Hiking holiday chasing the Etruscans.

Europe’s most beautiful cultural walking holiday.

Chasing the myth.

Discover and experience this walking holiday with me, Mariët Bloemendal from Volg de Rode Schoentjes, the beautiful life of the Etruscans. Where nature, history and culture go hand in hand, I cordially invite you to put on your walking shoes. Experience the best that central Italy has to offer. Visit the most special places with me that you would not visit alone.

Traveling solo for a walking holiday, but rather not be alone during your trip? Do you enjoy wonderful new encounters, impressions and insights that you will never forget? Would you like to go on a walking holiday in a casual atmosphere with a group of friendly and like-minded people? Walk with us “after the Etruscans”. Beautiful walks lead you along and through sunken roads, which have been carved into the hills in a spectacular manner. You walk past necropoli and tombs such as the “Tomba Ildebranda” at Sovana and several other tombs. All these cultural treasures lie in the unspoilt hilly landscape with its Mediterranean nature, olive and vineyards, walnut and fig trees. Beautifully situated tuff towns such as Pitigliano, Sorano and Sovana are often the starting or finishing point of our walk.

The Etruscans.

The Founders of Italian Culture.
The Etruscans are one of the most fascinating cultures in history. Etruscans in pre-Roman Italy had a culture of their own for a very long time. They were a highly developed and very artistic people. The Etruscan influence on Rome was great. This is reflected in religion and architecture. Unfortunately, this culture was lost and the Romans took control of the Etruscan cities.
The Etruscans believed in an afterlife, which is reflected in the beautifully decorated burial chambers in Tarquinia and various museums. They lived in the present-day regions of Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria, roughly between the rivers Tiber and Arno.

Chasing the myth  is: 

  • Discover the life of the Etruscans.
  • Nature, culture and history.
  • Walking is healthy and sustainable.
  • Come to places you wouldn’t otherwise go.
  • Start and finish in a typical Italian town.
  • Going solo, but not being alone when traveling.
  • Small group.
  • Personal attention.
  • Meetings with others along the way.
  • Authentic travel with a personal hiking guide.
  • Focus on local life.
Data 2024
6 t/m 13 april
11 t/m 18 mei
22  t/m 29 juni
24 t/m 31 aug
19 t/m 26 okt

Mariët Bloemendal.

Luxlife award 1 e1699996811325

Ciao, I am Mariët Bloemendal, the creative mastermind and passionate Italy expert of Volg de Rode Schoentjes.
Volg de Rode Schoentjes specializes in extraordinary experience and discover holidays in Italy.
My mission is to let you enjoy authentic central Italy in a special way. Far away from mass tourism, I organize and create a base in which you will discover and experience a real Italian holiday.

I guide all the walking holidays of Volg de Rode Schoentjes myself. I look forward to experiencing “Chasing the Myth” with you. An extraordinary experience holiday in your life.
The walks have been planned by me personally and the great thing about this walking week is that you will visit places you wouldn’t normally find on your own. The Etruscans continue to surprise and fascinate me time and again. I would like to share this special experience with you.

Curious with whom you are going for a walk? I cordially invite you to read more about me via my blog.

“In 2020, I won the Benelux Award for Best Specialist Italian Holiday Agent with ‘Follow the Red Shoes.’ Since January 2021, I have been a monthly correspondent for Italy on the program ‘The World’ on BNNVARA NPO1. I am incredibly proud to have won the LUXlife Hospitality Award 2023 in 2023.”

The hiking vacation was incredibly awesome. Mariët takes care of everything, which meant I just had to put one foot in front of the other. Every day was a completely different experience; it’s hard to say what was the most beautiful – the Via Cava, the Pyramida Etruska, the sunrise, or the hermit caves (literally breathtaking). I also enjoyed the camaraderie and togetherness.

And kudos to Maria, who cooked so deliciously for us.

Mirjam Blom

Dear Mariët, What a joy it has been, and what a gift we have encountered on our journey. Thank you for showing us all the beauty. I gained so much energy that I enjoyed extra on Sunday with the family.

