Italy – land of harmony and contrast

101 Italy on Trail – Trails…the basics!

Italy really is a spectacular place for being outdoors – be it trail running, hiking or walking. A country with nearly two thirds of it’s iconic lands composed of  hills and mountains – all differing greatly in types of terrain, variety of landscape and gradients.
The Italian low lands offer fertile valleys where plenty of areas are dedicated to agriculture – the largest area being the vast expanse of the Po Valley that lies gently nestled between Italy’s two major mountain ranges: the Alps that crown the peninsula in the north and the Apennines that run all the way down the length of the country from north to south.

Italy really has its ‘foot in the water’ with the boot shaped country having a coastline of over 4000km 2485 miles (and that’s not including the islands of Sardinia and Sicily). The numerous coastal paths and trails offer a great variety of routes that will guarantee you some fantastic walks and runs, whilst you gaze across either the Mediterranean or Adriatic Sea.

Trail races in Italy have increased greatly in the past ten years

So what makes the trails in Italy so fascinating?

We, at Italyontrail.com, firmly believe that the magic of walking or running along Italian trails, lies in the possibility of combining doing something that you love, which is being active along the trails, be it running, hiking, walking, or just ambling along…. together with experiencing the best of what Italy has to offer as a destination for the Arts, Culture, Outdoors, Design, Architecture, great Food&Wine, History, and why not… even 21st Century life!

Is it for me?

The enormous variety that you can find in the Italian outdoors means that yes, there is something that is right for you, at whatever point you are in your life. The trails are plentiful. You decide pace, grade and length.

As a Trail runner, you can choose from running the trails with friends, self guided or as part of a tour, just for an afternoon or for several days. You can enter one of Italy’s many Trail races, from an easy 10k that will keep you occupied for just half a Sunday to participating in an adventurous International Ultra Trail that will require a whole different level of planning and preparation.
In the past ten years, the Trail running scene in Italy has grown both in terms of races available and athlete participation. Check out our Italy Trail Race Calendar for some inspiration.

As a hiker, walker, you set the length, the grade and the setting. The availability of resources, both on and offline is remarkable. It’s up to you how much organising you decide to take on yourself.

Walking in Italy, set your own pace

But it doesn’t finish here… Italy boasts lakes, volcanoes (some active!), minuscule islands, glaciers, historical sites, and even dinosaur tracks! From north to south the culture, scenery and traditions can change immensely. Each place has something unique to offer and whoever has the privilege to run, hike or walk along Italy’s course of trails will find something to treasure for life… Something that is there, waiting just for you.


Maria E. BelliniMaria Elisabetta Bellini is Italyontrail.com’s founder, born in the U.K, she came to running whilst living in Italy, where she still lives and trains. Never ceasing to marvel at what’s at the summit of a hill, or around the bend along the trail, she loves using trail running as a means to explore nature, contemplation and Italy.

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