again to Libbiano which is a small hilltop village with beautiful views of the region. On clear days you can see the sea and even the island of Elba. You can stay here for a while to admire the views or go straight for a swim in the pool at the agriturismo. Overnight stay in a furnished tent or in a room. Walking distance: 9 km

Day 3

The walk starts in the shady maquis and the oak forests of the nature reserve. On this hillside, there are many springs where the animals come to drink. There is a good chance you might spot deer on the way! The path crosses the river and meanders through the hills to Pomarance. Along the way you enjoy gorgeous views over the villages which typify Tuscan landscapes. Walking distance: 12 km

Libbiano, five day donkey trekking

Walking level ****
Average walking distance per day: 6 km
Average height difference per day: 150m
Swimming pool at all locations

Day 1

Arrival in Pomarance and training at the riding stables. You will learn how to load and groom the donkey, how to encourage him to walk and stop, and what it likes and dislikes. Before the start of your adventure you will take a short walk under supervision to try out your handling skills. Overnight stay at a children's farm or an agriturismo location with a swimming pool, in Pomarance.

Day 2

Departure from the stables. The route along the old alabaster quarries takes you from Pomarance down to the Trossa River. Along the path are white, marble-like rocks: the alabaster that was mined here was later worked on in Volterra. You follow the path staying close to the river to the first agriturismo destination. Overnight stay in an apartment or furnished tent at a farmhouse with a swimming pool. Walking distance: 8 km

Day 3

You follow the water course upstream along the deep valley of the Adio River. Above the valley, the medieval village of Micciano perches on a giant rock formation. Near the destination there is a beautiful waterfall and natural swimming pools created by the river. You spend the night in a tent or in an agriturismo room on the edge of the nature reserve, surrounded by beautiful forests, far from civilization. Walking distance: 4 km

Day 4

This tour starts with a walk on a narrow path over the hill tops. The view is breathtaking: from Volterra to the Apennines and the Mediterranean Sea. Afterwards you descend the old road of Libbiano, now a narrow path, past the former spring of the village to the last overnight stay at a working farm with many animals and a beautiful swimming pool. Accommodation is available in a tent or in a room. Walking distance: 3 or 6 km

Day 5

The day starts in the shady maquis and the oak forests of the nature reserve. The route crosses the river and winds through the hills towards Pomarance. Along the way you will enjoy beautiful views over the villages and typical Tuscan landscape. Walking distance: 6 or 8 km

Aneo, five day donkey trekking

Walking level ****
Average walking distance per day: 13 km
Average height difference per day: 300m
Swimming pool in 3 out of 4 locations

Day 1

Arrival in Pomarance and training at the riding stables. You will learn how to load and groom the donkey, how to encourage him to walk and stop, and what it likes and dislikes. Before the start of your adventure you will take a short walk under supervision to try out your handling skills. Overnight stay at a children's farm or an agriturismo location with a swimming pool, in Pomarance.

Day 2

Departure from the stables. From Pomarance you will descend to the Trossa River along the route of the old alabaster quarries. You will see white, marble-like rocks along the way. The alabaster of this region was worked on further in Volterra. After following the river for several kilometres you will ascend to the first agriturismo on the hillside. Walking distance: 15 km

Day 3

This section offers a beautiful trip on a panoramic natural track through the forests of the Monterufoli nature reserve. Along the way you will pass Querceto, a small medieval village known for its wine, shops and intimate terraces. In the neighbourhood of this agriturismo you will come across one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the area. You spend the night at the agriturismo in a yurt or in a room on the edge of the nature reserve, surrounded by beautiful forests, far from civilization. Walking distance: 14 km

Day 4

After a few kilometres you will arrive in Libbiano, a hilltop village that offers views of the Volterra region to the sea and the island of Elba. In the distance, in the middle of the green valley, lies the holiday farm for the next overnight stay. This agriturismo has a unique location. From the swimming pool there are breathtaking views over the nature reserve's valleys! Walking distance: 6 km

Day 5

The day starts in the shady maquis and the oak forests of the nature reserve. The route crosses the river and winds through the hills towards Pomarance. Along the way you will enjoy beautiful views over the villages and typical Tuscan landscape. Walking distance: 6 or 8 km

Monterufoli, seven day donkey trekking

Walking level ****
Average walking distance per day: 13 km
Gemiddeld hoogteverschil per dag: 350m
Swimming pool in 4 out of 6 locations

Day 1

Arrival in Pomarance and training at the riding stables. You will learn how to load and groom the donkey, how to encourage him to walk and stop, and what it likes and dislikes. Before the start of your adventure you will take a short walk under supervision to try out your handling skills. Overnight stay at a children's farm or an agriturismo location with a swimming pool, in Pomarance.