Warm regards,

Atjai Ku

Thanks to Mariët, once again, a beautiful program that was wonderfully filled despite the rain. After the wine hiking vacation last time, the Etruscan hiking week is also highly recommended, and we have secretly fallen a bit in love with the authentic Bolsena. Mariët, with her red shoes, knows how to find all the gems in the area. A guarantee for a delightful vacation! Thanks for another fantastic week!


The Etruscan hiking week with Mariët Bloemendal has exceeded my wildest expectations. My desire to visit various unknown Etruscan places has completely come true this week. Discoveries included caves that were first inhabited by the Etruscans and later in the Middle Ages by hermit monks. Many mysterious hollow roads. Also, a recently rediscovered Pyramid, a very special place where you can feel the presence of the Etruscans. And not to forget the silent walk early in the morning from a mountain containing a sacred Etruscan urn repository, watching the sunrise above Lake Bolsena. All under the pleasant guidance of Mariët, who also ensured excellent accommodation and lunch along the way. I marveled at how flawlessly she navigated through the somewhat inhospitable forests where all these special places were hidden. This arrangement is highly recommended for enthusiasts. In any case, an experience that will always stay with me. I.M +

Joost +


Day 1 : Arrival in Bolsena from 4 pm. Volg de Rode Schoentjes receive you with a beautiful, tasty region of wine and delicious antipasti. In the evening there is a welcome dinner in a typical Italian restaurant in Bolsena.
Day 2 : Relaxing from the trip. Possibility to explore the town of Bolsena on your own.
Day 3 : St. Quirico – Sorano and back (5 hours) We start with an exciting first walking day. We walk from the village of St. Quirico through a beautiful area to the imposing village of Sorano, situated on a plateau. We follow the high and long reefs of the ancient Etruscan town of Vitozza with its dwellings and caves along the plateau sides. On top of the plateau of old Vitozza are the remains of a 15th century church and two castles. A little further on we visit a columbarium from the Etruscan / Roman era. We descend via ancient stone hollow roads and visit the source and the waterfall of the river Spring. We eventually cross it and from there continue walking across a field to Via Cava di San Rocco, a hollow road from the time of the Etruscans. The view of the breathtakingly beautiful Sorano is fantastic. We have lunch near the river de Lente. After lunch, there is plenty of opportunity to visit Sorano and then walk back to St. Qurico.
Day 4 : Sovana – Pitigliano and back (5 hours). The walk is on old Etruscan roads. Along the route we see ancient burial chambers that have been there for thousands of years. We have lunch at an old waterhole. Then we visit the beautifully situated town of Pitigliano, which sits proudly on a rock. The old, originally Etruscan city, is a jewel with its narrow streets, fountains and gates. After the visit we walk back to Sovana.
Day 5 : Silent walk Monte Bisenzio and the archaeological park Citta del Tuffo near Sovana (5 hours). We get up early today for the sunrise silent walk to Monte Bisenzio, a special Etruscan site on Lake Bolsena. We have breakfast in this special place. Then we drive to Sovana. In the immediate vicinity of Sovana is one of the most impressive necropolis in the archaeological park Citta del Tuffo. In this park there are many tombs and burial vaults. Tomba Ildebranda is one of the most famous (3rd century BC). The style is reminiscent of a Greek temple. We have a picnic in the park at the river de Lente.
Day 6 : Le pyramida Etrusca (4 to 5 hours) Today we set off in Northern Lazio and we walk through a special fairytale forest with splashing waterfalls, deep and wild ravines and visit “le pyramide Etrusca”. Besides admiring this almost mysterious structure, we will see the archaeological site of Santa Cecilia and the Torre del Chia.
All are located in the middle of breathtaking nature with trackless hiking trails. It feels like we are the first hikers in this area. It is so peaceful and pure here a day to fully enjoy.
We start at the Torre del Chia where film director Pasolini lived his last years to write.
Just below the Torre, scenes for the movie “ Il vangelo secondo Matte “ from 1964 by Pasolini. Controversial and complex, but according to experts one of his best films.
We follow waterfalls and old basins where flax used to be stored in the water.
Along the old watermill from the 19 e century we arrive at St. Cecilia. Amazingly the ruins of the church and the tombs surrounding the church ruin are made of pepperini stone. A fascinating and also a moving place with clear traces of active life, including a basin where grapes were processed. After a short break to continue walking to the peak of this hiking day “le pyramida Etrusca”.
The pyramid was, for what is now known, a religious place of sacrifice. Carved from a huge boulder. The old stairs take you up to the main altar, where the sacrifices took place. Halfway there is a small altar and there were opportunities for the participants to attend the ceremony while seated.
Le pyramida was rediscovered in 2008 by farmer Salvatore. His interest and passion for the history of his native soil prompted him to investigate. As a child, he had heard from his grandfather and father the most fascinating stories about a mysterious structure in the woods near Bormazo. With his machete and other tools he made his way through the thick Mediterranean vegetation. The weeds had taken full possession of the pyramid. Blood, sweat and tears the last also of happiness when he found le pyramida and finally cleaned it.
We return to the car via a hollow road (via cava) with traces of a pottery from Roman times.
Day 7 : Eremo di PC (hermit cave) and Eremo del chiusa del Vescovo. A special walk is on the program today. We walk through an area that was visited in earlier times by the Etruscans and later by the Templars and pilgrims. Here we find an old hermitage with hermitage next to a beautiful natural waterfall. Very impressive. After the picnic on the river Fiora we visit the second hermit cave in an opposite valley.
Day 8 : Departure

