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: 7km
Average height difference per day: 100m
Swimming pool available with all overnight stays.

Day 1

The first day at the stables in Pomarance is the same as the other donkey trekking tours.

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: 11km
Average height difference per day: 200m
Swimming pool available with all overnight stays..

Day 1

The first day at the stables in Pomarance is the same as the other donkey trekking tours.

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

Wandelniveau ****
Average walking distance per day: 6km
Average height difference per day: 100m
Swimming pool at all the accommodations.

Day 1

The first day at the stables in Pomarance is the same as the other donkey trekking tours.

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: 250 m
Swimming pool at 3 or 4 locations

Day 1

The first day at the stables in Pomarance is the same as the other donkey trekking tours.

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: 12 or 14 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, on the other side of the green valley, lies the holiday farm for the next overnight stay. This luxurious agriturismo has a unique location. From the swimming pool there are breathtaking views over the nature reserve's valleys! Walking distance: 10 km

Day 5

A short walk will take you to centuries old thermal baths in the forest. Surprisingly the river is lukewarm to the touch. On the hilltop there is a ruin of a hermit monastery. Here you can also some nice picnic areas. The path continues through fields and olive groves finishing at the riding stables of Pomarance. Walking distance: 9 or 11 km

Seven day donkey trekking with a rest day

Walking level ****
Average walking distance per day: 13km
Average height difference per day: 250m
Swimming pool at 4 or 5 of the 6 overnight stays.

Day 1

The first day at the stables in Pomarance is the same as the other donkey trekking tours.

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: 14 or 17 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: 14km
Average height difference per day: 250 m
Swimming pool at 4 or 5 of the 6 overnight stays.

Day 1

The first day at the stables in Pomarance is the same as the other donkey trekking tours.

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: 14 or 17 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 views all the way from the sea to Volterra. Here, the path to the Caselli Nature Reserve starts, which is named after the villa of the same name by a small lake. The route continues through the forest to an area where semi-precious stones were mined in the 1800s. You will see old mining buildings and a railroad bridge spanning the river. Your overnight stay is at the railway's end station, nowadays a luxury agriturismo. Walking distance: 14 km

Day 5

In the morning you will start the day 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. There is also a spring and a picnic area. You will continue to follow the main path until the next agriturismo location 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 6

After a few kilometres of walking, you will arrive in Libbiano, a hilltop village that offers a view of the Volterra region all the way to the sea and the island of Elba. In the distance, on the other side of the green valley, lies the holiday farm for your next overnight stay. This luxury agriturismo has a unique location with breathtaking views from the swimming pool over the valleys of the nature reserve! Walking distance: 10 km

Day 7

After a short walk you will see centuries old thermal baths in the forest. Surprisingly, the river feels lukewarm. On the hilltop is a ruin of a hermit monastery. There are also some nice picnic areas here. The path continues through fields and olive groves to the riding stables of Pomarance. Walking distance: 9 or 11 km

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