GETTNG ACTIVE

Walking

Lazio has a frustrating lack of the local parks, public footpaths and bridleways that UK visitors – for example – are accustomed to. Setting out on a walk without proper guidance can often lead to finding your way barred and an outraged dog guarding its territory. A lot of people hunt on Sundays in the countryside, so that’s another reason to avoid setting  out solo – particularly if you can hear the distant popping noise of shots in the distance.

However, with a little effort and consultation of guides (a multitude are available on the internet) you can find many beautiful walks in the countryside in the varied scenery of Lazio.

You could always join one of the many guided walks at all levels offered by Sentiero Verde, the local trekking association. This is part of the nationwide trekking federation Federtrek. The fee for joining a walk is nominal – typically around €8 –  though you may be required to pay an additional €15 for a Federtrek membership card on your first walk. This is well-worth doing because it includes insurance cover and contributes to the laudable aims of this non-profit federation. Although the Sentiero website and FaceBook group are in Italian, it’s easy enough to see the dates and walks on offer with a little help from Google Translate.  Each itinerary details the length, difficulty and climb, a contact name or names for signing up to the walk and a meeting time and place. The people I’ve met on Sentiero Verde walks have always been delighted to have a foreigner in their midst. This is a really great way to see the Italian countryside off the beaten track. As the icing on the cake, walks sometimes end with an organised meal or local village fair.

The Via Francigena pilgrim trail is growing in popularity. The last 100 km leg of this 1800 km walk is between Viterbo and Rome. Visit the official website and plan it yourself or contact one of the growing number of specialist tour companies to organise everything for you and even carry your luggage. There’s even an app

Cycling

Several cycle shops around Lazio offer bike hire. For example, my nearest bike shop in Fiano Romano, Wild Bicycle, offers the services of an expert guide to rides in the nearby Sabine Hills for a nominal fee. If you don’t have transport, Wild Bicycle can also pick up cyclists and take them to their shop, or drop off bikes. Passione a pedali in Viterbo has a website in English.

Bike Italia has a great section on Lazio with inspiring-looking tours, including the Via Francigena by bike.