Travel details

Days: 8 days: 7 nights
Level:The walks are mostly on unpaved hiking trails and are easy to moderate.
Climate: Typical Mediterranean climate with warm summers.
Terrain: Through beautiful Mediterranean nature and along the remains of a rich history. Varied landscape with olive and pine trees, cypresses, vineyards, fields and grassland with numerous wild flowers. Volcanic hilly landscape, with valleys, rock formations and hollow roads cut from tuff.
Group size : We walk in small groups of 4 to 6 people. In this way it is easy to respond to personal wishes. The passenger van transports us every day to the starting point of the respective walk. Each day trip ends in an attractive, authentic village. From there it is decided when we will be picked up by the van.

All times mentioned are the average walking times. There will also be time for rest breaks, taking pictures and sightseeing.
To participate in the walking arrangements you must be in a reasonable condition.
During our hikes you do not have to overcome enormous differences in height and do not have to wear special equipment.
Make sure you have sturdy walking shoes that are preferably well worn in.
Good protection against the sun is absolutely necessary and also consider light rainwear.


During this walking week you will stay in a beautiful casa of palazzo in Bolsena or agriturismo with swimming pool. Depending on the chosen package.

Rosa & Adrie

rosa 2
Walked with Mariet for five days through the area of the Etruscans. A long cherished wish. She knows the area like the back of her hand and knows all the special places. Walked through the sunken roads, saw caves with burial chambers still present, fields full of poppies and visited authentic villages. Saw a beautiful sunrise very early one morning. While walking, Mariet also provided a delicious picnic that she carried for us in her backpack! We have enjoyed this week. Exercise and relaxation side by side with our great guide Mariet. Great, thanks Mariet!

Geesje Tiemens

Volgderodeschoentjes.nu is Mariet. 
Her enormous passion for Italy and especially Bolsena and surroundings, her enthusiasm to pass this on to her guests makes that a holiday with the red shoes becomes a holiday with personal attention and immersion in the Italian culture.

Simone Fiet

Had a wonderful holiday in Bolsena, thanks to Mariët !! A sociable, and genuinely interested, sweet woman! Fantastic organized  walks. Everything was well organized! 
Some reactions from our guests:

Had a wonderful holiday in Bolsena, thanks to Mariët !! A sociable, and genuinely interested, sweet woman! Fantastically organized activities. including walks. Everything was well organized! Simone Fiet

Had a great walk with my daughter. Thank you Mariet.
Chasing the Etruscans! a great walking week. Recommended !!!!
We will be back for sure.
Fam de Vries

Thanks on behalf of all four of us for the wonderful week. Your hospitality and flexibility. The entertainment, the fun. The beautiful walks. The beautiful weather. The manyorchids on the way. The sweet sheep. The sunken roads. The fantastic views. The exciting (sometimes slippery) paths. The beautiful stones next to the river. The big sandwiches, the tomatoes. The generous laugh. The olive cheese. The ability to put things into perspective. The organizational talent and the music !!!!Nicole, Jan, Jeannette and Josta.

