The majestic mountains of the Apennines that surround the city of Pistoia are the perfect spot for the various sport, culture and spa activities that make up a great holiday. In the Pistoia Mountains, the following suggestions might be useful for a perfect weekend in the Northern Tuscan Apennines.
The first stop is adventure filled! Visit the “ponte sospeso” (suspended bridge) that connects the two sides of the river Lima from Mammiano Basso in the municipality of San Marcello Pistoiese to Popiglio in the municipality of Piteglio. The pedestrian bridge was opened in 1923 as a shortcut for workers who had to cross the valley to reach the factories where they worked. 227 meters long, 36 meters high and less than a meter wide, it's made with steel cables anchored to rocks by heavy chains. It's one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, and you can cross it to admire the valley, the Lima stream and the hamlet of Mammiano Basso. Be careful because it swings!
Get a regenerating night’s sleep before a sunny day skiing in the Abetone pass. There are more than 50 kilometres of slopes perfect for winter sports. Here, there are some of the most famous ski resorts in central Italy, including Abetone and Doganaccia di Cutigliano, with slopes of varying difficulty, ranging from training camps to black slopes, recommended for the most expert skiers.
The slopes of Abetone cover different sides of the mountain and are of varied typology. Monte Gomito has "Zeno" slopes, Le Regine and Selletta are home to woodland, Val di Luce is perfectly alpine, and Coppi in Pulicchio is steep with 21 modern, fast lifts. There are also three slopes for Alpine skiing (6.5 km) and the possibility to learn from a ski instructor for kids and adults.
Have lunch at the top of Monte Gomito, the highest peak in the resort at 1,930 meters, where you can admire the unique views of the coast, as far as Corsica on sunny days, and the snow-capped mountains of the Alps and pre-Alps to the north. The ski resorts are open from 8 am to 4.30 pm on purchase of the Abetone Multipass ski pass (prices here).
Countless sporting events are scheduled in Abetone every year, including the Women’s European Cup, International Ski Federation and Master competitions as well as “Pinocchio sugli sci”, the young skiers world championships that takes place in March. Abetone is one of the best equipped ski resorts for disabled people, thanks to a dedicated parking system, changing rooms, qualified ski instructors and specific equipment such as monoski and dualski, which allow complete autonomy on the slopes and lifts.
Skiing is not the only sport you can practise here. You can also try snowshoeing in the beautiful forest of Pian degli Ontani. The five-kilometre round trip is one of the shortest tracks and there are many other paths into the forest, as well as a nature trail that is great for kids due to the information boards that explain the plants and animals. Other sports you can practise in the Pistoia Mountains are Nordic walking, snowboard, bob sledding and, during the summer, mountain hiking, downhill, mountain biking and more.
The Apennine Mountains are not only about sport but also relaxation. You can chill out at the Val di Luce Resort, where modern spa facilities and a well-equipped fitness centre offer the perfect occasion to relax. Here you'll find a heated multi-sensory pool, an alpine sauna, steam baths, frigidarium and massages. You can even stay for an aperitivo with mountain views or dinner at the restaurant.
Something else you can do in this area is visit the countless mountain hamlets, like Cutigliano. A special thanks to Sara and Irina from Consorzio Turistico A.P.M. Abetone Montagna Pistoiese; the Hotel Sichi in Pian degli Ontani, Marco the ski intructor, the restaurant on the top of Monte Gomito, the restaurant Fagiolino in Cutigliano and AISLA for the snowshoeing experience.