Why snow-sports fans should head to Tuscany this winter
Snow sports fans aren’t confined to the Dolomites in Italy. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to play in the mountains of Tuscany, too, whether you want to ski, snowboard or just pull on a pair of snowshoes and stride out into wintry woods. Plus, passes can cost half the price of those in Alpine resorts and you’re more likely to rub shoulders with an Italian crowd. Here’s our quick guide to Tuscany’s slopes.
Tuscany’s best-known ski resort is Abetone, spread across four valleys in the Apennines, north-west of Florence and close to the border with Emilia-Romagna. The terrain reaches heights of 1,950 metres, with 80km of cross-country action and blue, red and black runs to put your skills to the test (the Black Diamond piste, Zeno One, was designed by the downhill racer Zeno Colo, an Olympic gold medal-winner). There are a couple of snow parks, too. Go to abetone.com.
Doganaccia di Cutigliano
The whole family will be kept amused at this resort, south-east of Abetone. There’s snow tubing and sledging, bobsleigh riding and snow kiting among the activities on offer. As for skiing, there are 15km of pistes to try, almost a third of which are illuminated at night. A link to Corno alle Scale in neighbouring Emilia Romagna, scheduled to be completed in 2020, should open up more than 50km of slopes. Go to doganaccia2000.it.
A recently added snow park makes Zum Zeri, close to the borders of Liguria and Emilia Romagna, a good choice for snowboarders. There are also 6km of blues and reds and a couple of Black Diamond runs – one appropriately named Cinghiale, or “wild boar”. Zum Zeri’s highest peak, Monte Fabei, at about 1,600m, is famed for fabulous views that can reach as far as the Med. Go to zumzeri.eu.
Get off the beaten track in the lesser-explored mountainous province of Garfagnana in north-west Tuscany. There are some satisfying runs for intermediate skiers at three resorts here – Careggine, Casone di Profecchia and Passo delle Radici – as well as cross-country trails through the woods. Go to garfagnana.eu.
This extinct volcano, south of Siena, offers snow sports enthusiasts more than 10km of slopes and a picturesque route through beech forests that’s beloved by cross-country skiers. Beware, snow cover can be sparse at times, so check the forecast. There’s a treat nearby for tired bodies, which can be soothed in the thermal waters at Terme San Filippo or Bagno Vignoni.