The hippo-routes: the future of transports leds eco sustainable paths

With regards to eco sustainable tourism… Maybe yu have already heard about that if you are keen on equestrian tourism or you simply love nature and horses: in Tuscany, as well as in other locations of the Bel Paese, some horseback riding paths, called ippovie, or hippo-routes if literally translated into English (you can even cycle along or hike over them), have recently been opened.

Those hippo-routes are itineraries passing through parks, countryside villas and beautiful hills, which have been planned and realized especially for non-polluting means of transport and for reducing the environmental impact (eco-friendly transport), horses or bikes, like the wisper electric bikes which are one of the most eco sustainable transports at the moment. They have expressly been conceived for all those people who like spending their holidays in contact with nature for discovering beautiful places, local traditions and culture. A horseback excursion takes you on an adventure of unique and unspoiled routes where, far from the frenzy daily life, you’ll taste and slowly enjoy nature and its colours, its sounds and smell, its rythm.

By now, in Tuscany there are five hippo-routes that have been officially opened, which correspond to beautiful and suggestive itineraries crossing our region far and wide with some of the most popular places of historical, cultural and artistic interest to stop by, like the Francigena road, for example (since ancient times, Christian pilgrims used to walk through this itinerary for reaching Rome, on of the holy cities).

What do you think about discovering those five eco-sustainable routes?

Those of you who are fond of mountain will be certainly more than happy to welcome two of those five itineraries at least: the first one is called Ippovia dell’Amiata, since it crosses the Amiata Mount, while the other, Ippovia di San Jacopo, passes through the Appennines around Pistoia, where the wolf has recently come back. According to me, this is one of the most interesting and varied paths, since it doesn’t take you only on naturalistic and unspoiled itineraries, rich in flora and fauna; some of the most renowned places of historical, artistic, cultural and scientific interest are within easy reach. You’ll visit Leonardo da Vinci’s hometown for example, Medici’s (one of the most important and leading Tuscan families of all time) summer country-houses (like Artimino villa) and all those places that will take you on an adventure for discovering exciting tastes, like Carmignano DOC wines.

If mountain doesn’t suit you, and you prefer the sea, there is the Via dei Cavalleggeri that passes through the Maremma and its regional parks (San Rossore Park, Maremma Park and Alpi Apuane Park), thus representing a connection among all the Tuscan coast sighting towers (those towers that long time ago were military outposts for the defence of Pisa, Livorno and Grosseto).

If you prefer a cultural itinerary instead of nature, you can easily be satisfied with the Ippovia delle Foreste sacre (Holy forests hippo-route) and Ippovie delle Terre di Siena (Siena and its lands hippo-route). The latter will take you on a jurney throughout one of the most beautiful and striking Italian cities, where the ochre-coloured land is the unique and unmistakable mark of those places, while the Holy forests hippo-route will guide you through the Casentino and the city of Arezzo. By discovering Romanesque parishes, monasteries, abbeys and castles you will have the impression of being in a timeless place, where past, present and future blur and create a surreal and unknown ambiance.

And if you are tired after hiking for a long while (as well as the ancient travellers and pilgrims during their excursions along the francigena route) and you need to rest a little bit, try to ask for the knights TAU…Maybe someone still reminds of them!

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