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Holidays on the move PDF Print E-mail
Pistoia and its surrounding province offer many opportunities for those who wish for a more active holiday. The natural landscape remains unspoilt, with water, marshes, woods, fields and meadows accessible to all. Travelling distances are never excessive. It is easy to get around on foot, by bike, and by bus or train. It is also easy to access an extensive network of little-known trails and paths, waiting to be discovered on foot, on horseback or by bike. Among the numerous sporting activities offered in the area, to be enjoyed while taking in the beauty of the delightful surroundings, two that stand out in particular are skiing and golf. In other words, unspoilt nature just waiting to be discovered and experienced on the go.
sport.jpgThe landscape of the province of Pistoia is extremely varied, from the hills and mountains, to the plains and marshes. But it covers a relatively small area and the distances between attractions and sites are never very far. For this reason the area is particularly suitable for those who cycle. It is possible to explore the area along roads with very little traffic, following cycle paths along routes that trace the old Etruscan, Roman and Medieval roads, or following the quiet paths through the woods. In particular, the small villages scattered throughout the province are all connected by quiet asphalted roads, paths or mule tracks that allow you to enjoy wonderful views inaccessible by other means. Competitive cycling is a tradition in Pistoia. Many champions were born and live in the area, including Serafino Biagioni, yellow jersey at the Tour de France in 1951, Andrea Tafi, Maximilian Sciandri, manager and coach of the England team, Luca Scinto and Franco Ballerini, manager and coach of the Italian team. The land around Pistoia has plenty of routes that are not too demanding, as well as gentle hills and some tougher climbs.
The province of Pistoia is an “undiscovered land of golf” where practising this charming sport means, above all, relaxing in a pleasant and informal atmosphere. You will find yourself playing golf alongside medieval churches, ancient olive trees, lakes, streams and woods, at attractive rates. The courses are available to enthusiasts of the green for play all year round. With its 18 holes and its magnificent views, the “Montecatini Golf” course, near the old church known as the “Pievaccia”, is perfect for those who want to experience the full pleasure of the game, while Golf Quarrata offers courses of 9 and 6 holes
 trekkingdef.jpgIn summer the most popular sporting activity is hiking, for which the Montagna Pistoiese offers trails of historic, artistic and natural interest of all levels, from the very easy to the more demanding. Of particular interest is the Pistoia section of the itinerary known as the G.E.A (Grande Escursione Appenninica), which forms the longest hiking trail in Tuscany. The G.E.A., for a total of about 400 kilometres divided in 25 stages, crosses the whole of the Tuscan Appenines, linking Umbria with the Marche and Liguria. On the other hand, a completely Pistoian trail is the M.P.T. (Montagna Pistoiese Trekking), with a network of 165 kilometres, divided in 7 stages and 3 variants, which links in at several points with the G.E.A. and with Valleriana Trekking. The mountains of Pescia have preserved intact their natural characteristics and the peace and beauty of its ten medieval fortified villages, surrounded by thick chestnut woods. All the villages are connected, not only by asphalted roads but also by a network of footpaths. Of particular interest is the Valleriana Trekking, which takes in all ten of the villages, in five stages, over about 4-6 hours of walking per day, and the Via dei Mulini, which starts from the village of Stiappa. On the crest of the Montalbano area and inside the perimeters of what were the old boundaries of the “Barco Reale”, the spectacular hunting grounds created by the Medici in the 16th century, is a network of numerous trails. It is a hilly area, where grapevines and olive trees are cultivated, and it lends itself well to outdoor trips, whether it be on foot, by bike or on horseback, along paths that is not just of natural importance but offers art, papal villas and important archaeological remains.
Those who prefer to use map and compass to find their way and to decide the best route to take by themselves, can indulge their passion, on foot or by bike, on trails dedicated specifically to orienteering: there are many such to be found throughout the Pistoia mountain area.
