Slow Travel Fest: A Trip to the Wild Side

The 3rd edition of Slow Travel Fest will arrive on September 22, 23 and 24 at Abbadia Isola, a small village near the Monteriggioni area in the province of Siena.  As the name suggests, the festival aims to provide participants with relaxation and a change of scenery, away from our hectic daily routine. From mini pilgrim walks and dining experiences ‘al fresco’ to workshops and excursions. Designed for all age groups, there’s no limit to how much fun one can have.

Sponsored by the city of Monteriggioni and the Tuscan Region and organised by Andare a Zonzo (hiking organisation), the three scheduled days will be centered on the theme of ‘discovering nature.’

Many free events and excursions are available for adults and all children’s activities are free, with at least two occurring each day. Booking, however, is required and can be done online by visiting the website Other events may have an additional fee.

All excursions depart from the main hub in Abbadia Isola. Participants have the option of buying a slow travel card at the price of €15, which entitles them to many discounts on activities and workshops. Upon purchase, they will receive a water bottle, a welcome beer and a body treatment. Many events will also reserve the last few places for those with this card, as spaces are limited.

Free events for kids and adults

Enjoy a walk on the wild side this month and be rid of deadlines and city lifestyle. On Sunday, a walk (max 35 people) departing at 9 am is designed for the public to become one with nature. Discover the stillness of life in forests and open spaces during this three-hour experience.

Get lost in the enchanting forests and olive groves of ‘la Via Francigena’, an ancient pilgrim road running from France all the way to Rome and walk along Monteriggioni’s medieval walls.  This is a three-hour scenic route (max 35 hikers), will take place on Saturday, starting at 4 pm.

Cycle to Colle Val d’Elsa, a quaint town in the province of Siena, whilst enjoying the fresh air. The trip (max 25 people) will be broken up with some food tasting at a local farm to allow one to experience Italian rural life. It departs at 11 am and will last six hours. The participant is recommended to take their own bike, however, it will be possible to hire one for the price of €20.

While conducting experiments, little ones can become nature scientists on Saturday hourly between 10 am – 12 noon.  They may also want to join in on a group project at any of the following times, 10 am, 11:30 am or 2:30 pm on Sunday. Using twigs, leaves, pinecones, colouring pencils, play dough and fabric, the group will create their own tree. Later they will sit around the tree of their own making for a storytelling session.

There will also be a treasure hunt on Saturday 23, at 4 pm.

Some paid events

A chance to meet other travellers and visitors is offered on Friday, dining outdoors around a bonfire.  The evening will begin at 8 pm and will cost €15. Open to all, no discount available.

A €20 historical guided tour takes visitors through an impressive cave, a place where remains from bears and Homo sapiens from 29,000 years ago were discovered.  Space limited to 15 people, and the excursion leaves at 9 am on Sunday lasting a total of four hours. Cardholders are entitled to a 20% discount.

With ‘Sunrise and Sunset meditation,’ yoga sessions available on Saturday every hour from 8 – 11 am and then from 5  – 7 pm. This costs only €5 per session and will leave the participant feeling relaxed and centred. Slow Travel Fest cardholders are eligible for a free session.

For those travelling from further afield, the festival has many great hostels and campsites available. Cardholders are also entitled to a 20% discount.

To see a video, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.

For more information visit the online website. (karen gee)