Hiking Etruscans.
Labyrinth walk on the beach,
A book about the Etruscans
Gardens with special images
A quest for the Goddess
Hollow roads around Pitigliano
They caught my imagination
And challenged me to take a trip
To Lake Bolsena
After seeing some pictures of a friend I was sold
That same evening I searched the internet
And immediately got the link to Bolsena
And see there: exactly those hollow roads that I wanted to walk
Sense, see, experience
Besides walking I also wanted to go to the Sculpture Garden in Bomarzo
So I asked to come a few days earlier.
Mariët was very willing to find out and arrange things for me
And finally the day came that I boarded the plane with my suitcase
Confidently on your way to an unforgettable holiday in Italy.
It was amazing!
With melancholy, but especially with warm feelings
I think back to the (more than a) week at Lake Bolsena:
Great Casa, close to beach, old town and shops
A warm welcome and being together with lovely people
Rich breakfast, good food, delicious wine
Monstrous images in Bomarzo
Hollow roads, rocks and caves
Water and waterfalls
Chapels, churches
Sacred places
Beautiful nature
Bolsena, Mariët, you have stolen my heart. I will come back for sure! Annelies, walk Etruscans,

We had a wonderful week in and around Bolsena. It is a beautiful area with lush nature and ancient (Etruscan) towns. Every day was filled with fun things: starting with an extensive breakfast in the Mariët garden and then out into the great outdoors. We walked along wooded slopes, past fields full of flowers, saw mysterious places, including a clearing in the middle of rocks and overhanging greenery where a waterfall flowed down and spaces were carved out all over the rocks. These spaces date back to Etruscan times and were later used by Christians who held their worship services there. There was a lot to see everywhere and there was something for everyone. Those who were interested in the Etruscans and everything related to it could indulge themselves there, but also for people who were interested in plants and animals. Nature is overwhelming.

The nice thing is that there are many processions in Bolsena in the summer and that is something you do not normally encounter in the Netherlands. In the week we were there we saw two! Furthermore, “eating out” is very cheap, not comparable to what you are used to in the Netherlands. To summarize: Mariët is an excellent hostess, nice walk, seen beautiful and interesting things and good food. What else does a person want? Wierd Wagenmakers and Nelleke Mosk.

Hi Mariet,
I have now been back in the Netherlands for a week and fortunately the nice weather has followed me. Repeatedly I think back to Italy and also to Bolsena, I spent some wonderful days with you, I really enjoyed the camping, the hiking and the dramatic football match against Germany !!! But especially the landscape, the relative tranquility and the villages and towns on the hills.
After Bolsena I have three campsites in the Marche, Ravena and Trento, especially the Marche was also perfect, beautiful area !!! Beautiful cities, such as Urbina and beautiful nature, I did often have to cycle against the bump and it was also getting warmer, just 35 degrees. But I really enjoyed all that nature, culture and the weather.
In the meantime I am already ready for my next vacation, in two days we are going to Vietnam, it seems wonderful too !! But before we leave, just send an email to you because the memories are regular there. I think we will definitely come back there. You have a lot of energy and success for the coming period, because it will be busy now! and thanks again for your hospitality and enthusiasm !!! good time, I’ll be hearing from me again after the summer.
Kind regards Henri Anneke and Janny.

My girlfriend and I got to hike with Mariet for a week. We stayed in a spacious town house in the center of Bolsena. We had a wonderful week. Mariët turned out to be extremely caring. Mariët is an excellent guide and adjusted the program where necessary so that every day was a party. Everything felt very relaxed. Each day started with a lavish breakfast, then we drove to the starting point of that day’s walk. Along the way there was time to – literally and figuratively – reflect on what we encountered. Beautiful landscape with the knowledge that the Etruscans were already active here. Beautifully situated villages, beautiful olive groves and beautiful views. Afterwards, time for a cappuccino on the village square and exploring Bolsena. Mariët thank you for this wonderful week.

