Late Autumn 2021 we returned to Italy again - this time to Tuscany including its beautiful island Elba where we found many superb hiking opportunities, pleasant temperatures up to 20°C and a lot of sunshine for this season.

Alley in Elba (south of Capoliveri) with Monte Capanne on the right which is with 1019 meters sea-level the tallest summit of Elba
Alley in Elba (south of Capoliveri) with Monte Capanne on the right which is with 1019 meters sea-level the tallest summit of Elba

 

Again Marion's sister Jutta and her husband Hermann joined. When we drove through the Alps we had very nice weather which we used for two longer hikes. The first one was around was in Klausen (South Tyrol) around its huge monastery.

The second one was south of Trent on the steep slopes on the western side of the valley of the river Adige - Wonderful Sentiero delle Stel leads with some iron ropes through these slopes and it was Hermann's first via ferrata.

The last and steep part of the via ferrata Sentiero delle Stel
The last and steep part of the via ferrata Sentiero delle Stel

 

We continued in a rush via Mantua through the Po Valley and over the Apennines because it was raining a lot. It stopped exactly when we arrived in the bigger city Prato which is located few kilometers northwest of Florence.

Man fighting with an eagle in front of the cathedral of Prato
Man fighting with an eagle in front of the cathedral of Prato

 

We spent two days in marvelous Florence. It was raining cats and dogs on the second day but we were protected in the Uffici Gallery, one of the most famous art museums on earth. It shows mainly sculptures from the Roman Empire and many paintings from the 15th / 16th / 17th centuries. Some pictures have an erotic touch and some are barbarous. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic access to the Uffici Gallery was strictly limited and we could enjoy its artifacts with a bunch of people.

Lion with a human head in its mouth on Piazza delle Sigoria
Lion with a human head in its mouth on Piazza delle Sigoria

 

Bridge Ponte Vecchio seen from the Uffici Gallery
Bridge Ponte Vecchio seen from the Uffici Gallery

 

Painting
Painting "Judith beheading Holofernes" from Artemisia Gentileschi (1620 - 1621)

 

Painting
Painting "Venus with a Satyr and two Cupids" from Annibale Carracci (1587 - 1588)

 

Painting "Medusa" from Michelangelo Mersi da Caravaggio (1595 - 1598)
Painting "Medusa" from Michelangelo Mersi da Caravaggio (1595 - 1598)

 

Modern art in Florence
Modern art in Florence

 

More pictures of the Uffici Gallery are in the picture section of Tuscany.  After so much culture we continued to rural life: Firstly to the stunning little town San Gimignano which is called Manhatten of the middle age. Secondly to the wonderful protected area Riserva Naturale di Castelvecchio, where we hiked a full day in the Mediterranean forest, over hills, and along farms, vineyards, old and not so old ruins.

Towers of San Gimignano
Towers of San Gimignano

 

Hiking in the protected area Riserva Naturale di Castelvecchio
Hiking in the protected area Riserva Naturale di Castelvecchio

 

On the way to the coast we stopped in the walled mountaintop town Volterra. Its impressive Medici Fortress is used as a prison today, and it is rated of 4.5 stars from Google users!

The Medici Fortress / jail seen from the archaeologic garden
The Medici Fortress / jail seen from the archaeologic garden

 

Wemic (half man / half lion) with head in the archaeologic garden of Volterra
Wemic (half man / half lion) with human head in the archaeologic garden of Volterra

 

Before we took the ferry from Piombino to Elba we spent some nice and sunny days on the coast, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea (water temperature still 19°C), hiking and biking on the peninsula north of Piombino, and visiting some interesting old sites like Populonia and historic quarter of Piombino.

Sunday celebration in the hills of Populonia
Sunday celebration in the hills of Populonia

 

On the ferry to Elba
On the ferry to Elba - just one hour travel time

 

Elba is a dream within a dream with marvelous beaches with crystal clear water, pretty villages, endless superb hiking opportunities and a lot of history, for instance the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was imprisoned for 10 months in the years 1814/15. We stayed exactly two weeks on this wonderful island, which is with 224 square kilometers the third largest island of Italy.

Rainbow with the little town Capoliveri
Rainbow with the little town Capoliveri

 

Mural in Capoliveri
Mural in Capoliveri

 

Strawberry tree with fruits and in full blossom
Strawberry tree with fruits and in full blossom

 

Mural in Marina di Campo
Mural in Marina di Campo

 

Lonely convent Madonna DI Monserrato seen from the top of 389 meters high Monte Castello
Lonely convent Madonna di Monserrato seen from the top of 389 meters high Monte Castello

 

Fighting Moufflon close to the convent
Fighting Moufflon close to the convent

 

Castle Castello del Volterraio
Castle Castello del Volterraio

 

Our top highlight was the hike to Monte Capanne, which is with 1019 meters sea-level the tallest summit of Elba. On a perfect day we started our ascent in the little village Poggio and hiked to the northwest ridge of the secondary peak Le Calanche. There was some hard snow on the last part. The conditions became unpleasantly on the ridge due to icy rocks. Jutta and Hermann returned. We were happy that we had a short rope in our backpack, and also about some fixed iron ropes. The ridge turns to southwest on Le Calanche - a wonderful climb to the top in the sun.

The summit of Monte Capanne is one the ugliest mountains we ever had visited - full of transmitters, fences and other stuff. But the outlook was extraordinary beautiful. The first part of the descent on the northeast slope was icy again - we missed our crampons.

The little village Poggio
The little village Poggio

 

Marion on the northeast ridge of Le Calanche
Marion on the northeast ridge of Le Calanche

 

Alfred on top of Elba
Alfred on top of Elba

 

The weather changed when we came back to Piombino. Consequently we drove back to Munich in a rush. We stopped for walks in Pisa - famous for its leaning tower and Galileo Galilei, and in Sabbionetta in the Po Valley. There was already a lot of snow in higher levels when we crossed the Apennines and the Alps on December 9th / 10th 2021.

Mask with leaning tower
Mask with leaning tower

 

Most of our hikes, bike rides and overnight staying places are in our GPS coordinates file of Italy.

 

For more pictures, please click here

For a map of our itineraries, click here

To download our GPS coordinates file of Italy, click here 

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Comments  
#3 Anja 2021-12-26 07:20
Liebe Marion, lieber Alfred! Eben habe ich mir euren Reisebericht mit den tollen Fotos durchgelesen! Danke, dass ihr uns durch diese Zeilen und Bilder teilhaben lasst. Wunderbar! Da bekommt man augenblicklich wieder Lust aufs Reisen! Schön dass es euch gibt! Schöne Festtage euch noch, eure Dietrichs
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#2 Michael Ihuya 2021-12-22 20:03
Hello Family of Me.
My name is Michael Ihuya from Tanzania we here when you visited lake Victoria in Mwanza Tanzania.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and New year

Regards
Michael Ihuya from Tanzania

+255656708323
Microfinance and Enterprise Expert
Executive Director of a non profit ORGANIZATION
Tumaini la Vijana na Watoto Tanzania
P.O.BOX 391Mwanza
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#1 Marion Endres 2021-12-22 18:24
:-) Hallo Ihr Zwei! So schön von euch zu hören, vor allem, dass ihr gesund und munter seid. Die Bilder wie immer herrlich. Vielen Dank dafür.
Wir sind immer noch in Horb, haben zum wiederholten Male den Abflugtermin verschoben, inzwischen auf den 6. März 2022. Hoffentlich klappt es bis dahin. Ganz liebe Grüße und ebenfalls schöne Feiertage und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr. Hasta la Vista. Marion und Peter
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