Horse riding
The horse is the ideal companion with which to experience nature. There are bridleways over much of the area but some of the most interesting for enthusiasts are those in Pistoia that form part of the “Vie verdi d’Europa”. In fact, running through the province is a section of the trail that, starting from Puglia, crosses Molise, Abruzzo, Lazio, Tuscany, Emilia and Piedmont before reaching the Alps and there linking up with other European trails. The stages in Pistoia are Groppoli – Lambure – Abetone, which take the rider from 70 up to 1400 metres above sea level. For those new to horse riding, schools and instructors can be found throughout the province, available to help get you in the saddle or to tackle your first, safe, easy bridleway.
Numerous watercourses run through the area of the Pistoia mountains: the Reno, the Limentra in Sambuca, the Limentrella and above all the Lima with the Sestaione, its principal tributary suitable for salmon fishing, are all rivers and streams highly valued for their fishing. Near these, the lakes and pools that spring from the old ice cisterns in the Valle del Reno are the ideal place for fishing. And there are also well-equipped artificial lakes for enthusiasts of this “gentle” sport.
Long distance running
In Pistoia, between spring and summer, it is marathon season. The marathons take place over much of the region. But for the experienced runner, the PISTOIA - ABETONE race is the greatest uphill marathon in Italy, which also unites the values of sport with those of a concern for the preservation of the environment and of culture. Click here to see the programme of races for this year.  
canoadef.jpgFor those who are keen on canoeing, the river Lima is the ideal place to start. The adventure starts at the suspension bridge in “Anghiari”. The descent of 4.8 km arrives on the right bank of the Lima, near the “Ponte della Lucchia”. The 6 km descent arrives on the left shore at the “Ponte Maggio” in Giardinetto, in the neighbouring province of Lucca. In the Comune of Pescia, in the high water season of the Pescia di Vellano river, canoeing is possible between Ponte a Coscia and Ponte di Sorana.
Those who love being in flight and are looking for a different kind of contact with nature can try paragliding in the Pistoia mountains, using its natural terraces as a point for taking off, at Pian dei Termini and Spignana (San Marcello Pistoiese) and at Croce Arcana (Cutigliano).
Archery stands as a link to the medieval past. This link is renewed in the celebrations and folklore on the occasion of the Palio dei Rioni, held in Pescia on the first Sunday in September. This is a sport that can be played today at the purpose-built “pavilions” with which many sports centres and holiday farms in the area are equipped.
Skiing and winter sports 
Four splendid valleys: Sestaione, Lima, Scoltenna and the Val di Luce, linked by a series of pistes of a total of about 60 km, with snow machines when necessary and lifts that go from 1200 up to 1950 metres above sea level. Other runs of varying levels can be found at the resorts of Doganaccia (from which, by cableway, la Croce Arcana is reached) and Pian di Novello in the municipality of Cutigliano, and at the resort of Casetta Pulledrari in the municipality of San Marcello. Fun is guaranteed for snowboarding enthusiasts, who can make use of the snowpark, and for cross-country skiers who can refine their technique and gain speed on over 18 km of piste reserved especially for them. A wide range of opportunities for beginners, experts and enthusiasts of winter sports.
Farm holidays 
Those who prefer to combine an active holiday with quality gastronomy can visit one of the many farms that practise organic farming. You will have the opportunity to sample produce grown and cooked by the farm, and sold on the industry market, take courses in farming or cookery, visit the Strada dell’olio e del vino in the Montalbano area, the hills of Leonardo, or the Strada dei sapori e dei colori in the Pistoia mountain region.
And besides …
For car enthusiasts: the RALLY DEGLI ABETI E DELL'ABETONE, the RALLY CITTA' DI PISTOIA, the LIMA–ABETONE race. For lovers of horseracing and to spend a pleasant day of entertainment and relaxation visit the IPPODROMO SESANA at Montecatini Terme. Not to mention the possibilities for football, tennis, clay pigeon shooting (the former world champion lives in Lamporecchio), bowling, athletics, basketball, volleyball, skating, swimming, bowls, motocross and going to the gym. Those who wish to completely immerse themselves in nature will find campsites that are perfect for excursions on foot, by bike, or by camper van. They can be found in some of the most naturally beautiful areas, on the hills of the Valdinievole, of Pescia and of the Montalbano region.

Our Uffici Tourist Information Offices are on hand to help you find the best accommodation to suit your needs or the nearest sports centre, and to show you all the opportunities this area has to offer for your sports needs and for your entertainment.
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