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Beat the Italian Bulge with these Activities

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Beat the Italian Bulge with these Activities

story by: House of Travel

As the home of pizza, pasta and pretty much every other item of food that is as bloat-inducing as it is delicious, Italy is a foodie's dream. Unfortunately, there can be too much of a good thing, and many a traveller to this part of the world has returned home feeling a little more portly than when they set off. Counteract this bulge with some activities to get you moving and seeing the country from a whole new perspective.

Jog on
Running tours are taking the world by storm, and they're the perfect way for you to combine your love of jogging (or, at the very least, your grudging acceptance that this is the only way to save yourself from a cardiac arrest after all those treats) with seeing the sights of Italy.

Try a Rome Running small group tour, which features a moderately paced run alongside some much-needed stops for you to get a closer look at the route's top sights. You'll start at Castel Sant'Angelo before heading along the River Tiber, crossing the Cavour Bridge to take in the beauty of the Mausoleum of Augusts. Other sights along this route include hidden cobbled streets, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and even the Pantheon. Because you'll be running in a small group, with no more than five others, you can set your own pace - perfect for those who may have been neglecting their running shoes!

On your bike
Whether you're a budding Lance Armstrong (minus the drug saga, hopefully) or simply an outdoors enthusiast who's looking for a unique way to take in the countryside, a bike tour could be the best bet for you. Pretty much every region here has impressive bike routes, with options for one week tours, cross country routes and more leisurely short rides on offer.

Imagine pedalling through the breathtakingly beautiful scenery of Tuscany, racing along paved roads or hitting the hills on mountain bikes to surrender to nature. Cycling is very popular here, which means you'll find plenty of routes and cycle paths to explore alongside the locals. Just make sure you avoid the steaming hot months of July and August, or hit the streets early in the morning or late at night to avoid the blistering sun. 

Horse around
Relive your childhood dream of cross country cantering with a gentle ride through the Italian countryside atop a trusty steed. Explore vineyards and cellar doors while you ride, or head to the stunning coastlines of Campania for a breath of ocean air. Hidden Trails horse tours take you through olive groves and allow you to sample fresh, locally grown produce as part of the trip, meaning you can have your cake and eat it too.

Northern Italy is particularly exquisite on horseback, and has plenty of rustic beauty to be discovered. Seek out old Venetian Castles or take to the mountains for stunning views. As with the other activities, this can get hot in the summer months, so you may wish to limit your horse adventures to times outside the peak sun hours. 

Take a hike
Head to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Dolomites for a walk, hike or trek you won't forget in a hurry. There are paths here to suit every age, fitness level and ability, plus longer options alongside the more casual day hikes. Experienced hikers can bring their helmets, crampons and sense of adventure for the more challenging options, such as some sections of the Bocca di Brenta pass. Alternatively, take it easy with a walk along the footpaths of the Pian dei Buoi high plateau and be home in time for dinner.

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