Let yourself be surprised and pampered byVolg de Rode Schoentjes. Vacation Italy. We had a few fantastic weeks in ‘our little house’ at Lake Bolsena. ‘If you can’t have a holiday here, you can’t do it anywhere’ was my 1st thought when Mariet took us to the agreed place. A renovated farmhouse on top of a hill with a panoramic view of the lake. From the large swimming pool you look out over the oleanders, the vineyards and the lake below. Fall asleep with the song of nightingales and the buzzing sound of nightjars, here you come to rest. We fully enjoyed the Italian life, hiking, wine, terrace, medieval villages, Etruscan caves, there was so much to see in the area that we did not even get to Rome and Florence, so we will definitely come back. The walks with Mariet were beautiful, she showed us very special places, afterwards we had a drink: Est! Est !! Est !!! , yes we want to be here! Mariet lives the Italian life with her partner and let us enjoy it, thanks! Patrick and Inge

Dear Mariet. Wonderful walks on invisible / untraceable paths that enhance the romance and feeling of antiquity. Mariët is a caring intuitive guide who senses what is needed or desired. Lots of rain but not on our heads. As soon as we get out of the car the sun breaks through. Nice house in the heart of the village, just for me. I have felt very well cared for. I would like to come back next year and do my best to get sculptors along. Greetings Netty Verhoeven

We, Mariët, enjoyed our holiday in Bolsena! Fantastic that you were so flexible that we could walk a number of walks together with Brigit and Leen. What a surprising area of Italy and what great walks you have set out. In the absence of good maps, it is difficult to find the right paths between the different places (Sorano, Sovana, Pitigliano. And then after a tough walk, the car is ready to transport you back to Bolsena! came on our way from Bolsena to Orvieto. It was a great day too. And then of course your beautiful whisper boat, sunset on the lake, the dogs, the poppies, your hospitality… .. In short, we got a dot of Italy vitamins. All the best to you, the dogs and Volg de Rode Schoentjes!!!Els and Paul

Goodbye Mariët, or should I say our personal spoilers. To put it in Flemish, “we fell in love with you”. I want to thank you very much for a very nice holiday. Here is a short report of our holiday. Due to a misunderstanding on an overarching site, I booked a walking week a month after the actual walking week. Because my vacation at work and my flight was already booked, Mariët and Gert were kind enough to receive me anyway. When I told this to my neighbor, she came a day later to ask if she could go for a walk. Joepie !! So I will not be alone, I had booked a group holiday and was a bit reluctant to go hiking alone. So Leen and I went on a trip together for the first time. We were very warmly welcomed with a terrace by Lake Bolsena. After some wrangling we ended up in the “pensione italia”, in the old town of Bolsena. The location was beautiful but the sanitary facilities were not great. We stayed close to Mariët’s house where we had breakfast every morning.

After a day of rest during which we wandered through the old streets, the real walking started. In the morning, the bus took us to the starting point of the St Quirico walk. From here we went to Sorano, we were accompanied by Barbara. We soon discovered that a very old culture can be found here in the archaeological park where we entered several caves. In the afternoon we had to cross a field (?), Which eventually turned out to be quite an adventure because the nettles and thistles were so high that Mariët crossed the field like a “real jungle woman” and cleared a path for us so that we could go without too many thorns pricking us. made it across the street. Our adventure was not over yet, we also had to cross the Lente, a local river. Normally you can step over the stones, but due to the wet spring we had to go barefoot through the cold water to the other side. But everyone passed with flying colors. After some acrobatics on one leg, we could continue on our way. We were soon rewarded with a magnificent view of the old Sorano. Really beautiful, through an old hollow road we approach the medieval town and we climb up through the streets. We are very pleased with our first day of walking and end on a terrace with a good refreshment. It was quite strenuous but at the same time very relaxing, we will feel our muscles tomorrow I think.

