Hillwalking Holidays

Tim Wade’s Hillwalking Holidays in Italy feature two of the “The Italian Partisan Paths” of north-west Italy, some 50kms west of Turin and in the vicinity of the French border in the Italian Alps. The Hillwalking Holiday runs throughout the months of June to October, and are for inviduals, couples or groups of up to four people – for larger camping groups, please get in touch. The Partisans were the Italian Resistance Movement, in World War II, the paths then secret and unknown – and still very much so now, even amongst the local populations of Turin and Milan.

The four day breaks run from an arrival on a Thursday, until the Monday, departing after a hearty cooked breakfast for any long journey home.

On arrival, you’ll be welcomed with a hot meal with unlimited beer and Italian wine throughout the evening. Tim offers generous portions of farm produced and home cooked Italian food, all-inclusive, for the whole 4 days, both at the basecamp location and out on the expeditions.

The holiday features two leisurely walks in Val di Susa which are at a level suitable for any average fitness beginner in hillwalking, through to any participant of intermediate or advanced ML level with an interest in WWII history and a passion for the outdoors, the Alps, Italy or Italian food and wine. All you will essentially need is some suitable walking clothing, some toiletries, a torch, a sleeping bag and yourself. And a compass if you’d like to buy a local map (just ask and we’ll pick you one up) and have some navigation instruction across the four days.

After recovering from any jetlag or over-exertion the day before, a lie in and leisurely cooked breakfast and lunch, the first walk is on the Friday afternoon. Here we ascend the mountain behind the basecamp to the north by road (roughly 3.5km) to a hidden Alpine village, and return by the partisan path. A camera is very much recommended as the walk offers many splendid views of Val di Susa and its snowcapped mountains: the east towards Turin and the Sacra di San Michele (similar to Mont Saint-Michel in northern France and Saint Michaels Island in Cornwall, but perched on top of a mountain to the south side of the valley entrance), throughout the south side of the valley (yet high enough to see the smaller mountainside Borgata’s (very small villages)), and to the west, towards France. From our basecamp location you can see mountains throughout 360 degrees, to an altitude of some 3600m or 11482ft. Friday evening sees another relax to a hearty Italian meal accompanied by more refreshment.

On Saturday we depart for the highlight expedition of the trekking holiday. Up to four can stay this evening in our mountainside refuge, a farmhouse kitchen and dorm style room in an old hotel that shut down circa 1920. We load up and cross the valley and acsend 15.4km of road, track and path to an offroad Borgata and our refuge for the night. Prepare for some pre 1920’s living for the next 12-18 hours. Gone are electric lights, toilets and running water. We use a wood burning stove for heating and to cook the evenings curry or stew and breakfast. We use gaslights, candles, torches or head torches for light, a nearby stream for water and any bathroom facilities are located in the pine forest (it’s a very big and private pine forest – it’s the International Alpine Natural Parkland).

On the Sunday morning after breakfast we trek further uphill into the national park and pine forest passing several highland dwellings, farm animal shelters and refuges. And can stop to study local information on birds and wildlife, and taking some photos before returning to our old hotel refuge for a quick bite to eat and a return to the valley floor via the Partisan Path. A more leisurely downhill walk taking in all the breathtaking views. Partisan and Catholic memorials, and signage, is in abundance for photographs and memories, and you can also grab a photo of our basecamp location from the other side of the valley and from altitude.

On return most groups either choose to stop for a beer in the local village, some even choosing to dump their kit and return to visit our local Italian restaurant and pizzeria for the evening. It is very well priced compared with the UK equivelant; a Margerita pizza is about 4/5€. The establisment is famous for partisans and a photo of the patrons grandmother (complete with British suppied Stengun) is front and centre in the restaurant. Full of character, the establishment is also home of the current day NO TAV Movement who are successfully halting construction of the years-in-construction EU east-west Europe TAV high speed train, throughout our valley. Or you are more than welcome to return with us and eat and sample further beer and wine back at our basecamp for the evening. It’s entirely up to you!

Throughout the walks and holiday, tremendous views and contact with nature are at the forefront. In fact you’ll be shown some of the best views in the valley that “without a guide”, you’d simply never find. Again, can we remind you to bring a camera to capture these memories: we have brought a lot of experienced hillwalkers here and very few (even militarywise) have yet seen similar panaramic viewpoints or such awe-inspiring natural scenery. Don’t expect, but equally don’t be too surprised, if you see wildlife such as eagles, peregrine falcons, wild boar, varying species of deer or a whole host of types of reptiles.

On the Monday morning after a cooked breakfast our groups depart. You can stay longer awaiting flight etc upon request. If you’d like to extend your vacation with Tim, maybe to have a guided tour of Turin, the hamlet town of Susa or the lakes of Avigliana, or an expedition up to the Sacra di San Michele, again, please just ask!

Our basecamp location is best reached by flight to Turin Caselle Airport which is airport code TRN, and provided by BA, Easyjet and Ryanair airlines from the UK – please don’t forget to clear your browser cookies at each revisit or the prices only go up. From the airport we are a quick shuttle bus (drops you in Turin centre at the railway station) and a 35 minute train journey presently costing 4.60€. Flights and local transport are not included. Further directions to us and equipment advice are provided upon reservation. Please alert Tim to any dietary and medical requirements upon reservation. Holiday travel insurance is advised and Tim Wade accepts no responsibility for injury/damage/loss to any property or person. At the time of writing Britain is within the EU and medical treatment is provided free of charge to British citizens. For further information and pricing for holidays in Italy, please contact TimWade.media