The Best Hikes in Italy: A Insider's Guide

The Best Hikes in Italy: A Insider's Guide

By Michael Sedge,

Buy on Amazon
If the ups and downs of mountain trails and picturesque forests lure you, Italy will seem a land of fantasy. Hiking, back­packing and trekking ventures in this exciting country are not your usual organized tours with bus transportation, first-rate hotels, meals and guides. What you will get here is the freedom of a true down-to-earth, under-the-stars, roughing-it adventure – though there are also hundreds of easy one-day walking routes to be found as well. Italy offers some of the finest and most varied walking in Europe – from the gentle, mysteriously beautiful hills of Etruria with their picturesque walled towns and villages, to the dramatically eroded peaks of the Dolomites; from the splendid snowy skyline of the Gran Paradiso to the long ridge of the Apennines with their great diversity of flora, extensive views and, for mountains, fairly stable weather conditions; from the hot lava flows of Mount Etna to the wildlife-filled National Park of Calabria. The relatively mild climate makes Italy a perfect location for year-round hiking and backpacking. Spring is the time for educational hiking. With the aid of local maps you can easily combine tourist sights with leisurely walks and secluded trails. During the summer months the northern regions with their beautiful streams and panoramic scenery will add breathtaking excitement to backpacking vacations. When fall rolls around, the colorful flora found in the central wooded areas, such as the famed National Park of Abruzzo, will have you wondering whether it is Italy you are exploring or Canada. And don't pack up your gear during the winter. This is the period when all warm-blooded birds, and hikers, head south. Though the nights can be cool, the warm sea-breezes off Sicily will keep you moving over the rolling hills for days. Most veteran hikers, however, agree upon four or five locations as being the ultimate in beauty, history and walking pleasure. Beginning in the north-west, near the French and Swiss borders, is the Gran Paradiso National Park. Encompassing the four valleys of the Gran Paradiso Massif, this area contains some of Italy's finest alpine scenery and wildlife. To the east, in the Brenta Dolomite mountains, is the Stelvio National Park. Hiking and trekking adventures here can be planned to fit any schedule – a few hours, a single day, a week or more. In central Italy, the Abruzzo National Park offers thick forests, mountains, rivers and lakes, not to mention an abundance of wildlife. Here, too, routes can easily be combined to fit any schedule. An unusual outing is found along the west-central coast within the borders of the National Park of Circeo. Here you confront not only forests and mountains, but the sea as well. To the south, adventurers enjoy the mild climate and splendor of the National Park of Calabria, which is actually three separate areas stretching along the Sila Mountains ranging from Lake Cecita to the tip of the boot near Reggio Calabria. While these are among the favorite walking areas, there are thousands of others. This guide tells you the details about the best of them all, with suggested daily itineraries, what to look out for, the flora and fauna, the risks, and much more. Filled with color photos. And written by a long-time resident of Italy whose passion is hiking in the parks.

Michael Sedge

Michael H. Sedge is an American journalist, author, marketing specialist, and entrepreneur. He founded the marketing company Strawberry Media and co-founded the U.S. small business, Michael-Bruno, LLC, which offers architectural design, engineering services, and construction management to the U.S. government in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. His non-fiction book, The Lost Ships of Pisa, won the President of the Italian Republic's Book of the Year Award for a Foreign Author and the “Rusticcello di Pisa” International Journalism Award from the city of Pisa.

Early life

Sedge was born in Flint, Michigan, and graduated with a Bachelor of History and Government from University of La Verne in La Verne, California. In 1973 Sedge started his service in the United States Navy, and was soon assigned to Southern Italy for what was meant to be a 48 month stay. He was assigned to diverse locales in Europe until 1977. Eventually Sedge, who also speaks Italian, took up permanent residence in Naples, Italy to pursue writing, journalism, and ultimately as an international businessman.

Marketing career

1988 Sedge founded Strawberry Media Agency, a Naples-based media/marketing agency. In 1989 MCI Communications hired Sedge to establish and direct their global military marketing. He did so until 1995, and in his last four years running the company’s military activities, MCI’s international calling card revenues from the military market increased by $3 million annually.