Day 2 we go from Sorano to Sovana. The bus takes us to Sorano in the morning and we start our second day where we ended, back through the narrow streets we descend to Lente. Once we cross the river we go up a spectacular hollow road, meters high rocks on both sides. Once at the top we have a great view of Sorano on the other side. We are only walking for the second day but it feels as if we have been in this area for longer. Maybe that old culture has something in between. In the afternoon we pass a shepherd with no less than 400 sheep, it is a Sicilian breed with long hair that is bred for the milk to make cheese. We have a picnic in the open air again and enjoy the blissful climate. This is a real holiday, in the afternoon we pass the workshop of the ceramicist, I forgot the name, where you can also take courses. It immediately appeals to me to be able to give free rein to my creative inspirations. In the afternoon it gets really warm, luckily we pass a sign from a winery, and our legs are definitely stepping in the direction of a glass of wine! We are very welcome and the wine is “REAL !!!!” yummy. Both the white and the red are popular. This is double vacation. We still have a short walk to Sovana. To my great regret, my left knee plays up and I have to take a break. Fortunately the van comes to pick me up and we go for a drink in Sovana. Another beautiful walking day passed. In the evening we go again to Osteria, the best restaurant on our street. You can really eat well here, we feel like half Italians.

Day 3 we keep a quieter day because my knee has played up anyway. Dear Mariët made miracle droplets for me with Arnica. Now it can’t go wrong. We go to Bagnoregio “the dead town”, this is a medieval village that was stuck completely alone on a mountain due to an earthquake, around a deep precipice and there is only one very long bridge that gives access to the town. Spectacular to see, we wander through the streets and have lunch at the old olive oil mill. In the afternoon we take a walk along the lake in Bolsena. Mariët has appointed us a nice restaurant “Tanaquilla” that we will try out this evening. Thanks for the tip because it’s a must.

Day 4 we start back in Sovana and head for Pitigliano, so we slowly but surely round the loop and have walked a whole piece of Etruscan history. After a mysterious piece of forest we end up on a high plateau with a mass of wild flowers, this is nature at its most beautiful. Picnic under a tree in the shade and relax. We descend along a hollow road and tired but satisfied we arrive after a last climb in Pitigliano after a walk of 5 hours, this is so far the largest town where we end up. We agree to have lunch at the winery tomorrow afternoon if possible.

Day 5 we take a shorter walk, we walk from above and get a beautiful view of Lake Bolsena from all sides. On the way we pick fresh cherries, cheer for a team of cycling tourists who have to go uphill, fortunately we go the other way. Because the winegrower had as guests, Mariët made a reservation for us at a fish restaurant on the shore of the lake. We first go for a paddle and then end up between the Italian families on the terrace with a view of the lake and again a delicious lunch with fresh fish (grilled coregone). What a conclusion after a wonderful walking week. Our last day Mariët takes us back to Orvieto where we take the train to Rome. We first visit the old town before we start our last leg, back home. I can recommend assets Bolsena to everyone. We both really enjoyed it !! Mariët thank you very much, Brigit

Hello Mariët, It was a wonderful holiday with beautiful excursions, walks and just relaxing at the lake. We had a great time. The most memorable thing of the recent days is the beautiful lilac light in the morning and in the evening. In addition to the beautiful surroundings and impressive towns, we found it very pleasant to do something ‘organized’ on a small scale. The walks were very rewarding. On the way home we decided that we definitely want to go back to this region and that the organization of yours was fine and pleased. Thanks! Greetings from Gerrit and Tineke Onnink.

Beautiful surroundings and interesting excursions. Houk and Lisse.

Two weeks with our tent on a beach. In June 2009 we spent 2 weeks with our tent on a beach of the lake.Beautiful surroundings, lots of natural beauty, including a regularly flying egret.You can swim in the lake.Have visited some towns together, such as Bolsena and Orvieto . In addition, made very nice and interesting walking excursions with Mariët (Follow the Red Shoes). Will definitely come back to this wonderful place. Joop and Hanneke

Our first experience with Italy was (last year) Bolsena. With our children we had a wonderful holiday at the lake, ideally located from Bolsena (20 minutes walk along the lake). The highlight were the walking excursions of Mariët (Follow the Red Shoes). Not just walking, no climbing / scrambling on paths you could never find yourself. Real Adventure! We are going again next year. Erik, Rineke, Jelke and Jurre

The Biped. Had a wonderful walking week. Through surprisingly beautiful Northern Lazio (Italy). The organization knows the area well and, in addition to the beautiful nature, has shown us impressive cultural remains of the Etruscans, among others. Through quiet areas, hollow roads, to hermit caves. In short, impressive and beautiful Lake Bolsena wonderfully clean and nice to rest, in short, hospitality everywhere. Just do it! Gonda

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