The words Venice and hills don’t usually inhabit the same sentence, but for centuries, Venetian citizens have been escaping the heat of the city among the shady Euganean Hills.
This cluster of 81 volcanic peaks rises out of the plain south of Padua and Vicenza, an easy train ride from the historic highlights of Venice. The Romans bathed in the hot thermal waters, which originate in the Alps and emerge here charged with minerals. Today, stylish Euganean spas like Abano Terme are a renowned source of health and wellbeing.
But the wooded slopes above the fashionable resorts are another world, dotted with painted villas and ancient villages, olive groves, and vineyards – a gloriously unspoilt landscape best enjoyed on foot or by bike.
I set off to explore this tranquil regional park on an eight-night walking itinerary with Headwater Holidays, staying two nights each at four hotels (headwater.com). With rest days slotted between the walks, there’s a chance to explore locally, visit a city or even book a spa treatment.
Walks are self-guided, using Headwater’s comprehensive notes and a local map; all you need is a like-minded travel companion and the rest is done for you. Luggage transfers and backup are courtesy of a knowledgeable local rep, who also meets walkers off the train from Venice or Verona.
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