We spent a few days based in the Cinque Terre region, and we were looking for and adventure activity that was a little more off the beaten path, and away from the crowded areas - we came across Sigeric - a tourism company who specialise in nature, alpine, and outdoor activities - they have a team of professional tour guides and operate a number of different activities for all ages and levels of fitness. A very unique tour that Sigeric offer is the canyon adventure to Stretti di Giaredo, and after seeing a few gorgeous photographs on their website showcasing this natural wonder, we knew that it was something that we would enjoy and had to try!
The Stretti di Giaredo is a spectacular canyon along the river Gordana, located in Lunigiana, Northern Tuscany. We only discovered this beautiful place after some internet research and the helpful staff at Sigeric tourism - otherwise there was no marketing about this area which is so close to Cinque Terre in the region! We were thrilled to discover that it was easily accessible from the Cinque Terre region where we were staying, and that we could commence the tour by jumping on a train in La Spezia which only was a 30 minute ride towards Tuscany and meeting a guide at the train station at Villa-franca.
We were greeted by the lovely Simona from Sigeric when we arrived at Villa-franca, and from here she drove us to the Sigeric office. At the office we were greeted by our tour leader for the day by the name of Alex. All information about the tour was given to us, including an explanation of where we were going, what we would be doing, and the equipment that we would be using. We were also given the option prior to bring our own lunch, or stop after the tour for lunch at a nearby Italian bar, cafe, or restaurant - we were very excited to get started!
As the canyon adventure requires both hiking and swimming through the waters in the canyon, we were provided with a full wetsuit, helmet, and life jacket. The entire set-up of the tour was very professional, and we felt like we were in very good hands with our guide Alex. Alex is fluent in Italian, however he could also could speak very good English, which was helpful!
Once we were fitted with all of our safety equipment, we jumped in the car with Alex where he took us to a small village around 20 minutes by car, where we would commence the tour. We stripped down to our swimmers, put on our wetsuits, sneakers, grabbed our camera’s, and away we went!
The first part of the tour involved us walking along the river, where we would then find the entrance to the canyon. This first 20 minute walk was quite easy, making our way over rocks, only small puddles of water, and learning lots from Alex about the plants and animal wildlife that often frequent this area.
It wasn’t long before we then reached the entrance to the canyon, and it was time to put on our life jackets and helmets and get wet! The opening to the canyon was gorgeous, lined by rocks of all different colours and green trees, it was wide in some areas, and narrower in others.
The first canyon involved us walking in the water, sometimes at ankle, knee, waist, even shoulder deep. Some other times involved us having to swim for short distances - but thankful for our wetsuits we were not at all cold and this was made very easy also with our lifejackets, we basically just floated our way across the beautiful waters, lying back, relaxing, and having an amazing time! The water was the most beautiful, fresh, and clear that we had ever swam in! Although deep in some parts, we could always see all the way to the very bottom because of how crystal clear and clean it was!
Alex was a wonderful and very patient guide - allowing us to stop along the way as many times as we liked to capture photographs, teach us about the different animals that we saw (baby snakes and toads!), and give us lots of information about the formation of the canyon. After around 1 hours, we had reached the end of the first canyon, and the river opened up wide once again allowing us to walk freely without being submerged in the water. But it wasn’t long before we reached the entrance to the second part of the canyon, Alex said that he thinks that this is the most beautiful part of the canyon, and we certainly agreed!!
In the second half of the canyon, the walls become more narrow, and the water in between so pristine see-through blue colour, that swimming is like a dream - after around another 1 hour of hiking and swimming through the canyon, we reached the end point where again the river opens up wide and there were lots of rocks for us to sit on and relax.
We spent around 15 minutes here enjoying the relaxation, sounds of the water flowing, the birds chirping, and admiring the greenery surrounding us. We took some more photographs before it was time to return back the way we came along the canyon.
This little wonderland is truly a hidden gem in Italy! The entire hike we only saw a small handful of other people, who were mainly locals coming to enjoy the place. Being so close to both Tuscany, and Cinque Terry, this is an activity that we recommend should be very high on your bucket list if you are ever visiting either of these two villages.
A simple train ride from Cinque Terre, and it has been a huge highlight of our time spent in the region - if you are looking to escape the crowds, spend time in nature and the outdoors, and all for a VERY reasonable price and with amazingly experienced guides and equipment, then this tour is certainly for you! You do not need to be the fittest person to enjoy this tour, and the gear that is provided makes all of it very easy and enjoyable, feeling safe the entire time. Sigeric is the only company that runs these tours in this hidden oasis, and we had a great day learning so much from them.
Look into the website for Sigeric Tourism for more information, and if this is something you’re interested in send them an email and they will be more than happy to help you! You can find their website here for a range of other tours they also offer - http://www.sigeric.it
If anyone has any other questions for us, please send us an email at WeLiveWeExplore@outlook.com or use the Contact section of our website - we always love to hear from you guys! Enjoy our photos below :)