Day 2

The departure point for this trek is from the stables at Pomarance. From here you will descend to the river Trossa along the route of the old alabaster quarries. Where you will come across white, marble-like rocks. The alabaster here was dug out and later worked on in Volterra. After following the river for several kilometres, you will climb up to the first agriturismo on the hillside. Delicious food awaits you in this organic agriturismo! Walking distance: 15 km

Day 3

You will climb an old road to Querceto, a medieval village with a famous wine making castle. After this, you will enter the reserve where you can enjoy a nice walk through the woods and the maquis. At the end of the day you will climb a few kilometres uphill along a beautiful natural track through the fields of the farm where you will spend the night. Walking distance: 12 km

Day 4

The day starts with a steep climb to the panoramic village of Sassa. This old village is certainly worth a visit: it offers a view all the way from the sea to Volterra. This is where the path to the Caselli Nature Reserve begins, which was named after the villa of the same name by a small lake. The route then continues through the forest to an area where semi-precious stones were mined in the 1800s. There are still old mining buildings and a railroad bridge spanning the river. The overnight stay is at the end station of this old railway, nowadays a luxury agriturismo location. Walking distance: 14 km

Day 5

A day of rest ... or maybe not. Today you can relax by the swimming pool, taste wine or look for the remains of an old railway and mines in the forest. This agriturismo is on a beautiful site with vineyards, forests and olive trees. There is also a tennis court, basketball court and a swimming pool for guests. In short, the ideal place to kick-back and relax. Next to the agriturismo is one of the largest vineyards in the area where you can taste the best wines. Nearby are also old mines of semi-precious chalcedony which is a variety of quartz. Ruins of 18th century the mine’s shaft towers and railway bridges can be found in the forest.

Day 6

Today starts with a walk on the main path of the Monterufoli nature reserve past the "Villa of a 100 rooms". This beautiful villa with its rich history is the heart of the nature reserve. Here there is also a spring and a picnic area. You continue to follow the main path until the next agriturismo where you can spend the night in a tent or in a room. The agriturismo is located on the edge of the nature reserve, surrounded by beautiful forests, far from civilization. Walking distance: 12 km

Day 7

The walk starts in the shady maquis and the oak forests of the nature reserve. On this hillside, there are many springs where the animals come to drink. There is a good chance you might spot deer on the way! The path crosses the river and meanders through the hills to Pomarance. Along the way you enjoy gorgeous views over the villages which typify Tuscan landscapes. Walking distance: 12 km

Il Giro, seven day donkey trekking

Walking level ****
Average walking distance per day: 6 km
Average height difference per day: 250 m
Swimming pool at all locations

Day 1

Arrival in Pomarance and training at the riding stables. You will learn how to load and groom the donkey, how to encourage him to walk and stop, and what it likes and dislikes. Before the start of your adventure you will take a short walk under supervision to try out your handling skills. Overnight stay at a children's farm or an agriturismo location with a swimming pool, in Pomarance.

Day 2

Departure from the stables. The route along the old alabaster quarries takes you from Pomarance down to the Trossa River. Along the path are white, marble-like rocks: the alabaster that was mined here was later worked on in Volterra. You follow the path staying close to the river to the first agriturismo destination. Overnight stay in an apartment or furnished tent at a farmhouse with a swimming pool. Walking distance: 8 km

Day 3

You ascend over an old road to a beautiful viewpoint with a centuries-old oak tree to a medieval church in the middle of the cornfields. From there you continue past farms with grapes and olive trees to the next luxurious agriturismo near the village of Micciano. 7 km

Day 4

The day starts with a steep climb into the forests and maquis. The route then continues through the forest to a river. A little further on there is a small waterfall, which you can visit.Today you will spend the night in a tent or in a room at the agriturismo on the edge of the nature reserve, surrounded by beautiful forests, far from civilization. 6 km

Day 5

Rest day! Good food, lazing by the pool, a visit to all the animals on the farm, a walk to the village... Something for everyone. A well-deserved day of rest in one of the nicest agriturismi.

Day 6

After a few kilometres you will arrive in Libbiano, a hilltop village that offers views of the Volterra region to the sea and the island of Elba. In the distance, in the middle of the green valley, lies the holiday farm for the next overnight stay. This agriturismo has a unique location. From the swimming pool there are breathtaking views over the nature reserve's valleys! Walking distance: 6 km

Day 7

The day starts in the shady maquis and the oak forests of the nature reserve. The route crosses the river and winds through the hills towards Pomarance. Along the way you will enjoy beautiful views over the villages and typical Tuscan landscape. Walking distance: 6 or 8 km