After 1995, Arrowhead Global Solutions contracted Sedge to manage the logistical, operational, and financial activities of the Army Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) contract for AT&T Call Home services in the then war-ridden country of Bosnia. After setting up and operating the military operations in Bosnia, one year later, he was assigned as in-country project manager for Arrowhead Global Solutions’ contract with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) for the design and construction of satellite communications systems in Italy. Other clients under Sedge and his Strawberry Media agency included Bank of America, Holiday Inn International, Mobil Oil, Rapid LInk Telecommunications, Deep Bridge, and Planet Euro. He was VP of Marketing for the Israeli-based Megagiga, the 7th largest hosting agency in the world. Sedge's firm also produced editorial packages (articles, photos, illustrations) for more than forty publications around the world and syndicated in Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East. Strawberry Media also had a photography division specializing in US military stock image databases, many of which were images taken by Sedge himself.

In 2003 he co-founded Michael-Bruno, LLC, an American architectural design, engineering service and construction management firm. The company is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, and now owns sister companies in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Michael-Bruno, LLC has won multiple contracts with NATO, the U.S. military, as well as Italian restorative projects.

The Sedge Group

In an Entrepreneur Magazine profile, Sedge was dubbed the "wizard of marketing. The publishing guru Sol Stein sought Sedge when looking to market his own books in Europe. Sedge is also owner of The Sedge Group, a book publisher based in Delaware. The Sedge Group, which has sister publishing companies in Europe for foreign language editions, also acts as a publicist/media firm.

Publishing history

Worldwide, Sedge is credited in more than 4,000 articles, several audio tape scripts, children's plays, some 30 books (combined collaborations as well as solely authored), and four television documentaries. His topics often cover expatriate affairs, United States and NATO military, archaeology, the London theater beat, the business of freelance writing, and Italy. In June 1998 Sedge was hired as the special assignment writer for the Alexandria, Egypt production of the Discovery Channel'sCleopatra's Palace. The project entailed a book and a documentary.In 2003 Sedge was a contributing editor to the "Armed Forces Journal International," publishing such features as "Not-So-Friendly Fire War in Iraq Shows Fratricide Remains an Enduring Problem". It was a report on casualties of friendly fire during the U.S. led war in Iraq, including causes of friendly fire incidents and technical solutions to the problem.


As foreign correspondent

Other contributions


  • Commercialization of the Oceans (1987)
  • Adventure Guide to Italy, 1988 (1988)
  • Selling Books to the Military Market
  • Double Your Income through Foreign Sales[7]
  • The Writer's and Photographer's Guide to Global Markets (1998)
  • Marketing Strategies for Writers (1999)
  • Successful Syndication: A Guide for Writers and Cartoonists (Allworth Press, 2000)
  • The Mediterranean Diet, Origins and Myths (2000)
  • The Photojournalist's Guide to Making Money (2000)
  • Successful Syndication (2000)
  • The Lost Ships of Pisa (2002)
  • The Oracle (2014)

He authored the screenplay "The Vatican Diary", several non-fiction books including Ascent to Failure, and his latest novel, The Oracle. His next work, co-authored with former Navy Chief Journalist Joel Jacobs, Death Watch was being considered by four major film production companies. He also founded the "Dolce Vita Writer's Holiday" workshop in Italy


His non-fiction work The Lost Ships of Pisa won the President of the Italian Republic's Book of the Year Award for a Foreign Author. The “Rusticchello di Pisa” award from the City of Pisa and the Italian Transportation and History Price for Literature. 


  • Association of Publishers for Special Sales
  • American Society of Journalists and Authors – (former Director-at-Large)
  • International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (former Regional President)
  • Society of American Military Engineers (Naples Chapter President)
  • American Chamber of Commerce in Italy (former President at Large)
  • American Business Councel of Djibouti (Founder and President)

Personal life

Sedge married Italian school teacher Gabriella Giugliano in 1976. Together they have two children, Amanda, living in Italy, and Daniele, living in New York. He also has three grand-children, Luca, Matteo, and Giada. Sedge retains his U.S. citizenship while enjoying the culture and lifestyle of Italy. From his Naples office he looks out at Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii—and he can be in Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast in 20 minutes.